Witenblauw: white and blue. Four thousand square meters of Caribbean utopia, known throughout the Dutch, St. Maarten for its beautiful Spanish-tiled rooftops, hundreds of individually- laid round tiles glazed in a captivating cobalt blue, crowning a pure white Mediterranean façade. The sun, the sky, and the sea, collaborate in its glory.
Witenblauw is the dream come true of a young man of humble beginning, who emigrated from Italy to American and amassed great wealth. He first visited St. Maarten in 1994; and as soon as he saw Witenblauw, he bowed to himself, “One day, this house will be mine.” A generous philanthropist, with his donations to the medical facilities of St. Maarten/ St. Martin, is legendary: he believes in giving back to the community that has welcomed him so warmly.
But his most striking contribution has been his revamping of what was already a stately mansion on Pelican City, into virtually a magical kingdom by the sea. Witenblauw is an oasis of natural elements: light, water, wood, sand, bronze, glass, and marble. Each of its five guest villas, maid’s and caretaker’s homes, share fundamental elements in design and color.
“Color means life,” declares the owner. “I have learned through the years that nothing in the world, from politics to religion, is only black and white. In between are all the colors, all of the life. This is a teaching that belongs to everything. Nothing is just black and white.”
While essentially white and blue, collectively, Witenblauw represents an artist’s palette, with intricately layered hues of the rainbow. Quarters devoted exclusively to pink, tallow, green, blue, and violet awaits its guests, each a private villa with bedroom, bath, and deck to the pool. It is a delicate balance of detail and minimalism, art, and architecture.
Every detail adds to the whole: Bisazza glass mosaics and door handles in clear, blue-green glass, portals to the sea. Witenblauw has an extraordinary amount of glass: blown, ground, and re-baked, chipped and reset in mosaic, and because glass can be created in any color it holds a subtle warmth- it is sand recomposed as a channel for light.
Ground glass floors, 6mm thick and more resilient than marble, flow through Witenblauw, divided in intimate cul de sacs by antique Kirman rugs, signed by artisans a hundred years ago. Windows are double glassed to receive daylight, but screen viewing from outside, with soft capped waves in frosted glass for further privacy and ambiance.
Luxurious bathrooms feature sensuous showers of translucent, bubble glass in hues that complement the villa. The hand-laid floors are patterned with mosaics. Guestrooms and vanities, as well as the kitchen counters, are all made from ground glass in lapros blue, red, yellow, green, and majestic travelers palms. Two romantic red-glass mosaic lvoeseats from an exclusive edition by Italian artist Sandro Chia offer visitors front row seats in the garden.
A garden stroll soft across the golf-green turf entices with sirens of surreal color from double-blossomed red and salmon hibiscus, Bird of Paradise, and sweet jasmine in bloom. Daily blossoms find their way into the villas, in delicately balanced bouquets of yellow and white frangipani, or orange and coral ixora, all home-grown. Bordering all, a second garden blooms in hundreds of exotic white and blue ceramic planters; remind us that this is Witenblauw.