The Villa Nova Hotel is one of the last remaining Great Houses of Barbados. It is situated in the northeast of Barbados in Wakefield, St. John and is approximately a 20-minute drive from the airport.
This Palladian-style plantation house was built with hand cut coral stone in 1834 by sugar cane baron Edmund Haynes and is set high on a hillside, with approximately 15 acres of lush gardens surrounding the buildings. It has panoramic views, including a view across 7 miles to the Atlantic Ocean. The Barbados Government owned the property from 1907 until former Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Anthony Eden purchased it in 1965. During his residency, renovations were carried out until its sale in 1971.
After a multi-million dollar restoration project aimed at preserving the property’s colonial heritage, in the spring of 2001, Villa Nova re-opened its doors to the public.
Villa Nova has hosted guests such as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, British playwright Noel Coward,
Sir Winston Churchill and former Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair. The property’s main buildings consist of the original building, the Great House, and a 12-room Park House. The Great House includes a grand dining room, bar area and 15 guest rooms with high ceilings, large bathrooms with bath tub and separate walk-in shower and private terraces overlooking the gardens or the pool. The Great House can also accommodate conference rooms, library and a fitness room. There is also a gazebo, a full length pool, two all-weather tennis courts, a security hut and a parking lot that can accommodate approximately 50 vehicles. There are 9 detached spa buildings of timber construction set within a tangled forested area of bearded fig, mahogany and mango trees.
Interior Designer Nina Campbell and a team of internationally acclaimed health professionals designed the spa area. This led Villa Nova to win the title of “Caribbean’s Leading Boutique Hotel” at the 2004 World Travel Awards.
While in operation, the hotel offered several activities, all of which were arranged by the hotel employees. For the nature lover, there is a walking trail around Villa Nova, approximately 4.1 kilometers (2.4 miles) and a second trail using a different route which spans 6 kilometers (3.6 miles). Other organized activities included golf, deep sea fishing, heritage tours, horseback riding, tennis and watersports. On a quiet evening, one can relax and enjoy the ambiance and tranquil setting of a private terrace overlooking the lush gardens.
Before the transformation of the plantation house into a hotel, Villa Nova was used as an “Open House” where thousands of patrons would gather to explore the surroundings and view the grand architecture and the vintage furniture, each piece with its own historical significance. Cultural lessons on the antiquity, magic, serenity and ambience that surrounds the plantation house now restored into the Villa Nova hotel, were always the highpoint of the tour of this grandiose Barbadian property.
The Villa Nova Hotel is a superb property, offering a variety of revenue-making opportunities. The property has an extra touch of glamour, elegance, charm and sophistication that would make it amenable to many options: a posh five-star hotel, a serene medical retreat or a lavish setting for several special events, long or short term rentals. Although closed since 2008, the property has been reasonably well maintained. Minimal repairs, particularly to the roof, refurbishing work, redecorating and landscaping would return Villa Nova to a functional state.
Before its closure in 2008, Villa Nova was rated as a five-star hotel and the Barbados Hotels and Tourism Association classified it in the luxury category of hotel ratings.
Details of the site area are provided below are taken from the last property appraisal:
Main hotel site: 14.55 acres (633,798 sq. ft.)
Additional land: 0.034 acres (1,470 sq. ft.)
Total: 14.58 acres (635,105 sq. ft.)
Gross building area: 0.80 acres (34,827 sq. ft.)