Coulibri Ridge

An off-grid labour of love

By Caroline Tapp-McDougall

Well-heeled eco-warriors are pilgrimaging to Petit Coulibri, eager to visit “The Nature Island’s privately owned off-grid resort that’s a unique test bed for sustainable and renewable hospitality projects. As the sun came up, I saw my first hummingbirds… 

The objectives were lofty: to design, build and operate a sustainable high-end resort in an exceptional natural setting that would serve as test bed for resilience during harsh weather events, a bastion of community engagement and a beacon of hope for the global hospitality industry.  

As the story goes, after making his fortune in the software business, it took years for Canadian born creator, Daniel Langlois and his partner Dominique Marchand to piece together Coulibri Ridge’s magnificent 200-acre parcel of land. Minutes from Soufriere Bay where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Langlois resort, called Coulibri after the Taino word for Hummingbird, sits high on an unspoiled south facing mountain ridge.   

By design its alignment is optimal to harness both the power of the sun and wind using 300 solar panels and two vertical access wind turbines. Fresh rain water is directed from building roofs and stored in a network of underground cisterns boasting 200,000-gallon storage capacity and the chemical free ability to purify using UV. Roads and drainage networks are also rainwater collectors for landscaping and farm watering.

Renewable solutions
Structurally—Langlois has thought of everything. Thick exterior stone walls were hand chiseled by local masons using rocks harvested on property. Eco-friendly, building and finishing materials were meticulously chosen for their ability to help with cooling and zero maintenance.  

Each selection considered long-term environmental impact. Interiors now include: certified recycled teak cabinets, low energy rating appliances, automatic faucets and showers, automatic lighting along with organic amenities offered in reusable dispensers.

During our ‘back-of-shop’ tour during a recent stay, Langlois passionately explains that for him, sustainable luxury is about “the constant and conscious choices we make to preserve rarity and beauty and to enjoy well-being without depleting natural resources”. The concept and practices used to build, and now operate his resort, he tells us are, “meant to serve as a blueprint to help communities become independent and resilient. All of the technology I’ve used is readily available and, contrary to what many people think, eco doesn’t have to mean a tent with 2 light bulbs and a clothes line. Coulibri’s 5-star guests want for nothing. We’re truly setting new standards in sustainable luxury with uniqueness, efficiency and quality.

People actually come here to see if we’re really able to do it.” Proof positive… despite the devastation that hurricane Maria inflicted on Dominica in 2017, all of Langlois buildings, off-grid power systems and water sources stood their ground. “We were resilient in every way and right after the storm able to help locals who were without water and power for 9 months.” 

Life off the grid
Officially opened in October of ‘22, after twenty years in the making, Coulibi Ridge a fourteen- suite eco-resort with a collection of high-brow 1000 square -foot sky penthouses with private rainwater fed plunge pools, 950 square-foot Morne Fou Lofts, 650 square-foot Seaview Studios plus two zero edge swimming pools equipped with copper ion technology for purification. Carefully placed, adjacent and on-top of each other to allow for efficient sharing of resources, reaching our suite and other spaces requires an energetic stair climb.  

While there are two restaurants, Mesa for informal breakfast and lunch and Vista for more formal evening dinners, fully equipped kitchens and ingredients are available for long-stay guests or those wishing to prepare their own food. Partnerships are in place with local farmers and fisherman and some produce is grown on the property’s farm and orchards. Rumour has it grand plans for an underground hydroponic garden is also in the works.

Whether the goal is to relax and indulge in nature’s bounty or rejuvenate after an adventurous hike, a gym workout or yoga class in the Pavilion. The CR Spa is a hidden gem. From its secluded open-air location where spa-goers can hear the wind in the trees, to its local practitioners, customized scrubs, massages and facials, time here, truly captures of the essence and breathtaking beauty of this,“nature island.”

Hands on..
Langlois, who is now well into his sixties remains a going concern at the resort, on the island of Dominica and elsewhere in the world. Along with his Daniel Langlois Foundation which encourages the meeting of art and science in the field of technology and nurtures critical awareness of technologies’ implications for human beings and their environments, Langlois and his partner have founded the Humane Society of Dominica and rezdm.org a charity that fosters research, design and implementation of realistic and viable technological solutions and interventions. Rezdm funds projects that incorporate future resilience and self-sustainability and improve the quality of life for the inhabitants following natural disasters).  

A proudly Canadian story of one man’s unique, and conscious choice, to “give back”! 
coulibriridge.com

 

Homefront Recommends Paddling the Waitukubuli  

The brainchild of Wes Moses and Kerry Alleyne from the Soufriere Outdoor Centre an outfitter for kayaking and snorkeling adventurers in the southwest corner of Dominica, the Waitukubuli  Sea Trail is a 66 km long coastal trail  from the north to south of the island that’s been formed in partnership with Discover Dominica. 

Composed of 14 charted segments that are designed to take between 4 and 6 days to complete, the Sea Trail carries expedition paddlers in touring kayaks into inlets and beside rugged cliffs, past untouched wilderness shorelines and hidden beaches. Along the way, colourful local communities welcome guests and provide food and overnight lodgings.

Kayakers can also tackle one or two segment daytrips at their leisure, with or without guides, and stop to snorkel and observe marine life: turtles, dolphins, schools of colourful fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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