If you are in the market for a home in a tropical paradise, a luxurious estate in an exclusive Bahamas enclave should fit the bill.

Manchester Villa is situated on the finest piece of canal front property in the gated community of Lyford Cay, the oldest master-planned community in the Bahamas. The residence offers panoramic views of the marina and waterways.

On the market for $29.5 million, the massive estate with room to spare comprises over 12,000 square feet of interior space. Despite its size, the property provides a cozy and warm space to accommodate immediate family, extended family and friends.

This is the ideal estate for a boating or car enthusiast, says listing agent Philip Hillier of Christie’s International Real Estate. Extensive boat dockage spans practically the entire length of the seawall of the property.

“It’s for someone big into boating,” said Hillier. “The current owners have a 130-foot yacht, which they can park on the property. That is unusual for a boat of that size to park at one’s home. I see them often in Florida, but not so often in the Bahamas. One still has room to spare if you want jet skis, sailing boats and various other watercraft.”

The estate was built in 1995 by Irving Gould, a Canadian financier and chairman of Commodore International. Gould was an avid fisherman and boater who enjoyed exploring the Bahamian waters. Stories were told of how he frequently flew guests down to his Bahamian residence on his private jet named “Pet Jet” to enjoy the privacy and solitude provided at the villa.

The property underwent a revamp and addition, which were completed in 2019, and now features a main villa, carriage house, captain’s cottage and guest apartment on 3.29 acres. The relaxed lifestyle is enhanced by tennis and beach volleyball courts.

“It’s unusual to get that amount of land and space in a home here,” said Hillier. “Several people have liked the idea that they can relocate with their families. It’s got a tennis court. You’ve got the Captain’s Cottage, which is great if they want to come with their chef, personal trainer and secretary. They can fit everyone into their property and close the gate. God forbid if we got a second wave of the coronavirus, they could basically be self-contained.”

A formal yet inviting drawing room greets guests and leads to the gallery running through the center of the house and high arched doorways connecting all the public spaces and bedrooms.

Beyond the drawing room is the sun-drenched main living room with sweeping views of the marina. It opens onto a large covered terrace, expansive veranda and large infinity pool with a lush garden leading to the estate’s extensive dock views of the Lyford Cay Marina.

The living room is flanked by two octagonal pitched-ceilinged rooms connected by conservatory halls. The northern room is the cozy family space and features a built-in bar, making it perfect for a relaxed evening with cocktails. A connecting passageway leads from the family room past a guest bathroom and into the library with white-washed mahogany cabinetry throughout. The library opens up to the northern conservatory hall, which leads to the master suite.

That bedroom opens onto its own terrace overlooking the garden and canal beyond. It consists of large his and hers bathrooms and walk-in closets.

The southern room is the home’s formal dining room with built-in cupboards to store china and silverware. This area also opens onto the pool and terrace. The dining room leads into the southern conservatory hall that connects the guest wing, back of house and kitchen.

There are two guest bedroom suites, one which could double as a second master and has its own private terrace and multiple windows that brighten the space and save energy.

Next to the dining room and guest wing is the large kitchen with a breakfast table. A beautifully decorated powder room is opposite the pantry. 

Off the kitchen is a butler’s pantry with a walk-in cooler, wine fridge and freezer, the laundry room, housekeepers bedroom and bathroom. The main villa also boasts a three-car garage and ample storage throughout plus the guest apartment. Next to the dining room and guest wing is the large family kitchen with breakfast table.

Completed in 2019, the carriage house boosts the accommodations of the property. The ground floor is comprised of a large two-car garage, gym and a bedroom suite overlooking the beautiful main canal. 

Upstairs is an open plan kitchen-living area with laundry cupboard and two additional suites, one of which has a terrace looking west down the main canal of Lyford Cay.

The Captains Cottage is next to the dock and is perfect for crew members or younger guests. The cottage has a kitchen with laundry facilities, a game room with terrace for entertaining and four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. 

Upstairs in the Main Villa is a guest apartment, the perfect accommodation for a house guest or an estate manager. This space includes a living room with a kitchenette and balcony as well as a bedroom with ensuite bathroom.

Construction wise, the stately home was built to last with finishes that include concrete block structure internal walls and 12-inch-thick external walls. The roof is strengthened with standing seam heavy-gauge copper and is crowned with copper gutters and downspouts.

Foam insulation was installed in the roof in 2018 to increase energy efficiency. Other elements include a freshwater tank, reverse osmosis system and chilled water air-conditioning system.

Increasingly during this age of the pandemic, the rich and famous are looking for safe havens under the sun. 

“What’s interesting in the time of Covid is we’ve had several high-net worth people looking at this property with the idea that they like the idea of a compound in a gated community,” said Hillier.

The home has a generator, private well and rainwater tanks to support a self-sufficient lifestyle.

“It’s a house that could in theory be run by itself,” explained Hillier. “It’s on it’s way to having that potential. For someone that does want that, it could be appealing.” 

Some buyers eschew the usual trappings of domestic life. Hillier said, “They come in with a tutor for the children, a personal trainer, a chef, and everyone is in the compound together, and they can basically be self-contained.” 

Nassau’s busy international airport is less than 15 minutes away and includes two private air terminal options.

Hillier said, “During the first wave of Covid, we had a number of clients who were either here for spring break or already staying at their homes. But we also had a number of people that flew down to ride out the first wave, and they stayed here from March to May-June.” 

He added, “They just liked the fact that there was the sun, they could swim in the pool, and they could maybe walk around. During the Bahamas lockdown, they could at least play a bit of tennis and golf. They liked getting out of colder climates and still having some sense of normalcy.”

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