By Laura Henderson. Photography compliments of Vuemont, Apes Hill, Port St. Charles, Royal Westmoreland and Port Ferdinand

 

Golf

You know you’re not hooking and slicing on the wind-whipped Old Course in St. Andrews Scotland, when an inquisitive family of Green Monkeys interrupts fairway play. Better known for its idyllic tropical climate and white sand beaches, Barbados has more recently been attracting high volumes of tee-loving investors, with golf (among other top-flight leisure distractions) increasingly the centrepiece of the island’s real estate success story.     

“The desire for a more active vacation experience has enhanced the aspiration for golf community homes. And golf is so much more fun in the sun, the ball compresses more and consistent 85 degree temperatures and cooling trade winds make for the perfect round” says Terry Hanton, Managing Director, Property Consultancy Services and Director of Sales, Altman Real Estate. It’s also about finding new ways to dip into the international property market wallet, comments international property consultant Robert Jacobs: “The recession has forced developers to re-think their approach to creating real estate products that people want to buy. Barbados, perhaps understands the concept of aspirational leisure better than anywhere: it’s supremely gifted at homing in on new markets.”

One resort living the ‘recreational’ mantra is Apes Hill. Located on a former 17th century sugar plantation 1000 feet above sea level and sporting panoramic views to the Caribbean and the Atlantic, this sprawling 470-acre resort boasts a mosaic of landscapes from deep tropical ravines, waterfalls and rolling meadows, to canopied rainforest and coral stone quarries. Two-thirds of the total acreage is given over to nature, allowing a blended relationship with the indigenous wildlife; an environment, explains Sales and Marketing Director, Linda Williams, which buyers “wholly appreciate”. She further explains “Today’s purchaser is taking advantage of what Apes Hill provides. The best land in Barbados complimented by a full service build and fit out team to ensure that your dream home is built with no worries to you”

When built out (in ten years), the resort community will have just 250 homes,” she confirms, “a low-density ratio that will preserve the natural topography of the estate for life.” Taking full advantage of the development’s elevated position is the resort’s par 72, 18-hole championship golf course, with many estate homes boasting spectacular fairway views. Designed by Landmark Land, whose tees and greens creations include Doonberg in County Clare, Ireland and Arcos Gardens in Andalucia, Spain; the 7,150-yard course is proving a hit with homeowners, many of whom are scratch players. Adds Williams: “The course is managed by the prestigious Wentworth Club in England, the first time they’ve entered into such a partnership, but it’s a selling point that is clearly attuned to buyers’ needs and aspirations. All property owners automatically become social members, allowing them to take full advantage of resort services and activities, with the option of purchasing the additional golf club membership for their entire family, making homeownership here an inclusive investment.”

Divided into eight distinct communities named after the estate’s original plantation fields, neighbourhoods have a secluded, away-from-it-all feel - each lot landscaped to make the most of the outlook, nature and space. As with most master plan communities, property sales are being released on phased basis and include spacious semi-detached three and four-bedroom villas in the verdant Garden Wall community, starting from US$1.975m. More superior lots including those on Moonshine Ridge, command stunning ocean views and are priced from US$700,000 with a choice of seven bespoke design homes styles. Completed homes start from US$2 million.

Take a short drive along the west coast and visitors might just catch a glimpse of Royal Westmorland Estate’s pristine soft-spike 18-hole golf course recently awarded the accolade of “number 31 in the world” outside of the USA. Renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., can take full credit for the stunning contours of this Par 72, 7045 yard course, which challenges golfers of all abilities. Tuning into the long-term desires of homeowners, however, has resulted in the construction of a second course, with, adds resort owner John Morphet, plans “in the pipeline” for  a short-game academy, with four USGA greens and space for players to hone their pitching, putting, chipping and bunker skills. He says: “For many buyers, purchasing a golf property can usually be a decision made more on the quality of life enhancements which add to the location’s value and desirability than about putting balls. In the case of Royal Westmorland, however, I’d say it’s more often than not a bit of both.” 

With a reinvigoration of the resort’s real estate build programme underway, this verdant 480-acre community’s latest offerings include a bespoke mix of luxury one, two and three-bedroom apartments from US$429,000, together with a limited edition collection of stylish semi-detached and detached three-bedroom Royal villas from US$1.6m both of which complement the resort’s established core of bespoke estate homes. For those who truly live for their fairway action, spacious four-bedroom, three-bathroom semi-detached villas in the new Sugar Cane Ridge community, within walking distance of the clubhouse, may go some way to quench demand, with prices starting from US$1.2m. “With its vibrant club house atmosphere and amenities including golf, tennis, gym, restaurant, spa, and beach club; life at Royal Westmoreland is a treat for the whole family” says Paul Alleyne of Alleyne Real Estate

Sailing

While golf is undeniably making its mark on the island’s real estate bounty, carving out a residential niche for the buy-to-sail fraternity is proving an equally rewarding foray for tourism development. Renowned Barbados developer and builder Bjorn Bjerkhamn of the Jada Group may have peaked the interest of seafaring fans back in the 1990s with his dapper collection of luxury waterfront homes with private berths in landmark marina Port St. Charles, but his latest project, Port Ferdinand, looks set to push the island’s yachting prowess to the fore as the island’s second private marina development and satisfy the need for additional berths on the west coast.

Slated to attract significant foreign investment, this 15-acre luxury marina community will boast 120 berths, providing access to large yachts and sailboats, and 86 residences in a resort atmosphere. “At Port Ferdinand we’re selling a lifestyle. We’re breaking new ground in Barbados by offering luxury condominium living, but in a fully amenitised resort community where owners and guests have everything they could ever want on their holiday at their fingertips. It’s going to be a fantastic addition to the tourism product, and the quality of finishes is nothing short of spectacular.” explains Development Manager, Tania Wardle. Other developments within the Jada portfolio will also benefit from the added amenity of the marina including Saint Peter’s Bay, the island’s newest luxury beachfront community. Project Manager, Betty Cathrow, commented  “We are really excited as we are able to offer a select number of homes here at Saint Peter’s Bay with a private berth at Port Ferdinand. Our owners can have the best of both worlds, a beautiful beachfront home with breathtaking views set in a community with an array of amenities AND a private yacht berth just a short water taxi ride away – this is very unique.”

The first residences at Port Ferdinand are expected to be up for sale later this year. Adds Wardle: “The yachting community has huge potential in Barbados and is widely untapped because of the lack of facilities. There is great energy to drive foreign investment and develop Barbados into a prime yachting destination particularly given its superior infrastructure and service compared to neighbouring islands. With this development we’re giving investors a new opportunity to make Barbados their home base for yachting in the Caribbean.”

Tennis

With the island host to events such as the prestigious Tennis ‘Pon de Rock’ Expo, which last year saw show case matches from top seeds Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka, a coterie of new resorts are homing in on tennis as a successful lifestyle component to enhance the development mix. Set amidst lush tropical surroundings in Mount Brevitor in the parish of St Peter and boasting panoramic sea views, the 39-acre Vuemont Resort, sports a myriad of leisure facilities including a three-tiered swimming pool, heated Jacuzzi, fitness trails and a dedicated exercise area. The resort’s forte however, could well be its formidable tennis facilities, which provide residents and resort guests with the very best environment for tuition, practice and competitive play. Cherise Edwards who has been the resident Tennis Professional at the resort since 2010, sees the value in creating a social sporting environment for player-owners of all abilities. “Vuemont offers an exciting and energetic tennis programme for both adults and juniors of all levels, from beginners to intermediate to advance players. Our aim with our tennis programme and tennis service is to promote a quality and enriching coaching and playing experience to all our players. It’s also a great way to get to know other homeowners.”

The resort itself features 77 stylish residences including spacious two-bed, two-bath apartments and larger stand alone homes in three contemporary styles. Apartments are 1,134 sq. ft. while luxury villas come in two distinctive styles and range from 1,218 to 1,560 sq. ft.  Units are well-appointed with wooden shutters, porcelain tiles and patio areas, while Italian kitchens come with granite or Corian countertops. Villas are available in 3-bed-2-bath or 2-bed-2-bath layouts with optional wooden decks and plunge pools for that added touch of luxury. A rental programme is also available. Property prices start from US$223,000. 

Polo

Introduced to the island in the 1800s by the officers from the British West India Regiment, polo has been a national institution on the island for over 150 years. More recently the sport has turned out to be a launch pad for development. Tournaments like the Barbados Open and Battle of the Sexes draw record crowds, creating a huge demand for the “polo lifestyle” with a flurry of boutique resorts springing up ever since. Landmark project Polo Villas at Apes Hill is a 54-acre estate set in rolling hills, 1,000 feet above sea level around a well-used international polo ground and stud. On the western side of the estate, renowned architect Larry Warren has designed 20 three-bed luxury villas around a man-made lake. Properties start from US$1.13 millon.

In a similar stay-and-play vein, the sixty-four acre resort of Lion Castle set in the rolling hills of the parish of St. Thomas is centred around a world-class polo field and clubhouse.  Comprising forty-three magnificent house lots and ten luxury semi-detached homes, called The Residences, house lots are divided into the larger Estate Lots, which vary in size from 39,740 sq ft to 109,469 sq ft; and the Club Lots, which range from 17,483 sq ft to 34, 466 sq ft. All come with underground utility services and covenants which are designed to protect individual owner’s views and guarantee that the building of neighbouring homes will be considerate of your own. Owners can build from their own original plans, or choose from a selection of house plans designed specifically for the resort. Lot prices start from US$290,000. The good life has arrived.

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