THE BLOG

Can Paradise Pay?

12/04/2013 14:21 BST | Updated 11/06/2013 10:12 BST

DSC_0184 20130403-100038.jpg This is an unusual post for me. It takes me back to my former life of investments and numbers! It caught my eye and my heart when I visited. A short (ish) 11 hour direct flight from the UK and you are there - paradise! A tropical island so green you could be in the UK but teeming with flowers and wildlife and surrounded by turquoise water lapping palm-fringed, white sand beaches. Did I mention that this place is a melting pot of cultures ; Chinese, Creole, Indian, French? Happy, friendly and laid back with all the advantages (think food!) that come along with this eclectic mix.

If you have a spare €490,000 and you are wondering where to invest it then it's worth considering. With interest rates at all time lows in the UK and stock markets so jittery as recession bites, an unusual option this is but perhaps one worth considering if you love sunshine, exotic places and luxury. Especially good for golfers (Ernie Els course with spectacular views of the mountains) and families (Scott Dunn kids club and teens club too).

I've just come back from an all-too brief stay. I'll explain more: It's Mauritius. Only three hours time difference from the UK but a world away. The minute I got off the plane I fell in love with the most magnificent island I have ever visited. It's everything you could want in a sunshine destination and more.

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A short drive from the airport (a brand new modern delight is under construction and nearly finished) to the wild and unspoilt east brings you to Anahita; a world-class resort development that brings together the best of Mauritian lifestyle, culture and hospitality with facilities to rival the best of the best whether it be dining, shopping, entertainment, leisure (apart from tennis and golf the photo (89)

boathouse has a PADI centre too!) or just interacting with nature in this peaceful paradise setting.

The reason I was there was as a 'hotel' guest. I get to stay in one of the luxurious properties of the owners with access to true five star hotel facilities on my doorstep. I went with my family and my little boy who especially loved swimming in our private pool in our lush green garden sitting back from the pristine golf course, whilst I loved getting to send him to kids club (the best I have ever seen!) eat delicious food by the beach and yet have breakfast served in our villa where I could do any washing I needed to at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. The villas are a home away from home. Kitted out to the max with every mod con a family could want or need, in a tasteful and luxurious-but-light-and-airy way.

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Sitting on land shared with the Four Seasons, the resort and it's facilities managed by Anahita also shares other facilities with them- the golf course for one.The resort has been built in phases; villas around the golf course or with views to the lagoon. The company behind the construction and sale of the properties is Ciel Properties. They have built the resort in a clever way that means there is never mass construction going on at once. I saw none. The area is so big that the next phase on the estate that spans six kilometres of turquoise sea, Amalthea, needs to be reached by golf cart to even see the plots.

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What caught my attention was the investment  return over the last three years to the owners - a massive 30%! They get to spend up to 56 days a year at their property which is managed and maintained and rented out by Anahita and the rest of the time guests like me go, for which if course, the owner gets paid. There are quite a few advantages that go along with purchase. Anahita is one of a few commercial ventures in Mauritius given IRS (integrated resort scheme) status by the government. This means that investors are incentivised to invest. On buying the freehold, international buyers and their direct family obtain Mauritian residency. They also gain certain tax breaks too.

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As an investor you can buy land only ( but need to build within three years) or buy off plan and customise as you wish with a bigger pool, different kitchen specification etc. If I were to purchase then I'd leave it all to them because the villa that I stayed in was perfect. Clean, contemporary, natural and organic with statement pieces of art made from local materials but that wouldn't be out of place in a London gallery.

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The new development will be a mix of luxury villas of differing sizes, duplexes with pools and lodges - an option whatever the size of your family. British Airways flies direct three times a week, we used our miles this time and they were fantastic, especially with our little one so the perfect family destination and easy access from the UK (notwithstanding other places in Europe if course!).