When a home has more than 48,000 square feet of living space, somehow a 5,000-square-foot Great Room seems all in proportion.
Everything about this truly cavernous room inside the oceanfront mega-mansion called Castillo Caribe, or “Caribbean Castle”, on Grand Cayman’s South Sound, is on the grandest of scales. Just feast your eyes on the twin, carved mahogany staircases that sweep majestically down from the second-floor balcony, the intricate, interwoven wooden ceiling and that towering wall of glass looking out on to the Windex-blue Caribbean.
So impressive is the space that back in 2012, it was the subject of its very own episode of the hit HGTV show Million Dollar Rooms with host Carter Ooseterhouse. “It’s easily big enough to hold a banquet for over 100 people. In fact, when the owner got married, he hosted over 200 guests, ” says listing agent Sheena Conolly, of Cayman Islands Sotheby’s International Realty.
The lucky owner of this truly massive oceanfront compound is British former futures trader Jerry Beck. Back in 2008, Beck reportedly retired at age 35, moved to the tax-free Cayman Islands and built his dream home right on the beach.
In addition to that greatest of great rooms, the home comes with eight ensuite bedrooms (including two sprawling master suites), a Moroccan-inspired sports bar, movie theater, his-and-hers offices, a kids’ computer lounge and a 400-bottle wine room.
Equally jaw-dropping is what’s beneath the home. Here, in the 4,000-square-foot basement, is a vast entertaining space complete with a kids’ fun room with its own bouncy castle and swing set. There’s also a spa with a gym, steam room, massage room and a relaxation area with a 120-inch TV screen.
Just steps away is a door leading into a true, fairytale-like grotto with concrete stalactites and stalagmites and a bubbling hot tub lit by purple neon. From here you can dive into the blue-lit outdoor pool that’s practically right on the beach.
Talking of beach, Castillo Caribe comes with no less than 250 feet of palm-fringed sandy beachfront complete with its own tiki hut.
For sports lovers, there’s a pro-size tennis court and, with the Caymans being a British Territory, naturally a cricket pitch. Add to these a pickleball court, golf practice net and bocce court.
The home itself, which was originally made up of three entire lots, was designed by leading Cayman Islands architect John Doak. He and his team essentially created a hurricane-resistant fortress built to the strictest Miami Dade Cat 5 code.
Hurricane-protection features include the home’s ground floor sitting over 14 feet above sea level and protected by a nine-foot-high sea wall. As for that amenity-rich basement, it’s fully tanked with solid poured concrete walls, with the only way in from the outside being through a submarine-style door.
And when the power on the island goes out, a huge generator fueled by a 1,000-gallon underground diesel tank kicks-in. For clean water, there a 56,000-gallon cistern complete with a commercial-grade water filtration system.
Naturally, all the windows and doors are hurricane-resistant, the roof tiles are glued and double-bolted to the roof, that massive Great Room has a structural steel roof and the electrical room is 25 feet above sea level.
Of course, when you mention the two words Cayman Islands, it’s hard not to think of those other two words: Tax Free. According to Sotheby’s Conolly, “Although the Cayman Islands enjoy year-round sunshine and a temperate climate, the benefit is eclipsed in most people’s eye by the islands’ offshore status”.
That means no property tax, no income tax, no capital gains tax and no inheritance tax—no local taxes whatsoever. This, says Conolly, makes it “very appealing to people of high net worth to seek residency here—a position which is actively encouraged by the local government”.
That said, it seems the world’s wealthiest home buyers aren’t rushing to buy super-luxury homes here at any price. Interestingly Castillo Caribe has been languishing on the market since 2010, when it was first listed at $59.5 million. No doubt Sotheby’s and Castillo Caribe’s owner are hoping that a $10 million price cut to $49.95 million, and a booming, pandemic-fueled property market on the Cayman Islands, will attract a buyer.
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