Luxury Booms in the Bahamas, BVI Gets First Resort in 15 Years

THERE DON'T SEEM TO BE any "trends" in the Caribbean anymore. After all, a trend is something that eventually fades away. The latest market trends in the Caribbean don't go anywhere—they just get stronger.

Take luxury in the Bahamas, for instance. Of course it's been around for a while, with notables such as One&Only Ocean Club (www.oneandonlyoceanclub.com) and the Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma (www.fourseasons.com) setting up shop there years ago. Travel Agent then delivered you the news about a major luxury development in Mayaguana, the most easterly and perhaps most unspoiled island in the Bahamas. Next, we brought you the word that Grand Isle Resort & Spa (www.grandislevillas.com) had unveiled its new penthouse, topping off a project that spanned more than three years—and that was really it for luxury news in the Bahamas for a few months. Royal Island, Bahamas

But was that really it? Was it truly time for luxury developments in this destination to cool off?

Not quite. Cypress Equities, development affiliate of The Staubach Company, has announced the selection of luxury hotel operating company Montage Hotels & Resorts to manage Montage Royal Island Bahamas (www.royalislandbahamas.com), an oceanfront destination resort, and to provide exclusive residential services for the private island community under development on Royal Island, a 430-acre private island east of Miami with 15 miles of coastline,

Slated to open in 2010, Montage Royal Island will have 60 guest rooms and 23 suites; 76 oceanfront and marina villas; Spa Montage; and a beach club. The residential community will comprise oceanfront villas, marina villas and 275 single-family residences on oceanfront estate home sites. Residency will begin in late 2009.

Planned amenities include the first-ever Jack Nicklaus Golf Club of the Bahamas (opening in late 2009) and the 140-acre naturally protected deep-water yacht marina (scheduled to open in mid-2009).

Development in the British Virgin Islands

While the Bahamas keeps cranking out announcements of new developments, the British Virgin Islands is in the process of ending its 15-year drought without a new property.

Scrub Island (www.mainsailbvi.com) was developed by Mansail Development Group on Scrub Island, BVI. The company has just announced the topping off of the resort's first buildings, which include two-bedroom villas built into the scenic hillside as well as larger multi-level villas, each touting a private infinity edge pool.

Originally slated as Mainsail Resort, Marina & Spa, the company opted use Scrub Island as the resort's official name because they wanted to embrace the natural history of the island. The name is also meant to emphasize the resort's privacy—it's the only development on the private island and will not exceed more than 200 residents or guests at any given time. Call 813-254-3110.

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