Family Fortunes

By on April 6, 2012

With ancestral ties to the island of Barbados dating back to 1652 – Sir Charles Williams’ passion for property has resulted in one of the finest residential developments in the Caribbean.

A fearsome work ethic and ‘one-step-ahead’ vision are a potent combination by anyone’s standards, but when it comes to transforming real estate potential into property dynamite – copious amounts of both can bring quite exceptional results. With a string of development success stories to his name, including the founding of C.O. Williams Group, the largest construction company in Barbados, few industry players ever doubted the rise and rise of Sir Charles Williams.

Following in the footsteps of his enterprising father whose love of all things equestrian led to the renaissance of Barbados Polo Club in 1939, Sir Charles has dedicated most of his life to pursuing his own passion, that of real estate, purchasing five acres on the island in 1958, his first step on a halcyon climb to a five-star portfolio; one that has set the benchmark for quality real estate across the island. But while each individual land purchases to date have brought their share of development thrills, nothing comes close to the site he acquired in 1983, which he refers to as the “jewel in the crown of his property portfolio”. Located on a former 17th century sugar plantation 1000 feet above sea level and sporting panoramic views to the Caribbean and the Atlantic, the setting for his newest fully integrated project – Apes Hill Resort – is truly spectacular. Stretching across 470 acres, the estate boasts a mosaic of landscapes from deep tropical ravines, waterfalls and rolling meadows to canopied rainforest and coral stone quarries. Two-thirds of the total acreage is given over to nature, allowing a blended relationship with the indigenous wildlife including playful green monkeys, mongoose and an array of tropical birds; an environment, explains Sales and Marketing Director, Linda Williams, that buyers “wholly appreciate”.

When built out (in ten years), the resort community will have just 250 homes,” she confirms, “a low-density ratio that will preserve the natural topography of the estate for life.” Taking full advantage of the development’s elevated position; the resort’s par 72, 18-hole championship golf course adds a further verdant hued highlight, with many estate homes boasting spectacular fairway views. Non-golfers have their pick of leisure amenities too, with a Polo Centre complete with full-sized field and resident coach, as well as links to the Port St Charles yacht club and its beach facilities, 10 minutes away. Adds Williams: “All property owners automatically become social members, allowing them to take full advantage of resort services and activities, with the option of purchasing the additional golf club membership for their entire family. Our 17,000-square-foot clubhouse is scheduled to open in 2012-13, with a restaurant, bar, golf shop, locker rooms and member services.

Also planned for completion later in the year, are a spa, fitness centre, tennis courts and swimming pool.” Divided into eight distinct communities named after the estate’s original plantation fields – neighbourhoods have a secluded, away-from-it-all feel – each lot landscaped to make the most of the outlook, nature and space. “All home designs are approved by an architectural review board,” explains Williams, “but design choice is sufficiently diverse to allow owners to put their stamp on a property. It’s very much a collaborative process with buyer’s needs and wants fully taken into account in the design and build process.” Combining Bajan and contemporary design, properties incorporate a wealth of local materials: limestone, coral and mahogany are used both inside and out, yet each home has its own distinctive character from the jalousie shutters and spacious covered verandas to the open fretwork, French windows and soft focus lights wells. All have an open, airy feeling accentuated by the cream coral stone finishes, tray ceilings and floor-to-ceiling picture windows opening to views of the fairways, sea and hills.

Private infinity pools and plunge pools are fitted as standard along with spacious patios and garden areas. Master suites have balconies and all have garages. As with most master plan communities – property sales are being released on phased basis – the 2,686 square foot Waterhall Club Polo Villas, the first neighbourhood to be built, now 60 percent sold out with portions of Phase II and Phase III of newly released lots now well underway, including Holders Meadow. Perched on one of the highest points of the island, third and half acre plots cone with stock house plans and project management so that homeowners can devise their dream. Garden Wall’s semi-detached three and four-bedroom villas, start from .9 million and average 3,300 square feet. Designed with luxury living in mind, the three different villa options at Garden Wall feature spacious living and dining areas, and bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and walk-in closets. Each villa also has a private infinity-edge pool, car garage and golf cart port. More expensive areas offering detached estate homes include those on Moonshine Ridge, which command hilltop sites and afford spectacular views.

Architectural features include vaulted doorways, polished granite and hand-finished hardwood. Luxury bathrooms with rain showers and infinity edge baths are custom designed with Duravit fixtures and Hansgrohe fittings. A bonus for Moonshine Ridge residents is their proximity to the unique limestone caves and tunnels in the landscape. Lots, priced from m come with one of a choice of seven bespoke design homes styles – total build cost ranging from m to just under m million. “AHC offers a full property management service to all homeowners,” adds Williams. “We look after homes and rent them out if the owner so desires. But the resort is so much more than that. It truly captures both the tradition and the natural beauty of Barbados. It’s a simple synergy but one that works. The vintage views and the cool breezes are enough to convince me of that.”

Photo credit: Ben124. / / CC BY