Press > Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s Much-Longed-For Rebirth

Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s Much-Longed-For Rebirth

Homepage, Design, Projects, Sustainability, Luxury

Rebirth of Rosewood Little Dix Bay

Looking for an idyllic tropical hideaway, a resort steeped in legendary history yet exuberantly refreshed and reimagined? In the celebrated annals of luxurious, nature-loving Caribbean retreats that brim with who’s-who lore, the British Virgin Islands is home to iconic Rosewood Little Dix Bay, newly reopened on Virgin Gorda this month after a four-year, at times tumultuous, closure. Secluded on 500 acres with a half-mile, powdery white sand beach, landmark Rosewood Little Dix Bay will undoubtedly be the happy talk of the turquoise sea during 2020 and beyond.
Founded more than a half-century ago by businessman and ardent conservationist Laurance Rockefeller (grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller), Little Dix Bay sparkled as an eco-conscious haven, a gem of his RockResorts properties, which were embraced by environment-attentive, well-heeled, privacy-preferring travelers, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Prince Charles, as well as film stars and financial titans. Little Dix Bay changed ownership in 1993, joining Rosewood Hotel Group. In 2016, a planned renovation commenced. But a few months before its reopening, Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s future dramatically shifted. Fueled by nearly 200 mile-per-hour winds, Hurricane Irma, in 2017, centered its Category 5 eye directly over the property—devastating it and much of the neighboring community. The catastrophic result required a total rethink, a major and deep-breath rebuilding.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s much-longed-for rebirth this month feels like a baptism of sorts, a recognition of commitment and fortitude, realized hopes and dreams. It deserves a resounding high-five to everyone who came together—management and the people of Virgin Gorda and the British Virgin Islands—to transform upheaval into uplift. Their can-do spirit is a graceful affirmation of the power of renewal.
Masterful architecture company OBMI and New York-based design team Meyer Davis unfolded the metamorphosis. Eighty all-new guest rooms—one- and two-bedroom suites and villas with unobstructed water views—incorporate the latest modern amenities into an earth-appreciating aesthetic, showcasing natural materials, such as stone and wood, in artistic and fashion-savvy ways. Nodding to Rockefeller’s earlier era, Meyer Davis had fun paying tribute to the jet-set 1960s (with Jacqueline Kennedy as muse) by designing mid-century modern furnishings and integrating artwork and sculptural elements that exude playfulness: retro photographs of women wearing bathing caps; a cabinet of curiosities in the Great Room. Colored in soft earth-and-sea hues, guest rooms feature fantastical outdoor showers; some suites have their own plunge pools. Lushly replanted, floral gardens and palm trees are eye-catching and eye-soothing.
“Little Dix Bay has been such a darling of Caribbean travelers for 56 years,” says managing director Andreas Pade in an exclusive interview. “So from a Rosewood perspective, we are very proud of how we have been able to keep the resort’s identity and character intact, yet give the food and beverage as well as the service experiences a much more sophisticated feel—along with a distinct barefoot luxury approach.”
In addition to Little Dix Bay’s verdant beauty, its architectural and engineering advancements, such as protective shuttering, hurricane-proof windows and hurricane-minded construction, are fortified. “This project has had its share of trials,” continues Pade. “The process has been very long. What personally gives me the most joy is seeing the resort open again—and all the positive reactions from new and legacy guests alike. [To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt] ‘Nothing easy is ever worthwhile doing.’”

Press > Tim Peck Talks Scrub Island and Luxury Development

Tim Peck Talks Scrub Island and Luxury Development

Design, Projects, Sustainability

Caribbean Journal Discusses Scrub Island with OBMI Chairman

Caribbean Journal sits down with Tim Peck to discuss OBMI’s latest design project, Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands, a residential and resort property off Tortola. Peck talked to Caribbean Journal about the Scrub Island project, about making Caribbean hotels environmentally friendly, and how the capitalization of luxury development in the region has changed.

What was the design process like for Scrub Island?

We designed the initial master planning on the property, then did all of the detail design work for the architecture and the marina, and took it through the approval process. I was somewhat involved in the construction process as well. It’s an interesting project, it’s fairly unique in terms of what’s been happening in the Caribbean recently. It’s basically developing an island from nothing. There was nothing there, no infrastructure, it was what you call a “virgin” Virgin Island. We literally had to start from scratch with the planning process and think about how we could preserve as much as we could of the character and personality of the island, while still managing to produce a development which produces the financial criteria for the developers. Everything was kept in its virgin, natural form. On the north side, which has a beautiful beach, we kept that, with virtually no development at all. The only thing there is, is a small beach bar. One of the other interesting things is that there was a lot of discussion during the process about the name of the island, because obviously “scrub” is not one of the more romantic names you can get for a resort. But what is nice, are the origins of it. About 350 years ago, the British Virgin Islands was a haven for pirates and buccaneers in the eastern Caribbean. And what they used to do was take their boats to Scrub Island and haul them out on the shallows and actually scrub the barnacles off the bottom of the boats, hence the name Scrub island. It does have some nice bit of history. Now the only kind of scrubbing you get there is the exfoliation you get in the spa!

Press > Leading Resort Architect Partners with Green Globe

Leading Resort Architect Partners with Green Globe


OBMI Partners with Green Globe Certification for Sustainability Standard

OBM International announced a partnership with Green Globe Certification, a worldwide sustainability system, to establish a global platform to bring sustainability standards through a certification programme to the operation and management of resort destinations and communities.

As a design-firm that focuses on place-specific architecture to emphasize environmentally-sensitive design, OBMI plans to introduce the Green Globe Certification system to its new and existing projects throughout the world to further promote eco-friendly practices. The Green Globe Certification focuses on the implementation of standards beyond the design and construction phases to impact sustainability for the life of a project, its operations and management.
“This partnership is a wonderful opportunity to expand the reach of sustainable practices to our projects and further our vision to promote an international standard that supports sustainability and the wellbeing of our environment,” said OBMI chief executive Doug Kulig.

“As we look toward the future, designing and planning for sustainability will continue to be vital for the long-term success of projects and the health and prosperity of their communities and environments.”

Commenting on the agreement, Green Globe chief executive Guido Bauer said: “OBMI is a dynamic firm concerned with bringing sustainable operation and management to the resorts and communities it has planned in some of the most sensitive tourism destinations on the planet. We are excited that this leading company has chosen to adopt our Green Globe Sustainability Standard as their underpinning sustainability system.”

Press > OBMI Discusses Resiliency & Sustainable Tourism in Cuba

OBMI Discusses Resiliency & Sustainable Tourism in Cuba

People, Sustainability

Resilient design received much attention from hospitality industry and Cuban leaders during the industry’s first major investment conference focused on tourism growth in Cuba. This week, the South American Hospitality Investment Conference brought together more than 250 government and hospitality leaders from 25 countries to discuss the island’s potential and strategies for increased tourism demand.

As part of a panel on Sustainability and Resilient Design, OBMI Managing Director Liora Haymann addressed the many challenges associated with growing a tourism product in island nations. Her presentation focused on the need for Cuba to develop a comprehensive, long-term development strategy for sustainable tourism that grows the nation’s tourism product, preserves the rich Cuban heritage, and protects historical and environmental sites. She highlighted parallels to sustainable tourism plans her team completed for other Caribbean nations that have resulted in substantial investment and development dollars, such as that developed for Antigua, which resulted in more than a billion dollars in investment.

The panel also discussed the need for hospitality providers to develop contingency plans for a hotel’s operational needs: electricity production, fresh water filtration, and even alternative food solutions. Alongside Monica Cuervo of WATG, Liora shared experiences in resort design for resiliency in tropical environments. Both architects discussed the need for Caribbean resorts to include power generation options like solar electricity, desalination and water collection solutions, as well as on-site organic farming options to help mitigate the challenges they face due to Cuba’s sensitive environments and geographic locations.

“Resiliency is really about being able to recover from difficult situations. In the Caribbean, there are any number of events that can require resilience planning. Therefore, as designers we must anticipate and plan for a hotel’s response to them. I am heartened by the attention Cuba is placing on planning for sustainable tourism and long-term resiliency,” Liora later commented.

Other topics covered during the two-day event were technology and connectivity, doing business in the country, and case studies from brands that are already successfully operating hotels on the island.

Press > Tryall Club Receives Environmental Sustainability Award

Tryall Club Receives Environmental Sustainability Award

Awards, Projects, Sustainability

Due to its commitment and dedication to sustainability, The Tryall Club Jamaica was awarded the Environmental Sustainability Award by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) during the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF). The Tryall Club’s commitment to sustainability began years ago and has included an extensive guiding hand by Caribbean sustainability expert, Denaye Hinds, of OBMI.

Denaye has been providing environmental auditing and recommendations to The Tryall Club since 2011, which has in turn rocketed the Club to its recent awards as one of the most environmentally and community-driven properties in all of the Caribbean. Among Denaye’s recommendations were new initiatives regarding biodiversity, protection of the property’s backlands, and far-reaching recycling programs, as well as improving private owner’s engagement with sustainability programs overall. One program Denaye and The Tryall Club are most passionate about is the incorporation of cultural heritage and an emphasis on the site’s history while staying true to social sustainability. Other recommendations the Club has embraced include energy and water saving programs not only pertaining to their guest rooms, but also regarding the property’s homeowners.

Shaku Ramcharan, Environmental and Conservation Manager at The Tryall Club went further, “Denaye is a true green mentor. The knowledge, experience, and sheer energy she brings to conservation and sustainability work is awe-inspiring and worthy of its own award.”

The CHTA CHIEF awards recognize individuals, groups, organizations, and companies in the Caribbean, which have developed unique and attractive tourism products or are engaged in implementing sustainable tourism-related initiatives, that embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values. One initiative that directly represents this vision is the development of a program that gives back to the community, positioning The Tryall Club at the forefront of sustainability in the Caribbean region.

Press > Key Caribbean Leaders To Improve Energy Efficiencies In Hospitality Sector

Key Caribbean Leaders To Improve Energy Efficiencies In Hospitality Sector


FAJARDO, Puerto Rico (October 1, 2016) – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Caribbean Clean Energy Program (CARCEP) yesterday signed a collaboration agreement with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in a landmark move to bolster energy efficiency in the Caribbean’s hotel sector, the largest electricity consumer sector in the region. At the signing were key energy efficiency experts, including Denaye Hinds, OBMI’s Director of Sustainability.

The agreement, which was signed during the official ceremony of the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) in Puerto Rico, defines the joint actions to be taken to effectively address the sector’s needs, primarily in the areas of energy policy reform and research and capacity development. This initiative is largely directed at beneficiary countries under USAID CARCEP’s mandate – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Hotel owners in these nations will be equipped with access to technical tools, training, and other resources to help them understand and adopt energy efficiency best practices for reducing their energy consumption.

Hinds played an instrumental role in reviewing the initiative and consulting in order to ensure it was all-inclusive of the region. “With any new program, there’s always going to be that challenge. Unfortunately, in the past, many of these initiatives impacted only a select few countries. Through a new training and online component, this initiative will expand its reach to include projects in eight countries throughout the Caribbean with key resources available to all countries.” This agreement symbolizes the start of a larger benefit for sustainable growth in the region. Reductions in energy consumption will deliver environmental benefits while improving regional economic competitiveness. There are approximately 2,500 hotels that can profit from this initiative.

Each year CHIEF, staged by CHTA, attracts a large percentage of hoteliers, association executives, and other targeted stakeholders and as such provides a central platform for the introduction to and uptake of these resources. Hinds also discussed how to use the property’s environmental features as unique selling points for enticing eco-conscious and responsible travelers and shed light on how guests’ engagement with green initiatives can improve the bottom line and strengthen guest relations.