- July 29th, 2011
- in Yachting
Back to Nature at Maarib House in Shannon
Since I handed over the reins of BVI Property & Yacht in January, I’ve missed being welcomed into the most exclusive homes and properties in the BVI, so when Maritha Keil of BVI Sotheby’s International Realty called the office while Dan was on vacation, I jumped at the opportunity to visit Maarib House in Shannon.
A Hebrew word, maarib, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica, means “who brings on twilight” and signifies evening prayers recited after sunset. For me, the concept conjures vespers at summer camp when I was a kid. It was a time to unwind and be still in nature after a full day of hiking, canoeing, swimming and exploring. We would walk down a packed earth staircase to the amphitheater built into the hillside. Through the canopy of trees, we’d observe the stars and listen to the sounds of the night before lighting candles and singing songs. This quiet peacefulness, this natural inner stillness came back to me as I sat at Maarib House, also built into the hillside, and listened to birds twittering, wind rustling through the fronds of the coconut palms and geckos scuttling through the leaves. The surroundings were so lush, I could almost hear the vegetation growing as I looked out over the blue sea and the islands near and far.
Shannon has always been one of my favourite neighborhoods in the BVI, since my earliest visits to the territory. I was fortunate enough to frequently housesit in Shannon, and that is when I became acquainted with the solitude and serenity that defines this private hillside escape. I could sit reading for hours without hearing one manmade sound. The road to Shannon, with vines draped across it, is the first indication of the area’s verdure. The property at Maarib House hosts mature papaya trees, coconut trees, lime trees, flowering vines, landscaped gardens and a springy lawn of Bermuda grass but the house itself, cut from the hillside, opens up to the dome of blue sky that surrounds it.
The layout of the home encourages interaction with nature. Large archways in the bedrooms and great room frame the views from Cannon Point to Jost Van Dyke to Belmont Hill. Pillars support the roof that covers the outdoor living space, allowing a seamless flow between the indoors and out but with coverage when needed. The sunny outdoor spaces include a large sitting area, lounging space by the pool as well as a huge covered patio for dining and a smaller one for snacking. The Travertine-tiled deck stretches from the separate guest house past the infinity pool and living spaces and beyond the master bedroom where it offers more sitting and sunning areas. These spaces look out over the tree canopy beyond the shores of Tortola to the bright beaches and blue bays of Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay, Jost Van Dyke and St Thomas.
Inside the house, the spacious and fully equipped, light-filled kitchen sits above a sunken family room that features the aforementioned archways. The rooms have cypress tongue-and-groove cathedral ceilings that complement the Brazilian cherry solid hardwood floors—a stunning touch that reinforces a connection with the natural surroundings. The master suite includes a walk-in closet and master bath along with a bedroom spacious enough to accommodate areas for sleeping as well as sitting and relaxing. The bright and airy en suite master bath has the same cypress cathedral ceilings as the other rooms and also contains a roomy Travertine-tiled spa shower with dual shower heads.
Downstairs, the bedrooms open to a patio that is just a step above the lush lawn. Where the master bedroom was grand and capacious, these rooms are unpretentious and cosy, in a way that made me want to sink into a rocking chair and read for a few hours while feeling the sea breeze, cool and filtered from the trees, ruffle my hair. Again, I was struck by the tranquility and understood why the current tenant keeps an art studio downstairs where she can concentrate on her painting. Back upstairs, the separate guest house comprises a large bedroom with hardwood floors and cathedral ceiling, a bathroom and an outdoor shower. Though private, the guest house is close enough to the main house to be simply used as another bedroom.
While the setting of Maarib House is serene, the openness of the house also allows for a relaxed, flowing vibe that’s perfect for a family or for those who plan on having visitors or even just entertaining on the weekends. The rooms encourage communing with nature and private contemplation while they equally inspire mingling with friends and family. The convenience of Shannon, located in the center of Tortola, also means that, if one should ever want to leave, the north shore beaches and Road Town are all just a short drive over one side of the hill or the other.
I did not have the chance to stay around for the evening or vesper hours, but I’ve been in Shannon at sunset before, and it is stunning. The sun sets in different spots on the horizon depending on the time of year, so viewers can see it sink over Jost or simply melt into the sea. The celestial ceiling changes color by the second during twilight. After that, a sky full of stars and the twinkling lights of other islands in the distance are accompanied the sounds the night brings, and Maarib House provides a perfect place to experience it all.
Maarib House Summary
Neighbourhood – Shannon
Bedrooms – 4
Swimming Pool – Yes
Size – .7Acres
Price – US$2,400,000
For more info contact:
e [email protected]