Janet Silvera, Senior Tourism Writer
Only a quarter of Fowl Cay has been developed. The waters surrounding Fowl Cay defy description. Crystal clear and breathtaking in colour, they range from the deepest sapphire to the palest turquoise. - Contributed photos
"The exotic of exotic ... the exclusive of exclusives." These words glided easily off the tongue of Adam Stewart, Sandals Resorts International's CEO, as he described the chain's latest acquisition - Royal Plantation at Fowl Cay, Exumas in the Bahamas.
Intimately coved on 50 acres of unspoiled vegetation, the new and sexy Royal Plantation neighbours the hideaways of the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean's Johnny Depp, billionaire John Malone, illusionist David Copperfield and rumour has it that Microsoft giant Bill Gates is about to make his debut on that side of the Atlantic.
Only a quarter of Fowl Cay has been developed and the plans that the Gordon 'Butch' Stewart-led group has, is to maintain the intimate settings and exclusivity, by adding four three bedroom villas to an existing inventory of four villas and two bungalows, similar to what can be found in Dubai and Bali. Half of these plush villas will be built partially on stilts on the water and will boast the premium butler service amenities that the chain has mastered.
A clubhouse, a bar, peace and tranquility all make this the perfect getaway for executives. "It is the ultimate in solitude and escape," said Adam Stewart.
The introduction of Royal Plantation, a brand which is known for its distinctiveness, panache and world-class service, will serve to differentiate Fowl Cay from all other islands in the Exumas. "We are no longer all-inclusive, we are luxury included," boasted an elated Stewart.
He said in the last two years the chain has spent over US$200 million to bring its products to the apex of super inclusive luxury, taking this thrust directly to the travel and tourism market.
Fowl Cay is one of three new Royal Plantations announced by the chain: "We are also planning a new Royal Plantation Condo-Hotel in Turks & Caicos, 20 acres next door to our Beaches resort," Stewart told Lifestyle. That resort is expected to open in the spring of 2009.
Next in line is Royal Plantation Bloody Bay in Negril, but work will not commence until Turks and Caicos is completed.
In the meantime, Fowl Cay joins the impressive list of 19 properties in the Caribbean and is expected to give the others a run for their money. A popular saying is that, "If you can't sail them (Exumas), be sure to gaze down when you're flying overhead."
This chain of 365 cays (one cay for each day of the year) is strewn over a 100-mile expanse of the most breathtakingly beautiful stretch of waters in The Bahamas. The myriad of unnamed beaches and coves excite yachtsmen, and divers relish their unspoiled waters. Most of the cays are uninhabited, strolled only by iguanas.
Located only 70 miles South East of Nassau in the Central Bahamas and 200 miles South East of Miami, Fowl Cay is approximately midway down the Exuma Island chain. It provides a venue for those who want a unique getaway in the incredible Bahamian Out-Islands.
The name Fowl Cay traces back over 100 years when the Cay was used to raise chickens in this part of the Bahamas, providing food for the local population.
Fowl Cay generates its own electricity and makes its own water from the sea.
The waters surrounding this wonderful out-island defy description. Crystal clear and breathtaking in colour, they range from the deepest sapphire to the palest turquoise. Waves lap gently on the soft beaches of Fowl Cay where you can spend your days lazing in the warm Bahamian sun.
And hidden beneath these warm waters is a world of fascinating coral reefs and sea life. In fact, Fowl Cay is just a few miles outside the 112,000 acre Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park that is home to enormous populations of this protected sea life. Conch, octopus, turtles, giant starfish, spiny lobster, tuna, dolphin, grouper, barracuda and tropical fish are a few of the creatures that share the waters surrounding Fowl Cay.