Villa Nova in the press
This is a triumph... surrounded by fields of sugar cane and shaded by bearded-fig trees. Lynne Pemberton has done it with knobs on. She has used the best to the best effect: Nina Campbell has designed the 28 suites in cool, clear linens, Fernando Peire, former eminence grise of the Ivy, is the restaurant consultant; and Gary Knowles, erstwhile chef at The Ivy and Kensington Place, is cooking modern food and organising the local farmers into organic production. Villa Nova is friendly, relaxed and quiet and has acquired the social mantle of the old Sandy Lane. The vast Sunday lunch is a truly Maughan-like scene, with everyone flopped in planter's chairs on the verandahs.
100 Best Holidays. Bin those brochures. David Wickers has found the perfect summer getaway for you.100 Best Holidays. No 1. BA will fly Concorde from heathrow to Barbados on Saturday throughout August.combine the flight with a terrace suite at Villa Nova.
Mick Jagger will potter over by private plane from his place on nearby Mustique to see the new Barbados hotel everyone is talking about - Villa Nova.
...for real style and perfection, your path should lead over to the East Coast to Villa Nova, once the Caribbean home of Sir Anthony Eden. Lynne Pemberton has converted Villa Nova into one of the most stylish country house hotels to be found anywhere.
Such is the quality that it is virtually impossible to establish which is the original part of the house and which has been built on to provide 28 individually decorated and furnished suites, all with either private terrace or balcony. If your idea of the perfect holiday is total relaxation you may never want to leave.
Villa Nova is one of the top 10 new hotels. This lovely property, one of the truly great historic houses of Barbados, stands among secluded gardens and woodland in the hills overlooking the east coast.
Few people in the industry have their fingers more firmly on the pulse than Glen Donovan, who runs the elite travel agency Earth. It has about 100 regular clients, mostly millionaires and celebrities [Sir Elton John, Madonna, Guy Ritchie]. On Barbados, he is taking bookings for Villa Nova.
Barbados is the Caribbean island that will be the most talked about this fall. Why? Villa Nova. This adult haven is one of the most romantic spots in the Caribbean, most guests will have a hard time leaving the property. They'll understand why Eden so rarely left his Eden.
Sandy Lane's > £285 million renovation is failing to make quite the same headlines as Villa Nova, a 28 room country house hotel. Like Round Hill, Jamaica's epic grand dame so beloved by Ralph Lauren, Villa Nova is for sipping vodka martinis in a panelled bar to the sound of ceiling fans. The style is less gilt than colonial, with sepia photographs, Nina Campbell Toile de Jouy bedrooms, mahogany planters' chairs and antique mercury stained mirrors.
That such a glamorous hotel should exist at one remove from Barbados' showy Platinum Coast would once have been greeted with indignation - had Villa Nova not been so pretty, so chic, so, well. Un-Caribbean.
Sandy Lane's recent $400 million renovation may be stealing headlines, but on Barbados there is a new and extremely chic alternative: Villa Nova, a peaceful 28 room country-house hotel deep in the island's interior, wrapped by glorious tropical gardens and set on a hill among fig trees. Views weep down through sleepy cane fields and villages. What a boon to find old-style glamour in a place so obsessed by the new.
We (my friend Glen Donovan, travel agent to the stars and I) made our base the newly opened Villa Nova. The best thing about Villa Nova is that it is in the middle of nowhere. No traffic noise, no jet skis. No beach vendors and no Michael Winner. The rooms have ceiling fans, wicker furniture and elegant verandahs. It's surrounded by acres of gardens and has a large black tiled swimming pool which is heated to blood temperature. Gary the chef, has cooked at The Ivy and Kensington Place, so no problems there. As I floated in the pool, dozens of butterflies fluttered over my head and I spotted a couple of green monkeys lazily swinging from one branch to another in one of the giant trees nearby. It was a wrench to leave our peaceful haven.
Villa Nova is set in a tangle of jungle, and far from the madding crowds. This is Barbados as it has never been seen before. The magnificent hotel is a world away from the all-inclusives of the Caribbean. It has the feel of a miniature Cliveden-in-exile, a country-house hotel that also manages to be deeply stylish.
It has been described as the thinking person's Sandy Lane. I can confirm that Villa Nova is sensational. The old-world feel is testimony to its history. All were bewitched by the elegance of the house - an airy coral-stone edifice dotted with columns and surrounded by a wooden verandah. It was designed to catch the breezes even on the most sultry of afternoons.
The garden has long been a draw for guests - a riot of vegetation forever busting into colour. There are towering mahoganies and royal palms, bearded fig and mango trees. Outside my window was an enormous banyan with long roots dangling from the branches, and there's a rare cannonball tree, one of only six on Barbados.
There is a remarkable new option at Villa Nova, another glorious example of tropical Palladian style, which dates back to 1834 and was formerly the winter home of St Anthony Eden following his retirement as British prime minister. The prospect from the verandahs is sublime and unchanged since it was painted by Churchill, an early guest of his parliamentary successor. Owner Lynne Pemberton, a best selling romantic novelist, has reassembled much of the original furniture, and commissioned Nina Campbell to update the great house look.
This is a magical place for those who would rather lounge in a planter's chair with a novel than pose on the beach. And it fires an arrow at the heart of Sandy Lane's traditional market.
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