It used to be that Holetown, on the West Coast of Barbados, was the island’s epicentre of luxury and glamour. According to The Telegraph, however, the UNNA Resorts are changing that with Saint Peter’s Bay and Port Ferdinand on the North West Coast offering the perfect package of Luxury with Soul.
“It’s this rustic simplicity that is a huge part of Barbados’s appeal. Foreign property buyers want the security, services and luxury that the latest new beach developments offer – but they also want to be a part of island life, whether it’s eating freshly grilled barracuda out of tin foil containers while overlooking the waves or enjoying a sundowner in a chattel house bar.”
“It’s Glam Up North”
by Zoe Dare Hall. The Telegraph. May 2014.
For a small island, Barbados’s four points of the compass have a distinct sense of self: from the wealthy west and its beachfront palaces to the wild east with the odd wooden beach house within feet of crashing waves, and from the young, cheaper, package-deals south to the rugged, untouched north.
Typically, the big money has settled around Holetown, “the pulse of the west coast”, as Alistair Brown, sales director from property developers UNNA Resorts, puts it. That’s where the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre has opened, home to the world’s biggest luxury brands to delight the island’s visiting multi-millionaires, and where villas for sale include Four Winds, which, at US$55m (£32.58m), makes it the most expensive property ever to go on the Barbados market.
Further north, Speightstown – a shabbily charming beachfront enclave of a few streets – has always felt like a place with untapped potential. There were big plans to restore its historic buildings, but then the global credit crisis hit. Now, the first signs that foreign wealth is moving into the area are starting to appear, with new residential developments bringing wealthy overseas buyers to its doorstep.
At UNNA Resorts’ St Peters Bay, a beach stroll south of Speightstown, the 57 huge three/four-bed beachfront apartments cost from US$1.95m (£1.16m) and have a free water taxi at their disposal to whisk them to the west coast’s posh restaurants. To the left of St Peter’s Bay, Moneysupermarket founder Simon Nixon has bought a plot where he’s building two high-luxury beachfront villas. To the right is Palazatte, whose four vast apartments are soon to launch from around $25m (£14m) each, though it’s believed they’re likely to sell to one buyer for somewhere over $100m (£59m). It’s a gilded strip-in-the-making.
Just north of Speightstown is St Peter’s Bay’s sister development Port Ferdinand, a smart new marina with a touch of Venice about its waterfront buildings and where Crestron-controlled apartments with stylish coral render walls (“a reminder of Old Barbados,” says salesperson Nicole Gibson) and private yacht berths cost from $2.15m (£1.27m).
Behind the snazzy interior design of Port Ferdinand’s flats is Archers Hall, whose showroom on Speightstown’s main street hints at the town’s imminent regeneration. Also promising a new lease of life locally is Sandals Beaches, the all-inclusive Caribbean holiday company, who are soon to take over the Speightstown site of the old Almond Beach Resort.
The appeal of this north-western stretch of Barbados is “simple sophistication”, says Alistair Brown. “The wealthiest people in the world want to walk around in flip flops and go unrecognised. They want an excellent concierge service, but they don’t want the conspicuous consumption of Sandy Lane,” he says, referring to Simon Cowell’s favourite flash hotel resort down the coast.
For fanciness in the north-west, there’s the Fish Pot restaurant. But up the road is Moontown – a very basic row of shack-like cafés whose weekend fish fry is the antidote to west coast opulence, yet it’s becoming a talked-about event that draws well-heeled owners away from their luxury condos.
It’s this rustic simplicity that is a huge part of Barbados’s appeal. Foreign property buyers want the security, services and luxury that the latest new beach developments offer – but they also want to be a part of island life, whether it’s eating freshly grilled barracuda out of tin foil containers while overlooking the waves or enjoying a sundowner in a chattel house bar. Head inland to luxury gated resorts such as Royal Westmoreland and you feel detached from all of that.
“We’re seeing the money moving north away from Holetown,” says Alistair Brown. And with it – as the further north you go in Barbados, the smaller the distance between its east and west coasts becomes – you get the best of all worlds.