Simon Jacobs, an investor from Manhattan, long considered buying a vacation home in the Caribbean, but he didn’t know where. He was after something with a beachfront, and that was reachable via nonstop flight. “I didn’t want to have to deal with any of the issues,” he said.
After checking out possibilities in Anguilla, St. Barts, Barbados, and Turks and Caicos, Mr. Jacobs, 58, his wife Eliana and their two daughters found their dream island home during a Christmas 2015 stay at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, which is built on an old sugar plantation on St. Lucia and offers privately owned, one- to four-bedroom residences.
“These new residences they were building were right on the beach and there weren’t dozens of them,” Mr. Jacobs said. They were set between the Piton mountains and the Caribbean Sea, and he had “never seen anything that was that beautiful.” They could also be rented out through the Viceroy hotel system when the family wasn’t there.
That May, he paid about $8.25 million for one of the hotel’s five new contemporary beachfront residences, personalizing the 4,200-square-foot house with a double-height living and dining room, a media room and a closet to store snorkeling gear. Since the house was completed a year ago, the Jacobses, who also have a weekend home in Connecticut and summer in Europe, have only been there a few times.
“You use it when you want it, and when you don’t want it, it is available,” Mr. Jacobs said, noting that the rent he collects offsets his homeowner fees. “You get income. You have no ownership cost.”
The Jacobses plan to return at the end of February and again in late March. “It is rented through the summer,” Mr. Jacobs said. “It’s part investment and part nice to have a house to come to that’s your own.”
Penny Strawson, the property director of Sugar Beach Residences, said many owners — typically those looking forward to retirement — rent out the houses “a great deal to start with and then use them more as they reach retirement. They made their return.”