Each of the Caribbean islands has its own distinct flavour. Some are far-flung, only reached by flights in tiny biplanes. Others are large, well-known and cater for package tourists, independent travellers and property buyers alike. This small, crescent-shaped chain of islands provides retreats for people seeking many different experiences, from bling to barefoot luxury.
But, for the British, one island remains a favourite for holidays and for buying property in the Caribbean: Barbados. And on the island itself, there is just one hotel everybody knows: Sandy Lane. You can’t escape this iconic hotel’s influence on the island. It’s a private club-if you’re not staying there, you can’t just pop in, curious, for a quick drink to find out what it’s like-and the clientele prefer it that way. Inside, guests enjoy an exceptional level of hospitality that has made the brand famous not only on the island, but all over the world.
There are people, however, who desire even more privacy than the guests at the hotel enjoy, and a new project with the Sandy Lane brand is launching specifically to cater for them. Valuing seclusion above most other things, they are put off hotels, but, at the same time, don’t always want to run a large Barbados property with a full staff of 30 or 40 people on the island all year round, when they’re only spending a certain amount of time there a year.
One Sandy Lane has been designed by the same architect-Larry Warren-who has worked with the hotel and its villas for years and built with this elite buyer in mind. There are just eight properties, vast Palladian apartments, which extend to nearly 10,000sq ft, located in St James, just along the beach from the hotel. The brand-new building is constructed on a breath-taking scale. The soaring entrance hall is dominated by an elegant spiral staircase, with white pewter-and-iron balustrades, built by Les Ateliers St Jacques, which has restored, among other places, the Palace of Versailles.
The interiors, which have 14ft ceilings, are a combination of striking pure coral stone, fine Italian marble and dark woods, including bamboo, ebony and walnut. Paintwork uses natural pigments blended together to create a range of textures and tones, and the traditional-inspired architecture reflects the location: spacious verandahs provide entertaining spaces overlooking the gardens and the jewel in the crown-the Caribbean itself.
Stormproof glass doors open out to merge the indoor living space with the outdoor, to create a great sense of private space in the drawing rooms. The apartments have five bedrooms, all en suite, including the master bedroom suites, each with private terraces and his-and-hers dressing rooms.
Everything is opulent, but tasteful, and little details have clearly been carefully thought out, such as the herb garden in every apartment. Each will have an individual appeal for different kinds of buyer, from the rock-star penthouse to more elegant interior choices. Private elevators and under-
ground parking come as standard, as do underground areas for owners’ staff to relax. A communal gym and spa treatment room is also available downstairs.
Outside, between the properties and the beach, is the swimming pool and bar area, with space for large dinners or family suppers. The gardens are bedding in beautifully, and already provide colour and shade using palm trees and skilled planting. The gates out to the beach are placed discreetly into the wall: the sea is literally on the doorstep.
One Sandy Lane is run like a boutique hotel. Even when nobody is staying there, a private staff of 34, including gardeners and security staff, keeps everything shipshape, and the security is platinum standard. The outfit in the basement running the systems throughout the house looks like something out of Star Trek-these systems include biometrics, which mean residents can pass between different areas in the building without carrying anything as old-fashioned as a key, but non-residents will be instantly detected.
You can arrange your own private chef or butler, although it’s understood that most owners will travel with staff; if you want to hold a cocktail party down by the pool, this can be easily organised, as can an intimate dinner. Service is pitched at above a five-star hotel level-it’s designed to be personal, but unobtrusive. And for those who require it, the hotel, its spa and restaurants and bars are just a five-minute walk away-all the amenities there are available to residents of One Sandy Lane.
Of the eight, one had already been sold by August-although, at the time of writing, there has been no marketing campaign, just one discreet event at a Sotheby’s Old Masters sale in London. Jessica Rohm, marketing director for the project, says she’s been approached by a number of people who have declared an interest, but that privacy remains paramount.
‘We didn’t really know who our clientele would be when we started, but, as it turns out, we have been hearing from very private, wealthy individuals who already own a portfolio of properties around the world, and almost certainly will have a base or a permanent home in London-these are not just people looking for a second home. We’ve had applications from Canada, the UK and Luxembourg, among other places, to all of whom we guarantee complete confidentiality.
‘One Russian couple enquired about knocking through two apartments to make one, very large duplex property [which would make a 20,000sq ft apartment]. We’re happy to accommodate people’s needs, whether they’re after a cable for their computer or fresh guava juice at 1am-we’ll even squeeze the guavas ourselves if need be! ‘We can confidently say we don’t have any Hollywood or LA people coming here-what we’ve built is not going to suit people from LA-and it’s an antidote to Las Vegas and Monte Carlo.
What we’re offering is the seclusion of a waterfront mansion without the hassle of running a large private property, and the problems that entails. ‘This is a turnkey proposition for people who want to be able to enjoy Barbados without having to stay at a hotel, and for people who are accustomed to the very best things in life-it’s a place where they can genuinely relax for a few days, or even months, at a time.’
Properties at One Sandy Lane are priced from £13.95m ($21.8m). Service and other charges will be determined by the board once it’s made up of resident owners. Contact the Sandy Lane Global Sales Office on 00 1 866 889 6808 or http://onesandylane.com