St. Lucia. Buyers scour island for property investments as tourism continues three year boom

Thursday, 20 July 2006

The "honeymoon haven" of the Caribbean is quietly offering a new treasure trove of luxury resort offerings and in the past six months, some of the biggest names in luxury hotels, residential development and golf, have raised their "Jolly Rogers". St. Lucia, nestled between Martinique and St. Vincent, and known for its tropical rain forest, volcanic sand beaches and jagged cliffs, is poised to soar like the island's famed twin Piton mountains (which Oprah said is one of the top five places to see in your lifetime).

PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) recently reported that the majority of new Caribbean development in islands such as St. Lucia, is shifting towards upper-scale, luxury resort properties that include a residential component in the form of condominiums, hotel condominiums or fractionals. St. Lucia's tourism, which is up 19% over the last three years, is poised to benefit.

Real estate companies like DCG Properties, developer of Le Paradis Resort and Residences in Praslin Bay, are delivering four-star luxury town homes and villas catering to these global tourists and prospects who appreciate the island's unique natural charms and peaceful leisure lifestyle.

Starwood-Westin announced a Westin Hotel at Le Paradis Resort and Residences, which is anchored by a Greg Norman championship golf course. Similarly Ritz Carlton has teamed up with Arnold Palmer to create The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Lucia.

"Le Paradis' signature 14th hole is one of the most stunning, yet challenging holes I have ever designed," said Greg Norman, CEO of Great White Shark Enterprises, which encompasses Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD). "There are few places in the world so pure and untouched, and with the land rising from sea to the crest of the property at 610 feet, the 14th hole offers serene vistas of the island with the innate difficulty of a water hazard." Le Paradis' signature hole has been dubbed "The Shark's Bight," which some are calling St. Lucia's answer to Pebble Beach. The course will be managed by renowned Troon Golf.

Le Paradis, which broke ground earlier this year, sits on 554 lush acres on the former site of a banana plantation overlooking St. Lucia's spectacular Praslin Bay. An ultra-exclusive multi-phased luxury residential development, Le Paradis will feature the Greg Norman Signature golf course, world-class spa, 50-slip marina, yacht club, gourmet restaurants, upscale boutique shopping and conference facilities, anchored by St. Lucia's first Westin four plus-star hotel. Phase One of the project, which includes the hotel and golf course, is slated to open in November 2007.

On St. Lucia, a luxury lifestyle includes some special incentives. Le Paradis' limited number of residences include two- to three-bedroom turnkey condominiums and villas with unobstructed ocean views and prices that range from the mid $800,000s to $1.3 million. Some incentives include waiving of Le Paradis' golf initiation membership and golf dues waived for three years as well as a Troon Advantage VIP card. And of course there are some favorable tax advantages and the opportunity for owners to place their units into a rental program.

It's no wonder that with tourism up 19% for the last three years, real estate and investment outlook has savvy buyers already scouring the island for its not-so-hidden treasures!

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 July 2006 )