When I wake up in my vacation rental home in Fiji, and pull back the curtains to see blue waters…picturesque islands…my private pool…the hanging bed…I know I made a great decision buying this place. I get to spend two weeks a year chilling out here…snorkelling every day, just a short walk down my private stairs. It's like swimming in an aquarium. The coral is so pristine and healthy. Days are lazy…this is Fiji, after all, and I often switch between poolside sunbathing and resting in the shade of the hanging bed.
It is the dream of many people to live in Italy for a few months...or years. Who wouldn't want to spend lazy afternoons wandering along cobblestone lanes in ancient villages or having long lunches surrounded by olive trees or grape vines? My husband and I live part-time in Northern Tuscany and my mountain home is a constant source of beauty to me. But how do you find your perfect home in this awe-inspiring country?
Thanks to its location on Spain’s southern coast, right on the Mediterranean, Malaga boasts fine, sandy beaches, a welcoming seaside ambience and a whopping 300 days of sunshine a year. And to top things off, it’s very affordable and comes with good-value real estate.
When we turn the key to the green door of our Sicilian house, I’m always pleased to be back. Back to rediscover daily life in the village of Polizzi Generosa, to enjoy the many stone villages of the Madonie Mountains, to wander Sicily and to explore the island’s classic treasures, Sicilian baroque excesses, sacred traditions, landscape, food and layered history.
You wake in the morning and throw open the shutters to see a pure blue sky. Just as it was yesterday. And the day before. You return to your bed, content to gaze at the fluttering of the plane-tree leaves and terracotta rooftops outside your bedroom window, as you contemplate the delicious possibilities the day holds for you.
With holiday rentals, location is everything. Except for the little luxuries, like upgraded kitchens, a water feature (or three) or a luxurious master suite. Positioned right on the water, on a reef, with a private pool with a view, I wasn’t sure there was anything that could be done to improve the front yard of my property, which ran directly into the clear waters of the South Pacific Ocean.
When I fell in love with the Pacific island of Fiji in 1999, my mom, who’s a steady, smart person, implored me to reconsider building a holiday rental in such a distant locale. Mom’s a rational thinker, who loves the comfort of a solid job and retirement. I like to create my own destiny.
Mornings are lazy in Fiji. The slim thread of light in between the insulated curtains finally wakes me, just in time for breakfast at about 10 a.m. I slip into a bathing suit, tie a sarong on, and I’m ready for the day. The smiling maids, Rozy and Reshmi, greet me as I come down from the master suite—dubbed “the penthouse” by past guests. Before me is a feast. Omelettes, fresh fruit, an Indian delicacy or two and a pile of toast, served up with coffee and fresh juice. Quite different from my mornings back home.
New condo complexes and housing developments are springing up within a 16-kilometre radius, hand-in-hand with a burgeoning infrastructure of new malls, international restaurants and tourist attractions, which were much more difficult to find just a few years ago. Because it is a bustling seaside town, seafood is affordable and plentiful, and public transport is cheap.
If you’re looking for a real estate market that’s set to soar, cast your eyes east to Thailand. Its northern city Chiang Mai is set to become a major regional commercial, educational and technology hub. Chiang Mai’s historic importance developed thanks to its location on the Ping River and on other major trading routes. These trading routes went quiet as wars and other disputes beset the region. But peace has settled here and that quiet is set to change.