A: The spectacular new C Beach Club is part of the Villas Valriche offering. For the full duration of the 10-year agreement with Heritage Resorts (and possibly beyond this period subject to renewal of the contract), Villas Valriche residents will also have full use of the hotel facilities.
A: Whilst occupancies are growing it makes better economic sense not to build excessive amenities in the initial stages, especially where these world-class facilities are already available to owners and residents, so as to reduce the operating overheads that would need to be incurred by the home owners.
A: Villas Valriche has secured the site to build a second beach club at relatively short notice. According to the agreement with Heritage Resorts, Villas Valriche will build this second beach club once the villas reach an occupancy threshold of about 22,500 villa occupied nights per annum.
A: Any vehicle licensed to be driven on the road will be allowed within the estate, provided that they do not create disturbance. Eventually, homeowners will have to decide as to which vehicles will be allowed on the estate.
A: Villas Valriche is serviced by a Smart Village network. Speed will be offered to match the various MyT offerings of Mauritius Telecom (see http://www.orange.mu/internet/adsl.php), the primary service provider to Villas Valriche. Owners can upgrade their communications speed up to the capacity of the individual fibre optic cable feeding their villas. Villas Valriche Resort will buy bandwidth according to demand. All systems infrastructure has already been installed.
A: The Villas Valriche estate is taking shape beautifully with all of the infrastructure works having been completed. The substantial landscaping spend has also reached an advanced stage of implementation and the development is showing its promise of being a haven, blending seamlessly into its lush natural surroundings.
Regrettably, substantial delays have been experienced as far as villa delivery is concerned. However, this has no incidence on the initial investment required by the buyer. The latter has the guarantee that his villa and the project will be completed with no additional costs to him/her and owners visiting Mauritius are accommodated in style, at the cost of the developer, in the cases where there villas are delivered late. Most importantly we refuse to compromise on the quality of villas simply to deliver them sooner.
A: Villas Valriche is a very sophisticated product, if only in view of the wide choice given to buyers to personalise their villas. This inevitably poses quite a few challenges on site. Further, the developer has been extremely demanding in terms of quality of building and finishing. And to top it all, the main contractor employs a production line methodology to build villas which is not always compatible with the order of the delivery schedule.
A: Two hundred years ago, the renowned Irish botanist Charles Telfair discovered a piece of Eden on Mauritius's South-West coast. Owned by French planters since 1765, it was a virgin land of undulating hills, sugar cane fields and broad plains, dense rainforest scored by deep waterfalls, turquoise lagoons and breeze-kissed beaches. Seduced by its natural beauty and lulled into tranquillity, Telfair made this extraordinary corner of the island his home.
That secret Eden survives today in the Domaine de Bel Ombre. Wrapped in nature as pristine and unspoilt as ever, this magnificent private estate and former sugar cane plantation resonates with the romance of centuries of colonial history and style.
The Domaine's longstanding owners, Bel Ombre Sugar Company, are committed to preserving this wonderful landscape and development in the region is controlled and carefully planned. Restoration within the estate includes many of its landmark buildings such as the old sugar factory, due to be reborn soon as a retail and leisure complex, and the original mansion, the Château de Bel Ombre. Built in the 1880s, this grand manor house has been reborn as a gourmet restaurant, gloriously set in French-style gardens.
At the heart of the Domaine is Valriche Nature Reserve, a vast lush landscape rich in indigenous flora and fauna. Close by, World Heritage site 'Le Morne Brabant Mountain, and Chamarel with its vividly hued rolling 'coloured earths' wait to reveal their secrets. On its shores are the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean, a marvellous marine playground in which to dive, swim with dolphins, hunt tuna and marlin or discover the thrill of kite surfing and other water sports.
Even these gentle waters contribute to the richness of Bel Ombre's history: it was near here that Captain Matthew Flinders was captured by the French in 1803 after completing his historic mapping of Australia's coastline, not realising that England and France were at war. It was again on Bel Ombre's coast that the survivors of the SS Trevessa landed in 1923 after their arduous journey covering 2,600 kilometres, achieving the longest lifeboat voyage ever recorded.
A: The Domaine de Bel Ombre stretches over 5 729 acres. About a third of the estate is a nature reserve, the rest being cultivated with sugar cane and garden nurseries. Over the past decade or so, the Domaine de Bel Ombre has restructured its operations, closing its sugar mill and investing into premium hospitality infrastructure.
Today, the Domaine is home to several luxury hotels including the Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort and the Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort, which offer access to the sybaritic pleasures of Seven Colours spas and service and style that are truly five-star. At the heart of Bel Ombre sits the world-class Golf du Château, bordered by the award-winning Villas Valriche residential estate and, with a second championship course planned on adjacent land, Bel Ombre is set to become a major international golfing destination.
A: The Compagnie Sucrière de Bel Ombre Ltd is the owner of the Domaine de Bel Ombre brand. The Domaine's hospitality offerings have been developed in close partnership with renowned hotel, golf and luxury residential estate developers.
A: The Domaine de Bel Ombre offers world class facilities including five star accommodations, a championship golf course, 11 restaurants and a rich nature reserve. Residents and visitors can choose from a wide array of activities to compose their preferred lifestyle. Outdoors activities range from sorties at sea, fishing and water sports to horse riding, hiking, trekking and biking as well as excursions in the hillsides and the charming neighbourhood. The more sedentary types would no doubt enjoy blissful moments of relaxation at the hotels with their signature spas, games and leisure activities.
The old mill is being transformed into a convenience shopping centre. Henceforth known as La Place du Vieux Moulin, it should be fully operational in 2012 and will feature a deli shop, coffee shop, library, bakery and beachwear shop among others.
The Domaine de Bel Ombre's nature activities are undergoing a complete restructure. The Valriche Nature Reserve will be rebranded Frédérica and its operations will be managed from new quarters near the old chimney in Frédérica.
By the end of 2012, an attraction farm will be developed to strengthen the Domaine's current nature activities offerings that include quad biking, mountain biking, hiking and safari.
The Domaine de Bel Ombre will build a number of eco-lodges in the hillsides within the coming 2-3 years. These will be available for rent.
Residential plots will be developed for sale to the local and international markets according to demands.
A: A foreign resident, trust or company wishing to buy an IRS property undergoes thorough screening by the Board of Investment (BOI). According to law, it is the responsibility of the developer/ seller to conduct a due diligence enquiry through any reputable bank and submit an application for acquisition of property and permanent residence to the BOI on behalf of the buyer.
A: South African nationals wishing to buy an IRS property need approval from the South African Reserve Bank in order to be able to transfer funds out of South Africa to finance the purchase. This is because South Africa practices a tight foreign exchange control policy. There is no ceiling on the amount to be transferred but each application needs to be approved by SARB on the merits of the proposed property to be acquired, which must be for the purposes of a holiday house.
A: Yes. But in general and moreso in the case of Villas Valriche, he or she will have to rent through the resort management company and declare income to the Mauritian and domestic tax authorities where a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) exists between the two countries such that a tax credit can be obtained for tax remitted in Mauritius.
A: Payment can be made in USD, EUR or GBP, depending on the currency in which the development is priced. A citizen of Mauritius can also effect payment in Mauritian rupees. When payment is effected in currencies other than USD, the exchange rate at selling price in force on the date of application for purchase is used to calculate the USD equivalent price.
A: Villas Valriche is a luxury residential estate consisting of 288 freehold Mauritian plantation-style detached villas with shingle roofs, set in approximately 106 hectares of lush landscaped grounds. The estate surrounds the existing Peter Matkovich designed, 18-hole championship golf course, which is set in a further 104 hectares. There are 22 different villa designs to choose in single and double storey configurations, offering 2 bedroom villas of 200m2 up to 3 or 4 bedroom villas in excess of 400m2. The plots vary in size from 700m2 to over 3,000m2 and nearly all will have uninterrupted panoramic golf and/or sea views. Built to a high specification and with excellent quality finishes, the villas will all have infinity pools, large verandas; air conditioned bedrooms, state-of-the-art communications and landscaped tropical gardens. A wide range of options and interior design packages is available.
A: Villas Valriche is situated on the South West Coast of Mauritius close to the Le Morne Peninsula. It is approximately 40 minutes from the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport and one hour from the bustling capital of Port Louis. The residential part of the development is located in the Black River District, at Domaine de Bel Ombre.
A: The development takes its name from the surrounding Valriche Nature Reserve, a world renowned ecological park spanning 1,000Ha, abundant with a wide variety of endemic, indigenous, medicinal and fruit trees as well being home to deer, wild boars, monkeys, bats and rare bird species. The Valriche Nature Reserve is adjoined to the Black River Gorges National Park, and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is involved in guiding the reserve's caretakers.
A: The HOA will be formed as soon as the first home is complete and will come into effect during the last quarter of 2008. The HOA will contract its own management team that will be responsible for the general well-being of the Estate related to common areas and infrastructure.
A: The site is set on the hillside in a natural amphitheatre with spectacular views over the Indian Ocean. The estate borders the Valriche Nature Reserve, ensuring enhanced tranquillity and peace for residents. The site is also in close proximity to the international airport (40 minutes), Le Morne Peninsula (20 minutes), Black River (30 minutes) and the Capital City of Port Louis (1 hour), with easy access to world-renowned beaches and water-sport activities.
A: Bel Ombre is a historic area from the plantation era, the name of which originates from a sweetwater fish called the "ombrine" which is found in this region. In the early 18th century, the well-known writer, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre wrote about the origin of the sugar estates in the South West of the island that overlooked the Bel Ombre lagoon. The Domaine de Bel Ombre is accredited to Charles Telfair who, from 1816 to 1833, enhanced the region with his botanical, social and engineering innovations. Charles Telfair grew new species of sugar cane and plants, and also introduced new concepts in machinery as well to the social lives of the locals, all of which helped to reform Mauritius.
The South Western region of Mauritius was a French Colonial stronghold, and the property on which the Villas Valriche Estate is being developed, was formerly a sugar cane plantation. Espitalier Noλl Limited (ENL), who has been involved in the sugar industry in Mauritius for nearly two centuries, is one of the main investors in the Villas Valriche project through their major shareholding in the Rogers Group. The Espitalier Noλl family also started the Mon Désert sugar factory in the late 1820's. This company later merged with the Alma Sugar Estate to form the Mon Désert Alma Co. Ltd. The family also owns another sugar estate, Savannah, which dates back to 1882. Savannah has expanded over the years through a merger as part of the ongoing streamlining process in the Mauritian sugar industry. Along with agricultural aspect of the business, ENL moved into other industries including commerce and services, manufacturing as well as finance and investment in the late 1950's. When the investment company, General Investment and Development Co. Ltd (GIDC) was set up in 1969, it allowed ENL to build up a dynamic investment strategy. ENL now holds a portfolio of shares in prominent business groups such as Rogers, Beachcomber as well as Food &Allied Industries. Rogers is one of the largest listed companies on the Mauritius Stock Exchange. The Rogers Group has many years of trading experience in both Mauritius and internationally in Europe, Africa and the Far East and is involved in many sectors such as agriculture, hotels, shipping, logistics, airlines, financial services, banking, retail, manufacturing and property development. Beachcomber is the dominant hotel and resort operator on the island, with leading hotels such as the Royal Palm, Paradis and Dinarobin. A few of ENL's main subsidiaries, namely Mon Désert Alma Co. Ltd, Savannah Sugar Estate Co. Ltd and GIDC were some of the first companies to list on the Mauritian Stock Exchange in 1989.
A: Yes the required Land Conversion Permits and the IRS Certificate were obtained in March 2007 to allow the reservation of villas and the capitalisation of the Les Villas de Bel Ombre Ltee (the developer of Villas Valriche).
A: The landscaping and control of the environmental aspect of the site is very important and the developers have put aside a substantial landscaping budget to plant indigenous trees and to landscape the common areas between the plots with local shrubs and grasses. The landscaping has been designed and the implementation supervised by Planning Partners, based in Cape Town, South Africa.
All the larger indigenous trees and shrubs along the river gorges and water courses will be retained and where very dense, will be thinned out and replanted elsewhere on the development. In the open spaces currently under sugar cane, trees, shrubs and grasses will be planted to recreate the tropical feel. Roads will be lined with mature royal palms to create a majestic feel. It is important to note that 8 000 palms were cultivated especially for this project. They have been grown on the estate and will be used in the common areas and gardens (4 palms per garden) of the Villas. There are a number of different garden options that owners can choose from either closed or open in rectilinear or informal styles, with a choice between predominantly indigenous or exotic varieties of plant.
There will also be a nursery in Bel Ombre, where home owners can purchase plants to further develop their gardens when in residence. Each villa will be have external feature walls in volcanic fieldstone in the gardens with an automatic irrigation system to facilitate ease of maintenance and stimulate new growth in each of the gardens and in the common areas.
A: Financing in currency other than local currency may be more expensive in Mauritius than in foreign countries, but local banks understand the local developments and promoters and are therefore better able to adjust risk premiums than banks in foreign countries.
A: Villas Valriche requires each buyer to give a bank guarantee (usually by irrevocable letter of credit, to be confirmed by local banks in some cases) covering the totality of the purchase price. This ensures that the development is not compromised by the inability of some buyers to pay for their purchase, thus protecting the financial integrity of the development to the benefit of all buyers.
A: The bankers of the developer in turn provide a bank guarantee to buyers covering the project cost in its entirety. The buyer thus has the guarantee that the development he is buying into (including sold villas and infrastructure) will be completed according to plan.
A: Rental returns are difficult to estimate given that the rental product has only recently been launched. However, a rental yield of 3% to 5% per annum is expected as from the second year of rental, in addition to potential capital appreciation. Sales prices have increased by more than 35% during the first 4 years of the commercialisation of Villas Valriche.
A: There is a strong drive from government to attract foreign investment into Mauritius in this regard there are a number of attractions including:
The benefits of a very low rate of corporate and personal income tax (15% in both cases), the absence of inheritance and capital gains taxes, as well as the existence of a number of double taxation agreements.
No exchange controls or restrictions on the flow of funds in and out of the country.
In Mauritius, an individual may opt for either a 'country' based tax where all assets are subject to income tax in Mauritius, or for the 'international' tax position where only money brought into Mauritius is taxable in Mauritius. The provisions of the relevant double taxation treaties which Mauritius holds with your country of origin would need to be reviewed and you are advised to consult your own tax specialist regarding your individual status, relating to either any taxation or exchange control issues in your country of citizenship or residency.
Mauritius has a strong offshore banking and financial sector, with over 400 financial institutions operating from the island.
A successful developing country with an advanced IT and telecommunications infrastructure.
The possibility of using Mauritius as a gateway to India, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Close business and cultural links with Europe.
A Peaceful and stable democracy that is more than 40 years old.
Regular flights to all major international destinations.
A first-world standard of health and education facilities.
Permanent Residence, Work Permit and other advantages linked to a certain category of IRS scheme: There are no restrictions preventing foreigners from buying and owning real estate in Mauritius under the IRS scheme, save for processes and approvals that non-citizens must follow and obtain, before registration of ownership. Buyers from certain countries may be required to obtain the approval of the appropriate authorities in their countries of residence before being able to purchase a villa at Villas Valriche or to be able to expatriate funds for such purposes.
Doing Business 2008 released by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC), ranked Mauritius 27th (2007- 32nd) out of 178 economies in terms of the ease of doing business and 1st in Africa, displacing South Africa who rank 35th, falling 6 places from last year. The major economies in terms of ease of doing business are ranked 1st Singapore, followed by New Zealand and the US. Hong Kong was ranked 4th followed by Denmark, the UK, Canada and Australia. France is ranked 31st with Germany 21st. Mauritius has set itself a target of reaching the top ten worldwide.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation report, a Free Market Foundation Survey on African country governance, ranked Mauritius as No.1 in Africa. The Seychelles was 2nd with South Africa 5th.
A: Most of the major banks represented in Mauritius (including Barclays, MCB, Investec Bank and Standard Bank) offer to finance or guarantee up to 80% of the villa purchase price without recourse to collateral other than the underlying villas being purchased at Villas Valriche these banks also have specialised IRS teams for assistance in matters such as these.
A: Most of the major banks represented in Mauritius (including Barclays, MCB, Investec Bank and Standard Bank) offer to finance or guarantee up to 80% of the villa purchase price without recourse to collateral other than the underlying villas being purchased at Villas Valriche these banks also have specialised IRS teams for assistance in matters such as these.
A: Villa owners are offered membership to the Heritage Golf Course. To activate membership, the owner has to pay an annual subscription fee. As a result, he will pay substantially reduced rates and will get preferential booking during the peak season.
A: Villas Valriche offers premium residence facilities within a carefully landscaped natural environment. Owners and residents have full access to the neighbouring 5-star and 4-star hotels and their beach club, the Valriche nature reserve and the championship golf course also forming part of the Domaine de Bel Ombre, thanks to an agreement contracted by the Villas Valriche Resorts Ltd, the resort company and Heritage Resorts, owner of the hotel and leisure facilities and the appointed resort operator for Villas Valriche.
A: Villas Valriche homeowners will have to appoint a new operator and all existing agreements will need to be reviewed. However, use of the beach club will continue under the terms of the main agreement.
A: Yes. Le Château is an iconic 19th century building steeped in the history of the region. Part of it will remain the restaurant offering a Mauritian culinary experience that it is today. The upstairs section of Le Château is dedicated as a welcoming centre for Villas Valriche guests and owners.
A: Villas Valriche has achieved the ultimate autonomy in potable water supply by securing its own boreholes, water treatment plant and 1,000 cubic metre storage tank.. The estate is serviced by a borehole licensed by the Central Water Authority.
A: Water from the network of streamlets and rivers servicing Villas Valriche will be pumped to a 300 cubic metre storage tank and used for irrigation. Recycled water from the sewage treatment plant is used to supplement the water supply for the irrigation of the golf course. A borehole is be used as back-up for irrigation water supply.
A: The facility will be carefully landscaped so that it is hidden and blends into the natural environment. The plant will not be treating raw sewage but rather grey water from the villas' septic tanks. No inconveniencing odour should therefore be emanating from it.
A: Garbage collection will be organized by the Homeowners Association. The resort manager will arrange for the collection of garbage from standard bins at each villa, from which garbage will be taken and stored in a central location for collection by competent service providers.
A: The common areas will be lit in a subtle way at the cost of the Homeowners' Association. No invasive, high level lighting will be used. Villa street numbers and chimneys will be lit by low voltage lights at owners' cost.
A: The Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) is a program designed to facilitate the acquisition of residential property by non-citizens in Mauritius. The IRS enables the construction and sale of luxury residential units to foreigners.
A: Government introduced the IRS ten years ago in a bid to open new avenues for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Mauritius. The scheme also aims at supporting the island's thriving hospitality industry by introducing a novel way of increasing capacity: beach frontage being scarce, the IRS made it possible to envisage building hotel-like infrastructure inland with the best developments integrating easy access to prime beachfront facilities. And by allowing foreign ownership of IRS residences, the scheme relieved hoteliers of the imperative to invest in additional capacity.
A: According to law, an IRS estate must comprise luxury residential units of international standing, set on freehold land of more than 10 hectares, to be sold at a price exceeding USD 500,000. Exclusive leisure and commercial amenities that may include a golf course, beachfront amenities, a marina, nautical and other sport facilities, shopping malls, restaurants and/or wellness facilities, must also be part of the offering. Day-to-day management services such as security, maintenance, gardening, solid waste disposal and household services have to be made available to the residents. Developers must also make a social contribution to uplift the neighbouring community where the IRS project is implemented.
A: The buyer and his dependents become permanent residents and the owners of freehold property in an island acclaimed worldwide for its natural beauty, friendly people, modern and thriving economy as well as its low tax regime and vibrant tourist industry.
A: Villas sold under the new IRS must form part of an approved development of villas, built to international standards, with world-class amenities and facilities. The acquisitions of a villa for residential purposes by a foreigner under the IRS will allow the foreigner and his/her dependant family to reside in Mauritius for as long as he or she retains ownership. The minimum selling price of a villa is set at US$500 000 and the maximum extent of the land is limited to 0.5276 hectares. A villa can be acquired off-plan or during the construction phase. Villas Valriche will incorporate an Ownership Association to manage security, maintenance and the estate.
Under the IRS regulations, a minimum of US$500 000 investment is required for the acquisition of freehold immovable property, inclusive of land. Any of the following will qualify to acquire property under the IRS regulations:
A non-citizen of Mauritius (including his or her spouse and dependants)
A citizen of Mauritius
A foreign company registered under the Companies Act of 2001
A person who intends to acquire immovable property under the Scheme for residency, and who is a non-citizen, must make an application for the status of resident in accordance with the Immigration Regulations 1973, in respect of himself/herself, his/her spouse and dependants. When such an application is approved, a residency permit will be granted. There are two straightforward applications that buyers will need to complete:
Authorisation to purchase (after signing the CRP and depositing 5% which is held in escrow)
Residency and Occupation permit (after signing the DOS and paying US$70 000) which is included in the gross sales value indicated on the price list.
Residency and Occupation Permit:
The acquisition of a villa under the IRS shall grant resident status to the investor, his/her spouse and dependents. A residency permit granted under the IRS shall remain valid until such time as the non-citizen (overseas buyer) ceases to own a property in Mauritius. The residency permit does not allow citizenship and whilst it gives an owner the right to only live in Mauritius whilst they own property within an approved IRS, it does not give the buyer the right to work in Mauritius, nor to own non-IRS property. An Occupation Permit gives a buyer the right to work in Mauritius.
A: The land has been cleared according to the environmental impact assessment and associated development approval rights granted, including a subdivision development permit and a building and land usage permit.
A: The developers are negotiating comprehensive insurance packages for the villas which home owners can take up. An indicative rate of approximately USD $1,000 per annum should provide cover of USD $1million for a villa and USD $100,000 for the furnishings. The insurance policy will cover household and building insurance cover. The developers can provide a list of accredited insurance providers.
Homeowners Association Levy of approximately USD 450 per month is payable to the association for common area and facilities landscaping, maintenance, security and sewage treatment.
A further USD 300 per month is likely to be incurred for the maintenance of swimming pools, private gardens and for villa refuse collection.
Maintenance charges on the beach club and welcoming centre will become payable once these facilities are built. The construction of these facilities has been rescheduled as a result of the agreement reached with Heritage Resorts.
The electricity rate negotiated for Villas Valriche owners (Rs 3/KWh) is on average lower than what a typical luxury household pays as Mauritius practices a policy whereby bigger power consuming households subsidise the poorer ones. The national tariff will however be levied on electricity consumption, with any surplus retained by the Homeowners' Association to offset common electricity systems maintenance and replacement costs.
Villas Valriche has its own boreholes although owners will be charged the Central Water Authority tariff. Any surplus thus derived will once again finance maintenance and replacement costs.
Satellite TV and ADSL services should each cost an average of Rs 2,000 per month per service, and voice communication costs will depend on the type of facilities used by the owners.
A: The Homeowners Association Levy of USD 450 per month covers sewerage, security and common area landscaping maintenance. Eventual changes to this levy will depend on the inflation of the underlying costs and the vote of the home owners.
A: Responsibilities will be shared between the owner and the rental pool operator. When a villa is being rented, it is under the responsibility of the rental pool operator. An inventory of the physical state of the villa and its contents will be made every time the owner takes the villa for his/her own use and again when the villa is put back in the rental pool. When the owner is occupying his villa, he is responsible for the facility.
A: Mooring facilities are being planned at the nearby Batelage. We are hoping to streamline processes for obtaining skipper licenses with the help of the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Mauritius (AHRIM).
A: The developer is required by law to furnish a bank completion guarantee to assure the buyer that the construction of the villa will be fully completed. From the acceptance by the buyer of the villa, the developer is liable for 10 years for latent defects to which architects, contractors and other person linked to the developer by a contract for work, are themselves bound pursuant to Articles 1792 and 2281 of the Mauritius Civil Code.
Confidence in the development and in the contracts awarded has also resulted in the formal agreement of our bankers to provide completion guarantees to villa buyers the first such guarantee was issued in September 2007 and is perhaps the most significant of all of the highlighted events in that:
Such guarantees provide all buyers at Villas Valriche with the confidence that all aspects of the development have been independently scrutinized and found to be worthy of underwriting. This is particularly significant in the current global economic environment where the sub-prime melt-down has made financial institutions weary of certain types of property developments especially those offering exotic financing packages with buy- or lease-back options and payment moratoriums. Financial institutions have taken comfort in the sound fundamentals upon which our development and rental pool are based and have confidence in the buyer screening approach adopted as part of our sales and buyer finance application processes. As a result, most of the major banks represented in Mauritius (including Barclays, MCB, Investec Bank and Standard Bank) offer to finance or guarantee up to 80% of the villa purchase price without recourse to collateral other than the underlying villas being purchased at Villas Valriche.
The bank also guarantees that, in the event that the developer and/or the contractor fail/s to perform, the required funding will be provided to complete not only the buyers' villas, but also the infrastructure required for all of the villas in Phase 1 of the development (representing an underwriting commitment of more than USD $20 million).
A: When a home owner signs the Reservation Contract, they would have already agreed with the developer the plot and the villa they require, as well as the plans for that villa. The deposit is not refundable unless the home owner's application to purchase property in Mauritius is not granted by the Board of Investment.
A: Under Mauritian law, the buyer is well-protected to ensure that they are guaranteed full delivery of the villa they have contracted to purchase. Before the signing of the Deed of Sale (DOS) between the seller, Les Villas de Bel Ombre Limitee and the potential buyer, a Preliminary Reservation Contract (CRP) is entered into by both parties. The potential buyer lodges a deposit with an independent escrow agent, equivalent to 5% of the purchase price on the DOS. This secures and reserves the selected villa until such time that a certificate is issued to the buyer by Mauritian authorities. In the unlikely event that the approval to purchase a villa is declined by the Mauritian government, the 5% escrow deposit will be returned to the buyer. Upon approval by the Mauritian authorities for the buyer to purchase a villa, the CRP is replaced by a DOS, whereby the buyer provides an acceptable bank guarantee for the full purchase price. The developer then issues the buyer with a bank completion guarantee and the freehold title to the land is registered by the notary in the name of the buyer.
In accordance with the provisions of Article 1601-30 of the Mauritius Civil Code, the price on the DOS is payable as certain events happen and as the work progresses, namely:
30% on signature of the deed of sale (includes release of the 5% escrow deposit) together with the 5% transfer tax and the US$70 000 registration duty
5% on completion of the villa foundations
35% when the roof is completed and the villa is closed in
25% on completion of the villa in terms of the DOS
5% when the villa is made available to the buyer (all construction related payments certified by independent professionals prior to payment)
A: No, Title to the land is transferred into the name of the buyer with the payment of the first 30% of the purchase price (plus taxes). At this point, an application for residence and occupation permits is made and construction on the villa begins.
A: Mauritius has a long tradition of political stability, free market economy and good governance. The island is a renowned, up-market tourist destination, offering a unique, tropical lifestyle. Ranked the #1 financial centre in the African continental region by the World Bank, it is also an expanding business and financial hub, presenting numerous investment opportunities, both onshore and offshore. Ideally located at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, the country offers an ideal platform for holding and structuring investments in many of the world's fastest growing economies. As a permanent resident in Mauritius, the foreign national has a privileged opportunity to experience the invigorating combination of a unique lifestyle and thriving business opportunities.
A: No. Dependants of a person acquiring an IRS property qualify for permanent residency only until such time as they reach the legal age of majority. Thereafter, they must make a new application for PR if they wish to stay on island for any long stretch of time. If not, they are granted resident visas for stretches of up to six months at a time.
A: South Africa comprises approximately 50% of the market for Villas Valriche, followed by UK (approximately 20%), France (around 15%) and other countries. The German, Indian and Dubai markets are also being targeted, although less aggressively.
The British market is depressed at present. The British have always been active second home buyers but it is challenging for Villas Valriche to find strong leads there, the country having still not fully recovered from the credit crunch. Nonetheless, we continue to see strong interest from buyers, albeit in smaller numbers.
The French on the other hand, are not naturally inclined to invest in second homes abroad. However, there has been a marked interest for fiscal reasons. Mauritius is after all the third most preferred destination for French tourists.
Likewise, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Belgium are proving difficult markets to penetrate. Villas Valriche is currently rolling out its marketing plan for Germany.
The South African market, on the other hand, remains the most active.
A: Villas Valriche has reviewed its strategy to adopt a more targeted approach, as well as introducing exciting new products suited to the changed market conditions. The investment potential of the product is being emphasised alongside its lifestyle offering. Wealth and fund managers are therefore being specifically targeted. Existing owners are also being targeted for referrals, which promises to be a good source of sales once owners have settled into their new homes. In South Africa, the Afrikaans segment of the market is being focused upon. This has seen a positive results, with over $20 million in new villa sales over the year up to Summer 2011.
A: The core message of lifestyle, investment and secure residency is customised with different emphases placed on different aspects in different markets according to the demands and preferences of the nationals. In addition, the credentials and the financial strength of the developer are very important in this market. Furthermore the fact that the infrastructure and facilities are all operational is a massive beneft to buyers.
A: Anahita and Tamarina have similar offerings and are completed projects. And no other directly competing IRS project (e.g. golf resort) is currently being implemented on the island. RES products are generally positioned differently to Villas Valriche.
A: The estate is enclosed using Betafence, a Belgian product made from of high tensile steel, with sensors to detect intrusion. The fence is buried into the ground, making it difficult for intruders to enter from underneath. River crossings will be under camera surveillance. Villas can be will be equipped with burglar alarm systems at the owners' cost, in the unlikely event that owners believe it necessary. In addition there are regular patrols around the estate. Mauritius however is fortunate to host a peaceful, non-violent and friendly population violent crime and theft is a rarity.
A: Mauritius is a small island situated in the Indian Ocean. The island is connected via direct flights to almost every capital city. The population is around 1.2 million people, all of whom come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. This wonderful mix of cultures means that the people of Mauritius are open, friendly and service-orientated.
Summer ranges from November to April and Winter is from May to October. The best area to stay in summer would be along the east and south eastern coasts because of their direct exposure to the general winds known as the south east trade winds.
The tourism sector is the fastest growing sector in the island with an annual growth rate of around 10% per annum. Current arrivals are in the order of 700,000 tourists per year and the government has initiated major enabling measures (airport expansion, liberalisation of air routes, etc.) with the objective to increase this figure to 2 million arrivals per annum over the next decade.
The industries that Mauritius is currently operating in are sugar, tea, property development, tourism, textiles and financial services. The four main pillars of the Mauritian economy are textile, sugar, tourism and services sectors. Sugar exports have been the main source of foreign exchange for a long time before the importance thereof diminished with the diversification of the economy. The increasing development of the business and financial sectors along with the use of the marine resources means that these are now the main engines of growth on the island.
The island was discovered by the Arabs, who called it the Dinarobin. Many years thereafter, the Portuguese arrived and named it "The Isle of the Swan", perhaps because of the Dodo bird. Then it was taken over by the Dutch who called it Mauritius after one of their royal members. They were the first to attempt to colonise the island. The French then arrived in 1715 and called the island "Ilse de France". They started trading and cultivating sugar cane maximising the slave trade. A century later, Mauritius regained its Dutch name when the English took over and the island remained a British colony until its independence in 1968. Mauritius is now a well respected republic and well acclaimed democracy, with seats on various international organisations.
The island is volcanic although the main crater, the Trou aux Cerfs is now as extinct as the Dodo, which was unique to the island. The adventurous will discover many rivers and streams as well as lakes, waterfalls and mountains very typical of a volcanic island. Many types of activities can be organised to make the most of these beautiful areas.
Mauritius is located approximately 2,000 kilometres to the south eastern coast of Africa and lies east of Madagascar on 20°5, 57.5E. The country covers an area of 1865km with 330 kilometres of coastline. Mauritius is 45km in width and 65km in length.
Mauritius is a democratic state based on the Westminster model and enjoys political stability.
Visitors from most countries do not require a visa. To enter one needs a valid passport and a return ticket. If in doubt contact any Mauritian Embassy. Upon arrival all visitors are requested to state where they will be staying.
Passengers over 18 years of age may import the following duty-free items: 250 grams of tobacco (including cigars and cigarettes), 1 litre of spirits, 2 litres of wine, ale or beer, one quarter litre of Eau de Toilette and perfume not exceeding 100 ml.
A plant import permit must be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture, prior to the introduction of plants and plant material including cuttings, flowers, bulbs, fresh fruits, vegetables and seeds.
It is prohibited to introduce sugarcane and parts thereof, soil micro-organisms and invertebrate animals.
All imported animals including animal products need an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and a health certificate from the country of origin.
Drug trafficking is illegal and carries very heavy penalties. Firearms and ammunition need import permits and must be declared on arrival.
No vaccinations are required. However a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age who arrive from areas where yellow fever cases are reported.
Of volcanic origin and generally sheltered by barriers of coral reefs forming natural, safe, crystal clear lagoons, Mauritius has long been a dream destination. Known to the Arabs as early as the 10th century, but officially discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, the island was occupied successively by the Dutch (1598-1712) and the French (1715-1810), and was ceded to Great Britain in 1814 through the Treaty of Paris. On 12 March 1968, Mauritius became Independent. Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992.
Most people in Mauritius are bilingual and are equally fluent in English and French. Creole and French are the main languages in the everyday environment and several oriental languages are also spoken.
Free public medical facilities are widely available. Private clinics provide medical services for a fee.
Monday to Thursday: 9.15 am -3.15 pm, Friday: 9.15 am - 3.30 pm. Saturday: 9.15am -11.15 am (some banks only). Banks are also open to coincide with the arrival and departure of international flights at the Airport.
The temperature on the coastal areas varies between 22°C in winter and 34°C in summer. The sea temperature varies between 22°C and 27°C. In the central part of the island, the maximum daytime temperature varies from about 19°C in August to about 26°C in February. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier than the East and the South.
Credit cards are normally accepted by banks and most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.
Mauritius is a blend of diverse cultures and religions. The population consists of Hindus, Creole, Chinese, Muslims and Europeans.
The monetary unit is the Mauritian Rupee (Rs.) which is divided into 100 cents (cs).
People in Mauritius drive on the left-hand side of the road and give way to the right. Foreigners with a driving license issued by a Competent Authority in their respective countries are allowed to drive during their stay in Mauritius.
The Mauritian economy is based on four sectors: Textile, Tourism, Sugar and Services.
Besides a wide choice of local papers, the pick of the European and American press is available.
Nudism and topless sunbathing are frowned upon on public beaches. No hotel permits nude sunbathing on beaches but topless sunbathing is sometimes tolerated.
1.2 million (Year 2003)
Population literacy rate
There are 15 public holidays every year. Seven of them are fixed holidays: January 1st &2nd, 1st February, 12th March, 1st May, 2nd November and 25th December. The remaining public holidays are religious festivals whose dates vary from year to year.
Shopping hours in the main cities range from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm (Monday-Saturday). Some shops are open till noon on Sundays and public holidays. Many duty free shops and modern shopping centres (Caudan, Curepipe, Floréal Square, Happy World House, Orchard Centre) offer a wide choice of products. Please note that there are no shops open in Rose-Hill, Curepipe and Quatre-Bornes on Thursday afternoon.
Tipping is not compulsory.
Time & Telecommunications
Mauritius is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and three hours ahead (2 hours in summer) of mid-European Time. Mauritius has international direct dialling facilities to most parts of the world as well as high speed fax and internet services.
Satellite TV and local TV &radio are available.
A value added tax of 15% is payable on goods and services including hotel and restaurant bills.
Visa &entry requirements
A visitor must be in possession of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. A visitor's visa is normally granted for a period of two weeks to one month upon arrival, to almost all holders of a valid passport, with one or two exceptions. Visitors are strongly recommended to contact the Passport and Immigration Office in Mauritius or the nearest Mauritian Embassy or Consulate. The visa can be extended upon request at the Passport and Immigration Office, Sterling House, 11-19 Lislet Geoffroy Street, Port-Louis. Tel: (230) 210-9312 to 210-9317 and Fax (230) 210-9322.
What to wear
Take your best beach and casual wear. In the winter months (June -September), carry some light woolen clothing for the cooler evenings. Please show due respect when visiting religious places. Wear appropriate clothing (and remove leather shoes and belts) when entering the premises.
Private Sector: Monday to Friday: 8.30 am - 4.15 pm, Saturday: 9am -noon (Some offices)
Public Sector: Monday to Friday: 9 am - 4 pm, Saturday: 9 am - noon (Skeleton service)
A: Mauritian Plantation style villas based on the concept of open plan lifestyle living. There are 22 different variants in terms of the specifications that the home owners can choose from in order to customise their villa.
A: There are 22 different variants of the four different villa types that a buyer can choose from, all of which are free standing and vary between 200 and 450 square metres in size. The main types are:
Courtyard U Shaped
Terrace L Shaped
Village 4 different variants of double storey villas
Veranda Rectangle shaped with a veranda all around the villa.
Plot sizes will vary from between 700m2 to over 3,000m².
A: Should an owner wish to replace their villa or make changes then the architectural and landscaping guidelines, which form part of the constitution of the home owners association, need to be followed. All construction within the estate (including by the developer) must conform to these guidelines in order to maintain the character and value of the estate. Should an owner wish to have their own architect design their villa, special arrangements can be made with the developer, which would involve the developer's architect approving the owner's plans and the developer's contractor constructing the villa at an agreed price.
A: Yes, all villas have a swimming pool with an infinity edge surrounded by slate tiling, although timber decking is an option. The home owner can also choose to have a gazebo constructed as an added value amenity. Different types and sizes of villas are supplied with appropriately designed swimming pool sizes as standard, but there are different options available should owners wish to have larger swimming pools.
A: Centralised satellite and free-to-air television distribution. Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) optic network connected to each Villa for high-speed multimedia services. A range of digital and communications services are available.
A: There will be a card reader access control system. An entry-phone system will also allow residents to visually verify the visitor's identity from within their own Villas. There is also an optional Intruder Alarm and Fire Detection System, as well as an optional security surveillance monitoring system to allow owners to keep in touch from anywhere in the world.
A: Robin's Nest, a South African interior design company, is working with the developers on this project. They have designed three main concepts for the interiors as an added value amenity for home owners:
All of these concepts will be customised for each villa, although the main theme will remain the same. This service is very comprehensive as it allows the home owner to move into a fully furnished home, with plates in the cupboards to linen on the beds.
A: Boats can be moored in Port Louis, Black River or Bel Ombre / St Martin, depending on the size and type of boat. Smaller boats can also be kept at an owner's villa depending on the size of garage that the owner chooses.
A: Pets are subject to a 6 month quarantine period in Mauritius if they are brought across from another country. Should you wish to permanently reside in the villa, then yes, the estate rules allow for you to keep a pet, provided that the estate rules relating to the control of pets are respected and fencing is constructed in accordance with the architectural and landscaping guidelines.
A: Villas Valriche is a golf, beach and lifestyle residential estate of 288 two-to-four bedroom villas, cast in a modern, colonial architecture. The estate is set at the foothills of Bel Ombre in the scenic South West of the island, with panoramic views and lush natural surroundings. Villas Valriche forms part of the Domaine de Bel Ombre, offering an integrated resort featuring hotels, championship golf course, a rich nature reserve and an old mansion adding an aura of history to the place. Villas Valriche owners have access to these facilities and more. The financial model chosen for the development has ensured its resilience through the recent turbulent economic times and, with over 100 villas sold, minimal debt and borrowings and all of the infrastructure in place, Villas Valriche is arguably the best placed IRS on the island to deliver on its promises. Indeed it has been ranked among the World's Top 20 Golf Resorts, as well as receiving international awards for Best Development and Best Golf Development. Villas Valriche thus offers an elegant yet close-to-nature, tropical lifestyle combined with a high-potential investment opportunity.
A: Villas Valriche is one of the least densely built IRS estates on the island. Less than one third of the estate is earmarked for individual plots of land and, out of this, the villas are constructed on only 10 hectares of land. If the golf course is factored in, Villas Valriche features one villa per 7 000 square meters.
A: Set in a natural amphitheatre, villas are clustered together in carefully designated areas on the hillside offering spectacular views, with large common spaces intentionally left open and undeveloped in between them to allow the enjoyment of walks in the hillsides and along the numerous waterways on the estate. This also reduces the maintenance required on individual plots, favouring the propagation of natural vegetation in the common areas.
A: The estate has been designed specifically to avoid the maze-effect where enclosing walls are often built almost symmetrically. The planners have opted instead for clusters of villas separated by common open areas, which make for space and vista. Plants have been preferred to concrete walls to create privacy and this will be more apparent once the gardens have grown and matured.
A: There are no such risks. Villas Valriche forms part of the Domaine de Bel Ombre, the sole owner of neighbouring lands. The Domaine advocates planned and controlled development driven by aesthetic, ecological and sociological considerations as much as economic imperatives.
A: The Villas Valriche rental pool concept offers maximum benefits to guests at minimum costs to villa owners. Villas are rented within a set structure. The rental pool operator markets the villas and ensures an à-la-carte service in return of a share of rental income.
An owner renting independently would benefit from the marketing efforts of the rental pool without incurring the associated costs. The restriction aims at discouraging such a conflict of interest.
Independent rental also holds the risk of price wars, which would be detrimental to the product as a whole.
Non-syndicated renting makes it difficult to preserve the integrity of the offering. It will be difficult, for instance, to control a neighbour who is not controlling guests or tending to his or her property, and this in turn would impact negatively on the overall rentable value of the product.
A: The rental pool was soft launched in September 2010 with an initial 9 villas participating, with more added over the ensuing months this is expected to grow to around 50 to 80 villas over the next year.
A: Owners can reasonably expect a rental income of 3% to 5% after the first 2 to 4 years of operations. For instance, according to projections by Villas Valriche Resort Ltd based upon industry tourism and occupancy data, a 3-bedroom fully furnished villa costing USD 1.845 million can yield a rental income ranging between 3.41% and 10.16% over a period of 20 years, provided that somewhat intentionally conservative assumptions pertaining to owner usage, capital appreciation, inflation average occupancies are achieved.
A: In June 2008, Villas Valriche Resort Ltd (VVRL) commissioned ERA (Economics Research Associates) to undertake a study to investigate and report on possible options for the home owners of Villas Valriche with respect to the set up and management of the Villas Valriche Rental Pool. ERA is the world's oldest and largest leisure and tourism industry consulting firm. ERA has conducted over 17,500 studies for public and private sector clients around the world. Their clients include Landmark Land, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont, The Gleneagles Hotel, The Lanitis Group and others. The firm was subsequently purchased by top planning consultants AECOM; more details can be obtained on their website at www.econres.com.
ERA was requested to put forward possible operating and revenue split models for different resort operator scenarios. This included a possible scenario of appointing Heritage Resorts as operator models put forward by ERA for this scenario were important in ensuring that, should Heritage be appointed as an operator, the agreement with them is structured on an arms-length basis (given that some of the shareholders of the developer are also shareholders of Heritage).
Heritage has proved itself as an effective operator in Mauritius and more importantly, in Bel Ombre, with the profitable launch of the Heritage Hotel (shorter payback period than the Mauritius industry average with occupancies in their last reporting year at 77%, higher than the Mauritius industry average) and with the recent take-over of Le Telfair Hotel, the 5-star flagship hotel in the Bel Ombre region.
Given their success in Mauritius and in Bel Ombre in particular, VVRL has appointed Heritage to set up and run the Villas Valriche Rental Pool as an independently marketed and operated entity in Bel Ombre VVRL has taken the advice of ERA so as to ensure that the agreement is fair for all three parties (Home Owners, VVRL and Veranda). The key elements of the agreement include:
Home Owner share of net revenue in the region of 50% - this is substantially better than homeowners achieve in many other competing developments in Mauritius and in other countries;
Full access for Home Owners and Villa Rental Guests to Le Telfair and/or Awali beach, spa, restaurant and other amenities through Amenities Rent paid to Veranda during the period whilst occupancies are developing, with the subsequent construction of more extensive amenities on VVRL land to complement these amenities once occupancies have matured.
A: Investment in property is a long term affair. One should not rely upon massive rental yield or increase in capital value in the short term. Accordingly, the Villas Valriche rental pool is expected to take some time before it takes it off on the market and the first couple of years are expected to be slow whilst momentum builds among international tour operators.
A: Veranda Resorts, owner of the Heritage brand, is an established and respected hotel operator. It owns and runs the two five star hotels, the Heritage Awali and the Heritage Le Telfair. As such, it experienced in selling the Bel Ombre sub-destination. Further, Veranda Resorts has invested significantly in Villas Valriche Resort Ltd. There is therefore convergence of interest between the two companies to make the rental pool work.
A: Yes. The Domaine de Bel Ombre will be a free zone where hotel and villa residents will mingle freely. In peak periods, hotel and Villa Valriche Resort managements will stage events to to attract guests to lesser used areas.
A: Owners' minimum 4 weeks availability committed for rental must be spread across the 3 blocks of peak season as defined by the following example, which shows indicative periods (please check with the developer for future dates):
2 weeks within Block A: 15th December 2011 to 10th January 2012
1 week within Block B: 25th March to 10th April 2012
1 week within Block C: 24th July to 16th August 2012