Resort Report

Views, views, views

The Venetian holds court over the eastern end of Grace Bay.

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Photos By Steve Passmore, Provo Pictures

I was touring the TCI’s newest condominium resort, The Venetian on Grace Bay. We were standing on the crescent-shaped screened balcony that fronts each suite, taking in the glorious scenes of ivory sand, turquoise sea and a picture-perfect horizon, visible from Northwest Point to Leeward. From the back terrace, vistas swept to Providenciales’ south shore and beyond, while the property’s lovely patio and pool area filled the foreground.
Ah-ha! I thought. THIS is why people conquer territories, lay claim to special places, seek to possess . . . I wanted that view, that magnificence, to be mine.

Aerial view of The Venetian (far right) and The Tuscany

Just opened in December 2011, The Venetian on Grace Bay is a welcome new addition to Grace Bay’s beachfront condominium resorts, anchoring the tranquil eastern end of the 12-mile beach with seven stories of glamour and comfort. Both The Venetian and its sister property to the west, The Tuscany, were conceived and built by the same successful development team and share a similar Mediterranean flair, private atmosphere and unsurpassed attention to detail; The Venetian offers slightly bigger floor plans, elevator access and upgraded finishings. Both occupy a unique position at the quiet end of the beach, yet are within easy walking or driving distance of dining, shops, activities and golf.
Bob Ellingson-Lewis is the “man on the ground” behind both projects, a seasoned developer who left North America for the Caribbean in 2000 and never looked back. He’s teamed with Brian Butler, well-known for many successful Cayman Islands condominium properties, and Faye Ellingson-Lewis, the interior design side of the group. Canadian-rooted TDMG Concordia Ltd., one of the top contractors in the British West Indies, was the general contractor for The Tuscany and The Venetian, in both cases delivering first class projects on time, without compromising quality. Gathering knowledge and skills since 1974, TDMG Concordia specializes in construction endeavors set in remote, logistically challenging areas. Their strength comes from a team with a wealth of diverse talents and expertise, combined with a passion for their work, commitment to quality, and relentless attention to details.
We toured the 3.6 acre property on a sunny slice of perfect January morning. Two things are immediately apparent: the immaculate beauty of the grounds and buildings and their peaceful atmosphere. Bob explained this was the result of a design that took the best of The Tuscany and improved on it and the property’s low density. There are only 27 units on the sprawling site, with buildings up front towards the beach and the reception villa, entry portico, tennis courts, private parking and gated entrance to the back.

Patios at The Venetian boast amazing sea views.

Each condominium villa is 3 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths and stretches across the entire length of the building. The large living areas and master bedrooms are front and center, with floor to ceiling sliding doors opening onto screened terraces, welcoming the seascape into everyday life. Massive glass windows at the sides expand the 2,282 sq. ft. outside units to the horizons; inside units include an additional 287 sq. ft. of living space and a magnificent panoramic view through the 16 foot wide oversized sliding doors in the living room. I especially enjoyed the open floor plan, in which the kitchen and dining areas are part of the main living area—and partake of the outrageous view. Kitchens are designed for folks who take their cooking seriously, with Bosch stainless steel appliances, including a full-size refrigerator/freezer, ceramic electric cooktop, convection oven, built-in dishwasher and microwave, all surrounded by custom hardwood cabinets.
Each of the bedrooms includes an ensuite bath, with an additional powder room conveniently just off the foyer. The master ensuite features a large platform tub and oversize shower with a sleek frameless door; double-sink vanity tops shine in polished Travertine marble. Laundry is no chore, with a full size washer and dryer in a well-ventilated room of their own.
Although the lovely terraces open the homes to steady tradewinds, comfort will never be a problem on the hottest of days. The high efficiency, dual zone air conditioning system is teamed with six huge ceiling fans throughout the suites.
Co-developer Faye Ellingson-Lewis boasts over 30 years of experience in the Caribbean and is well known for her high-end interior design company, Design Studio. Her talented touch is evident everywhere, from the ideas in the model unit (available as packages), to custom interiors she has created for The Venetian homeowners. A firm believer that “In the Islands, the outside is an extension of your home,” Faye has kept the colors and tones of furniture, linens and artwork low-key and muted, utilizing darker outlines filled in with pastels to lend a feeling of quiet sophistication to living spaces. She’s piqued interest with unique and eye-catching accessories, all in keeping with a theme of sun, sand and sea.
As at The Tuscany, the cloistered pool and patio is second only to the beachfront as the place for residents and guests to relax. The covered walkways, bubbling fountain and formal garden parterres impart a Mediterranean touch, while the Jacuzzi at one end of the large pool and padded lounge chairs are a more modern indulgence. Bob and I agree that the absence of a restaurant on premise is a benefit, by keeping access limited to residents and guests and the smell of cooking food from masking the lovely sea breeze scent. Common areas are cool, quiet and elegant; nowhere on the property did I not feel a sense of restful ease. There is a fully equipped fitness center too, while Bob reports that Provo’s most sought-after masseuse, Rosanna Dela Rosa is based on site.
Although I had the sense that most residents and guests were quite content to go no further than the boardwalk to Grace Bay Beach and its unrivaled blend of soft sand, sweet sun and scintillating ocean colors, The Venetian offers easy access to other Grace Bay activities. The Provo Golf Club is across the street, with a good selection of restaurants and the casino nearby. A short drive to the east are all of Grace Bay’s most popular shopping/dining plazas.
A major asset to The Venetian owners is that they are in charge of their own rental program. As a result, the property is run by an experienced, on-site management team, including long-time general manager Terria Misick. This gives owners a better return on their investment and allows them to cover costs and strata fees and still make a profit. Although owners can choose whether or not to include their unit in the rental program, they can be heartened by the success met by the similarly run sister property. In fact at press time (early February 2012), TripAdvisor rated The Tuscany as Providenciales’ top hotel and a “Traveler’s Choice” 2012 selection as #2 in the entire Caribbean.
Besides the appealing, well-kept property and grounds, visitors appreciate the careful, friendly service staff readily provides to the always manageable number of guests. Amenities include a cell phone with $10 credit for use anywhere, wireless Internet in the rooms, a fully stocked kitchen on arrival (should guests desire), room service or private chef availability, a babysitting option and a 10% discount on Grace Bay Car Rentals.
Through April 30, both The Tuscany and The Venetian on Grace Bay are offering every seventh night free; from May 1 to October 31, every fourth night is free (stay seven nights, pay for only five!). Guests can reserve one, two, three bedroom or penthouse suites.
I was sorry to leave before sunset, after learning that nature’s daily show is spectacular year-round over the waters of the Princess Alexandra Marine Park, due to The Venetian’s prime position on the beach.
TCR Sotheby’s International are the exclusive real estate agents for The Venetian on Grace Bay, or you may contact Bob Ellingson-Lewis directly for details and tours. Bob admits that prices have never been better, and that a Venetian purchase is among the best values on Grace Bay Beach. With TCI tourist arrivals topping one million in 2011 and the extended airport runway opening the way to more flights from Europe and elsewhere, the developer predicts a shortage of both rental rooms and condominiums for purchase in the near future. He states, “With no new properties under construction and interest in the TCI growing, I predict a steady increase in market price and room rates, so now is the time to both purchase and visit.”

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