THIS IS WHY WE LIVE HEREWednesday 4th October 2017
Alex and Rufus Gobat have lived in Antigua for ten years and for most people are well known as the owners and management team of luxury property Tamarind Hills. ‘Quite simply the finest address in Antigua’ is quite simply a fantastic way to describe the development as its West facing panoramic views from a bluff between Darkwood and Ffryes Beaches are nothing short of stunning.
Rufus is however no stranger to Antigua and the Caribbean as his father worked in hotel operations around the Caribbean from the 70’s, at one point at the Half Moon Bay Hotel. The family then moved to St. Lucia where he grew up.
We met up with the Gobat’s at Seabreeze Café, their daytime local, at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina to talk about why they choose to live in the Caribbean, especially having just experienced two storms passing through the region.
Why did you chose to live in Antigua?
It was really two fold, we were about to grow the family, and thought Antigua was a combination of a great safe place to bring up young children with a good social network for us and along-side that we had recently completed the award winning Cap Maison Hotel in St. Lucia and were looking for a new project. Tamarind Hills was that new project.
Rufus what do you remember about your childhood here?
Wow, I was 2 when I got here so not too much, however I do remember so much love, freedom, warmth, great exploring, fishing and general boys adventures with my brothers. I do remember my parents having a great social life too :)
You have two beautiful children, what are the benefits of bringing up your children in Antigua?
Make them very confident, independent and socially aware. In Antigua they mix with all ages, backgrounds and can speak far better to adults than friends children back in the UK. They are also under less pressure from advertisers to always have the latest shoes or games. We are also very lucky as the schooling here is tremendous. There is a wide range of activities; they sail, play golf, music, drama, horse riding, as well as everything normal schools offer.
What advice would you give to parents moving to Antigua?
Do your research on where to live, without family nearby you want to be near your support and school network. Do engage on-line before you arrive as there are many groups and support associations that gave free advice. Once you are here get involved as much as you can in the school, the community and you will fit in very quickly.
Name three things you would say are the best about living in Antigua.
The stunning scenery that you see every day, most incredible beaches and crystal clear waters that make you feel like you are living in an advertisement
Its a cliche but the people here make life so much more relaxed and enjoyable, you are met with a smile so many times during the day and no one gets too stressed.
Outdoor living, we love hiking, boating, swimming and most importantly gin and tonics on the terrace.
What is the downside? Is there one?
Alex would say shopping, the food shopping is great but clothes can be lacking (not that I notice). We do miss the seasons, sometimes is feels like we go from hot to hotter. However compared to the grey winters in England we will take it! The costs of flying around the region feels way too expensive. Years ago it was common to have weekends in Barbados or further south, now the inter island travel is prohibitive for non-business travelling.
Were you here for Maria and Irma? How was your experience?
I was here for Maria and Alex for both, we were incredibly lucky in Antigua that we were spared the worst affects of all the storms. We stayed at Tamarind Hills, with power and water backup, and with the toughened doubled glazed windows we felt very secure. However we are really just thankful that Antigua was spared.
As an investor what makes you continue to invest?
The key thing with any investment is that if done wisely it grows. So the longer we are here the more our investment grows as we secure more business and finish properties, so in the end the initial investment grows and that makes is viable.
As a property developer how do you manage the risk of operating in a hurricane zone?
Ultimately we over-engineer in the construction phase and over-insure. From a security risk point of view we ensure the property is built to a strict set of codes such that emergency vehicles can reach all properties and in-fact are currently building a conference facility for 300 people with breakout rooms that will also be designed as an emergency shelter should it ever be needed.
Any advice to homeowners or people thinking about buying a property in Antigua?
The most important thing is bring your brain. Ensure you do all the same things you would do if you were buying a property in your own country. Do your due diligence, appoint a recommended lawyer to review all contracts. Importantly think location – the most important thing in terms of buying your property and for its re-saleability. Look at your properties access to power and water. Make sure you have insurance and find out how you can build your property to reduce your premium e.g. adding hurricane shutters or constructing your property with a ring beam, and of course make sure your payments are current.
Talking to Rufus and Alex reminds you there are some really great people in this world. While dealing with their growing family and business interests Alex took a Barbudan family under her wing and has helped co-ordinate everything from food and clothing aid to this coming week a birthday party for the seven year old daughter of the family. They don’t have to do it, they just do because they care about the community they live within.
They are most definitely here to stay.
Tamarind Hills has just launched their new website. Get a sneak preview of their stunning location and let them know what you think: http://www.tamarind-hills.com/
"This is why we live here!"
Written by Alison Sly-Adams
Click here for all News and Specials for Tamarind Hills