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Inside abandoned ruins of failed luxury Barbados resort with crumbling villas bought by celebs including Simon Cowell

STUNNING white beaches, plush properties and 24-hour room service – this Barbados resort had all the makings of the ultimate millionaire’s escape.

But it was never to be for the wealthy investors including Simon Cowell and Eddie Jordan who splashed out millions for pads at the sun-drenched site as the complex was deserted before completion.

Guests were set to enjoy views of the sea from the infinity pool

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Guests were set to enjoy views of the sea from the infinity poolCredit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films
The ruins have been reclaimed by nature and monkeys roam the site

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The ruins have been reclaimed by nature and monkeys roam the siteCredit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films
The resort was supposed to have private villas for the wealthy

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The resort was supposed to have private villas for the wealthyCredit: Ground Kent Architects
Celebs including Simon Cowell had made several payments towards their plush villas

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Celebs including Simon Cowell had made several payments towards their plush villasCredit: Getty

Slowly being reclaimed by nature, the failed £470 million development – masterminded by two Brits – has been abandoned for more than a decade amid a lengthy legal battle.

The dilapidated 32-acre site is a dent in Barbados’ glittering tourism landscape, a concrete skeleton among reams of shiny hotels on the Caribbean island.

Just a few years into the construction of a 110-bed Four Seasons hotel and 35 private villas, building work ground to a halt as the original developers ran out of cash.

Since that moment in 2009, developers have been scratching about for money in a bid to fund the completion of the ultra-luxury resort on Paradise Beach.

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Jake Williams, director of YouTube channel Bright Sun Films, explored the eerie site and said it has been totally taken over by the jungle and wildlife.

He told The Sun: “Paradise Beach really lives up to its name. It’s surrounded by crystal blue waters that borders a thick forest.

“You’d never think that there is one of the largest monuments from the 2008 financial crash beyond the forest.

“Truly, it’s pretty surreal to think there is an abandoned Four Seasons Hotel that’s sitting abandoned. It’s the only one in the world that I’m aware of.

“Monkeys now climb through the planned 5-star hotel which is probably the harshest juxtaposition you can possibly imagine for what this structure was intended to be.

“Sounds you can’t quite put your finger on emanate through the ghostly villas.”

Jake said the ruins create a “creepy and unsettling feeling” when walking through them.

He added: “I really couldn’t fathom the waste here.

“These opulent and nearly finished luxury villas are just rotting away on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

“Sitting alongside an abandoned infinity pool, within an abandoned Four Seasons hotel and watching the sunset is quite possibly the most surreal moment of my entire life. I’ll never forget it.”

When then-minister of tourism Richard Sealy did an extensive tour of the site in 2009, he insisted it would bring an influx of jobs to the area and “do a lot for us as a destination”.

He said: “This is the type of project we would like to have.

“There is a high demand for villas because there is a market out there that finds that type of accommodation to be very attractive.”

Despite his claims that villas were in demand, more than half the properties – priced between £8.6 million and £14 million – failed to sell before the entire project flopped.

It left a real headache for celebrities including Brit mogul Simon Cowell, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and ex-F1 team owner Eddie Jordan who had already made sizeable payments towards their grand condos.

Developers have been scratching about for money in a bid to complete the resort

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Developers have been scratching about for money in a bid to complete the resortCredit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films
More than half the private villas - priced between £8.6 million and £14 million - failed to sell

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More than half the private villas – priced between £8.6 million and £14 million – failed to sellCredit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films
A fire ripped through the site in 2018

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A fire ripped through the site in 2018Credit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films
Villas were set to be Balinese style and have access to a stunning infinity pool

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Villas were set to be Balinese style and have access to a stunning infinity poolCredit: Ground Kent Architects

Each villa was set to have access to a cinema, wine cellar, gym, and infinity pool, as well as 24-hour room service from the prestigious Four Seasons hotel next door.

The glistening stretch of coast had been home to a hotel through the 1950s all the way until the 2000s when it closed down.

It was then snapped up by fresh developers who drew up ambitious plans for the hotel and villa complex, boasting it would be the “most lavish and opulent resort” on the island.

The blueprints were largely overseen by British business partners Robin Paterson and Michael Pemberton, who – with a hefty £30 million loan from the Bank of Scotland and an army of investors – got to work attempting to make their dream a reality.

Construction was due to be completed in 2011, but the brakes were slammed on in 2009 when funding dried up.

It was speculated that the recession in 2008 had hindered sales, but Mr Pemberton dismissed suggestions.

He said: “What people tend to find with this development is the security of the Four Seasons brand, because it is a Four Seasons hotel with residences and it is not a block of condominiums.

“It is a global brand. It is the strongest five-star global brand in the world and people find it very comfortable putting their money into the strength of Four Seasons – and also the destination is very important.”

After a couple of years, the development caught the attention of other investors and even the government who pledged eye-watering sums in a bid to get construction moving again.

But those who had already put in large amounts of cash were getting fed-up and wanted to withdraw their money – sparking a series of legal wrangles.

The site is now riddled with trees and crumbling concrete with monkeys roaming around.

Many materials such as copper gutters have also been swiped from the site.

With a fire ripping through the site in 2018 appearing to be the final nail in the coffin, the corporation set up by the original developers was dissolved, causing a major dispute in claims for the land’s ownership.

But the following year, the resort was thrown a lifeline as Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced negotiations had begun with potential developers.

The government took ownership of the land and buildings and started searching for an investor.

Speaking in 2019, she said: “The last government left it to rot and rust and taxpayers put more than $120 million into it, but your government has now agreed to have that kept whole.

“The government, on conclusion and transfer of the property will receive $40 million in cash and the other $84.5 million will be kept in preference shares so that we will be paid money before the owners get a single cent.”

Ms Mottley revealed the site would be taken over by fresh investors with the development completed over the “next two to three years”.

But four years on, the hopeless construction still remains a concrete graveyard.

Last year, it was revealed the title of the land had been transferred to a private company called Blue Development Ltd after the Four Seasons were sold to it for £46 million.

Director of Finance and Economic Affairs Ian Carrington told Barbados Today: “There was an additional agreement entered into at the same time.”

Jake said he holds hope that one day work will once again resume at the site.

He added: “It’s unbelievably sad to see what has happened here and I really hope that something is done with the site.

“Either continue its development or tear it down.

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“It’s a disservice to the community on how it’s been left today.”

The Sun has contacted the Barbados Government Information Service and the Four Seasons for comment.

The site was set to feature a 110-bed Four Seasons hotel and 35 private villas

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The site was set to feature a 110-bed Four Seasons hotel and 35 private villasCredit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films
The site overlooks Paradise Beach in Barbados

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The site overlooks Paradise Beach in BarbadosCredit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films
The hopeless construction still remains a concrete graveyard

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The hopeless construction still remains a concrete graveyardCredit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films
It's unclear what the future holds for the site

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It’s unclear what the future holds for the siteCredit: Jake Williams – Bright Sun Films


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