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Mauritius Moments to Live by

Whether picking a vacation spot or investing in real estate, you could very well follow the sun on this beautiful island.

By Debbie Hathway

Mauritius has been a place of work and inspiration for me for over a decade, but my activities have always gravitated towards the East, which is characterful, picturesque, and unspoilt. It’s where I have felt most at home and lived like a local in guesthouses and B&Bs when I was hunter-gathering story ideas outside the five-star resorts. Granted, it was the area I was exposed to first (repeatedly), and the hosts’ sterling hospitality and entertainment did much to ignite my passion for the island.

A recent stay at Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Wellness Resort in the southwest provided a different perspective. So used to the flat yet winding coastal road from the airport to the east, passing sleepy little fishing villages with boats bobbing in the sheltered lagoon, the lush, mountainous terrain – brilliantly green after recent rain – that marked my route to Bel Ombre was totally unexpected.

The drive from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport to Bel Ombre was also surprisingly quicker. Bank on an hour, traffic dependent. Air Mauritius’s direct flight from Cape Town lands at dawn, so the route is relatively congestion-free when you clear Customs, collect your baggage and hit the road.

Aerial view of Mauritius island

I was headed for the resort named after Charles Telfair, the acclaimed Northern Irish botanist who lived in the area in the early 19th century, adjacent to the Heritage Awali Golf and Spa Resort and incorporating Heritage Villas Valriche, the luxury villas component of a historic estate with sustainability at its heart. Heritage Le Telfair has a lot going for it, starting with the refined grandeur of the French plantation estate architecture of that time. Further endorsed by its membership of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the resort is favoured for its fine dining offering at Le Château de Bel Ombre and lauded by golf fans around the world for its award-winning facilities, now with double the impact following the recent opening of La Réserve Golf Links, designed by acclaimed golf course architect Peter Matkovich and former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open held here in December 2023. Arrive for a stay, and you’ll be hard-pressed to leave, which supports my argument for a minimum two-week getaway so that you can get a feel for all the perks of being a resident here. Because that’s the ultimate, isn’t it? Being able to own your little slice of paradise?

Luxury residential estates like Heritage Villas Valriche, open to foreign investment in exchange for permanent residency since 2008, share similar accolades. They usually offer homeowners access to five-star hotels, a spa, a beach club, top-tier golf facilities, restaurants offering diverse culinary experiences, and kids’ and teens’ clubs. So, what makes this one exceptional? Sustainable, authentic living developed around a villa-only concept, a unique location in Bel Ombre Nature Reserve, a UNESCO Man and Biosphere region comprising a 2,500-hectare protected tropical garden, and the promise of an outdoor lifestyle celebrated daily with the splendour of the setting sun, arguably most memorable in this part of the island.

Image: Debbie Hathway

“On the sustainability side where we’re strong is water; we’re completely independent from the national network. We have our own boreholes and a filtration plant that feeds water into the villas. Wastewater goes to a treatment plant and back onto the golf course,” says Anton de Waal, CEO at Heritage Villas Valriche. “Given that our construction density will eventually only be about 10 per cent, we don’t overbuild. Having a sustainable green lung is in line with the vision for this area, so there are constraints to what we do as developers… low density, low level, low impact from an environmental perspective. We’re looking at potentially going off-grid.”

Moreover, La Réserve Golf Links holds the prestigious GEO certification, symbolising dedication to environmental stewardship, while ecological and lagoon conservation initiatives are underway. “We have a programme for our reef – our lagoon is one of the most unspoilt on the island – and we’re working on reintroducing different species of coral that will attract more species of marine life. We’re trying to get it to a motorboat-free zone (no water skiing, etc),” says De Waal.

The news is music to the ears of travellers and Mauritius real estate investors with a conscience. According to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2023, more consumers are filtering vacation selections in line with sustainable certifications and savvy investors wanting to buy villas to rent in Mauritius are motivated to buy those with sound eco credentials.

Only a few of the 288 villas are still for sale at Heritage Villas Valriche, with 170 homes already completed, underpinning demand for greener holiday or second homes with plenty of sustainable features. In addition, those who buy to let benefit through boosted rental income. Prices for off-plan villas start from US$1.3 million (Villa Bright), while plots for a bespoke villa start from US$529 531. Bespoke villa designs range up to US$8 million.

If you’re keen to make a move to Mauritius and have never been to the island before, you can book a discovery package based on a stay at Heritage Le Telfair or Heritage Awali and enjoy a golf day, sunset kiting experience, signature massage, safari tour of the reserve and fine wine tasting at Le Chateau. This will give you a great idea of the environment, facilities homeowners can enjoy, and popular activities right on your doorstep. Favourites include quad biking, swimming at a waterfall in the reserve, and boating out to one of the best snorkelling spots along the west coast.

When you know, you know… love it at your leisure.

For more information, visit villasvalriche.com, email enquiry@villasvalriche.com, or call +230 6235620.

Debbie Hathway

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