Remote working: Where to set up desk space overseas

Responding to a new breed of digital nomads, several countries are offering tourists opportunities to work, rest and play.

Heritage Villas in Mauritius. For those who prefer a long holiday to a year's vacation, a regular tourist visa is available for anyone who wants to stay up to 180 days in a calendar year.

For more than a year now, many of us have been working from home, and even though many offices are set to reopen this summer, it looks like remote working – in some form or another – is here to stay.

But why stick to loading up a laptop at home? In our increasingly connected digital world, it’s easy to stay in touch, opening up options to perform tasks from almost anywhere.

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Responding to an increasing demand for ‘workations’, hotels are offering longer stay packages and governments are even tempting tourists with extended visas.

Seeking a new working environment? Why not hot-desk in these exotic climes…

Mauritius

Fancy topping up your tan while tapping away and dipping toes into the Indian Ocean? Open to tourists, retirees or professionals who would like to work remotely, a new Premium Visa (business.edbmauritius.org) allows foreigners to reside in Mauritius for a year with an option to renew for those who comfortably settle into beach life. To help visitors with their move, the scheme offers an ‘arrival concierge’ to assist with issues such as banking or finding a car.

Keen applicants must provide proof of accommodation along with adequate health and travel insurance. And as long as applicants promise not to enter the local labour market, they are free to conduct their business from afar.

Heritage Villas in Mauritius where a new Premium Visa (business.edbmauritius.org) allows foreigners to reside on the island for a year with an option to renew for those who comfortably settle into beach life.

The only downside is a mandatory 14-day in-room hotel quarantine, with PCR tests on day 7 and 14. Also, anyone spending more than 183 days in the country is liable to pay tax. But on the plus side, the visa is available free of charge and includes a free Covid vaccination.

Alternatively, if you just fancy a long holiday, a regular tourist visa is available for anyone who wants to stay up to 180 days in a calendar year. Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels (beachcomber-hotels.com) offers a 65% discount for long-term stays of at least two months. Beachcomber has eight resorts in Mauritius, including the five-star Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa on the most scenic shoreline on the island, with the spectacular Le Morne mountain a dramatic backdrop and the four-star Shandrani Beachcomber Resort & Spa on the unspoilt south region. Set on a private peninsula lapped by the Blue Bay Marine Park rich in sea life, it has three different beaches waiting to be explored.

Meanwhile, Heritage Resorts (heritageresorts.mu), located on Domaine de Bel Ombre on the south coast, offers two month stays in a three-bed villa from £2,800 per month, including all utilities, daily housekeeping, pool and garden maintenance, complimentary wifi and use of a golf cart, plus free daily green fees.

Algarve, Portugal

Top up your tan while tapping away. Catching up with work via a laptop at the beach. Remote working needn't be all hard work and no stay.

With watches set to the same time zone as the UK and Ireland, Portugal is an easy option for workers who want to clock in at the same time as their colleagues. Expect 300 days of sunshine per year and winter temperatures rarely dropping below 15C – an environment more appealing than the average office block.

The Algarve introduced a Clean & Safe campaign to help fight Covid and the local government is encouraging long stay visitors with open arms.

“With first class healthcare and with English widely spoken, it is a perfect place to work from for an extended period”, says João Fernandes, President of Algarve Tourism.

Many hotels are offering reduced rates to entice remote workers. Robinson Club Quinta da Ria (robinson.com), for example, offers the Workation package, promising quiet rooms with fast, stable internet connection for video conferences, or an ergonomic desk chair in a separate office. After work, visitors can enjoy the golf course, a massage, tennis or take a bike tour in the surrounding nature reserve. Prices start at €67 per person per night.

A workstation at Quinta Da Ria in the Algarve, Portugal. Better than your average office view. Expect 300 days of sunshine per year and winter temperatures rarely dropping below 15C.

Hotel Faro (hotelfaro.pt), overlooking the Ria Formosa natural park, offers a package with high speed wifi, TV in the room with HDMI connection, second monitor and laptop support option, private meeting room and access to a co-working space. There’s a spa and gym for relaxing or working off work stresses and a new beach club right on the doorstep. Rates are €825 for 15 nights and €1500 for 30 nights.

Dominican Republic

One of the key methods to contain coronavirus is by minimising movement, meaning it makes sense to stay in one place for a while. Digital nomads eager to reduce interaction will enjoy the bubble programme available at the Extreme Hotel (extremehotels.com) eco lodge in Cabarete, where a long-stay package invites a maximum of 15 people to join bubbles for a minimum stay of two months.

Costing from $1,100 per person per month (two sharing), it includes work stations, food from the hotel’s organic farm, yoga classes in the open with a breathtaking view of the ocean, an onsite beachfront tiki gym, various sports activities with instructors plus indoor pool/gym access and free wifi. An adventure, sports and fitness hotel it offers classes and lessons as well as weight loss camps and yoga retreats. Kite boarding lessons are available with the on-site kite school, or surfing if that’s more your style and at the eXtreme Circus you can take juggling, trapeze or aerial classes.

Elsewhere on the Caribbean island, Eden Roc Cap Cana (edenroccapcana.com) on the east coast offers a Villa Playhouse staycation package for extended stays of 20 to 30 days. The villas are equipped with a full kitchen, private pool, spacious living and dining areas, several bedrooms, plus a 24-hour butler and a private chef, free Wifi and the setup of an office area. The package also includes Spanish lessons, piano, dance, sports, so adults and children can have an educational experience during their stay. Rates start from $27,000 for 20 nights.

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Kite surfing in the Dominican Republic. The perfect way to destress after work, on offer at Extreme Hotel (extremehotels.com) eco lodge in Cabarete on the island.

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One of the key methods to contain coronavirus is by minimising movement, meaning it makes sense to stay in one place for a while. Who wouldn't want to do that in the Dominican Republic?
Aerial view of Le Morne Brabant, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mauritius.
In Portugal's Algarve, many hotels are offering reduced rates to entice remote workers.