Moonhole St Vincent: A Castaway Eco-Preserve

When it comes down to interesting new concepts, our curators are always ahead of the curve finding the most unusual, innovative, and boundary pushing designs around the world. With that, it is not shocking that Boutique Homes now also gives you the opportunity to stay in a geological-formation-turned-home  in the beautiful island of Bequia, in Saint Vincent.

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What began as a discovery and retirement trip from a couple searching for retreat back in the 60s is now a full blown compound of seventeen structures with houses views out to sea. Three of those can be booked right here on the site. With no hotel chains on the island or overly developed tourist magnets, Moonhole stands out as a property dedicated to conserving the unique architecture, flora, fauna and aquatic life on the western tip of Bequia. There are no roads here, only stone paths. Welcome to a real off-the-grid paradise found.

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Located on a lush peninsula on the western tip of the island of Bequia in St Vincent, Moonhole is the combination of a passion project with forward thinking design. When Tom and Gladdie Johnston discovered the stunning geological arch formation in a remote part of town, they immediately fell in love with it and saw potential to build something of lasting impact. The couple, who had retired and moved to the island to find tranquility, were fascinated by the unique site and would visit it regularly. A few years later, with the help of local builders and Tom’s innate sense of architecture, the very geological site that would serve as a picnic hideaway for the couple became the eco-preserve it is today. moonhole-cave-boutique-homes-5

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During the early stages of constructions, the Johnston’s lived among the Moonhole’s rocks, under a natural volcanic roof. Living in the structure while also building it from scratch  certainly created a sense of connectivity between the couple and their new creation.  That feeling of adrenaline and discovery still lingers around the property, which preserves so much of its surrounding beauty that it feels like part of the cave structures. Johnston’s innate sense of understanding of the geological formations and the abilities and limitations of the environment led him to become one of the leaders of environmental architecture of his time, which is reflected in the open air, oddly shaped homes he built. Rather than cut down trees, Johnston built around them. Trees still grow up through the middle of living rooms, bedrooms and decks.

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Powered completely by solar with a water catchment system, Moonhole was built solely from the island’s natural elements. Castaway materials such as shipwrecked or native wood, anchor chairs, and whalebones were repurposed and used in the construction. If you look closely you can see the fishnet floats that now serve as table bases. The absence of electricity, Wi-Fi and running water—rainwater is stored in cisterns for bathing and washing— lends Moonhole an idyllic charm.

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The original residence now abandoned, still stands as a reminder and lasting legacy of an uncompromising vision and although uninhabited, can still be viewed from the sea. Another important reminder of the couple’s lasting legacy to the island is the Conservation Trust  which preserves and maintains Moonhole’s authenticity while also seeking to declare the waters surrounding Moonhole a marine sanctuary.

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