New Development

The Dunes Villas

New “micro-resort” under construction in Grace Bay West.

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Photos By Hamish Scott-Brown

Smith’s Reef has always held a special place in my heart. I can still recall in vivid detail the amazing undersea world of colorful coral formations, vibrant marine life, and utter peace to which it introduced me while snorkeling on my first trip to the Islands in 1988. The beach itself is unique, as well. Here, the sea is bordered with smooth tablets of rock, and the view is vast from east to west. Although many things have changed since then, this magical spot is still special, now as an enclave of upscale residential homes including The Dunes Villas.

The Dunes Villas are in front of Smith's Reef, a popular snorkeling spot.

The Dunes Villas are in front of Smith’s Reef, a popular snorkeling spot.

The Dunes Villas is a two-residence gated “micro resort” positioned on the beach just in front of Smith’s Reef. Each custom villa presents an ultra-contemporary design that raises the bar in Providenciales for Malibu-inspired living. Standing side-by-side on just under 1/2 acre lots with 78 feet of beach frontage, each two-story, 5,100 sq. ft. villa includes five bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. The beach villas have bedrooms with private balconies which boast unobstructed views of the stunning vista-in-turquoise. The heart of each villa promises to be the outdoor oasis, including a private pool with a “floating” dining palapa, outdoor kitchen and fire pit, and three outdoor showers. This is aptly complemented by the huge living and dining areas which open to beachfront and poolside terraces that catch the fresh sea breezes.

Of course, The Dunes promises all the best in fixtures and finishes, including freestanding tubs, glass showers, and double vanities in the master bathrooms, and contemporary Italian kitchen design with superior appliances. Each home will have a gated entry, on-site security, and will share a fully equipped fitness center.

The Dunes' outdoor oasis

The Dunes’ outdoor oasis

The Dunes is termed a “micro resort” due to the intimate nature of the development. The award-winning Grace Bay Resorts team will provide five-star luxury resort management services. These include a personal concierge, daily housekeeping, in-villa chefs, landscaping and pool/beach services, and signing privileges at the renowned Grace Bay Club. Grace Bay Resorts has long been known for its über-personalized service, where each guest is embraced as part of the family.

The Dunes is the creation of Dunes Development Group, a TCI company owned by Tom and Catherine McCallum, a business-savvy Canadian couple who were introduced to the Turks & Caicos Islands in 2004. The McCallums quickly sensed the country’s potential, but wisely waited until real estate prices had dropped post-2008 to make their first property acquisition in 2009 and buy their perfect piece of land in 2013.

Now based in TCI, the Scottish-born McCallums feel right at home, although Tom still travels the world in his positions as an advisor to The World Bank in emerging real estate markets and as a board member to several real estate developers. Catherine explains, “We just love the sense of community. This is the type of place where people will not hesitate to stop and help you out. And of course, it’s easy to stay healthy — just look at the beautiful beaches we have to walk on! We’ve made a lot of friends and enjoy the fact that everyone has an interesting story to tell.”

With this in mind, the McCallums understand why the country continues to attract up-market investors and visitors. “TCI is now a destination of choice for an international clientele who value the pristine beaches, low crime rate, and friendly environment.” Tom notes, “Private, highly serviced villas in prime beachfront locations have proved to be a very sound investment in the Caribbean and elsewhere. The very successful sales program at Grace Bay Resort’s ‘The Residences’ just along the beach is a strong indication that this is the next wave and we wanted to be a part of this as trendsetters in both ‘design-style’ and ‘life-style.’ I think The Dunes achieves this.”

Grace Bay Resorts CEO Mark Durliat agrees, “We’re flattered to have been selected by The Dunes as the hospitality partner for this prestigious development. We believe they’ve created a spectacular project and we share their vision of luxury and service. We are strong believers in the branded, managed single family residential concept for Providenciales and we feel the McCallums have made excellent decisions in respect of the property design, location, and long term management to ensure lasting value for its buyers.”

After purchasing the beautiful lot on Smith’s Reef, they carefully put out bids among local architects and builders to help create an enclave of luxury. “We were blown away by the level of talent here,” the couple exclaims. “Any one of the architects we talked to could have done an excellent job on our project, but we were especially attracted to SWA Architects. We could tell that they simply ‘got it.’”

The end result is a sleek, ultra-contemporary design quite different than the Floridian-influenced architecture typical of the Caribbean. Catherine explains, “This area of Providenciales, what we call ‘Grace Bay West,’ is especially hip and trendy and is home to a new generation of owners. It reflects the chic Gansevoort Resort to the east and it is what we believe echoes a clear demand trend. We anticipate that whoever purchases at The Dunes will likely occupy the villas part-time. The expectations of prospective guests call for a very high-end management team, which is why we chose Grace Bay Resorts.”

The Dunes is being built by Kvanar, a new company owned by Chris Haggie (formerly a principal of AND Construction), who won the tender over several other bidders. The McCallums were impressed with Kvanar’s bid and the team’s experience. At the time of writing this story (late November), the first villa was well underway and so far, the work ethic and professionalism of the builders have exceeded the McCallum’s expectations . . . although they supervise the site daily. “We’re building it as if it was our own.”

Also of concern is protecting the precious beachfront environment, as the homes border not only Smith’s Reef, one of the country’s most easily accessible snorkeling sights, but also the Princess Alexandra National Marine Park. With this in mind, the McCallums ensured that vulnerable plants were protected or removed from the site for safekeeping (including a 50 year-old tree), and that the best in energy-saving, environmentally-friendly features are incorporated. For instance, although the homes are well positioned to take advantage of the steady tradewinds, multi-zone air conditioning units will cut down on wasteful consumption, automatically shutting off when doors are left open. Despite the additional cost, an environmentally-responsible “Bionest” waste treatment plant will keep leeching to a minimum, LED lighting and solar water heating will be used, and grey water recycling, along with a recyclables collection centre, are built into each villa. The McCallums are especially concerned about the sensitive dune area fronting the villas, and plan to repair an age-old breech as soon as construction is complete.

Turks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty is currently marketing The Dunes and strong interest suggests they may be sold before the high season is over! TCI Sotheby’s President Joe Zahm adds, “The Dunes has been conceived to fulfill a growing niche in the luxury market for managed and secure villas, with five star branded services and amenities. Grace Bay Resorts helps set The Dunes apart from the numerous stand-alone villas in the market.”

What next? The McCallums have their eyes on other similar opportunities, with the thoughts of making their piece of paradise a little larger. Also intriguing is the fact that the nearby Turtle Cove Marina area is poised for quality growth and upgrading, further indication that “Grace Bay West” can compete with “Grace Bay” with a prestige all its own.

For more information, visit www.dunesdevelopment.com.



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Hobbyist photographer and Assistant Director for Research & Development at the TCI Department of Environment & Coastal Resources Dr. Eric F. Salamanca took this rare photo of a Bahama Woodstar hummingbird enjoying the nectar of Moringa flowers.

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