Located on the far western tip of New Providence Island in the sun-drenched Bahamas, Lyford Cay is, quite simply, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the world. The gated compound, named after mariner Captain William Lyford Jr.—who was granted the 448-acre (181 ha) plot on which it’s built for his services as a loyalist in the American Revolution—has long been among the most desirable of Bahamas’ real estate. And its roll call of celebrity residents includes Henry Ford II, the Bacardi family, Sean Connery, and Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
It’s here, at the edge of the pristine, talcum-powder sands with views over the glittering Atlantic Ocean, that you’ll find Serendip Cove, a magical, 3.4-acre (1.4 ha) estate that also boasts its own 361-foot (110 m) private beach. Bought in the early 1970s by the legendary Henryk de Kwiatkowski, this oceanfront compound was considered the jewel of the self-made millionaire sportsman’s real estate holdings.
Serendip Cove offers a luxurious take on Bahamian style… there’s a wonderful elegance to the house—Philip Hillier
A polo-playing society figure and owner of the prestigious Calumet Farm horse-breeding estate in Kentucky, de Kwiatkowski was Polish refugee turned World War II fighter pilot, who went on to amass a fortune in business. He was also an exemplary host, and Prince Philip, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Margaret Thatcher, Mick Jagger, and the von Furstenbergs were just some of the notable guests he welcomed to the property.
The interiors of the handsome 15,000-square-foot (1,394 sq m) property, built in 1970, were masterminded by renowned designer and socialite Sister Parish, who was also commissioned by First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy to redesign the White House. The home comprises a spacious formal living room complete with marble fireplace, a large dining room with capacity for up to 30 guests, a breakfast nook, an impressive gourmet kitchen and a family room. It also offers a courtyard and a number of patios and covered walkways.
The home is well-proportioned but comfortable. It’s capacious, but at the same time welcoming—Philip Hillier
“It’s a luxurious take on Bahamian style and there’s a wonderful elegance to the house,” says Philip Hillierof H.G. Christie Ltd, who is marketing the property. “The rooms are bright and generously proportioned, with classic columns, doors, and solid wood parquet. Henryk loved to have guests, so it’s well laid out for entertaining. The current owners lean towards a more relaxed approach with meals in the kitchen, or a buffet set up in the dining room with tables on the various terraces so everyone can move around and socialize, but there are a variety of spaces to suit both indoor and outdoor gatherings.”
Also to be found in the main house are a second living room, a bar, a study, separate staff quarters, a pantry, laundry room, and garages, plus six stylish bedrooms including an ample suite. “What’s great is that the house is well-proportioned but comfortable,” says Hillier. “It’s capacious but at the same time welcoming, so you never feel like you’re rolling around in an enormous, empty house. It’s such a versatile property.”
This is a property that’s well laid out for entertaining, with a variety of spaces to suit both indoor and outdoor gatherings—Philip Hillier
Move out of the main building, and while the sweeping driveway and lush gardens have recently been planted with a series of new trees, they remain deliberately informal. These tranquil grounds are home to three newer pool cottages that offer a further eight bedrooms, each with their own bath, bringing the total number of bedrooms and full baths to 14 and 15 respectively.
The swimming pool and hot tub are both west facing. So, when you’re having a dip and the sun is setting over the ocean, it’s a truly stunning vista—Philip Hillier
More casual in style, these bright residences sit around a central, octagonal living room complete with built-in bookcases, which in turn leads to a well-equipped kitchen and a dining terrace. “The cottages are much more relaxed,” says Hillier. “Each room is accessed from the covered walkway, but they all have their own doors, so they feel very independent, which is perfect as it allows guests a little privacy.”
Beyond the cottages, the expansive grounds, which could easily accommodate tennis courts or a croquet lawn, stretch out towards the corner of Clifton Bay Drive. “There’s so much land you could add either if you so desired,” observes Hillier. Completing the offering is a magnificent, sculptural seafront swimming pool and a hot tub, both of which overlook the beach and picturesque Clifton Bay. “The layout means they are west facing,’ says Hillier, “So when you’re by the pool and the sun is setting over the ocean, it’s a truly stunning vista.”