Photos by Jake Thomas and Sean Chandler Story by Rachel Ramphal

Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds? A gracious country home in an urban location affording its inhabitants the luxury of country living in close proximity to both Bridgetown and the South Coast of Barbados? Sweetfield Manor offers all of this and more!

This peaceful oasis sits on the Britton’s Hill ridge with sweeping views of the South Coast from Hastings, around Needham’s Point and up to Carlisle Bay and the Bridgetown Port, including the historic Garrison area. A long driveway draws you away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis and envelops you within an acre of peaceful seclusion.

Built in 1900, Sweetfield Manor is a graceful two-storey home built in the Caribbean Georgian style with many of the features synonymous with plantation homes; portico entry, sash windows with pelmets and jalousie shutters, crown moldings, an enclosed wrap-around verandah, large spacious living and dining rooms and thick coral-stone walls.

Presently an award-winning Bed and Breakfast, the current owner is a first generation American with Barbadian roots going back to the first settlers to land in Holetown in the 1600s. The manor was previously called Beaulieu and was built by Waldemar Hanschell, a wealthy Danish merchant. Hanschell went on to establish a successful shipping business known today as the large import/export company Hanschell Inniss.

The house has undergone thoughtful renovations by the present owners; outside the living room an open gallery was expanded to include a bar and outdoor lounge which sits above lush terraced gardens. This wonderful outdoor area affords the same spectacular views across Carlisle Bay.

A well-appointed kitchen with generous proportions boasts the original 28-inch thick walls and polished clay floor tiles. Juxtaposed with these are a gleaming granite island and counter tops with a white subway tile backsplash. Taupe coloured cabinets and stove hood add a French country style and a butler’s pantry provides for additional storage and workspace.

The grand Mahogany spindle staircase leads upstairs where three large and breezy bedrooms (one en-suite) are located. The bedrooms have been decorated in antique, tropical modern or a breezy and casual island style. Original pine flooring throughout the main house has been painstakingly refinished and bathrooms updated in a classic decor. The upstairs windows look out beyond to the sea or into the tops of mature trees such as the fiery-flowered Flamboyant, majestic Mahogany and the lilac blooms of the Spanish Ash with modern plantings of palms, heliconias and feather grass below.    

Formally servants’ quarters, one out-building now boasts two separate guest suites each with their own deck and, with rope-suspended daybeds offers the perfect shady spot for relaxation. Steps away, a lagoon pool and spa have been cleverly tucked beneath a coral rock outcrop complete with a waterfall, natural boulder edging and tropical plantings. Banana and coconut trees attract thirsty hummingbirds and bananaquits who dance around this nectar-laden feast.

Adjacent and upstairs to the guest cottage an observation deck is a perfect spot to look out for the ubiquitous green monkeys or to just enjoy a cocktail while the sun sets and the moon rises. Departing cruise ships are also enjoyed from this vantage point, twinkling lights revealing their passage out of the picturesque harbour. You are surrounded here by a ceiling of stars and a symphony of whistling tree frogs…very romantic!

A third building on the property (originally the horse stables and carriage house) has thick, soaring walls, open ceilings with exposed wood beams and houses a fully self-contained and spacious one bedroom cottage. Entering through what was previously a small tack/feed room, (now a cozy media room); the eye is drawn up to twin loft beds accessed by a ladder. A master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and a compact yet efficient kitchen leads onto a private dining deck.

Sweetfield offers the ultimate in a family home, with plenty of space for kids to frolic and accommodations for house guests, the Manor is also perfect for hosting intimate dinners, lavish parties or official receptions, this fine home definitely is the best of both worlds!

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