Why the tiny island of Granada is the next big thing in luxury real estate
At the southern end of the Caribbean, barely 100 miles from Venezuela, the tiny teardrop-shaped island of Grenada is finally ready for its global real estate close-up. Having long escaped the ravages of mass tourism, Grenada’s unknown has become one of its most important selling points. There are hardly any cookie-cutter resorts, few multinational companies and, most importantly, for the majority of the pandemic, very few Covid-19 outbreaks.
Indeed, since the start of the pandemic, Grenada, like other members of the Commonwealth, has taken an extreme “Covid-19-free” approach to the crisis. This means strict testing for travelers before departure, a second test on arrival and a mandatory quarantine at the resort until those second results are revealed. A complete vaccination is also essential.
While certainly strict, the impact of these measures was apparent – for most of the pandemic, Grenada was a place with no masks, no curfews, no sick people. “Unfortunately, like the rest of the world, the Delta variant has since changed our reality,” says Kandace Douglas, director of real estate sales and marketing for Villas at Silversands. And as a result, the island, while still less affected than the rest of the world, is grappling with the pandemic.
Nonetheless, the country has implemented a series of strict containment policies – and just in time. Because these efforts come as the island finally realizes its potential for luxury real estate. And a big part of that is due to Silversands, a 43-room resort that opened in 2018 on a prime slice of Grand Anse Beach, Granada’s most beautiful stretch of sand and one of the best beaches. of the Caribbean.
Developed by Egyptian telecommunications mogul Naguib Sawiris through his company Ora Developers, the ultra-contemporary, whitewashed aesthetic of Silversands is the antithesis of the Caribbean cliché. Forget the thatched-roof huts or the “chic cabins” perched by the sea on stilts. On the contrary, the rooms at Silversands, spread over a pair of three-story wings, feature clean lines, subtle patterns, and a constant view of the Caribbean. The vibe, especially in its light-drenched spa, feels like an elegant branch of, say, Soho House, which was only abandoned in the southern Caribbean. And the Silversands swimming pool, 100 meters, is the longest in all of the Caribbean.
That same sentiment extends to Silversands’ eight private villas, which recently hit the market priced at $ 7 million to $ 14.5 million, depending on location (although early mover incentives mean early buyers can get discounts). Hidden from the main complex behind a subtle but substantial wall, the villas are nothing if not spectacular. Four are perched on a small hill just above the main resort with stunning views of the Caribbean. Four others are placed directly on the sand a few meters from the sea, as close as possible to the waves without going swimming.
No matter the location, the villas are substantial: 22,000 square foot plots, over 2,200 square feet of outdoor space, four master bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and huge private plunge pools. and jewelry pools. Designed by Parisian architecture firm AW2 – responsible for a wide range of Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Six-Senses resorts around the world – the villas are fully furnished with pieces from Molteni, B&B Italia and Bruno Moinard. Kitchen appliances are courtesy of Gaggenau and Miele, while outdoor and indoor showers are from Hansgrohe. Villa buyers have access to all of the resort’s main amenities: spa, two restaurants, concierge and housekeeping services. Owners also get expedited immigration on arrival and transportation to and from the resort via Tesla, a nice and unexpected touch. “It’s a natural and elegant design aesthetic that honors the surrounding landscape and the seaside location,” says Douglas.
The serious pricing of the villas, in line with the more well-known (and much better frequented) islands like Barbados or St. Barts, reflects their serious amenities. But a portion of every sale supports the West Indies School of Hospitality Foundation, said Douglas, which offers free hospitality classes to 6,000 Grenadians in partnership with e-Cornell, Cornell University’s online certification arm. “Barry Collymore, President of the Grenada Tourism Authority, founded the WISH Foundation with the support of Naguib Sawiris,” continues Douglas. “Barry launched the program with the aim of making a positive change in the lives of Grenadians and maximizing the tourism industry, which has been devastated by Covid-19.”
Warm weather and sandy shores aren’t the only reason very high net worth buyers (UHNWs) are setting up their sites in Grenada. The island also participates in the increasingly popular type of citizenship programs from the Caribbean to Europe to the South Pacific. In Grenada’s case, its Citizen by Investment program offers Grenadian passports to people who invest at least $ 200,000 in the island. “It’s the icing on the cake,” notes Douglas. “Over the past year and a half, diversifying citizenships has become more important than ever. According to a recent Douglas Elliman-Knight Frank Wealth report, 24% of UHNWs are interested in a second type of citizenship.
While countries like Malta have been rocked by citizenship corruption and even killings, Grenada’s version is pretty strict. “The uniqueness of the program stems from its thorough, rigorous and thorough due diligence process which acts as a filter in the search for worthy investors,” explains Afi Ventour de Vega, a prominent Grenadian lawyer and founder of Afi Ventour & Co .
And Grenada’s offer of citizenship is not only secure but extensive. “The program is the only Caribbean state where successful applicants are eligible to live and work in the United States of America thanks to the E2 Visa Investor Treaty that Grenada enjoys with the United States,” continues Ventour. “Successful applicants enjoy visa-free travel to more than 140 countries around the world, including the UK, China, Russia, the Schengen area and the United Arab Emirates.”
The citizenship program is available for most prominent properties in Grenada that meet financial requirements. This includes such villa projects as the handful of estates still available in Laluna, a 30-acre resort completed over 20 years ago and popular with fashion types such as supermodel Kate Moss and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and the Illustrated sports, who turned her iconic swimsuit number to Laluna in 2003.
In 2009, Bernardo Bertucci, founder of Laluna and former executive of Giorgio Armani, developed seven villas, four of which are still available. Priced between $ 3.9 and $ 7.4 million, the villas (or estates) are perched on a hill and offer panoramic sea views as well as a host of financial incentives (including no sales tax, most citizenship fees waived and a generous revenue sharing deal if owners choose to place their villas in the resort’s rental pool). The villas also offer families the option to enjoy Laluna, while the main complex is for adults only.
“Why the villas? Bertucci asks. “The idea came to me in 2009, just after the financial crisis, when so many companies working on new hotels left Granada. I saw an opportunity and got a lot of help from the local government because I was the only one doing something like this at the time.
Since then, Bertucci has been joined by Silversands in Granada, as well as other leading hotel brands including Sandal’s, which opened a resort-only property in 2014, and Kimpton, which is building a resort and real estate project. across Grand Anse Bay from Silversands which is slated to debut in 2022.
Returning to Silversands, which appears to be well booked for the upcoming holiday season, plans are already underway to expand the company’s island footprint. First, two distinctive projects, the 30-bedroom Beach House at Silversands and the 72-bedroom Silversands Legacy, which will be anchored by a 100-meter (328-foot) pool. The Beach House is expected to be completed in 2022, while the latter (which includes real estate) will participate in Grenada’s citizenship program. In the longer term, the large-scale development of the Port Louis Maritime Village and Marina and the Riviera’s more intimate resort project will further strengthen Ora Caribbean’s dominant presence on the island.
Almost 40 years after the invasion of Grenada by US forces and the end of its nascent revolutionary New Jewel movement, the island’s spirit of activism and self-reliance remains strong. With new hotel complexes and real estate developments coupled with the island’s ambitious citizenship program, Grenada is focusing its future on the high end of the hotel industry. And the Grenadians are clearly the key to the island’s success, propelling their nation far beyond its traditional cash generators, such as chocolate and spices.
“The Grenadian people and the raw, authentic beauty of the country is what sets it apart from the rest of the Caribbean,” says Douglas. “Our developer really understands how important it is to preserve the authenticity of the island while ensuring that locals are supported by the thriving hospitality and real estate movement.”
Originally appeared on Architectural Digest