An island awakens
The top-end market in the southern Caribbean has typically been dominated by Barbados, but Grenada is starting to steal a march on it, reveals Arabella Youens
Known throughout the world as the spice island for its exports of nutmeg and mace, Grenada is, by comparison to Barbados, largely untouched by tourism—especially at the top end of the market. However, this is about to change, albeit in a very gentle way.
It’s not the first time that wind has caught in the development sails on the island. Back before the recent financial crises, British property developer Peter de Savary, a citizen of the island since 2006, had grand plans; in the end, it was only a new marina in the capital, George Town, that came to fruition.
now, several years on, the tide is turning again and, leading the way, is Silversands (www.silversandsgrenada.com), a new five-star hotel due to open at the end of this year, located on Grand Anse—a two-mile-long whitesand beach considered to be one of the best in the Caribbean.
Typical of this next wave, it’s boutique in size; as well as 44 hotel rooms, there will be nine villas to buy with prices from between $5 million (£3.86m) and $10 million (£7.72m).
The island was chosen by Egyptian developer naguib Sawiris specifically because of its under-developed nature and the fact that it’s maintained an authentic identity. ‘This is a really exciting project,’ says James Burdess, head of Savills’ Caribbean desk (020–7016 3783). ‘It will be a super-luxury hotel, which is something Grenada hasn’t had until now.’
Silversands is leading the charge, but, behind it, follow several other new developments, including Laluna, a cabaña-style hotel with seven ‘rusticchic’ villas for sale between $3 million and $5 million (£2.32m–£3.86m), and two other high-end hotels with properties available to buy.
‘Although Grenada has had great potential for 20 years, until now, nothing much has happened. The catalyst has been Silversands—it’s given courage to others,’ explains Mr Burdess. ‘The island has all the key elements, including direct flights and a superyacht marina as well as the American medical school at St George’s, which means there’s life there all year round. There’s energy here that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the Caribbean.’
His enthusiasm is echoed by Lyden Ramdhanny, chairman of Altman Real Estate Grenada (www.altmangrenada.com) and part of the fifth generation of a Grenadine family. He sees several reasons why Grenada is now making a mark where it hadn’t before: ‘we haven’t developed as quickly as other islands and that’s had a positive outcome in that we’ve been able to learn from their mistakes. Today, people are increasingly looking for places that haven’t already been discovered. The government is actively looking to avoid large-scale development and concentrate on boutique, high-end hotels instead.
‘The other aspect is what the island has to offer; in 20 minutes from Grand Anse, you can be hiking around volcanic lakes in the rainforest. we have that variety.’
Get away from it all: take a refreshing swim in the waterfalls at St George’s, Grenada’s capital. The town is surrounded by part of an old volcano crater