Nightlife in Seychelles by Types
There are relatively few independent bars outside the islands' hotels. The main drinking hole in Victoria is The Pirates Arms (Independence Avenue; tel: 22 50 01) which opens out onto the street. Gently revolving ceiling fans set the pace here; it's the main place to meet in town and service is friendly but unhurried - after all, it's not as if anybody has to rush off somewhere else. A rank of slot machines in the games room provides some alternative diversion.
Many of the larger hotels put on live shows in their bars, whether it's a straightforward band playing covers or some form of Creole cultural fest, with guests enjoined to get to their feet and join in towards the end of the show.
Another entrée into local culture is via the islands' locally distilled rum, or rather more exotic tipples such as Coco d'Amour. Barmen are more than happy to whip up a cocktail or two employing one or the other or even both these beverages. Hotel bars tend to close early by international standards, with few serving beyond midnight.
There are currently just four discotheques in the Seychelles, two on Mahé and two on Praslin. The most sizeable is Katiolo's (tel: 37 54 53 / 51 11 69) on Anse Faure between the international airport and Anse Royale. The oversized dance floor is usually packed out at weekends, with the adjoining beach providing respite from the decibels. Like all of the Seychelles discos, Katiolo's is not open to under-18s and maintains a strict dress code (slightly at odds with its surrounds and the islands' generally ultra-casual ambience), forbidding caps, sleeveless T-shirts, sandals and trainers. "No shorts" means that gents should wear trousers. Security staff make no exceptions to these rules, to the dismay of more than one dressed-down celeb in recent years, Jamaican reggae DJ Shaggy being the most prominent example.
Katiolo's rival on Mahé is Ozone (La Plaine St. André, Au Cap; tel: 51 65 25), which tends towards more organised jollity, with raffles, and prizes awarded for best-dressed patrons and best dancers. Half-price admission on Sundays usually ensures a good house.
On Praslin, The Jungle (Grand Anse; tel: 51 26 83) is currently regarded as rather more chic than Oxygen (Baie Ste Anne; tel: 51 23 00 / 23 29 39), though both guarantee a good time. At Jungle, local artists such as Joseph Sinon and Jean Marc Volcy perform live on a regular basis, and Neddy the barman helps give the evening a boost with an assortment of alluring cocktails.
Perhaps the ritziest entertainment the Seychelles has to offer is provided by its gaming houses. These range from a fairly routine agglomeration of slot machines, to three full-fledged casinos.
The Amusement Centre (Oceangate House Extension, Independence Avenue, Victoria; tel: 22 58 78) contains 200 fruit machines, reputedly the most generous in the archipelago when it comes to spitting out jackpots. Despite its workaday surrounds, it applies a dress code in the evenings.
Mahé's major gaming outlet is the Berjaya International Casino (Beau Vallon; tel: 24 74 00 / 28 74 24) with 16 blackjack and roulette tables and 55 slots as well as a private "high stakes" room. Bets can be placed in any major international currency, with winnings paid out in US dollars. Berjaya faces off against the Planter's Casino (Baie Lazare; tel: 36 13 61), with ten tables and 27 slots. Planter's offers free nightly gaming lessons, though tips on how to beat the house consistently are likely to be rare.
On Praslin, the white neo-colonial Casino des Iles (Côte d'Or; tel: 23 25 00 / 22 59 32) can hold up to 300 guests, who can indulge in slots, roulette, blackjack and backgammon - the last being a particular passion of one of the owners, a one-time Dutch champion.
A rather more gentle strain of entertainment is provided by the Seychelles' solitary cinema, the Deepam, in Albert Street, Victoria (tel: 32 25 85 / 32 26 17 / 61 01 97). The Art Deco exterior houses a 261-seat split-level theatre and is equipped with a DTS and Dolby Digital Sound system. Movies run the gamut from Hollywood blockbusters to Bollywood favourites, as well as French and Chinese titles, in an attempt to appeal to the widest possible audience. Hotel DVD libraries may be a more acceptable alternative for some visitors.
Other possible after-dark entertainments in the Seychelles include taking a sunset cruise (which many resorts put on daily), or digging into a romantic dinner on the beach, a meal which owes as much to its surrounds as to what's on the table. Again, many major hotels are dab hands at setting up such events. In a similar vein, some hotel spas feature couples' programmes in which clients are scrubbed, massaged and otherwise therapy'd before being left to enjoy themselves for the rest of the evening in the privacy of the treatment suite.