Theme Song: “Don’t Stop Me Now,” Queen
I bought an island in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. The plan is to build an overwater resort that is unique to the world. With 9 acres of dry land, 88 acres of mangrove, and 3.1 miles of Caribbean Ocean shoreline, it was time to let our imaginations run wild!
How many villas should we build? Where should they be located? What size should they be? Should the restaurant be built over the water? What about a beach? How wide should the boardwalk be? Where will the staff live? Starting with a blank slate was exhilarating, but mind boggling at the same time. We decided to start with a study of overwater resorts.
Overwater Resorts Around the World
It turns out that there are only 200 overwater resorts in the world. This is surprising since we see them everywhere on travel sites, blogs, and marketing materials. It is also interesting that over half of them are in the Maldives, a country south of India that is virtually out of reach for most of the world population due to distance, time, and cost.
The price point for overwater villas is shocking to most travelers. They average a whopping $800 to $900 per night (much higher in the Maldives.) The low number of resorts and the allure of being surrounded by water has clearly driven the price per night way beyond traditional resorts. This all presents an opportunity for us as our nightly prices will likely be nearly half of the competition.
Our study revealed the importance of a restaurant, a spa, a land-based clubhouse and bar, wide boardwalks, and a broad range of activities. In addition, we decided to add a condo community, an employee staff house and a greenhouse for growing fresh vegetables.
The Project Masterplan
After much debate we decided on the following masterplan, which shows the placement of the structures for the entire project. The buildings will all be interconnected with a ten-foot-wide boardwalk without railings.
The resort villas and restaurant will fit nicely in the protected bay, where the overwater house is today. The house will be moved to the back of the island for the resort staff to live in, and the remaining house foundation will be re-used for the restaurant. The adjoining bay will easily accommodate eighteen condos.
The land-based clubhouse with an infinity pool and bar will be accessible to hotel guests and condo owners via the boardwalk.
A Glimpse of the Villas and Restaurant
We are building the resort villas and restaurant in Bali Indonesia. They will be disassembled, shipped to Panama in containers, and reassembled over the water in Panama on pilings.
The restaurant will be open air with towering ceilings, large beams, and Balinese decorating throughout. It will have spectacular custom-designed tiles manufactured in Bali.
Each villa will contain over 1,100 hours of hand carving, an impressive tall ceiling, and an individual infinity plunge pool.
The entire resort will have an authentic Balinese atmosphere which led us to name the resort Bocas del Toro – “Bocas” after the Bocas Del Toro Archipelago and “Bali” after the style and country we are celebrating. Following this theme, the restaurant will be called The Elephant House.
Now that we have a masterplan and a Balinese theme, next up is a trip to Bali to find authentic furnishings and decorations that will bring the resort to life!