It may be known for its spices, but Grenada’s deserted sugar sand beaches are just as tempting. Now, says Francesca Steele, the superyacht crowd is buying up its charms and L'Anse aux Epines is the ideal property...
The Spice Island, so called for its fragrant nutmeg and mace, has historically been less well developed than many of its Caribbean cousins. Vast swathes of the lush isle of Grenada remain covered in rainforest or undisturbed beach. Hotels and holiday homes are relatively few and far between, most of them nestling in the popular southwest corner, in or near the pretty little capital of St George’s and the best beaches, notably Grand Anse. As a result, property here is usually cheaper than elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Now Grenada’s luxury market may finally be ready to catch up, as tourism begins to take off. There was a 12.7 per cent increase in visitors last year, according to the Grenada Tourism Authority, helped by the opening of several highend hotels and by a programme offering eligible investors the opportunity to apply for full citizenship.
Buying a villa that comes as part of a resort is something of a trend. Laluna, a boutique hotel that opened in 2010, still has three of its seven villas for sale, priced from $3.9 million. The price includes a 12 metre berth at the Camper & Nicholsons marina. At the nearby Silver Sands resort, prices start at $5.5 million for a hillside villa. “Grenada has had potential for the past 20 years, and it’s finally being realised,” enthuses James Burdess, head of Savills’ Caribbean office. “Now that the resorts are coming to Grenada, the property buyers will too.”
Twenty years ago, the owner of L’Anse aux Epines wasn’t particularly interested in buying a home. He wanted somewhere to leave his boat. Then he saw the deep water dock at the property and knew this incredible property with a yacht mooring was his new home. “I’ve rebuilt the dock, of course, as well as the house, which we completely redid in 2007,” he says. “Port Louis is actually one of the safest and best marinas in the Caribbean, but it is so wonderful just to look out our window and see our Farr 60 sitting right there by our piece of land.”
The marina isn’t the only safety feature that may appeal to a future owner of this 1,022 square metre property, which is on the market with Savills. Though Grenada is not nearly as vulnerable to hurricanes as much of the Caribbean, it did suffer substantial damage as a result of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and residents take precautions if they can afford it. This stunning seven-bedroom colonial-style house, rebuilt “from the ground up” in 2007 on the footprint of the previous property, has hurricane- and bullet-proof glass. The glass is so strong that when the owner “tested” a spare piece of it in his shed with a claw hammer, he says it barely made a dent.
The property is essentially one-room deep, allowing the breeze to blow right through it from the east down towards the terraces, where guests can sit in the
evening to watch the sun set. Both the owner and the agent say this is, quite simply, one of the best properties on the island. It is decked out in dark wood, a form of mahogany known as greenheart, loathed by termites and consequently loved by housebuilders. Downstairs is mostly open-plan – a large, family-friendly modern kitchen and living space. High-vaulted ceilings and wraparound balconies abound.
Outside, in the landscaped tropical gardens, two guest houses and various tiki huts nestle among the mango and banana trees, while the 18.3 metre infinity pool (and plunge pool next to it) are totally private, sheltered from prying eyes despite enjoying spectacular views over the bay and towards the town. One of the guest houses is designed to look like a sugar mill.
The property also comes with a high-tech media room, nine bathrooms, three private moorings and private beach access. All beaches in Grenada are public, but access to this one is restricted to the house or the water, making it feel very much like a private space.
The current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, and his family have moved to St Barts largely for schooling, but he says that it has been a wrench: “They say in Grenada that if you stand for too long with your feet in the sand that your body will grow roots. We have such roots here. Grenada really is the most untouched, friendly, beautiful little island. I don’t think there’s anywhere else like it.”
The owner is Irish, and Grenada has long been a favourite among Irish and British buyers (although American fans of St George’s University, the island’s medical school, are on the up). Property prices here will seem like a bargain to buyers familiar with the markets on more fashionable islands such as St Barts or Barbados, according to Walter Zephirin, managing director of 7th Heaven, a UK-based Caribbean property and investment company.
Particularly coveted areas, says Zephirin, include Morne Rouge, Lance aux Epines, Egmont, Fort Jeudy and Westerhall, all of which are located within easy reach of the international airport and St George’s. Property in Grenada can be bought for about $350 per square foot compared to $500 in Barbados. “Property prices on Grenada range from about $450,000 for a three-bedroom house to $4 million for a luxurious six-bedroom waterfront home,” says Zephirin. By contrast, last year a property in Barbados went on sale for $125 million.
_L’Anse aux Epines is on sale with Savills for $6.9 million, +44 (0)20 7016