Kekeland – Bardeco – click any image for full size
It’s been nigh-on a year since our first visit to Kekeland – Bardeco, and while the titular bar served as an inspiration of me to remodel Caitinara Bar, after we visited the in the latter half of 2017, we hadn’t been aware of any move or make-over in the design – until, that is, Shakespeare dropped a new LM on me. Intrigued, we hopped over to have a look, to discover Kekeland – Bardeco has moved from a Homestead to Full region, and undergone a make-over in the process.
We tried to recreate a quiet, sunny and peaceful fishermen place, inspired by an Italian village. You will find a little harbour and a coloured village, and hillsides of vines, with camping and mountains.
– Dandy Warhloll (terry Fotherington) and Belle des Champs (Bridget Genna)
As recreations go, the “new” design for Kekeland is impressive, and succeeds in imparting the feeling of being within the kind of setting that inspired it; but the success might come at s slight cost to some visitors: this is a place where there is a lot going on, particularly with textures, so some adjustment to viewer settings might be required to compensate.But this should put you off visiting; after all, that’s what graphic presets are for!
The harbour described in the land description sits on the south side of the region, a walk down through the streets of the town surrounding it on two sides. Protected from the sea by a breakwater and watched over by a lighthouse, it is fairly bustling with boats: sailing boats, yachts, motorboats, RHIBs – so much so that the fishing boats tied-up at the wharves must have to fight their way out to the freedom of the sea in order to ply their trade each morning!
These fishing boats are tied-up on the east side of the harbour, which is clearly the “working” side: a busy waterfront road where a lot is going on. Behind it, and climbing the stepped cliffs, tall, modern-looking apartment blocks vie with an ancient fort that once commanded a strategic view over the bay, to claim the skyline as theirs.
The town continues round to the north where, set back from the harbour is a plaza – surprisingly overgrown and with more tower blocks and houses climbing up the inland slope behind it. Along the plaza the predominant business appears to be entertainment and refreshment. The coffee houses, bars, boutiques and open-air music area, together with the more modern apartment houses up on the cliff-top, suggest why the harbour is so chock-full of boats: once a working coastal village, this place has now become a holiday destination.
A further attraction lies on the west of the harbour. Here, sitting atop a rough table of rock, sits Bardeco. The last time we saw this (also the occasion of our first visit to a region design by Belle and Dandy), it was imaginatively placed at the foot of of the region’s cliffs and built back into them, offering an entirely “covert”, so to speak, setting that was both part of yet separate from the rural setting above. Seeing it out in the open in this “new” location did take a little getting used to, I admit, but it has not lost any of its shabby-chic appeal.
North of Bardeco, beyond the slip of water and beach dividing it from the town, the buildings quickly give way to open, rugged land. Here can be found trails, old ruins and signs that not all the locals have been driven away by the maddening crowd on the waterfront. Goats are being reared and grape vines cultivated on some of the lower northern steps of the island, while old farmhouses hide among the trees or sit aloof from the trails on their own shoulders of rock. There’s also the ruins of a much grander property sitting forlorn and alone, whatever story of times past lying within its broken walls fading slowly as nature takes up a greater and greater residence.
In its Homestead iteration, Kekeland – Bardeco offered a wonderful sense of rural living, complete with its discrete and neatly tucked away bar. With its move to a Full region simulator, it presents a more urban setting, and marries these with some of the feeling on open spaces that made the “original” so appealing. It is very different to the “old” design, but sports a unique look and charm nevertheless.
- Kekeland – Bardeco (Saint Martin, rated: Moderate)