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The Big Blue

14.01.20

A major new luxury destination is making waves in the Out Islands of The Bahamas. Abode2 pays a visit

Heading off to sun-kissed shores these days can, if you choose your destination wisely, deliver an altogether different experiential holiday outcome. Put simply, you could say we’re in the midst of a travel renaissance; wanderlust escapees are seeking out authentic, sustainable, off-the-beaten-path destinations that offer something you can’t get anywhere else. What defines “luxury” is always evolving, and the latest iteration seems to embrace the thought of being off-the-grid, giving travellers a chance to soak in their surroundings, have privacy and enjoy paradise, for however brief a time.

One destination particularly well-equipped in this vacation evolution is The Bahamas. Outside the crowded beaches and super-size resorts of Nassau and Grand Bahama, are a family of 700+ virtually untouched islands called the Out Islands. An all-time favourite for Caribbean island life aficionados, these pristine islets have experienced a jump of 14.9% in visitors in the past year. One self-sustaining development promising to preserve the region’s natural beauty, Port St George in Long Island, has been making headlines recently as first eco-engineered, luxury waterfront destination in the region.

One of the most pristine and undeveloped islands in The Bahamas, Long Island is widely known for its conflicting coastline of pristine, limestone cliffs and serene, sandy beaches and the location couldn’t be more idyllic. It’s here that Star Resort Group plans to deliver the Port St George project on behalf of owners PSG Limited, with a funding budget of $500 million. The mixed-used community will span 2.25 miles of Long Island shorefront, with 4,200 feet of shoreline on the Exuma Sound and 2,000 feet of Atlantic frontage, for a total of 882 acres.

The resort exemplifies the next evolution of luxury destinations, as eco-engineering and future proofing are being incorporated into every aspect. The development will also be inclusive of the Bahamian people and local culture, something that developer, StarPort Resorts Inc president Duane Gerenser describes as “an uncommon effort among many secluded luxury resorts.”

Comments James Moss, vice president of StarPort Resorts: “Port St. George’s mixed-use build-out will embrace luxury homes, a 640-berth marina, intimate five-star hotel and a plethora of amenities including an 18-hole golf course and tennis academy all tailored to individuals in search of bona fide Bahamian customs, luxurious features and contemporary amenities.”

Situated on a one-mile arc of waterfront, the PSG marina will be providing enhanced storm protection due to the size, allowing vessels to dock throughout the whole year, which is uncommon in this specific region. Full marina services such as, customs, immigration, fuelling, supplies and chandlery, will also be offered. Last, but certainly not least, the marina will serve as a lively village centre for residents, resort guests and local Bahamians.

Occupying a mere one percent of the island, delivering an authentic experience for those who want to connect with their surroundings and revel in the natural wonders the island has to offer, PSG will also have the unique ability to operate almost entirely off-grid with plans to achieve the ‘sustainable trifecta’ of net zero energy, water and waste by generating as much or more energy than is needed from renewable sources.

Adds Moss: “In addition to being incredibly sustainable, StarPort Resorts Inc. is working with Studio Hillier to ensure social responsibility is taken into consideration. We’ll also be engaging local Bahamians to open businesses, utilise the amenities and interact with visitors and residents. The design will incorporate a mix of traditional Bahamian design with modern, cutting-edge twists to create an immersive experience for all. We’ve a truly exciting time ahead.”

OUT ISLANDS ALTERNATIVES

Abaco
Known for its many cays and popularity as a yachting destination, the chillaxed island of Abaco has plans for a vibrant $580 million residential tourism community, comprising a five-star residential resort and marina, as well as the upgrade of Sandy Point airstrip. The project will also involve redeveloping Sandy Point’s ferry dock and extending the Queens Highway in South Abaco.

Ragged Island

A small island of just nine square miles consisting largely of beaches, the Bahamian government has announced plans for a transformation into The Bahamas’ first smart island, with the incorporation of solar power and a sustainable water purification system.

South Eleuthera

Disney have recently announced plans to develop a second destination in The Bahamas, having purchased land and entered an agreement with Bahamian government to develop it. Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a statement the project will support plans to expand the country’s economy and economic opportunities for locals by “promoting development in the Family Islands.”

Eco Excellence

  • Port St George marina is in the offing for Blue Flag certification. Once obtained, it will become one of the first marinas in The Bahamas to attain this acclaimed eco-label.
  • The first ever eco-engineered luxury destination, PSG plans to achieve the “sustainable trifecta” of net zero energy, water, and waste.
  • Sustainable features will be incorporated throughout the entire project's infrastructure, including into every building.
  • Plans call for microgrids and decentralised power fuelled by renewable sources. Solar energy, for instance, will be captured and stored in every structure, creating the prospect of being entirely off-grid.
  • Rainwater will be captured in catch basins and reverse osmosis desalinisation will conserve the supply of clean fresh water.
  • Use of disposable plastics will be discouraged on the property and automobiles will be restricted. There will also be a system to process food waste, thus reducing excess garbage and generating fresh compost for an organic hydroponics farm.

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