Me, I’m a single woman of a certain age. I’ve been running a successful company (Key Production (London) Ltd ) for the past 17 years (after graduating at Leeds in Genetics followed by 2 years gallivanting around Europe). We are a broker for manufacturing Audio and Audio visual product and all related print and packaging. I also have a small property company.
Whilst on holiday in Nicaragua in January of this year, I walked into a restaurant and saw a notice proclaiming “Island for Sale”. This rather interested me – partly as a fantasy, partly as I had recognised that Nicaragua was a developing Central American country with a lot to offer. A short boat ride later with the owners followed by a relaxing week at an astounding eco lodge called Morgans Rock, an idea had started developing in my head.
After arriving back home to the bleak London winter, I got out the back of an envelope and scribbled down a few figures. Within a few weeks I had wired a deposit for the Island over to the owners.
I returned in March and appointed a local English speaking lawyer to do the land search. Whilst there, I visited a second Island – aaarrgghhh decisions decisions. Oh well – lets get the lawyer to check this one out too. I also managed to meet up with the architect who designed Morgans Rock – a likeable Englishman called Matthew Falkiner who’s lived there for 12 years and runs a successful furniture company making beautiful pieces from reclaimed wood. He very kindly went on a reccie of the 2 islands to establish which one would be best for my idea.
My idea: to build (from scratch) an eco lodge on an island in Lake Nicaragua. The Island is a short boat ride from Puerto Asese in Granada – a beautiful colonial town one hour from the capital Managua (2.5 hour flight from Miami) and well placed for touring some of the best sights in Nicaragua. The lodge will be very exclusive – a main building with pool and around 7 bungalows overlooking the lake. It will be able to be rented out exclusively with a private chef, or on a bungalow by bungalow basis (there is nothing of this standard in Granada). I would also like to use it for yoga retreats in the low season. Presuming it starts making money, a proportion will go back into the local community. The lodge will be built using local materials and every effort will be made not to harm any trees and to make it as eco friendly as possible.
Anyway, the second Island proved to be the architects choice and the one that cleared the land search first and is now officially mine! El Jicaro is its name.
I have been back to Central America to check out other eco lodges and then to Nicaragua to discuss going forward with the architect. And then the troubles begin. I only have a smattering of Spanish, have a thriving business to run in the UK, will need to be on site in Nicaragua, know nothing about building or tourism – but I know what I like and that I am determined and pedantic.
Heres a brief outline of what Ill be doing:
Resort to be as Eco Friendly as possible – no trees chopped down. Keep the wild rocky feel of the land. Local materials to be used, local staff paid above average wages in good conditions. All solar powered Re use of grey water. Recycling. Filtered drinking water rather than bottled.
One main building with 4 double rooms (one for management, one for me others to be spare (and away from the other 2) for when people hire whole resort and might need extra space. Dining space should be both inside and outside with enough room inside to hold yoga classes when raining. Also, relaxation area and small space for internet although will want wireless service in all cabanas. Out of bounds area for staff to stay overnight + staff kitchen.
Decent sized swimming pool chemical free
8 x cabanas – all facing out to the lake. One to be used as a spa.
Furniture and interiors locally sourced and again as eco-friendly as possible. Style and quality as Morgans Rock standard.
Look into bio diesel for boat.
Profits to be put back into helping local community projects.
Activities – general sightseeing as well as boat trips on the lake. Provide kayaks.
Whole Island can be hired for weddings, privacy etc.
Yoga retreats in rainy season.