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

Country Life Every Week - - Caribbean -

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

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