From Sea-to-See views and 'flip-flop chic' to Balinese design cues and nautical idylls, these three new developments raise the bar for island residential design

Cayman’s most coveted new spot for a sundowner isn’t on the beach; it is 10 stories up, atop The Residences at Seafire. Dubbed “The Nest,” this 3,500-square-foot private owners’ terrace is now the highest point on Grand Cayman and offers lofty sea-to-sea views – with a turn of the head one can look from Seven Mile’s powdery sands to North Sound’s waterways.

No one had any doubt that Dart Real Estate’s first foray into resort-residential development was going to be impressive. The Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa (with which The Residences shares an expansive 12-acre site and luxury amenities) set a whole new standard for hospitality design when it opened in fall 2016. A year on, The Residences at Seafire is doing the same for domestic interiors, enlisting the talents of internationally renowned SB Architects and interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard.

With a star-studded resume that includes decorating the homes of Cher, Eva Mendes and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as California’s Colony Palms Hotel and two Jimmy Choo boutiques, British-born Bullard has infused his signature relaxed, eclectic style with quintessentially Cayman elements for Seafire.

The lobby, for example, features large rope chandeliers that hark back to the island’s first industry, as well as stunning bookmarked stone walls that resemble sliced agate. The Nest’s focal point is a woven driftwood bar – another nod to locality – surrounded by lounging pits, cabanas and an outdoor kitchen. Throughout the 62 residences, a palette of crisp whites, pale timber and a myriad of blues seamlessly echo the beach beyond.

Buttery soft, caramel-colored leather sofas in the lobby set the tone for what Bullard calls “flip-flop chic”, a thoroughly modern, low-key take on luxury that is all about kicking back in comfort and nestling in natural textures. This is Cayman, after all, not the Upper East Side.

Catering to homeowners’ desire for indoor-outdoor living, each residence has at least one spacious terrace (or four, in some cases) for entertaining and relaxing in the sea air. Some also have convertible Nana Wall© folding doors to open the walls to the sky.

“The Residences have been designed so you never forget where you are,” says Jackie Doak, president of Dart Real Estate. “While surrounded by world-class amenities and luxury design, the view from your home is a constant reminder that you live in a Caribbean paradise… A space in which you have the best of the both worlds – the serenity of your private home and resort services at your fingertips.”

Sustainability is another growing priority in high-end design and, following the standard for previous Dart developments, Seafire comes up trumps. It joins the ranks of fewer than 200 resort-residential properties worldwide to achieve LEED Silver certification, a building designation that celebrates best-in-class sustainable design, building practices and operations. Practically, this means rainwater is collected and used to water the lush grounds; electricity is generated via a 143,000-watt solar array (one of the largest in the Cayman Islands); and air conditioning is powered by a highly efficient ground-source geothermal system. Recycled glass from Dart’s crushing facility was used as a component in the pavers, and electric car charging ports can be found in the underground parking. Everything from the outdoor lighting (angled to be turtle-friendly) to the building’s positioning (behind the natural vegetation line to help prevent beach erosion) works in harmony with the natural surroundings.

This eco-ethos also drove Dart’s choice of collaborators in this project; namely, Guerin Glass, known for harnessing the natural environment to create site-specific work, and landscape architecture by EDSA, in consultation with the Dart Nursery for the supply of local flora.

There is also scope for owners to carve distinct, personalized living spaces. Floorplans range from ultra-chic studios to stately five-bedroom residences, with a selection of finishes and furniture packages. Something they all have in common is a parade of sea views along Seven Mile Beach, as even the ground is floor elevated 25 feet above sea level. Entry is directly into an open living area, so ocean views greet the eye the moment one steps inside.

Like The Nest, many of the residences also look onto the North Sound, which means it is possible to watch sunrise and sunset from the same apartment – a rarity in Grand Cayman real estate and, when the sun meets the watery horizon, a daily reminder of why ‘Seafire’ is such an apt name.

Source: Inside Out