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Mooney Bay

Take the concept of modern resort living of Mooney Bay Estate. Take the tranquility of the North Sound and the romantic feel of your own private cove, complete with watersports, beaches and hike trails. Take the resort brought to life, and since Property Guide's March feature on the estate, refit the interiors to create a feeling of a self-contained island luxury.

Redesigning the interior of Mooney Bay was a decisive move to bring the resort up to the highest standards in the BVI. And the undertaking needed the right person with the right eye. Meet Monti Samuel, project manager for Doug Riegels' Mosaka Ventures. She was charged with the redesign of the resort that fits the shape of modern vacationing for the Caribbean. Practically, Mooney Bay can sleep twelve people comfortably with a master suite and five other private units.

All photos by www.donhebert.com.

Mooney Bay Estate is to be manned by a small staff, and Monti and the team have been concentrating on revitalizing the magnificent, 30 year old dwelling. “We wanted to concentrate on the fundamentals of the exterior first—notably the gardens and dock before moving onto the interior layout. The gardens, now in bloom, have led us to the refit and the function of the resort, and the comfort is to be of the highest level—that is paramount,” said the project manager.

As we do have to accept the humanistic approach to design elements, so the influences of the individuals in turn are reflected on the structure itself. Doug Riegels, owner of Mosaka Ventures, is a property developer who was born in the BVI and educated abroad. His influences lie in the sustainable development of property and his former training in landscape architecture. For those reasons Doug pointed out, “This really is a jewel to us in the sense of our other upcoming projects. We have already revitalized the gardens to their original state, and every step has been taken to bring the buildings to a fresher look that they deserve while still maintaining their rustic appeal. We didn’t want to simply create something that looks like it has history. It does, and we want to show that through. Consider it the equivalent of restoring a country home. We are fortunate in its original construction, so concrete and bulldozing were not priorities, and we are able to take that forward by restoring the wood and old fittings to create an ambiance of relaxed precision. Rather than redoing a property, I like to make use of its potential—appreciate and develop on its attributes. It’s the same way I have always approached projects. We could have kept it as is, but we had so many wonderful ideas, and it is the perfect canvas—you have to see it to truly savor that and the hospitality packages are second to none; we wouldn’t want to offer anything that can simply be compared.”


As to Monti Samuel’s influences, they are derived from the islands and afar. Having spent 13 years in the Far East, she draws eastern inspiration from Thailand, The Philippines and Indonesia. A strong Caribbean sense of architecture comes from 10 years in the British Virgin Islands, and an eco-sensitivity originates from time spent on the West Coasts of Canada and California. The thought behind Mooney Bay is to stay rustic and in tune with very natural surroundings, to work with natural woods, stones, grains, soothing colours and bamboo furnishings. The other goal was to revitalize as much of the existing architecture and furniture as possible to keep Mooney Bay’s timelessness.

Monti’s mission was to try and stay true to the BVI by having as much work done locally or through local suppliers; all the cabinetry and woodwork was done on-island by local construction company AGS, furnishings were selected in conjunction with Arawak on Tortola, upholstery work was handled locally on Virgin Gorda through Jarrett-George Interiors, and industriously, a lot of work was done in-house by their own staff, including the current project to make all their own vanity and kitchen countertops using stained concrete and aggregate.


“My vision for Mooney is simplicity, earthy, wholesome and natural,” said Monti. “To bring the inside out—all our dining and living areas are in the open air—with rough-hewn solid wood tables and the original bamboo seating refinished, all surrounding the natural stone deck pool or gazing across the ocean vista, the gardens with their resident iguanas and teeming mangroves. The kitchen is open and exposed on almost all sides with wooden louvers and screens, lending itself to being in the open while still being enclosed from the elements. We want our guests to enjoy all of the resort and nothing is to be hidden away.”

The bathrooms kept all their original terra cotta floorings—re-polished to bring back their original luster. The pièce de résistance being solid stone sinks formed from natural rock in their original organic forms coupled with antique brass bathware.

“The sensation is very old world, of stepping back into time, going back to the basics, your own Treasure Island to discover,” said Monti.

Mooney Bay hopes to furnish the rooms with sensitivity, using bamboo-derived linens and towels, to offering eco-friendly products as their amenities, and same for products available for sale to guests, such as clothing, writing utensils and bags. Looking at the development so far, Doug and Monti have to agree. “We are well aware that no resort can be fully ecologically integrated, but every little step we take makes a difference to our world.” 

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