House Envy: This private island near Sea Island includes a custom-built resort

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Del Masters is selling his retreat
Sea Island home

Photograph courtesy of Sea Island Properties

Nestled among the live oaks and palms of Georgia’s Golden Isles is a private resort known as Little Hawkins Island. Owned by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Del Masters, who sold his tech company, MaxStrat Corp., to Sun Microsystems in 1999, the four-acre retreat is surrounded by marshes and deep water and is a sanctuary to all kinds of native wildlife, from turtles to deer.

Masters and his family had been vacationing at the Cloister at Sea Island for years when he heard that nearby Little Hawkins Island was for sale. He bought the property on the spot and commissioned nationally recognized architect Tom Price to design a private resort that could accommodate family, friends, and business associates. “I built a little village where people could get away from the everyday stresses of life and find peace and solitude,” he says.

The island estate, which took eight years to develop, includes four buildings: the 6,000-square-foot main residence; two 1,500-square-foot guest cottages; and the 2,000-square-foot “Little Hawkins Club,” which features a fully equipped workout facility, locker rooms, outdoor pool and spa, and club room with bar. A gated 110-yard bridge does double-duty—connecting the resort to the mainland and its utilities to the city grid. There’s also a deep-water dock and a boat lift with a 20,000-pound capacity.

The five-bedroom main residence has five custom fireplaces, a large family room, a study, a gourmet kitchen, and a master suite with a spacious walk-in closet and spa shower. A terrace that runs the length of the home offers views of the water. In fact, almost every room incorporates nature, with windows that overlook the marshes, courtyard, or meticulously landscaped grounds.

Each building was designed with Spanish Colonial and California Mission Revival architectural elements, such as tiled roofs, beamed ceilings, courtyards, arches, and towers. Fine craftsmanship and attention to detail are evident everywhere—from the iron gates, rails, and sconces that were hand-forged in Mexico to the more than 150 light fixtures that were designed and built by a family-owned business in southern California. Other custom features include reclaimed antique pine flooring, handcrafted terra cotta tile flooring, and solid African mahogany doors. Centered on the parapet at the portico of the main residence is a custom-carved limestone cartouche (a raised ornamental decoration) that’s bordered by scrolls and capped with a Cherokee Rose, Georgia’s state flower.

Then, there’s the landscaping, which includes more than 350 shrubs, 150 trees, and hundreds of jasmine vines. Outdoor lighting illuminates the entire property, creating an enchanting after-dark vista.

The entire retreat was designed with environmental conservation in mind. Masters took great care not to destroy the island’s natural landscape, bringing in more than 1,000 semi-trailer truck loads of dirt and shaping a 16-foot high slope on which to construct the buildings. “Little Hawkins Island has a very intimate feel, which, in large part, is due to the contouring of the property,” he says. Moreover, a geothermal system provides much of the energy that cools and heats the property.

Although secluded and private, Little Hawkins Island is located just minutes away from area shopping and restaurants. “It’s remote, yet accessible,” he says.

This private island retreat, which comes fully furnished, is on the market for $20,000,000. For more information, contact Patrick Dunn (912-222-0142, or Laura Peebles (912-602-4881, of Sea Island Properties.