The Enchanted Island Resort situated on Round Island is extending its brand on Mahé. A new development dubbed the Enchanted Waterfront project was officially unveiled on Thursday November 16, 2017, in a cocktail event on Round Island.
This was in the presence of the Shah family, a Seychellois family of Indian origins, who owns the Enchanted Island Resort, representatives of JA Resorts and Hotels — the Dubai-based group that manages the island resort, the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, other government officials, stakeholders in the tourism industry, as well as friends of the family.
The Enchanted Waterfront is set to be developed on a piece of property located next to where the Wharf Hotel and Marina is currently located at Roche Caiman, on the eastern coast of Mahé. Once completed the development will comprise of 6 luxurious Waterfront Villas, a beachfront lodge with guest rooms, as well as other amenities including a marina.
Sunil Shah who built the Enchanted Island Resort together with his late father, Anant Jivan-Shah, known as AJ, said the new Enchanted Waterfront project will be done in phases.
Mr Shah said they will be availing of the government’s Villa Policy, which allows hotel development to sell room stock on a freehold basis, with the owners having the option of offering the villas back to the owners, to be used as part of its rental pool.
“The greatest challenge that we as Seychellois entrepreneurs have is access to finance at a reasonable rate, that is why people are scared of developing, a lot of people sell their land off … we said we were not given this land as a commodity to sell, we were given this land because we were going to develop it and this is exactly what we are doing,” said Mr Shah.
“We are hoping to sell two villas off plan to trigger the entire project and then the four other villas will only sell once completed, so that people will have faith and confidence in the project…We are hoping to sell the two off plan villas in the next two to three months and we hope to start on site in the first quarter of next year, finish phase one between 18 to 24 months, then we go to the other phases,” he added.
Mr Shah is hoping the project, which to a large extent will be self-funding, making use of the Villa Policy, will hopefully inspire other Seychellois entrepreneurs to follow the same model rather than selling off their land.
“Let’s take the pains, let’s develop it, let’s build our brand, let’s believe in Seychelles, because if we don’t believe in Seychelles how do we expect others to believe in it,” he added.
Recognizing the contribution made by Seychellois entrepreneurs to the tourism industry, Minister Loustau-Lalanne described the project as a symbol of the progress Seychelles is making as a tourism industry, as well as a place to buy a residential home. He highlighted the fact that tourism is set to break another record, both in terms of arrival numbers and corresponding spend in the economy this year, and a further positive performance in 2018.
“With the arrival of new airlines next year, providing more ‘door to door’ services for the clients from our mature European markets, we need to ensure that the accommodation keeps pace with this demand. That is why we fully support your project, as we diversify the range of accommodation types to suit the needs of our industry,” he added.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne also congratulated Mr Shah’s eldest son and daughter, Vishal and Sanjna, who are both recent university graduates, for joining their father in running the family business and contributing towards the development of this project.
The Enchanted Island Resort, which has 10 villas, each with its own infinity pool and walkways leading down to the beach, located on Round Island, a tiny island in the Sainte Anne marine park, opened its doors to its first clients in December 2013. Preservation of the traditional Creole architecture, interior décor and furniture, as well as the environment is at the heart of the Enchanted brand.
With the new Enchanted Waterfront development, Mr Sunil Shah is hoping that from Round Island to Mahé, his family will one day be able to extend the Enchanted brand beyond the Seychelles shores.