Luxury means a lot of things. To Alfie Best, it means privacy and security. When you’ve spent your career in the spotlight, the best kind of vacation you can enjoy is one that features complete anonymity. And it doesn’t hurt if that anonymity can be enjoyed on a colorful island in the Caribbean surrounded by lush gardens and 24-hour services.
As any Google search will tell you, Alfie was born in near obscurity, “On the side of the road” in England to a Romani Gypsy family. Learning sales at his father’s side Alfie left school early and became an entrepreneurial prodigy. Before he was thirty, he was managing one of the largest holdings of residential mobile home parks in England, and that was only the beginning. A self-described “workaholic,” Alfie has succeeded at nearly everything he has attempted. His park home empire now spans continents and he owns multiple nightclubs and bars as well.
After putting substantial effort into his companies’ growth for decades, Alfie realized he needed somewhere to truly retreat and relax. He began searching for precisely the right place to escape his to-do list and his public image, and just be himself.
“I first went to Barbados in 2015,” says Alfie, “and straightaway fell in love with it. It’s one of the most exclusive islands in the Caribbean, but it’s very tranquil and natural.” Feeling that other Caribbean islands are often either too commercial or too underdeveloped, Alfie was delighted to find the perfect harmony of luxury and serenity in Barbados.
Barbados is one of the few islands to retain its original character, while catering to the desires of affluent travelers from around the world. “I can’t believe this island,” he says. “You go to one side and it’s a surfer’s dream on a rugged coastline. On the other side the water’s as clean and calm as a pond. I find that unbelievable. You can drive the whole island in an hour, but every time I leave I want to go back!”
Alfie researched plantations and chateaus, and visited estates from Sandy Lane to Royal Westmoreland. “I looked at 15 other villas, and saw the homes of friends who own property on the island. Every villa I went to see was beautiful, but Monkey Hill was different. It was built on a circular plan, rather than square or rectangular. It offers views from the veranda and pool that are completely free from obstructions. There are no pillars in the way, it’s just a clean view out to the Caribbean Sea.”
The original owners had built and designed the property to take advantage of a beautiful view over lush gardens, falling away from the home on a slope toward the sea. Instantly sold on the property, Alfie bought it and set to work making it his own.
“It’s extremely important that everything flows,” he says. And his dedication to that principle is evident, not just from the floor plan but in the décor and indulgent details hand-picked by Alfie himself. One of the first things he did was order a bespoke curved sofa from Fendi for the circular “Atrium” which is the center of living at Monkey Hill. A unique circular television on the wall also complements the rotunda’s design.
Each of the six bedrooms and their ensuite bathrooms, was “Christened” by Alfie and colorfully decorated according to favorite themes, including “Reef,” “Turtle,” and “Seahorse.” When asked which of the six is his favorite, Alfie says, “I love being in ‘Silverback’ and having coffee on the balcony, because it looks straight out to the sea.” All of the rooms open onto either the terrace or a balcony, so that the rooms can be left open to fresh sea breezes throughout the day. Two additional bedrooms are available in the Guest House, with a separate kitchen and living area, so a total of 16 guests can rest in lavish comfort.
Every one of Alfie’s “whims” was catered to in the design of Monkey Hill, and guests will appreciate the thoughtful details which took 8 months of labor to perfect. Internet TV offers a near-infinite variety of shows in every room. There are also charming décor elements based on the monkeys who live on the grounds and who inspired the name of the property. Give your keys to a waist-high monkey at the entrance or admire the ceramic collage of a monkey in an arched window of the kitchen.
Outside, the features include an infinity pool surrounded by lounges and umbrellas. An outdoor bar and BBQ are open for snacks, or you can dine alfresco beneath the sun or the stars. Services at Monkey Hill include a dedicated property manager, housekeeper and private chef (ask your Concierge for details). The villa can also arrange for ground transportation, whether getting to and from the airport or getting around the island.
Monkey Hill is one of only seven ridge properties looking out toward the sea as part of the Sugar Hill estate. Sugar Hill is a closed community of 98 villas, with security patrolling the estate and guarding the entrance around the clock. It is very “lushly private” as Alfie says, and it feels absolutely welcoming but secure.
“When I go to Monkey Hill,” Alfie says, “it’s the only place in the world I can forget about work. The only place in the world where I’m nobody. I like the privacy and the anonymity of it. I have houses in London, New York, Hertfordshire, and Essex, but when I go to Monkey Hill I can be genuine. I can be me. To have that privacy and freedom makes me feel extremely privileged.”
Monkey Hill has already had some distinguished guests from world athletes to soap opera stars. Families love it for the spread-out appeal and privacy of the grounds, and will often book several weeks for multi-generational reunions. And of course it is a favorite among couples celebrating romantic occasions such as honeymoons and anniversaries. Having all the space to yourself is a truly serene experience.
If you can pull yourself away from the endless views and relaxing setting of Monkey Hill, venture out to the beach with a picnic basket and a good book. Spend some time on the nearby golf course, or pick up some trinkets among the many boutique shops with friends. Enjoy a dinner out at Alfie’s favorite restaurant, the 100+ year-old RoundHouse, or enjoy a therapeutic dip in the tidal pools. Then return home for a quiet evening with loved ones at Monkey Hill. As Alfie puts it, “Never forget who you are, but always remember where you are.”