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The Beach

13.11.19

Barbados has long combined laidback Caribbean living with high-class western style. Luke Thomas explores the lesser-known east coast of the island with owner of The Crane, Paul Doyle, and bags an exclusive peak at his new luxury development Beach Houses

The Crane is synonymous with easy-care holiday home ownership – where did the idea for the resort originate from?

The Crane was originally an 18-room hotel in a good spot in the Caribbean, on the south east coast of Barbados. I bought it about 31 years ago and began to develop it 20 years ago. When I started, this part of the island was considered quite remote and out of the way. In those days when visitors landed at the airport in Bridgetown, 99% of the tourists turned left (west), instead of right (east) to the Crane.

By developing the resort, we attracted a group of people looking to leave their busy lives behind and get away from it all. 20 years on and the Crane is still remote and out of the way, but it’s such an attractive place for visitors because it has everything they need – lovely beaches, amenities, shops and restaurants.

How has the buyer profile changed over the years?

Buyers are more value-led. They’re seeking properties that go beyond the esteem of owning an overseas second-home (that mind-set may have prevailed in the past), to investments that produce a return, usually in the form of consistent rental income when the home is not in-use by the owner. Value on upfront purchase prices and ongoing costs are also a key consideration in addition to the lifestyle on offer.

How would you position the east coast as a location proposition for buyers?

Barbados is unique in that each of its coasts has a different personality. The west coast which typically secures a lot press coverage in UK, has a personality that most Brits will be familiar with. It’s very prestigious, it’s upmarket, it has fine hotels and restaurants, and attracts a certain clientele – people who expect and value excellence.

The east coast, where our new Beach Houses development is located, is, and I think everybody would agree, the most beautiful part of the island. It’s stunning, with a gorgeous coastline, beautiful hills, and quaint fishing villages. It’s also very laidback, and there’s minimal development.

The government has designated 99% of the east coast as national park. The entire feeling you get when you visit, is that it has been preserved for generations.

This part of the island is also internationally recognised as a surfing Mecca, and many of the world’s top surfer visit it regularly. When you’re there it’s almost like you’re in a totally different place.

How will the ownership offering differ from The Crane?

With Beach Houses, we wanted to create something that will never get too busy. We were very lucky in 2007 to acquire the only real development land on the east coast – the 1% that isn’t national park. It’s a 50-acre site just 15 minutes from The Crane. It’s located on a gentle incline that leads directly to the sea, which has enabled us to cut individual villas into the hillside, so that everybody can enjoy a beautiful ocean view.

We then landscaped each roof so that the outlook from wherever you are is lush and green. This way - you get the feeling of being alone with nature, and you’re not breaching the privacy of other people. The views are breath taking.

When you stay in one of our villas, you have access to exactly the same services as The Crane. There’s housekeeping, restaurants and a fitness centre, with much more to come when we welcome our first guests this December.

What sets the Beach House project apart from The Crane? And what, if anything ties it together?

Each house is set on a fifth of an acre of land and they have a very contemporary style, which contrasts nicely against the colonial design of the Crane.

We did this purposely to give them their own personality. The Crane characterised by its Georgian architecture which was influenced from the original Crane built in 1887. With Beach Houses we’ve gone 180 degrees in the other direction with an ultra contemporary look. Homes are glass fronted, with gardens on both sides so that the bathrooms open onto private gardens. When you shower, it almost feels like you’re outside.

In front of each unit is a deck where the floor of the property extends from the living space to the outside, leading to a 55 foot pool, a hot tub, BBQs and hammocks. It’s a villa experience with a resort service – which is unique for the island.

We can still describe the Crane as a getaway experience, but Beach Houses allow guests to truly getaway – it’s just you and the sea.

What’s in store for the development in the coming year?

We're putting the finishing touches to the project. One nice thing about the location is that it benefits from a great sea breeze from the Atlantic. Each unit is air-conditioned, but you don’t really need it for most of the year. We designed the homes in such a way that they can benefit from the breeze, but still remain secure.

We’ll still be developing the surrounding area for a few years. We have planning permission for 63 beach houses over 50 acres. When you think about it, that’s about 0.8/0.9 acres per unit – it’s extremely generous.

We’ll also be putting central facilities in – they’ll be a lot smaller than the Crane to help preserve the style of the locale, and will consist of a fine dining restaurant, a casual restaurant, a fitness centre and spa and a small general store.

Until we’ve finished these amenities in the next few years, Beach House guests will be able to benefit from everything the Crane resort has to offer and we’ve organised for a 15 minute shuttle between the two sites to run all day.

Why does Barbados have staying power in terms of foreign property investment?

Barbados' sunny shores have long attracted a HNW investor audience and with the island's property prices historically increasing by over 5% annually, the promise of steady capital appreciation has been the biggest draw card for new investment. Beyond capital appreciation however, ease of access, lifestyle and rental income are all major factors.

The island is also a major connection hub for other Caribbean islands, with direct flights to the UK, US, Central America and South America, and new services being added all the time.

Rental income is a further plus. Our tourism sector is growing with a 14.5% increase in long stay visitors. In fact, many investment property developments offer a property rental option, with The Crane Private Residences being no exception.

Do you consider the Barbados High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) Special Entry Permit (SEP) a positive initiative?

We actually have a number of HNW guests here who have never felt the need for a SEP because Barbados is so welcoming, all the time to all tourists – especially HNW tourists.

People may feel that they need a SEP if they spend more than six months at a time here, but it’s rare that a HNW tourist wouldn’t want to go anywhere else in that time. For those who simply want to enjoy the island for a short while - it couldn’t be simpler.

Abode Affiliates

  • Alleyne Real Estate
  • Blevins Franks
  • Coldwell Banker
  • Crane Resorts
  • The Hideaways Club
  • Monaco Real Estates
  • RDO
  • Rosemont Consulting
  • St Francis Links
  • Unique Home Stays
  • Yoo
  • Worldwide Dream Villas
  • Cyan International Properties
  • Enigma Yachts Limited
  • Cornerstone Tax Advisors
  • Lida Cucina
  • Pedini London
  • Alexander James
  • Wings
  • Moore Stephen
  • Ibiza Transit Express
  • Oyster Yachts
  • Jumeirah
  • Wall Street Luxury
  • Heron Real Estate
  • Edenhurst
  • MG&AG
  • Gama Property
  • Touch Design Group
  • St Edward
  • Ultra Villa
  • Luxury Italian Living
  • Habitat First Group
  • BDO
  • 7Storeys
  • Smart Currency Exchange
  • Strutt and Parker
  • Prestige Architects
  • Worldwide Property
  • Panorama
  • Dimora
  • Dominic McKenzie Architects
  • The Coastal House
  • Chamonix Ski Chalet
  • Luxe Caribbean Properties
  • Harry Manning
  • Smart Living
  • Isle Blue
  • MAS Marbella
  • London Fractions
  • QTD
  • Page Architects
  • Millgate
  • Jersey Finance
  • guernsey-relocations-logo
  • viberts-logo
  • b-williams-management
  • kpmg-logo
  • author-interiors
  • Wilkinson Beven
  • BoConcept
  • Ante Vrban
  • Experience Invest
  • Move 2 Gozo
  • Deborah Garth
  • Extex
  • You home
  • Ra Shaw Designs
  • Caudwell Collection
  • eastwood private client
  • accanto-interiors
  • Fritz Hansen
  • capital-rise
  • jarrods-staircase
  • neil-davies-logo
  • Tina Shone Group
  • Taplow riverside
  • Aimo
  • ns-ceramics-logo
  • Rusk
  • Consilium Expert Group
  • Ben Krupinski Builder

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