Maldives, the beautiful Indian Ocean islands have become a byword for luxury hideaways. Foreigners used to be debarred from buying residential property in the Maldives but the regulations have been eased to encourage investments from outside. Six Senses, the group Sonu Shivdasani co-founded with his wife, Eva was the first to move in to take advantage of the regulations. They own three resort islands in the Maldives and have made a total of 27 villas on two of them that they are offering for sale to an international clientele.
Shivdasani believes that buying in Maldives is akin to buying a yacht. It is a lifestyle choice. Celebrities normally head to Barbados to party but Maldives is where they go to get away from it all. Six Senses has created some fantasy properties in fantasy settings that they are offering for sale. Some of the villas are perched on stilts above the sea. They can be bought off plan and owned on renewable lease. Prices start at £1.52 million for a two-bedroom villa at Six Senses Laamu and rise to £9.15 million for a six-bedroom villa at Soneva Fushi.
These villas may seem expensive but they make good economic sense as there is no acquisition tax or capital-gains tax in the Maldives. The returns are excellent if the owners want to put their villas in rental schemes. The top rates for the best villas can be as high as £4,870 a night in high season. In fact Six Senses assures a guaranteed 8 per cent net yield for the first five years. Shivdasani and his wife are committed environmentalists. They are making a determined move towards ecological sustainability with energy reduction and recycling programs.