Fort Recovery Waterfront Villa on the Caribbean Sea
By Traci O'Dea
There’s something magical about the panoramic view across the Sir Francis Drake Channel from the Caribbean side of Tortola.The islands of Virgin Gorda, Ginger, Cooper, Salt, Peter, Norman, St John and all the little cays and rocky outcroppings in between elicit a spirit of adventure and discovery. I’ve seen the island-dotted Channel from Havers, above Hodge’s Creek and MacNamara, but always from the hills, far from the sounds of the gentle waves. Private waterfront property situated directly on the Caribbean side of Tortola, where the water can be not only heard but touched, is scarce. Fort Recovery Waterfront Villa is a one-of-a-kind property that sits directly on the seaside in Fort Recovery, West End, Tortola.
The first thing I heard when I arrived at the villa was the lapping, rushing and rippling sounds of the waves against the rocks. And the first thing I saw when I entered the great room of Fort Recovery Waterfront Villa was that view—the lush green hills of the nearby islands that beg for daydreaming explorations. The great room features an entire wall of glass doors that open to the extensive deck which sits mere feet above the Channel. No other property in the BVI has this expansive view.
The sunset view over the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the Caribbean Sea from Fort Recovery Waterfront Villa. All photos b y Jim Scheiner/Rainbow Visions Photography.
Out on the deck, I felt the breeze and smelled the sea, and got a sense that at any moment a boat could pull up to whisk me away to Norman Island where we could go treasure hunting in the caves or at least snorkel through them. But it's not necessary to travel to snorkel. I looked down at the reef below and saw that it was bustling with marine life—naturally because this part of the Caribbean Sea is unexplored by tourists or divers, so it’s like having your own private reef. I had difficulty pulling myself away from the porch and the breeze and the sound of the waves.
Back inside, the owner of the house, Anita MacShane Cottoy, a former Broadway producer, told me that she kept the furnishings and artwork uncomplicated and elegant because she knew she couldn’t compete with the majesty of the sea. Still, the house is decorated with impeccable taste and personalized charm—a combination of modern and contemporary furniture and textiles share space with African hangings and sculptures, Broadway posters, Caribbean paintings and a museum quality ten-foot tribal totem pole that guards the entrance to the great room. The walls of the 100-foot spectacular art gallery are adorned with large paintings and tapestries. There are also original 19th century Aboriginal sculpture pieces from New Guinea and Africa. Aside from the vistas, art and furnishings, the most stunning feature of Fort Recovery Waterfront Villa is the bamboo ceiling—a consistent feature for a part of a house that is traditionally only functional. The bamboo was imported from St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the ceiling was hand-assembled here in the BVI. A built-in bookcase flanks one wall from floor to ceiling and is filled with books, art and a large flat-screen television.
The dining room table in the great room, custom made from purpleheart wood, comfortably seats ten guests. One focal point of the great room is a five-panel abstract painting which complements the setting—especially at sunset when the sky and sea light up the room with yellows, greens, pinks and reds. The state-of-the-art kitchen features a long, slate-tiled breakfast bar, stainless steel double sink with a view through the glass doors, all new stainless steel appliances, tons of storage space in custom-made cupboards and drawers, a pantry, broom closet and tile countertops. Attention has been paid to every detail and making sure that every amenity is at hand.
A seagrape tree grows through the porch of one of the bedrooms.
Beyond the great room and off the gallery, the two smaller bedrooms of the four-bedroom house have their own private porches, each with its own seagrape tree coming in through the porch planks—providing shade and Caribbean character to the rooms. “We never cut down trees,” Anita said. All bedrooms have en suite bathroom, and each is decorated with the same uncluttered aesthetic—lots of windows, white walls, natural woods, tile floors—with a few splashes of colour thrown in to entertain the eye. The third bedroom with en suite bathroom and skylight, includes one and a half walls of windows overlooking the sea, sliding glass doors that lead to its own private porch, transom windows and a tongue-and-groove ceiling. The bathroom also boasts double sinks with stainless steel fixtures and plenty of cabinets and drawers. A marble staircase in the middle of the gallery leads to a loft space that is large enough to make an adorable playroom, cosy library or private office. Also off the gallery is a laundry room with a washer and dryer.
The master bedroom includes two large closets, a large dresser, a king-sized bed in the middle of the room, an authentic Art Deco solid oak desk and chair at the window facing east across the Channel, bamboo ceiling accents, a rocking chair looking out over the sea where passing boats are a constant point of interest, two double sliding glass doors leading to the porch, transom windows, double closets, and a long mirror to reflect the sea. Connected to the master bedroom is the master bathroom. Covered in imported tiles, the master bathroom exudes cool chic. My first desire is to slink into the Jacuzzi tub and stare out at the sea. An enormous glass-bricked shower features a smooth pebbled floor.
The master bathroom with its luxurious Jacuzzi and view of Norman Island.
Back out into the skylit art gallery that connects all the rooms, I entered the back yard which is planted with coconut palms, soursop, mango, passion fruit and lime trees. A large yard offers plenty of space for an infinity pool or a hot tub beside the water’s edge. I re-enter the home through the nine-foot, solid wood double doors, and note that with these doors and the matching front doors open, a breeze sifts through the entire house. I hadn’t even noticed that the air conditioning wasn’t turned on, but it is available in every room.
Though Fort Recovery Waterfront Villa is a private residence, it is located beside the exclusive Fort Recovery Beachfront Villa & Suites Hotel; a very convenient option for visitors to the villa residence. Fort Recovery Hotel has a guest-only restaurant, spa, salon, freshwater pool, exercise room, private dock and beach. The amenities of the resort, including concierge service and free Wi-Fi are available as part of the sale of the villa.
Fort Recovery Waterfront Villa Summary
Selling Price - $4,200,000
Acreage - 0.5 acres
Date built - 2010
Bedrooms - 4
Bathrooms - 4 (en suite)
Furnished - Yes
Water Access - Yes
Brought to you by Sotheby's International Realty.