The DeckHouses at The Ritz-Carlton, Dragon Bay.
What defines The DeckHouses is the elegant simplicity of a design that pays homage to humanity’s primal need to be connected to water. This is the cornerstone of what has been created here on this extraordinary private peninsula – a Caribbean Venice of sorts – a community uniquely connected by water and to water. Whether it is the curving stone-lined canals that wind organically to the North Sound lagoon; the numerous water-on-slate features at each entrance way; or the magnetic arc of water over the midnight blue infinity pool, the sensual ebb and flow of water accompanies every twist and turn of this development. “We wanted to create a place where people would feel at one with the environment – a sanctuary where our owners could step away from the pressures of busy lives and immerse themselves in nature,” explains Lisa Sloley, Project Director for The DeckHouses.
In a stroke of genius that belies the ‘beyond-the-box’ philosophy of the developers, The DeckHouses offer owners that remote, private island experience but, ingeniously, with a host of world-class amenities at their fingertips. In between each house, individually excavated coves create a secluded private island escape, complete with beach, hammocks and outdoor torches – hard to conceive that a resort with five onsite world-class restaurants, Silver Rain a La Prairie Spa, shops, galleries, marinas, Nick Bollettieri tennis courts and the fine Greg Norman ‘Blue Tip’ golf course lies literally a pebble-skip from one’s front door.
In another innovative move, every home was strategically oriented on its quarter to half-acre lot to optimise the breathtaking views and refreshing breezes. Owners can access their secret enclave via the palm-banked coral-stone driveway (courtesy of local contractor, Cayman Stonewalling), or better yet, can elect to navigate the lattice-work of waterways by boat.
While homes come complete with a personal family golf cart – ideal for outdoor living – the trademark boathouses incorporated seamlessly into each house design, mean that owners can travel with ease by water to any number of island destinations. In this way, a boat becomes a natural part of everyday life. Guests can arrive directly from the airport via private Riva and moor up at home without the slightest glimpse of traffic. Far from utilitarian, each boathouse boasts classic tongue-and-groove stained wood ceilings and crisp white beams giving even the boat lift a look of elegant nautical chic. What is more, thoughtfully configured floor plans mean that the house can be accessed directly from the dock with convenient storage nearby for anything from suitcases to coolers for a day out on the Sound.
It is these thoughtful touches that enable the five bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom DeckHouses to stand head and shoulders above the rest. The clapboard siding and Plantation-style pillars offer a pleasingly symmetrical façade, while inside Ipe hardwood flooring is used throughout the mid and upper levels with vanilla-cream limestone floors on the base level. Tray ceilings inlaid with distressed wooden beams give relief while the endless views remain, without compare, at centre stage.
In excess of 7,000 square feet, each three-storey home rises up out of its lush, heavily landscaped garden oasis, reminiscent of the sweeping tropical gardens of an old Jamaican Great House, where pretty sandstone paths wind up from heavy wooden gates, through Oleander, Seagrape and Green Buttonwood to the entrancing second floor entrance way 18 and a half feet above sea level.
Step inside the living and dining areas, and one is immediately struck by the recurring motif of the natural world. Every minute accent is imbued with a distinct sense of harmony. 14 foot ceilings and innovative floor-to-ceiling hurricane-rated glass doors offering expansive 180˚ views of the water, gardens and golf course open up onto a trademark wrap-around entertainment deck. It is almost as if the walls fail to exist – as if what is not there becomes equally as important as what is there. In total, each property offers over a staggering 2,500 square feet of additional outdoor living space in the form of shady terraces, wrap-around porches and sun decks each lined with cable rail to provide unobstructed views of the constantly changing vistas of the great beyond.
Insistent on using only the most timeless of authentic materials – hand-hewn hardwoods and the beautiful properties of natural stone - the interiors are at once characterised by an understated elegance and arresting aesthetic beauty. Designed exclusively by Pamela Hughes of Hughes Design Associates, owners may opt for one of two interior design schemes with expertly coordinated finishes and fixtures. To say that these homes are turn-key properties is a vast understatement. In their commitment to ‘endless service’, the designers have even gone so far as to select table and kitchenware ranging from top-of-the-line Christofle cutlery and Le Creuset cookware to Peugeot pepper mills, all expertly selected by internationally renowned celebrity chef, Eric Ripert. There is even an option to utilise the personal butler service – no stone has been left unturned.
The essence of chic, The Modern Collection features sleek, contemporary lines with a captivating textural interplay of glass, solid dark wood and metal. Fabrics may be selected from the crisp Ivory Coast range which utilises a neutral, pearlescent palette of ivory, cream and gold or alternatively, the Azure Cove’s vibrant island blues, greens and aquas. Custom-designed hardwood furniture and upholstery combine with the nautically-inspired lighting collection to create an eclectic and stylish fusion of influences. Bathrooms feature mosaic and pebble tile inlays and border accents all of which enhance the sense of tranquillity.
The classic West Indies Collection favours a more traditional Caribbean ambience with its curve-legged one-of-a-kind pieces, rattan detail and more ornate, rustic elements. Fabrics are offered in two separate colour palettes: the striking Verdent Palm Collection inspired by the luxuriant greens of tropical island foliage or the elegant Cerulean Sea Collection echoing the exquisite hues of the breathtaking Caribbean Sea. Here, hardwood furniture comes with an authentic distressed, antique finish to compliment custom designed wrought iron light fixtures including wall sconces and the stunning dining room chandelier courtesy of West Hollywood designer Paul Ferrante.
What is clear is that the designers have been given free rein to create without inhibition: not only is each home practical to a fault but one cannot fail to be moved by the more whimsical elements of design. With a dramatic screened entrance creating an air of mystique, the master suite on the third level rewards you with stunning views (quite literally in some cases) across the entire island. 10 and a half foot vaulted ceilings, coupled with beautifully crafted millwork, give the feeling of being up in some enchanted tower. Not content to offer solely luxury rain-head showers with massaging jets or tempting deep-set baths, the DeckHouses’ innovative upstairs outdoor shower shows that no holds have been barred on perfection here…if you can dream it, they have done it.
In this idyllic seclusion it is not hard to imagine the families that will converge every year in the summer kitchen – enjoying the simple pleasures of a barbecue on their own private beach; the friends who can retire to the cosy guest cottage or wind their way up the exterior spiral staircase to gather in awe as the sun sets on another day in paradise. Here they have dreamed the dream, the stars have aligned in the Caribbean sky as the doors open on The DeckHouses at Dragon Bay.
or contact (345) 815 7777
Photography by Gary White.
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