The Seychelles’s 116th island is replete with such interesting titbits. For instance, it is located on what used to be a coral reef. In 1999, when the coral began to die due to the El Niño effect, the government reclaimed the land and decided to approach investors to develop a man-made island that could offer the tiny African country’s many long-term visitors a place to call home.
“We invested in relocating some coral a few years ago, and that amazing coral has flourished and regenerated naturally,” says Peter Smith, the sales and marketing director of Eden Island Development Company. “As developers, we are guests in the beautiful Seychelles, as are our foreign owners. It is critical that, where we can, we give something back.”
The draw of owning a second or investment home here is evident from the moment you pass over the bridge leading to the private island. Within, as you drive past Eden Plaza and Eden Bleu, the on-site boutique mall and business hotel, the island seems to close in around you. It’s enormous, yet feels satisfyingly exclusive. Cars are swapped for electrically powered vehicles, which are like golf buggies – all owners get their own personalised buggies to travel to and from their homes, and can ride these over to one of Eden Island’s four beaches, to the community centre or to the pier-facing restaurants, bars and supermarket.
The 138-acre Eden Island is made up of 570 freehold homes in three formats – apartments (one to three bedrooms), maisons (three or four bedrooms) and villas (up to six bedrooms). Of these, 500 have been sold, while the last 20 are still under development. The 50 homes currently on the market are being offered up for between Dh1.67 million and Dh11.38 million, depending on their format, finishing and furnishings. From an airy one-bedroom apartment and three-bedroom duplex maison to a six-bedroom villa with an indoor pool, there’s choice enough for all manner of second-home makers.
The exterior of each plot employs a common theme – one that adheres to the natural wood features, wrap-around verandas and pastel colours found in Creole architecture, which is inspired by the Seychelles’s African, Arabic and French heritage. Folding doors with floor-to-ceiling glass let in plenty of natural light in the bigger homes, while the apartments have multiple high windows along each wall. All the maisons are equipped with plunge pools and green patches, while the villas boast bigger pools, expansive lawns and outdoor cabanas. Three community swimming pools and a health centre offering a personal trainer, tennis lessons, and yoga and spinning classes are open to all residents. The private beaches – also manned around the clock – offer snorkelling and fishing opportunities, as well as diving lessons.
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“The layout of the island and all the homes, with their generous terrace balconies, caters to the need to be more outside than indoors – a typically Seychellois way of life,” says Smith.
The 40 acres of private waterways that are part of the island are divided among the owners, and each home comes with its own mooring for private or hired yachts.
“What drew us to Eden Island was its truly superb location, so close to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with regular daily flights and visa on arrival,” says Dubai-based Kez Taylor, who owns a villa, maison and apartment on Eden Island. “This is a great development located between the airport and Victoria, and is close to other islands such as Praslin and La Digue. We love the sense of community living. It is the ideal home away from home.”
A cleaning service, satellite television, Wi-Fi access and concierge desk are some of the other amenities offered by this residential marina development. Plus, the Seychelles is only a four-hour flight from the UAE, and the airport authorities offer a VIP service that takes you straight from the airplane to a private waiting lounge – even while members of staff organise your visa, luggage and any duty-free shopping requests you might have – and then straight to your slice of beach paradise, located a mere 10 minutes from Mahé airport.
And if that were not reason enough to temporarily relocate to Eden Island at every possible opportunity, a second home here comes with a host of other benefits. “The Eden Island units have proved to be a good investment from both a capital appreciation and rental-return aspect,” says Taylor. Resale prices, for instance, are displaying an average compounded growth of 8 per cent per annum. So a four-bedroom villa that sold in 2007 for Dh5.6 million is currently on the market for Dh9.9 million. The rental pool – short-term and long-term – is another lucrative source of income for homeowners.
“There is high demand from tenants on Eden Island, and owners can feel comfortable giving their homes out knowing that there is a daily housekeeping and long-term maintenance service in place,” says Justin Arenhold, head of rental.
An island getaway is often labelled the “ultimate luxury”. Coming home to a property as exquisitely designed and cleverly managed as Eden Island lends credence to that promise.