Richard De Niro and Australian billionaire James Packer have plans to build a $250 million resort with 40 luxury villas on 400 acres the island of Barbuda, which is only about 38 miles away from the more popular island of Antigua. James Packer is business mogul in resort development. He is dating Mariah Carey.

In October 2015, Packer opened the doors on a purchase of a $3.2 billion resort/casino in Macau, China. Mariah Carey and Richard De Niro were at the opening, the Daily Mail reported. The joint government of Antigua/Barbuda is backing De Niro and Packer. The two signed an agreement with the government in November 2014 and the government has recently been in the news for passing the Paradise Bill in which the government agreed to provide a 25-year pardon from taxes if the operating luxury resort occupies the island, according to the Daily Mail. The bill also includes permission to build an airport for private jets to the island.

Barbuda, photo by Sharkbait

Barbuda, photo by Sharkbait

People on the island are opposing the construction on their tiny, highly undeveloped paradise. Barbuda was a private getaway for Princess Diana, years ago. Other than that, the island has been mostly under the radar. Barbuda has less than 2000 residents. There are only two resorts on the island. The other hotels/resorts have gone out of business. There are some B&B’s and the island’s beaches and mild weather makes Barbuda highly conducive to tourism. Right now, it’s mostly unspoiled, and it’s a good guess that residents like it that way.

Coco Point Lodge is one of the resorts in Barbuda. It’s an all-inclusive resort on 168 acres. It can house no more than 68 guests. A second accommodation, the Lighthouse Bay Resort Hotel is a 4-star hotel with only nine rooms. Prices range from $866 to $1,100 for a standard room, according to Expedia.com. All of the rooms at the Lighthouse Bay Resort are considered, suites. The Lighthouse Bay Resort offers wi-fi, babysitting, airport transportation, a spa, and a restaurant.

Princess Diana stayed at the K Club resort, which has closed down. The Prime Minister of Antigua/Barbuda has stated that perhaps the De Niro resort will attract more American celebrities to Barbuda.

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Claudine Williams

Claudine Williams

Editor-in-Chief at Somewhere Luxurious
Claudine Williams has been published in the New York Times, the Miami Herald, Hotel Chatter, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, the Huffington Post, and various other publications. Claudine has a master's degree in Information Design and Communications. She believes that everyone deserves a trip to Somewhere Luxurious.
Claudine Williams