Living in: Remote islands
The beach at Le Saint Geran Hotel, Mauritius. (Press Association)
There is getting away from it all, and then there is going off the grid — on a remote island somewhere in a patch of blue. Hours from anywhere and maybe hard to get to, these places require effort and usually a unique mindset for the more-than-one-time visitor. But the reward they offer is equally one-of-a-kind: the opportunity to live out a fantasy of seclusion and exclusivity.
This tropical Indian Ocean paradise, more than a thousand miles off the southeast coast of Africa, is ringed with white powdery sand beaches that call honeymooners to them, along with the luxury resorts like the Oberoi and the Grand Mauritian. Uninhabited when Dutch settlers first arrived in the 17th Century (the island was home to the dodo bird — but we know how well it turned out for that particular native), Mauritius underwent French and British rule until it achieved its independence 50 years ago. There is a mix of African, Indian, Chinese and European cultures, but locals mainly speak a French Creole. A stable political and legal system and modern infrastructure, including high-speed Internet, makes the island attractive to foreign buyers, and it is also an international financial centre. There are direct flights to Mauritius on British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, South African Airways and Air Mauritius, and it is about a 10- to 11-hour flight from Europe. It is also a popular destination for those with sea-going yachts and for cruise ships sailing from South Africa.
Non-resident buyers are restricted to two types of property: Integrated Resorts Scheme (IRS) where the entry level is $750,000 and buyers get citizenship after three years. The other is the Real Estate Scheme (RES) where entry level is $500,000, but “only certain schemes offer access to citizenship”, advised Berry Everitt, MD of Chas Everitt International Property Group. “Properties in these schemes are typically freehold, stand-alone villas with at least three bedrooms on 1,000sqm of land within a secure golf-course or estate development.” Prices can go up to $3 or $4 million for top properties.
The Independent Daily: English-language newspaper
This archipelago of ten islands is also off the coast of Africa, but Cape Verde is in the Atlantic. A Portuguese colony for 500 years, its mix of West African, Portuguese and Brazilian cultures have produced some of its most famous exports: singers like Cesoria Evora. There are four international airports on the islands of Sal, Santiago, Sao Vincente and Boa Vista, with packagers like Thomson flying in holidaymakers on the five-and-a-half hour flight from the UK. TAP Portugal and XL Airways fly here, and it was rumoured that Ryanair was also going to launch a route from the UK. The islands are not as green as the name would have you believe, but there are excellent water sports, including surfing and windsurfing. The local rum is called “grogue”, the main ingredient in Cape Verde’s drink pontche, which is especially nice at sunset overlooking the harbour in Mindelo on Sao Vincente or one of the beaches on Sal.
Property here is typically either a private villa or apartment blocks, with new properties built to European standards. On Sal a two-bed apartment costs between 85,000 and 200,000 euros, while a villa can start at 350,000, but go quickly to 500,000 euros. “It is possible for a non-resident to obtain a mortgage from a Cape Verdean bank,” said Terry Hobbs, agent and media manager for Property Showrooms, “as long as they can prove they have the means to repay it”.
Cape Verde Web: basic info on the most visited islands and towns
Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are Britain’s tropics. Off the tip of Land’s End in Cornwall, their climate is moderated by the warm Gulf Stream, giving residents of the five inhabited islands (there are 140 islets in the archipelago) tropical blooms and teal-blue waters. In London’s grey February, cheery Scilly daffodils in the stores are a welcome sight, but the islands’ economy mainly relies on tourism. Reachable by ferry or helicopter from Penzance, or a short flight from Cornwall or Bristol, there are no direct flights from London.