Admire Batu Villa
- March 30th, 2016
- in PROPERTY
The BVI is blessed with unique properties that range through varying degrees of architectural superiority.
Batu places at the highest end of any measure, commanding reverence and creating an astounding visual feast with its Balinese influenced interior, and distinctive, natural exterior.
The name Batu meaning ‘boulder’ in Indonesian, is aptly chosen as the property is situated on the boulders of Virgin Gorda (VG) in Whale Bay. Neighbouring the renowned tourist hotspot The Baths—which is approximately a 5-min walk from the home—this villa rental presented by managers Smiths Gore, possesses incredible allure.
The phenomenal architecture, warm interiors sourced by Arawak, and the property owner’s vast experience within the hospitality industry, form the finest vacation retreat a BVI visitor could desire.
Constructing a Dream
Batu represents adoration of VG, professional finesse in Caribbean architectural design, and the fulfilment of a dream.
Property owner Paul Hamilton—who embraced his ambition to build a property on his favourite location—fell in love with VG in 1993 while working as a hotel manager for small adventure cruise Clipper Cruise Line.
“The beauty of the huge boulders as they spill into the sea always stuck with me,” said the pioneering proprietor of Batu. “Once we realised it was actually possible to build on them, there was no stopping us.”
There are theories about how VG’s enigmatic boulders were formed: “they are volcanic rocks, but the way they lie appears to be glacial,” explains Paul. Their mystery was sufficient appeal to see the initiation of a dream project which began in 2010, enlisting Jon Osman as the Architect.
Paul created the original visual concept of building the villas on top of the boulders and Jon assumed the structural implementation.
“One of the things that we liked was Jon’s passion from the first meeting,” said Paul and his wife Wendy. “When he first saw the site, he was jumping from rock to rock, brimming with ideas and excitement.”
Owner of Phoenix Construction Samuel Bascombe was tasked with the challenge to build on top of the boulders and Jones Wood Work Corp fabricated some of the villa’s doors, windows, cabinetry in the bathrooms, and closets.
With the exterior built of hardwoods from Guyana—purpleheart and greenheart—with the addition of bullet wood, and interiors designed by Arawak, the living spaces afford a traditional Balinese appearance.
Batu was completed in January 2016 and is comprised of four air conditioned suites with king size poster beds, four en suite bathrooms all equipped with outdoor showers, and four private decks with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The perceptive design maximises privacy between the suites, accentuates attention to detail in its decor, and is exemplary of form and function in review of its exterior design. The gourmet kitchen is the epitome of a culinary expert’s dream.
“There is no better equipped kitchen in the BVI when it comes to accessories used by a professional and home cook alike,” said Paul, whose own vast experience of the hospitality industry testifies to this fact.
Crafting the Idyllic Living Space
Creating this heavenly respite, Arawak Interiors owner and buyer Roy Keegan sourced and designed furnishings that would parallel the warm, earthly appearance that the exterior exhibits.
Arawak, who have been involved in interior design for hotels, restaurants, and private villas in the Virgin Islands for over 15 years, are known for offering Balinese or modern, tropical interior packages. Within their portfolio are famous projects such as Necker, Cooper Island, Little Thatch, Peter Island, Saba Rock, Coco Maya, and Golden Pavilion Villa.
“I was first introduced to Paul and Wendy by Jon Osman,” said Roy of the project’s inception. “Jon and I have worked on projects around the Virgin Islands and Jon designs using a Bali style for many of the projects he takes on with well-known developments like Necker Island, Golden Pavilion, and Sol Y Sombra.”
With Jon and Roy’s vast experience of architectural collaboration, synchronisation of the exterior and interior flowed smoothly, overcoming all logistics.
“From the carved entrance doors, to Jon’s original furniture drawings concept that he put forward to the owners when they first started the project, we took these drawings and concepts and delivered a full interior and exterior custom package for the Batu project,” said Roy.
Arawak made sure that all sourced furniture, fixtures, and fittings blended naturally with the surrounding environment. This included the carved entrance doors, courtyard doors, outdoor stone Batu sign, stone boulder outdoor lighting, synthetic rattan for balconies, bedroom and living room furniture, TV room built-in cabinets, wall art carvings, mirrors for the bathrooms, curtains, and wall sconces made from alabaster throughout the property.
The main house entertainment and living rooms offer cosy, oversize daybeds to accommodate enjoyment of the amazing view from this space.
“We try and give the customer the dream interior package…offer the correct materials…[to] stand the UV and salt conditions most building sites have to endure in the Virgin Islands,” said Roy. “Once we get a feel of the customer’s preferences for the interior, it’s easy to suggest similar pieces and offer custom pieces to be designed around the look and feel they like.”
Customising the Perfect Villa Rental
Located on the Atlantic shoreline of Virgin Gorda, Batu’s view of the ocean alone, provides the serenity sought in a vacation. Like all features that encompass this heavenly retreat, this was part of Paul and Wendy’s perception to make this villa a great vacation.
With 30 years’ experience in the hospitality/food & beverage industry, extensive travel around the world and specifically all the Caribbean islands, Paul’s choice to create a retreat on VG comes from a well-rounded perspective.
“You can’t get the experience like the one Batu offers at any other villa location in the BVI,” said Paul. “The breath-taking view, the continuous sound of the waves lapping on the boulders, and the sheer majesty of the site being completely oceanfront,” he continued.
Renting the whole villa, each separate suite makes for a very private experience for visitors, with the indulgence of a private chef that can be arranged if desired.
Being built on the same boulders that make The Baths the most popular tourist site in the BVI, is the focal charm for visitors at Batu. Guests will be in awe of the way the structures and pathways fit within the existing topography of the site – a true tourist attraction in itself.
Promising all the amenities that are available at a luxury resort, Batu offers daily maid service, weekly laundry, private chef if desired, provisioning services, and the lavish standard of in-suite TV, Wi-Fi, phone, refrigerator, coffee maker, and safe.
If seeking to keep healthy, a dedicated building with a fully equipped gym/workout facility is available and concierge services are provided by Smiths Gore, who can arrange any spa treatments or excursions available within the BVI.
Among such comprehensive holiday accommodations, it’s the unique architectural design and location that elevates Batu to a vacation retreat of distinction.
Whale Bay, Virgin Gorda
- 4 air conditioned suites with king size poster beds
- 4 en suite bathrooms
- 4 private decks
- Half bath in main house and one in maid’s facility
- 3 parking spaces
- Air conditioned entertainment room in main house with 60-in screen TV, internet stereo, Blu-ray, satellite TV/music
- The entrance to The Baths and Devil’s Bay Beach are directly next to the property entrance
- 10min walk to the beaches of Spring, Valley Trunk, and Little Trunk Bays
- 5min walk to Top of the Baths restaurant and shops and the Mad Dog Bar
- Less than 1/2 mile to Coco Maya, The Rock Café, and Mermaids Dockside restaurants
- One mile to Spanish Town marina, Bath & Turtle, and Chez Bamboo restaurants and The Rendezvous Bar
- 2 miles from the Old Copper Mine ruins
Photography by Don Hebert