person you talk with about investing in Belize will tell you
there have been real estate developments in the country over
the years that were good and then there were others that were,
well to be polite, not so good.
Those that have followed the real estate trends
down in the western Caribbean country synonymous with jungle
paradise and diving off the second largest barrier reef on the
planet will admit that in the last decade real estate purchases
in Belize have really taken off. Experienced travellers to Belize
will also all agree that the shoreline of beach along the Placencia
Peninsula is the best that Belize has to offer.
This writer too has had an opportunity to purchase oceanfront
Placencia back in 1997. However, my failure to convince a handful
of investors poolside one day in Charlotte, North Carolina,
represents no doubt one of the more disappointing lost opportunities
of my short life. And just like my own original concept back
in the late 1990's, many of the developers with their grand
plans had arrived to Belize with noble intentions, but in time
they too were simply never able to bring their deals to fruition.
To be honest, luxury complimented with the required amenities
that truly define a great property, less a handful of the notable
exceptions of properties scattered around Belize, has simply
not arrived to the small country.
' are deluxe villas located on Belize's
best stretch of beach on the Placencia peninsula.
Mar Villas' overlooks the Caribbean waters.
All that changed for Placencia on June 20,
2005, with the grand opening of Chabil
, "Beautiful Sea Villas". Any potential
investor looking for a quality villa for retiring or a return
on their piece of paradise should not hesitate to contact the
sales offices of Ms. Dianne
s. And with less than eight of the original
twenty-two villas remaining available for purchase, I suggest
you make the call sooner than later. For you certainly don't want
to be sitting back years from now telling your friends over an
evening conversation and a glass of wine, "You know, I could
have had my piece of paradise, but..."
Mar Villas with Ms. Bulman prior to the opening, I was completely
taken back by the sheer attention to detail, to the obvious
insight into the design envisioning where the market would be
if and when an investor decided to roll over their investment
down the road. Although at first there were some local Placencia
residents that were apprehensive based primarily upon the beautiful
pier that reaches out into the Caribbean, but these were unfounded
acquisitions fuelled for the most part by Internet chatters.
Permits had been granted directly by the Belize Government and
there had been reportedly a pier in the same location that was
destroyed years back by a hurricane. In time local villagers
saw the beauty of the project, and seemingly everyone has come
around with their support as the complex has risen to take the
peninsula into the future. One visit with Ms. Bulman and the
reasons are clear.
A former Canadian paralegal from Pinantan Lake, B. C., Dianne
Bulman lost her dear husband in an ultralight plane accident
in 2002. But as they say one must find hope in tragedy, and
Ms. Bulman found the strength to do just that. What amazed me
during my research, I found Ms. Bulman to be completely open.
This is very unlike the portrayals offered by two of the Placencia
residents that I contacted for this article that continue to
try and keep the small village, well small minded. Overcoming
the realities of life brought Dianne, a sculpture by nature,
and her dreams, to Belize. And it is exactly those dreams and
aspirations that have dictated the design of Chabil Mar Villas
to the level.
As Ms. Bulman explained to me as we together walked about Chabil
Mar Villas, "I always felt that those who would purchase
one of the villas would be special people that had their own
reason for wanting to buy in Belize. And you know what, that
is what is happening...the project is completely my dream and
my design and my artwork." And knowing personally myself
from experience just how frustrating building in Belize can
be for many 'expats', well Dianne still has not been swayed.
She went on to say, "I still love Belize as much or even
more than when I came, and I will always have my home here on
this most beautiful stretch of beach. My life has been a difficult
journey to now but I feel very peaceful here in Belize. I have
met wonderful people and want the whole world to know how amazing
the Belizeans are. They are very different than any other Caribbean
people and I should know, for I have travelled to all the islands
and therefore, I know the difference."
||Unique designs define 'Chabil
||Attention to detail and creative artwork
compliment the tropical setting of the villas.
Amazingly what motivates Ms. Dianne Bulman the most is not the
profits from sales of the villas but the happiness and new relationships
with the investors that have decided to make Chabil
their home. She also finds relief from the stresses
of such a development from a little deaf girl named Jamie. For
in Jamie Ms. Bulman finds a way to reflect, "Always remember
hope and love, that we all have pain in life, but you must be
strong to overcome the challenges of this life." The young
girl is the daughter of a man that will be a part of the new management
group that Ms. Bulman has assembled to take the operation into
Favourable support in Placencia is easy to locate. I talked
with Mr. Charles Leslie Junior who manages the official website
for the village of Placencia (www.PlacenciaBreeze.com) as well
as all bookings for his dad, infamous fishing guide and long
term Placencia resident Charlie Leslie Senior of Tarpon Caye
Lodge who hails from just across the lagoon in the village of
Independence. 'Junior' told me that the village is definitely
behind Ms. Bulman and the development. To quote the legendary
fishing guides son, "Ms. Bulman, I believe came to Placencia,
Belize, with good intentions at heart. When she first started
her project, people in the village were a bit reluctant and
defensive by what she was doing; I believe that is a natural
human instinct. I believe that Ms. Bulman was a bit to 'rock-steady'
in the way she was approaching the resistance she was getting
from the villagers, but as soon as she realized that people
in different countries react differently to things, she started
to blend in and people were eventually in acceptance of her
and her project; which by the way has added a spectacular skyline
to the Placencia Village area, in my opinion."
To compliment the operation, the owners of the villas that have
to date been purchased went to Ms. Bulman sharing their ideas
as to what they wanted in terms of a management firm. That led
them to introduce Ms. Bulman to Mr. Mark Howells from the Lamanai
Outpost Lodge in northern Belize. According to Ms. Bulman, Mr.
Howells has been brought in as 'managing director'. She went
on to say, "Mark loved the project and the concept and
has worked with me to help make my dreams be realized and also
to expand upon what was already a high end villa project and
is now a very high end resort. Mark will carry it to that level.
All the owners but three have so far placed their units in the
rental resort with Mark at its helm. Most of the owners have
children in school and can only be down for Christmas and Easter
and summers. They have purchased with a view to using this as
their future retirement spot but for now, they understand that
it is a sound investment in the rental pool."
Mar Villas abounds with a combination of quality, individuality
and artistic flare at a level which is arguably new to Belize."
As to why Mark Howells
decided to take over the management of Chabil
Mar Villas, he explained to me recently, "Watching the
sun rise over the Caribbean from one of our luxury beach front
villas will give you an appreciation why we use the word 'exquisite'
when describing Chabil
Mar Villas; the property abounds with a combination of quality,
individuality and artistic flare at a level which is arguably
new to Belize, and most definitely new to Placencia. As Belize
begins to make its mark in the international tourism arena it
is properties such as Chabil
Mar Villas, risk takers like Dianne Bulman and a multitude
of Belizeans - both of birth and of the heart - who will help
put us on the map and keep us there. To say that Dianne and the
many local artists and craftsmen who worked with her have succeeded,
would be putting it mildly. "
Blanca Manzanilla, the General Manager of Lamanai
Outpost Lodge and co-owner with Mark of the destination management
company Belize Expeditions will, according to Mr. Howells, be "heavily
involved with the management of Chabil
Mar Villas". Ms. Manzanilla is a Belizean, she studied
as a biologist both in Belize and the United States. She started
at the Lamanai Outpost Lodge in 1997 as a naturalist tour guide
and has since worked her way up to the position of General Manager
and now has taken a serious ownership position.
As of this writing, there are only seven villas
of the twenty-two available for purchase at Chabil
Mar Villas. Those villas are two bedroom units ranging from
US$325,000.00 to US$345,000.00. In the end, Chabil
Mar Villas can be summed up best in the words of the visionary
artist from Canada that brought her dreams to Belize. Ms. Dianne
Bulman will tell anyone that asks, "Chabil
Mar Villas is part of my walk and my destiny to end up in
Belize. Through that came what I believe is a beautiful, personal
project full of love and colour and excitement and hope."
of the luxury beach front villas 'Chabil
Mar Villas' offer a spectacular view of the turquoise Caribbean
waters of southern Belize.