Anyone who loves sailing and likes the Caribbean will already know about Grenada. It may not be one of the region's big hitters in numbers of tourists, yet the facts are impressive: the 21-mile long island has 45 soft-sand beaches, gin-clear waters, impressive marinas stacked with sleek yachts and one of the Caribbean's friendliest, safest vibes.
Direct flights from London, Miami, New York and Toronto bring 120,000 visitors each year, many of them sailors coming to explore the southern Caribbean.
High hopes for island
New developments focused around the beautiful craggy south coast have prices of £256,000 for one-bedroom apartments, ranging up to several million for substantial villas. But as property markets across the Caribbean struggle and buyers tread carefully even in established favourite Barbados, why are hopes high for tiny Grenada?
"The island is undeveloped and quiet, yet with great potential," says James Burdess, of Savills. "One fifth of Grenada is a National Park with mountains, rainforests and waterfalls but the key point is it's the gateway to the Grenadines. Grenada is one of the easiest places in the Caribbean to keep a boat, big or small. There are four marinas including Port Louis operated by Camper Nicholson taking yachts up to 330 feet."
Hurricane Ivan struck Grenada in 2004, causing severe damage, yet insurance companies consider the island to lie outside of the main hurricane belt and many sailors berth their boats there from July to September. Prices of prime waterfront homes are a third of those 140 miles away in Barbados, making Grenada's value as attractive as its raw natural beauty.
Classic charm on offer by the waterfront
Prickly Bay Waterside is a collection of 78 apartments directly on the water in the south of Grenada some 10 minutes from the airport. The modern design has a nautical theme, with porthole windows and steel railings, and stands out against the more traditional Grenadian architecture.
Prices start from £288,000 for one- to three-bedroom apartments with a resale five-bedroom townhouse for £1.85 million.
Across the bay from the capital St George's at Port Louis, a marina combining Caribbean charm with excellent modern services, British developer Peter de Savary plans to create a throbbing commercial and holiday centre. Three hundred off-plan apartments start from £256,000 while up the steep slopes overlooking the sea, 30 plots start from £320,100 for 8,000sq ft.
A second De Savary property, Mount Cinnamon on two-mile Grand Anse beach, one of Grenada's best, is an established hotel with 22 one- to three-bedroom villas priced from £480,100. Beside the beach, 11 villas at the Grenada Beach Club have been attracting interest: despite prices from £1.92 million, two sold this summer to British buyers.
Luxury apartments going at a premium
Large villas hugging the water attract hefty premiums throughout the Caribbean and the relative value in Grenada is enticing buyers to resorts like La Luna, says Burdess: "The combination of a private villa where you can get hotel services and potential rental returns is what more and more appeals to buyers."
La Luna is a romantic 16-room beachfront hotel and restaurant run by energetic Italian Bernardo Bertucci and his wife Wendy. Bernardo left New York and the fashion industry 11 years ago to become a hotelier and has created a laid-back style that comes garlanded with travel awards.
His latest project is building seven open-plan five-bedroom villas on an elevated site in the 25-acre hotel grounds. The views are some of the finest in the Caribbean and the finishes are what you would expect from an Italian designer. Villas start from £1.69 million for a generous 6,000 sq ft.
"When people come and see Grenada, they are swept away by the beauty," says Bernardo. "It is something different to Barbados and Antigua, somewhere where there is plenty to do but also where you can find total seclusion."
De Savary Property: through Savills (savills.co.uk/ abroad; 020 7016 3740)
La Luna: laluna.com