A week in the life of: Sunil Shah, owner and developer of JA Enchanted Island Resort, Seychelles - Gulf Business
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A week in the life of: Sunil Shah, owner and developer of JA Enchanted Island Resort, Seychelles

A week in the life of: Sunil Shah, owner and developer of JA Enchanted Island Resort, Seychelles

Shah details a week in the Seychelles, where he owns one luxury resort and is developing another



It’s a bright and early start in the Seychelles with my alarm going off at 6:00am. Along with my indispensable cup of espresso, I catch up on international news and plan the rest of my day, all before I drop off my youngest daughter to school by 7:00am. Having my office at home means I do not waste time in traffic and I am at my desk by 7:30am, responding to emails received over the weekend and setting out the programme for the week ahead. Having previously been a partner in a leading accounting practice in the Seychelles with such a structured work environment, I love this casual work style where you are working just as hard, but in a far more relaxed setting. Instead of being surrounded by stressed associates, I now have my two lovely dogs lounging around. My day ends with a workout at the gym with my wife after which I settle down for a lovely home-cooked dinner.


I start the day conferring with my daughter, Sanjna, and son, Vishal – who have both joined the family enterprise after graduating from university in England. It is always great to have a fresh and youthful perspective in this new business environment where nothing is permanent except change. Together, we prepare for a chat with the CEO of JA Resorts & Hotels, Dubai, who manage our JA Enchanted Island Resort – a bespoke 10-villa private island resort in the Seychelles. We discuss various operational matters and talk about future collaborative plans. The rest of the day is spent dealing with routine matters and before I know it, it is 8:00pm – the hazards of working from home.


After a couple of hours in the office, I head off to JA Enchanted Island Resort along with the tree-trimming crew for the delicate task of opening the spectacular views from the villas while at the same time protecting their privacy. I like to have a hands-on approach when it comes to the resort because of the love and passion I have for the island. When guests step onto the island, I want them to feel that they are in the Seychelles of the 1930s and truly experience the romance and charm of luxury island living. Invariably, every visit I have to the island involves meetings and discussions with the management team on matters that require the owner’s input. The tiring day spent on my feet ends with a 5:00pm dip in the ocean watching a spectacular Seychelles sunset.


A conference call with the architect’s team in India takes up my morning. At the moment, much of my time and effort is directed towards getting the Enchanted Waterfront project off the ground. It will be a boutique resort, residences and marina development comprising 10 luxury villas on the ocean front, which we are offering for sale with the option of them being returned to the resort rental pool. The rest of the working day is spent with the project development team finalising outstanding mechanical and electrical matters, procurement and discussing the on-going Villa sales and marketing initiatives. An evening nine-hole round of golf with my son is a refreshing end to my day.


The entire morning and early afternoon gets spent at the Seychelles Planning Authority weekly board meeting, where I am proud to serve as one of the private sector representatives. Including the private sector on important government boards is one of the initiatives taken to continuously improve the country’s ‘ease of doing business’ ranking.  It is interesting to work alongside various government referral agencies like environment, public health etc. and also exciting to see the new developments, no matter how big or small, that are happening in the Seychelles. Friday evening is when I wind down, typically spent with family and friends over sundowners and dinner.


This is a relatively later start to the day, with a 7:30am wake up and just a couple of hours in the office dealing with matters that were kept on the backburner during the week. While there are the regular administrative and management matters to deal with, I find that most of my tasks are now specifically project-driven and how a week progresses is unpredictable. Every Saturday afternoon involves a round of 18-holes of competitive golf – my favourite part of the week.


Undoubtedly the laziest day of the week with a long and leisurely lunch, family time, reading and catching some sports on TV. Being a father, son and daughter team, there is always a blurring of lines between work and home life and I am always amazed at how insightful inputs and ideas come alive in the living room, with inputs from my wife and my youngest daughter. I have an early night as I look forward to the new schedule, opportunities and challenges that a new week inevitably brings.   


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