There is nothing outdated about Saint Lucia’s former tourism tag line, “Simply Beautiful,” because the island is nothing less than stunning wherever you find yourself. From the dramatic cliffs of the southern tip to the volcanic twin peaks called The Pitons, thrusting cinematically from the sea on the west coast, the “Helen of the West Indies” is home to golden beaches and black-sand bays, waterfalls, rainforests and rolling green hills, all gasp-inducingly gorgeous, as almost a million cruise and stay-over tourists per year will tell you.
Cap Estate is an exclusive residential enclave in the hills of northwest Saint Lucia, surrounded by the sparkling Caribbean Sea and dramatic coastal terrain. Saline Point, on the southwest-facing coast of Cap Estate, is the location of some of the most sought-after property on the island. For over 40 years, discerning homeowners have built their dream residences among the lush greenery and vibrant flowering trees of Saline Point, with its views from Pigeon Island all the way to the distant Pitons in Soufriere.
One such beautiful home is Villa Firefly. Firefly is no stranger to MACO Caribbean Living, since in 2010, the villa was featured in a story by Kerri Tucker who was given a personal tour by Astrid and Piers Ashbourne the owners who had discovered the hillside treasure, bought and quite literally rebuilt it after a fire in 2001. Captivated by the capacious interior, bespoke design details and dazzling blue vistas, Tucker was surprised to discover that the home was actually for sale and wondered “how they could part with something so precious,” particularly after personally raising this architectural phoenix from the ashes.
I must admit to being similarly captivated when I first visited Villa Firefly in August 2014. The home is enchanting, blending the gracious ambiance of old Caribbean living with every modern amenity. Firefly is grand, but never grandiose, casual but always elegant, with luxury to be found in every nook and cranny. A spacious wraparound veranda is the essence of tropical living, cooled by the trade winds as the view sweeps across a glorious green garden to the eternally changing seascape of sapphire seas, snowy clouds and the sphinx-like outline of Pigeon Island. With its bird’s-eye view of the world-renowned BodyHoliday resort on Cariblue Beach, Villa Firefly is moments away from one of the best spa and wellness centres on the planet (according to Condé Nast Traveller UK’s 2015 poll).
The current owner, J√ºrgen Wagentrotz, discovered Firefly through the article in MACO, instantly fell in love with the villa and snapped it up quick smart, as we say in Saint Lucia. Herr Wagentrotz is an interesting gentleman who has more than a passing interest in high-end real estate. Realising the significance of Cap Estate’s Saline Point in terms of location and potential, he purchased Villa Firefly and its next-door neighbour, Villa Peponi, a charming sprawl of conjoined cottages on one and a quarter acres of gardens, and set about plans for creating a tiny village of upscale, uber-private residences from which wealthy individuals could discover Saint Lucia.
Enhancing Villa Firefly even further, Wagentrotz extended the sea glass-reminiscent Oasis accent colour, installing modern granite counters and tempered glass sinks in the en suite bathrooms and upgrading the chef’s kitchen to a level that would turn the head of any professional toque. The essence of the villa is unchanged and the distinctive Balinese accents remain balanced with Firefly’s old-world Caribbean style, but additions such as an upscale, recycled wood refectory table, comfortable faux wicker and seagrass conversation seating and teak recliners on the veranda have brought a modern edge to the overall design. State-of-the-art components and high-end upholstered furniture in the air-conditioned and wired-for-everything media room also gave Firefly a fresh new level of hi-tech luxury, complementing the Ashbournes’ original vision but giving the “JW touch” to Wagentrotz’s latest home-away-from-home.
Meanwhile when J√ºrgen Wagentrotz—JW, that is—wasn’t enjoying the splendours of his Saint Lucian getaway, he was developing a collection of four luxury homes in trendy, affluent Mallorca, appropriately entitled “JW Collection.” According to the website jw-collection.com: “Whenever this German entrepreneur and investor takes on a project—it is a success.”
Never compromising on quality, JW has an “impeccable feel for the finer things in life and deep insight into the needs of tomorrow,” which apply in equal measure to his projects around the globe and increase his love of real estate in some of the world’s most beautiful places, from Antigua and Saint Lucia to the Balearics, where JW Collection sold through in short shrift.
However, no matter how far he strays from his beloved Saint Lucia, his heart will always belong to the charm and glow of his own Villa Firefly.