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Oetker Collection Adds Celeb-Favorite Fregate Island, Drops Le Bristol Abu Dhabi

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  Site Where: Seychelles
July 30, 2013 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

If the name Oetker Collection does not ring a bell, you are more likely familiar with two of its most famous hotels: the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes (preferred by Brangelina during the Cannes film festival and Kaiser Karl for a runway show) and equally celebrity-friendly Le Bristol Paris (temporary home of David Beckham).

Now, the group has added another, though more far-flung, destination that is known for attracting wealthy privacy-seekers (from Bill Gates to again Brangelina): Fregate Island Private, a tiny speck in the Indian Ocean that is part of the Seychelles archipelago. If ever you wanted to live out your own Robinson Crusoe fantasy without having to sacrifice any creature comforts, this is the place.

But there is more to it than just luxury: bought in the late 1970s by a German industrialist, decades of work have gone into returning the island back to its natural state, rehabilitating indigenous forest, nursing back to life a population of Giant Aldabra Tortoises, and saving the endangered Magpie Robin bird from extinction.

Those giant tortoises roam freely around the island and have increased over the past 25 years from just 150 to over 2000 today. The Magpie Robin, once the second rarest bird in the world with only 14 remaining, now has recovered to more than 100, helped by the replanting of local forest. You can learn about all the eco-initiatives during the day and then retire to one of 16 villas, which start at over 4,000 square feet each, and all with private pools, like the gorgeous shot below.

Getting to Fregate is possible via a 15-minute flight from the international airport on Mahé Island or a longer trip by boat. Rates start at just under €1,500 ($2,300) a night per person depending on the season, which includes include all meals, soft drinks and house wines/local beers, laundry, a buggy to get around, non-motorized water sports, and guided nature walks.

Speaking of Le Bristol, about this time last year we wondered how the Parisian palace was going to translate to the sands of the Middle East, with plans to open a sister property in Abu Dhabi later this year. Turns out we will probably never find out: it has been scrapped. The official statement has it that “after an intensive analysis”, the plans “cannot be executed to an extent necessary to make the project a long-term success”, which is sufficiently non-committal about what really went down.

The Oetker Collection does have another property in the works: L’Apogée Courchevel. Opening this December, just in time for the high season, it will have 20 rooms, 33 suites, and a penthouse, and undoubtedly enough fanciness to live up to the standards of those that frequent one of Europe’s swankiest ski resorts.

[Photos: Fregate Island]

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