Which Indian Ocean twin centre should you take?
Combining two or more islands is a great way to explore more of the world in one Indian Ocean twin-centre holiday, taking in a combination of the Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, La Reunion or Mauritius.
Our travel experts have put together their handpicked recommendations from the trips they’ve embarked on so that you can make the very most of your next escape.
Start your holiday in Sri Lanka on the wild side. Stay in the Cultural Triangle, and you can go on an exhilarating elephant safari in Minneriya National Park, or begin in the south and visit Yala National Park, famed for its high population of leopards.
Next, you’ll want to see the sacred city of Kandy and the picturesque tea plantations, and at Santani Wellness Resort & Spa, you can tick off both these highlights in one stay. Just an hour outside of Kandy, this boutique resort is a serene haven away from the buzz of the city. Aside from the many excursions on offer, from temple-hopping to tea factory trips, you can embrace your spiritual side with yoga sessions and detoxifying spa treatments – the spa was voted among the Best Spas in the World by Tatler magazine.
After your Sri Lankan adventure, you’ll need white sands, crystal clear waters and swaying palms – polished off with a coconut cocktail. At Kuramathi Maldives, you can take a dip in one of the two oceanfront infinity pools, snorkel or dive among the 20 local dive sites or experience an unforgettable sunset cruise with your loved ones. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to spot a pod of dolphins. Top off island paradise, with an exquisite seafood dining experience at The Reef, then a glass of bubbles at the Champagne Loft.
Mauritius and La Reunion
With a blend of African, Indian, Oriental and European influences, you’ll fall in love with Mauritius. Travel from coast to coast, taking in the capital of Port Louis and Mauritius’ colourful natural wonders, including Tamarind Falls and the vibrant Seven Coloured Sands. But it’s the powder-soft sands you’ll want to recline on here, and we recommend the charming adults-only resort of 20 Degrés Sud Hotel – Relais & Châteaux based on the north coast. You’ll find free watersports, ranging from kayaking to windsurfing or take to the water more elegantly on the nightly dinner cruise aboard a vintage motorboat.
When you’re ready, swap golden sands for dramatic volcanic peaks on the remarkable isle of La Reunion. Imagine Hawaii with its rugged coastline, cascading waterfalls and whale watching opportunities, and you wouldn’t be far off. Begin your adventure on an early morning helicopter flight before the cloud descends for a bird’s eye view of the island. Marvel at the dormant volcano of Piton des Neiges and the islands unique topography, made up of three ‘cirques’ (ancient jungle-clad natural amphitheatres). Finish your trip with a swim in one of the islands best lagoons near St-Gilles-Les-Bains beach – we love LUX* Saint Gilles, where there are hidden messages in bottles all over the resort offering free gifts, as well as an open-air beach cinema.
If you're a wildlife enthusiast, Kenya has some of the world's most diverse species in the animal kingdom – you'll be spoilt for choice. Opt for a Maasai Mara 4x4 game drive from a lodge such as Governors' Camp, and you're bound to spot a number of the Big Five in their natural habitat. Or if you have a head for heights, take an exhilarating hot-air balloon ride at sunrise for unrivalled views over the plains before tucking into a champagne bush breakfast. We recommend embarking on a trip to the Great Rift Valley to spot hippos and flamingos at Lake Naivasha and Nakuru. If you're lucky, you may even spot a rare black rhino too.
When you're tired of all those early safari mornings, you're going to want to relax, and there are fewer places better than the turquoise waters and white-sand beaches of Mauritius. We recommend the adults-only resort Sunrise Attitude for its stylish swim-up rooms, authentic experiences and sought-after spot on beautiful Belle Mare beach. The hotel's commitment to sustainable tourism is all part of its charm; the walls are adorned with modern artwork created by Mauritian artists, and locally sourced produce is served with panache in the dining venues. Don't miss the delicious dholl puris at Taba-J food truck, one of Mauritius's most popular street food delicacies.
To end your Mauritius adventure on a high, add a few nights stay at a secret retreat in the mountains. Lakaz Chamarel Exclusive Lodge is tucked away in the Black River Gorges National Park, an emerald wonderland of waterfalls, peaks and valleys. For the ultimate wow factor, upgrade to one of the jaw-dropping Seaview Pool Suites, where you can admire the panoramic views from your elevated private pool.
Seychelles – Mahé and Silhouette
The Seychelles is synonymous with beautiful beaches, so you won’t want to limit yourself to just one on your holiday. Begin your island-hopping getaway on the Seychelles’ largest island, Mahé. Arriving at the newly-opened Mango House feels like stepping into a glamourous celebrity beach house, which isn’t surprising, considering this property was once the home of a famous Italian photographer. Following a five-star makeover, this intimate retreat has a host of decadent facilities alongside a home-from-home vibe. Gaze out at the ocean views from a choice of three inviting pools, drift away with restorative treatments in the spa and indulge in culinary delights from succulent seafood to freshly-made sushi.
Although it would be tempting never to leave the sanctuary of your hotel, Mahé is an enchanting island to explore. Hike through the mountains of Morne Seychellois National Park or stop by the town of Victoria for its colonial charm, brightly decorated Hindu temple and buzzing bazaar. After your time on Mahé, take a 45-minute private boat ride to Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa on Silhouette Island. Protected by the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles, this island remains virtually untouched. Chill out on the white-sand beaches where giant tortoises are left to roam freely and lay their eggs or snorkel or dive in some of the Indian Ocean’s most diverse dive sites. Return to your jungle hideaway and treat yourself to a Seychellois massage at the Eforea Spa.
The Maldives and Ajman
Known as one of the most coveted beach destinations on the planet, the Maldives is the crème de la crème of castaway escapes. Stay on the newly-revamped tiny island of Maafushivaru, and you’ll be dazzled by its contemporary design and romantic atmosphere, not to mention the impressive choice of dining, from tapas to teppanyaki. Unwind on either of the idyllic beaches or embark on one of the dive centre’s boat trips, spotting whale sharks, manta rays and turtles as you go. But if a boat trip isn’t your thing, then you could stay in one of the resort’s new Water Pool Villas, which have direct access to the lagoon, ideal for snorkelling and spotting the vibrant sea life beneath the water.
Once you’ve had your fix of the tropical island life, spice things up and head to the souks and sands of the lesser-known Arabian jewel, Ajman. Unlike its more famous neighbour Dubai, you won’t find skyscrapers and mega-malls here, although you can expect opulent hotels and some of the best beaches in the Emirates. We love the Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah, where the renowned Oberoi service is taken up a notch with your own butler on hand 24/7. Spend your days out on the world-class Al Zorah Golf Course, kayaking in the mangroves or letting off steam in the traditional Arabic hammam. If you fancy a change of pace, the glitz and glamour of Dubai is just a shuttle ride away.
This feature was updated on 29 July 2021. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing.