New overwater bungalow resort in the Bahamas wins approval to build

LeafKeyProposalInterest in honeymoon-style overwater bungalows in the Caribbean is extremely high, and there is a new reason to be optimistic that we may finally get them after an announcement recently in the Bahamas. According to the Nassau Guardian, a proposed resort called Leaf Cay in the Exuma Island chain has won approval from the government for its plan to build a private-island resort similar to those in the Maldives and Bora Bora.

The proposal is for a 13.1-acre resort that would include 16 luxurious overwater bungalows in addition to a few dozen other villas and townhouses. The approval process took 19 months according to the owners, which may sound like a long time but is typical in the islands. Sandals St. Lucia took at least a year to get approval for their proposed overwater bungalows, and as of early 2014 they are reportedly ready to break ground after years of delays.

Leaf Cay looks great, but it’s too early to celebrate

The website for Leaf Cay looks very promising, but obviously there is a big difference between building an impressive resort website and building an impressive resort. If everything goes well this will be one of the premier resorts in the Caribbean area, and we are certainly crossing our fingers that it happens.

For a few key reasons, we are at least a little skeptical that it will every happen, however. There have been several similar proposed resorts in this part of the world (Belize and Turks and Caicos most notably) that either never broke ground or were abandoned shortly thereafter.

One thing these would-be resorts have in common is a plan to sell the units to the public and then have the buyers participate in rental income when other guests book the bungalows. In other words, it appears that they don’t have the money or access to credit to actually build the resort unless at least some people come in early as partners.

And at the risk of being too nitpicky, these proposed resorts all use photos of existing resorts on their websites. Leaf Cay uses at least a few photos from the Bora Bora Hilton, for example, rather than using drawings of what they actually plan to build. They do use computer images (as seen above) to show what the whole resort is supposed to look like compared to what the island looks like now, however.

No proposed opening date yet

As of now the owners have not announced when Leaf Cay is proposed to be open, and we’ll update things as soon as we hear. It’s taken Sandals several years to even prepare to break ground for overwater bungalows at its St. Lucia property, and as of now those are rumored to be opening in early 2015. It’s hard to imagine this resort opening before that, and it could be 2016 or beyond even if everything goes well.

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