Usually, getting to a destination is the most difficult part of a trip; at The Abaco Club, an international sporting club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas, the hard part is leaving.
“Welcome to Paradise” is how David Southworth, founder and CEO of Southworth Development, greets newcomers here. Even before you reach your residence, via a personal golf cart, you already feel the sense of being in paradise building.
The setting is relaxed with low slung buildings and iconic Bahamian architecture surrounded by lush vegetation. In the background, turquoise waters sparkle and flashes of rose red can be spied as Bahamian parrots streak through the trees.
No matter your vision of paradise — golf, tennis, boating, cave diving and snorkeling excursions or just relaxing on two miles of pristine beach — this club has it all. The golf course, consistently rated No. 1 in the Bahamas, is a true Scottish-style links course set hard by the sea with classic links features including pot bunkers and sloping greens. Pros such as PGA champion Darren Clarke often use the extensive practice facility to perfect their short game.
The club setting, which restricts the number of visits from non-members, adds to the overall laid-back ambiance. Real estate offerings include cottages, estate homes and cabanas. Two new condo buildings are planned. Also, in the works is a second members’ clubhouse and dedicated boat slips at Little Harbour.
Divers worldwide come to Abaco to explore the blue holes and potentially the most extensive island underground cave system in the world.
Our visit to the island included a winding trip through a pine forest with the Friends of the Environment to visit Dean’s Blue Hole, the second deepest in the world. Another day, we explored the cays and harbors around the Sea of Abaco, where we swam with turtles and met the swimming pigs of No Name Cay.
Along the Winding Bay beach, the club’s waterfront director has a range of water toys including kayaks, paddleboards and snorkels at the ready, and special events are planned every day.
Whether in the open air at Flippers Beach Bar or taking in the panoramic views from the relaxed elegance of the Cliff House, dining often turns into a convivial experience. It’s no surprise that Flippers’ signature drink is the Island Smile. Fish tacos at Flippers and fresh lobster at the Cliff House are favorites.
The last night of our visit was ribs night, one of the special events at Flippers, with live Shake ‘n Scrape music and a surprise visit from the island’s Junkanoo troupe.
Regretfully, we had to leave the next morning, but we carried with us the last exuberant notes of that night. — Camilla McLaughlin
Photos courtesy of The Abacos Club; Left bottom photo courtesy of Home ©Aaron Usher III
From Cabo to Costa Rica, these island destinations are offering year-round surfing experiences for both beginners and experts.
Photos courtesy of Mukul, Auberge Resorts Collection
Cabo, a year-round surfing destination, offers diversity in break direction and level of difficulty — in addition to unparalleled coastal scenery, according to Cabosbest.com.
While many choose to surf in Cabo during the summer months of June through August, the fall months of September to November are also a great time to catch waves.
Nestled between rugged desert mountains and the sparkling Sea of Cortez, Querencia is located on the best surf break in Cabo. Q Beach Club features the Q Surf Club, which provides a wide array of water sports and activities, including surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and snorkeling.
In recent years, Nicaragua has become an increasingly popular spot for surfers due to the consistency of the waves and good weather conditions.
Offering a range of new surf experiences for owners and guests, Mukul, Auberge Resorts Collection is furthering the growth of surfing in Nicaragua.
In partnership with the luxury surf outfitter Tropic Surf, Mukul is bringing its surfing experience to a whole new level. At the resort, led through Tropic Surf, is a coaching plan that helps guests go from a “white belt to black belt” in surf, and it is led by the resort’s “surf sensei.”
The property is also launching a Siren Surf Safari experience, an all-female experience designed to challenge and empower women through a curated itinerary of physical and wellness experiences. Women of all ages and life stages are invited to brave waves, meditate and take part in ancient healing rituals.
Surfing is deeply intertwined with Hawaiian culture and history, as the first written account of surfing was actually recorded there, according to gohawaii.com.
Whether a beginner or expert, surfers can take in the rich culture of Hawaii while learning the ins and outs of surfing in a beautiful, tropical destination.
Set to open in June and nestled between the uncrowded sands of Running Waters Beach, Timbers Kauai – Ocean Club & Residences at Hokuala offers surfers the best of both worlds.
Owners and guests at Timbers Kaua’i can have a private surf lesson through The Beach Club, with surfboards and gear ready and waiting. Partnered with island-favorite adventurers Kauai Beach Boys, The Beach Club allows owners to ride with some of the best surfers on the island.
Photo courtesy of Querencia
Across the globe, Costa Rica maintains its position as one of the world’s most beloved surf destinations. Consistent, high-quality waves with a variety of breaks make it a surfing destination for both beginners and advanced surfers.
The tropical destination offers a wide variety of world-class surfing options, including Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point, which are both a short distance from Four Seasons Private Residences Prieta Bay at Peninsula Papagayo.
Owners and guests at the Four Seasons may enjoy access to the luxury surf school offered by Tropicsurf at the adjacent Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, which offers lessons at the resort’s Playa Blanca.
As the president of a firm that has developed more than $1.3 billion of property on the Cayman Islands, Jackie Doak has been instrumental in the region’s progress.
By Kelly Potts
Jackie Doak traveled what she calls a “very wandering path” that led to her becoming the President of Dart Real Estate, a Cayman Islands investment, development and management company. Doak has been with the company since its flagship development, Camana Bay — a 650-acre commercial and residential master-planned New Urbanist town — and has helped the company break barriers on the island ever since.
What are some major developments you’ve worked on with Dart Real Estate?
I worked on Camana Bay from its teaser, to announcing that it was open, to now celebrating our 10-year anniversary. Building a town in itself was a great experience, but hospitality and the way people feel is part of my DNA. I was part of the creative, collaborative design team of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, and I also had the benefit of working on the Cayman Islands Yacht Club, which we acquired in 2011.
What was the design process like for Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa?
Kimpton was the first new resort in the Grand Cayman in 10 years; we’d been fairly static as a tourist destination since 2005. We acquired the land that Kimpton is on in 2011 and spent a year master-planning going up five additional stories on the existing structures and adding additional buildings on the site. Although there was value in building up, we realized that if we demolished the hotel and started fresh, we’d have a much better product. We’re very proud of the decisions we’ve made and innovation is one of our values. Interior Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard has the perfect personality for the residences at Seafire, which will be finished later this year for occupancy.
What do you hope that guests or residents of your developments will experience during their stay?
When I travel with my family, I come back with moments that really resound with me. And that, to me, is what I would like our visitors or customers to take away — meaningful moments that impact their life. It’s great to come to Camana Bay and buy a beautiful dress, but it’s more impactful where you went in that dress and what you experienced. We also want to create and capitalize on the infrastructure of the Cayman Islands. We surprise and delight many who come here for business, and we want to supplement that.
Location photos courtesy Camana Bay
Can you tell me about the placemaking approach used in your projects?
We really say that greater than the sum of our parts is our design excellence. If you don’t think about the experience of your customers or clients as they move through a property, as they park their car or as they walk around, you can be very functional, but not successful in making an impact. We focus on places that inspire you to live your best life. We take into consideration where the breeze comes from, how the sun moves over the property and how landscaping and water and shading will cool areas. We strive to make a place as inspiring as we can to promote health, activity and wellbeing.
Does Dart Real Estate have any exciting plans or projects coming up?
We recently completed a three-day workshop for Camana Bay in regards to a new commercial office building, a supermarket and doubling the capacity of the school. We’re going to have a very busy development cycle over the next few years, as we are also working on a 5-star resort in the Cayman Islands, where we have the opportunity to create multi-generational experiences including things like a lazy river and slide, kayaking, ziplining and a museum. We’re also talking about Phase Two of the Kimpton Residences, with 17 of 62 residences already pre-sold. The sales velocity has been very rapid, so we’re looking at creating an additional tower of residences at Kimpton Seafire.
What is your favorite aspect of being President of Dart Real Estate?
It’s great being president of an amazing company, but I was also the first female president of Dart. No day is the same and that’s what thrills me about working with this company. We have a very diverse group of individuals with many different life and education experiences, and we have a visionary and amazing shareholder in Mr. Dart. Being able to be a part of this company and inspire future generations is what makes it more than a job; every day I’m given the opportunity to leave an impact in the Cayman Islands.
Photo courtesy the Residences at Seafire/Dart Real Estate