Lyford Cay

stunning Lyford Cay beach in the Bahamas

Framed by lush foliage and sun kissed white sand beaches, Lyford Cay is located on the western tip of New Providence.

The gated enclave hosts some of the most beautiful homes, villas and condos in the world. Lyford Cay real estate is highly coveted – it is recognised as the most exclusive property in the Bahamas.

From opulent mansions to more "humble" luxury holiday retreats, this play area for the rich and famous has been home to international business tycoons, film stars and novelists for decades.

The Lyford Cay dream started when Canadian Edward Plunkett (E P) Taylor visited the Bahamas in the 1950s. He fell in love with New Providence, which hosts Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

Taylor’s vision became the blueprint that turned the once remote chunk of land in the Bahamas into Lyford Cay, one of the most celebrated real estate success stories in history.

Lyford Cay is not only home to some of the most fabulous property in the Bahamas and, indeed, the world, it’s not far from some of the Bahamas' most fertile fishing grounds. Canal front property and a marina provide the perfect place to keep a boat.

Even a modest Lyford Cay home will cost a pretty penny. As they say in the real estate world, it’s all about Location. And Lyford Cay has location. It is a short drive to the Nassau international airport, yet far removed from the hustle and bustle of island life. A 40 minute flight will get you to South Florida, three hours and you are in Toronto direct and there’s direct service to major U.S. cities, such as New York and London.

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Lyford Cay is named after William Lyford Jr. In 1788, he was awarded 448 acres of property by King George III - the Bahamas was a British colony at the time. Lyford was a Loyalist and so he received the Bahamas property in exchange for his support to the British Crown. The land grant included both the cay and some property across a channel on the mainland. Over a period of time, the channel filled with sand and so Lyford Cay became part of the property mass of the main island now known as New Providence.

Lyford Cay today comprises over 1,000 acres of prime real estate. It is this property that captivated EP Taylor. While many thought of Lyford Cay as isolated wasteland, Taylor dreamed real estate. Enthralled by the beauty of the crystal clear water and virgin white sand beaches, he saw houses, a golf course, guest villas and cottages. He saw a club for property owners and a marine. Like the grand homes that now grace Lyford Cay, he dreamed big.

Taylor founded the Lyford Cay Development Company in 1954. He bought about 2,800 acres of property on the cay, rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Within four years, an 18-hole golf course opened. And about a year later, the Lyford Cay Club was born. The Lyford Cay School (now an international school) opened in 1960. The rest is history.

With a school open in a recognized community on a beautiful tropical island in the Bahamas, Lyford Cay property sales took off. Business tycoons and celebrities from overseas bought into the Lyford Cay dream and the area established itself as a retreat for The Select.

Members of Who’s Who established permanent and second homes – Irish aviation tycoon Tony Ryan, bestselling author Arthur Hailey, Rainier 111, Prince of Monaco, Henry Ford 11, Sean Connery… The list goes on. Taylor invested an initial $16 million into the project.

By 2011, the Lyford Cay Property Owners Association (POA) had pegged Lyford Cay’s total land value at more than $2 billion with about 429 homes.

The Price of Living in Lyford Cay

Property prices vary according to size and location, but Lyford Cay homes are worth anywhere from an estimated $1.5 million to over $40,000 million. Homes vary from sumptuous mansions to more “modest” luxury villas. Investment guru Mark Holowesko even built a Swiss chalet in Lyford Cay. From marbled beachfront mansions like Roman House with proper butlers to more simple luxury island homes, the cay is the place to be – if your pocket runs deep enough.

Lyford Cay acts as a magnet for the rich and famous – the very wealthy drawn by the anonymity of the lifestyle in the gated community. Nobody stops to gape at Sean Connery – also known as 007 James Bond – on the Lyford Cay golf course. He’s owned a home there for many years. Louis Bacon, the internationally acclaimed hedge fund manager and environmentalist, can tootle from house to club in his golf cart unbothered.

Members of the Bacardi rum family love Lyford Cay because they can berth their yachts in the canal in front of their homes.

In more recent years, affluent Bahamians – lawyers from the established firms, doctors and successful business people - became part of the Lyford Cay dream. Even as newer high-end communities opened up on Nassau, Lyford Cay never missed a beat as a venerable real estate community in an idyllic tropical setting, far removed from every day aggravations.

The focal point of the cay is the Lyford Cay Club. Membership is a privilege and home ownership doesn’t provide an automatic in. Members enjoy the tennis courts, swimming pool, restaurant and water sports.

The Lyford Cay Foundation is a testament to the residents’ commitment to the Bahamas. This non-profit organization has donated substantial sums of money in undergraduate, graduate and technical training and vocational scholarships to Bahamians studying both at home and abroad. Add the Lyford Cay International School into the mix and you have a residential community that embraces the concept of Work, Play and Helping Others.

Lyford Cay also has its own medical facility, established by that visionary E.P. Taylor and now operated by Dr. Dean Tseretopoulos who specialises in cardiology, internal medicine, and family practice. Dr Dean, as he is often referred to, has a home in Lyford Cay.

A short drive from the gated enclave, charming island restaurants and fine dining establishments are nestled in beautiful wooded areas or hug the beautiful shore.

With all the beautiful houses, villas and condos, a clubhouse, private marina, school and a championship golf course, is it any wonder that Lyford Cay in the Bahamas remains one of the finest real estate communities in the world?

© 2014 Athena Mabon

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