Indian Ocean-based hotel and resort operator Per Aquum is adding up to eight new properties over the next four years as it expands into the Middle East, Caribbean and North Africa.

The company was formed four years ago and had just two properties in the Maldives until this year, when it opened a third hotel in Galle, Sri Lanka.

Next year it is opening the 24-room and villa Desert Palm on a residential polo estate in Dubai, as well as two properties in Grenada – Point Break, which has just 10 rooms, and Prickly Bay Waterside, with residences, a resort and marina.

New for 2008 include a residential project in Morocco, the 35-room Maakanaa in the Maldives, the 40-villa Zil Pasyon on the island of Félicité and Vie, a luxury tent resort on Silhouette island, both in the Seychelles.

Per Aquum founder and chief executive Tom McLoughlin said there was huge potential for growth within the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and emerging destinations such as North and East Africa, India and South East Asia.

He added: “Our focus for growth will continue to be on these markets where we know there is still a void for individual properties with an emphasis on iconic design.”

Meanwhile, the resort of Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives is getting its own 70ft luxury yacht that guests can charter for private transfers, excursions, diving trips and cruises.

Due to arrive at the resort in December, it will be fully crewed and have a spa treatment room, a rainmaker shower on the main deck, a fully-stocked bar and dining space for up to six people.

In addition, the resort’s famous underwater spa is to be refurbished early next year. It will have walls draped in fine fabric and new daybeds upholstered in leather where guests can relax.