Not only is actor Leonardo DiCaprio collecting Oscars, but now he’s collecting islands. In the past few years, Leonardo DiCaprio has become an environmental activist, speaking out on climate change in a National Geographic documentary, “Before the Flood.”
In 2000, he even chaired the national Earth Day Celebration and has since been an advocate on global warming. His newest project, however, is building a luxury resort in Belize, which is set to open in late 2018. Here’s all you need to know about the restorative, eco-friendly resort…
In his newest endeavor, DiCaprio has helped design a new resort called Blackadore Caye, A Restorative Island. Scheduled to open in late 2018, Blackadore Caye is located on a small island off the coast of Belize.
Discovering The Island
Being an avid scuba diver, DiCaprio first visited Belize in 2005 to swim and as soon as he got there, he fell in love. DiCaprio said, “Belize is truly unique. It has the second largest coral reef system in the world, and it has some of the most biodiverse marine life, like the manatee population and almost every species of fish you can imagine. Then, there are the Mayan temples and the culture.” Many wondered how much DiCaprio purchased the island for…
DiCaprio purchased the island more than 12 years ago for $1.75 million with Jeff Gram, the owner of Cayo Espanto Island Resort, a luxury vacation spot on another private island in Belize. Gram has brought his experience in owning and operating island resorts to the venture and he believes this private island “will set the mark for all future island developments.”
The Best Of The Best
It took DiCaprio nearly 10 years to find the right development partner, who agreed with his vision of creating not just something environmental, but also restorative. DiCaprio appointed New York City-based developer, Paul Scialla, to build the resort at Blackadore Caye, with Restorative Hospitality, a division of Delos, to be its operator. Scialla founded his company, Delos, which he calls “the pioneer of Wellness Real Estate.” He plans to implement that same concept into Blackadore Caye…
Coming To Fruition
The idea of Blackadore Caye, he says, “Is to push the envelope for what sustainability means, moving the idea beyond environmental awareness into restoration.” “We don’t want to just do less harm or even have zero impact, but to actually help heal the island, to make it better than before,” Scialla says.
The Mission Of Blackadore
Alongside DiCaprio, their mission has been to create an eco-conscious resort, powered by 100% renewable energy harvested from solar panels. This will be done by collecting rainwater and filtering it on-site by combining it with solar-powered desalinization devices. It’s a revolutionary process…
The Restorative Process
Previously, Blackadore Caye was a popular spot for fisherman, who stopped there on their way to markets in Mexico. Since fishermen cut down the coastal mangroves over the years, more seawater has washed away nutrient-rich soil on the island. Without its storm protective barrier, saltwater has penetrated the island causing extreme weather, killing some plant species.
Restoring An Island
To reverse the damage that has already been done, the development team has assembled a group of scientists to monitor the living organisms on the island. Their plans include to plant around 20,000 new red mangrove trees around the island’s perimeter and also to add rocks and sand. Native species will also be reintroduced to the island…
Approximately 45% Of The Island Will Be Designated As A Conversation Area
DiCaprio has set aside half of the land to be a wildlife preserve, equipped with a research station to host scientists conducting ecological studies. Guests on the island will even be allowed to work on restoration products if that’s something they’re interested in.
How Many People Can Stay On The Island?
There will be over 40 guest villas on a mile of secluded beach, jungle, and grassland. Additionally, travelers who prefer their own houses will get to choose from over 35 homes, which will be available for purchase, ranging in price from $5 to $15 million. Some of the properties will have a breathtaking view of the beach, offering prime views of sunsets and sunrises every day. Besides the cost of the property, homeowners will have to pay a monthly fee for housekeeping, meals and other services…
The Resort Will Generate New Jobs
For the guests who stay there, highly personalized service is guaranteed as the operational resort will hire 400 permanent staff members, from hotel staff to workers on the organic farms. One thing is for certain, that Blackadore Caye basically guarantees exclusivity.
Many health and wellness amenities and technologies will be built into the architecture. This includes a state-of-the-art LED circadian lighting and controls that help support optimal sleep at night and alertness throughout the day. Additionally, advanced air and water purification systems will be built in to ensure the highest quality air and water. Healthy, non-toxic materials will be used throughout the resort.
Health And Wellness
Wellness programming will be part of the stay at Blackadore Caye and guests can expect to be trained by the best, including Mr. Chopra, founder of the Chopra Foundation for health and wellbeing. He will conduct a program focused mainly on health and anti-aging. Additionally, DiCaprio has spared no expense in making the resort suitably stylish.
Hotel interior designer Jean-Michel Gathy and Malaysia-based hotel and resort specialists Denniston has been enlisted to create the Blackadore Caye aesthetic. The company has already designed some of the world’s most luxurious resorts, including Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives, The Chedi Andermatt and Aman Canal Grande in Venice. The resort has already achieved accolades from the Living Building Challenge…
Adhering To Living Building Challenge Standards
The Living Building Challenge is known as the world’s most rigorous performance standard for buildings. The description on their website reads: “People from around the world use our regenerative design framework to create spaces that, like a flower, give more than they could take.” Blackadore Caye is the first luxury resort to adhere to these standards and among the world’s first most eco-friendly resorts.
How Do You Get There?
It’s a 45-minute boat ride from Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City. It’s also a 15-minute boat ride from San Pedro, which is the largest big town nearby. The island itself has been used for hundreds of years, but now there will be restrictions on what guests can bring with them there…
Since the hotel is eco-friendly, guests will be restricted as to what they can take with them to the resort. Plastic water bottles, for example, will not be allowed and once there, guests will be required to go through an ecology orientation program. Those who do not care about the environment or wouldn’t appreciate a resort such as this should probably rethink their trip.
The Goal Of Blackadore Caye
Their goal was to create a place that would pay homage to Mayan culture, while also providing modern amenities. “We want to change the outlook of people who visit, on both the environment writ large and also their personal well-being,” McLennan said. But the project isn’t without its concerns…
The Concerns For Blackadore Caye
Many have voiced concerns about the project’s plans and conservationists believe the development is too big for such an environmentally fragile zone. However, among the most enraged, are the locals who formed a Facebook group called “Defend Blackadore Caye,” where over 1,400 followers are in opposition to the project.
First Of Its Kind
Despite all the opposition and negative feedback, the project is considered to be the first of its kind in Belize as it signals an entirely new paradigm in sustainable development. The project has the blessing of Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr. as he says, “I definitely believe that the Blackadore Caye Project is something not only good for San Pedro but for the entire country of Belize…Having looked at the project, I believe that it will be example for our neighbors and the rest of the world.”