February 16 2022
16 Feb 2022
Once the private Caribbean getaway of the fabulously wealthy international art dealer Daniel Wildenstein, Valley Trunk Estate on the island of Virgin Gorda was built as the ultimate family retreat.
Perched high among huge granite boulders, the compound features a main house connected to six more villas, each boasting spectacular panoramic views of the sailing mecca that’s the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Wildenstein, who died in 2001, reportedly bought this 18-acre corner of Virgin Gorda back in 1981 after flying over the sparsely-populated island and spotting it below.
The compound took around five years to complete. One of the first buildings on the property was the two-story Bali House close to the beach. The Wildenstein family had bought the wood-frame building in Bali, had it dismantled and shipped to Virgin Gorda, where it was reassembled as a cool beach house.
Following Wildenstein’s death, his grandchildren Diane and Alec Wildenstein Jr. took over the running of the estate and began renting it out as a super-exclusive escape. Weekly rates were said to be as much as $77,000, with all the profits reportedly going to support the black rhino conservation work being done on the Wildenstein family’s 58,000-acre Ol Jogi ranch in Kenya.
Guests at Valley Trunk could enjoy meals prepared by the family’s longtime private French chef, play tennis on the estate’s all-weather court, swim in the infinity-edge pool, exercise in the gym or aboard one of the estate’s paddleboards or kayaks. Or simply splash around in the crystal-clear waters of Big Trunk Bay, named after the indigenous Trunkback turtles that nest on the beach. Guests also had unlimited use of the family’s classic 68-foot Bertram motor yacht, Xanadu, for snorkeling or dining adventures in the anchorages around the serene British Virgin Islands.
According to Edward Childs, longtime BVI resident and listing broker with local realtors Smiths Gore, all that came to a screeching halt when Hurricane Irma roared through the islands in September 2017, packing sustained winds of 185mph. “Like so many properties in the islands, Valley Trunk was badly damaged. Though since then it has been extensively and meticulously rebuilt and thoroughly modernized. Now it’s better than ever,” he tells Robb Report.
According to Childs, with the estate rebuilt—though the Bali House stills needs work, and Xanadu is still in a Florida boatyard for repairs—the Wildensteins have decided now is a good time to sell and let another family enjoy the home. The estate has been listed for $48 million.
“What is totally unique about the property is its size, location and security,” explains Childs. “It really is totally private and secluded, set high-up and surrounded by all those huge boulders.”
A security gate opens on to a long driveway that leads up to the main house. The two-story building has a spacious lower-level lounge and bar, with an adjacent screening room with state-of-the-art projection and sound. Doors open on to a gorgeous poolside terrace with views of the Drake Channel.
Upstairs is the high-ceilinged master suite with full-width doors opening onto a shaded private terrace. In the bathroom, you can relax in the free-standing bathtub while gazing out over the Caribbean. A winding walkway leads across to the separate dining where there’s air-conditioned indoor dining, plus a huge outdoor terrace for alfresco meals. The professional-grade kitchen is close by.
In total, there are nine ensuite bedrooms within four adjoining single-story villas, each with a separate living room and kitchenette. In addition, there’s a two-bedroom manager’s house, plus two staff houses, each with two bedrooms.
As for getting to the Valley Trunk Estate, there are flights into Beef Island Airport on Tortola where you then take a boat to Virgin Gorda. Or smaller prop planes can land at the unpaved Virgin Gorda International.
“This could once again make the ultimate family vacation home. There’s space here for large groups to gather and enjoy one of the most spectacular parts of the world,” adds Childs.
©️ By HOWARD WALKER / Robb Report