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Shannon Manor: Nestled in Nature

When I drive through the lush hillsides of Shannon, I feel as though I’m entering a portal to a different world—a world within Tortola. I like to have all my windows open as I slow-roll through the canopied, semi-rainforest, and invite in the crisp air. Some of the Virgin Islands most secluded and elegant homes have carved out their foundations within Shannon’s hillside.

A number of the island’s most revered architects have used the ideal wind tunnels and north shore dreamscapes to etch out their own private retreats. On an especially hot day in September, I was refreshed by one such hideaway at Shannon Manor.

The luxury home rests on almost two acres of land accessible only by a private drive that includes a quiet, five-property estate. Look for more BVI Real Estate listings. Shannon Manor’s land spills across the main road, where enough flatland exists for a tennis court or a romantic gazebo and garden area.

Sotheby’s Maritha Keil, who orchestrated the tour of the property, explained that the property was specifically chosen by its first owner, architect Nelson Cornish, who worked closely with Viviana Jenik on its design.

I kept this in mind as we drove the spacious driveway down to the main house. As we entered the home, I was hit by a miraculous view drawn into the open-air layout.  The vista overlooking Tortola’s north shore bends around Cane Garden Bay and provides a clear shot across Sandy Spit and Jost Van Dyke. I took a moment to admire as the cool-air breeze made me forget I was only a few miles away from the low-lying sauna-like September heat outside my office in Road Town.

Maritha explained that the open layout was inspired by traditional Thailand architecture, which affords the home cool breezes even in the depths of summer.

If the weather turns wet and rainy, Shannon Manor can be shielded by a set of resistant curtains—or shutters if the winds turn wicked. The entire home is virtually hurricane resistant—from its steel beam enforced vaulted ceilings to its sturdy design. However, it manages to hold on to an inviting charm, perfect for entertaining guests.


The kitchen is conveniently inset from the verandah—and includes some of the home’s most impressive features. Its spacious interior is equipped with sophisticated and modern monogram stainless steel appliances that would appeal to even the most stringent iron chef.

The upstairs living and entertaining area also contains a cozy yet spacious living area, equipped with a fireplace perfect for snuggling near on those extra cool and breezy winter nights. Adjacent to the living room, the current owner has transformed another inset room into an office area. The high ceilings provide ample space for tall bookshelves and storage areas. Open-air slits atop the ceiling—a theme through the home—allow for cool and fresh airflow.

My tour took me from the upstairs verandah and down a set of teak stairs made of wood salvaged from a sunken vessel off Virgin Island shores. Like the upstairs, the downstairs retains a very open layout that leads to a spacious patio and lap pool.

The master bedroom and two guest bedrooms encompass the first-level floor plan. I found out that this was a deliberate move by the architect who drew from Thai influences that purposely plot bedrooms far below the pitter-patter elements that are often amplified in a rainy climate.

I was instantly impressed by the unique and intricate woodwork in the master bedroom—from the bedframe to the cozy lounge area. Maritha explained that most of Shannon Manor’s sturdy wood pieces were imported from Malta while others were salvaged as refurbished sunken treasures.

Perhaps the most impressive attraction of the master bedroom is its immaculate bathroom, equipped with a walk-in closet. Thick, smoky glass wraps around the indoor shower.

Outside, another shower sits footsteps from the garden and its utopia of rejuvenating scents. I was quick to jump on the offer to tour through the trails of the expansive gardens that act to connect the dwelling with nature.

A meandering reinforced stone ghut symmetrically bisects the property and acts as a flowing water feature on rainy days. I imagined the wonderful trickling and bubbling background effect it would emit during the lazy days of the rainy season.

We walked the length of the property, which is lined with luscious fruit trees too numerous to count. I stopped to admire the healthy star fruit, Barbados cherry, mango, grapefruit, orange and banana trees.

On the other side of the trench, a kitchen garden remains stocked with fresh herbs and spices. I imagined walking footsteps from the kitchen to indulge in the fresh rosemary, basil, parsley and chives for my own personal enjoyment.

The varieties of fruit trees, orchids and flowering bushes and herbs provide for an otherworldly experience on the senses. The wealth of these varying fragrances travel freely through the home’s open halls.

Our walk took us full circle—from its independent guesthouse past three garages. Within the modern garages, storage spaces abound.

I was amazed to see how stocked yet uncluttered the garages seemed, with plenty of room to tuck away gardening equipment, tools, three large generators and two powerful cistern pumps. I thought to myself, if there were threat of an apocalypse, Shannon Manor would be my ideal refuge.

After visiting the stocked garages, we made our way to the home’s lower level center point: the pool. From there, I spun a 360-degree turn to admire the garden domain’s aesthetic and natural beauty.

An abundance of well-stocked storage areas and a walk in wine cellar flank the pool area. The cool spaces underneath the home provide enough space for a wine collector’s treasures that would make a sommelier smile.

An intricate set of stained and finished decks line the homes striking exterior, providing each guest room the option of private entertaining or congregating toward the pool area. Whether relaxing or entertaining, the possibilities seem endless at this North Shore gem. I found it difficult to leave the other world of Shannon Manor, and I envy the buyers who will call this sanctuary their home. 

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