In one of Agatha Christie’s more elaborate murder mystery novels, the author sends Hercule Poirot — and his fabulous moustache — to the seaside. And why not? Evil Under the Sun, a 1941 corker of a whodunnit, begins on a British bathing beach with the Belgian sunning himself out on his deck chair, resplendent in a white duck suit and panama hat. Calmly, and as pragmatically as you’d expect from the detective, Poirot spends the first few pages summing up the charms of provincial, coastal life.
“It is peaceful,” he observes. “The sun shines. The sea is blue”. Quite so. It’s a serene picture painted, and a passage that stirs up our love for the seaside every time we come across it. Granted, the bodies start piling up a couple of chapters later, but Poirot’s off-duty musings always strike a chord. How fun it would be, we always think, to have a place by the sea. And it’s been years since Christie put pen to paper. Today, if you’re looking to invest in a coastal castle or waterfront home, there are properties with beach access all over the world…
The Chimneys, Manchester, Massachusetts
In the United States, there are more than 2,000 miles of east coastline to consider. Up north, a string of waterside mansions stretch from The Hamptons to New Hampshire — many as decadent as the rhododendron-lined driveways and ocean front estate of The Chimneys.
With eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms, 28 acres of land (a cool $24 million price tag to match), opportunities to purchase a house of this grandeur in such a privileged position are few and far between. If you’re in the market for your next mansion, don’t hesitate.
Mont Blanc, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Florida’s ‘Mont Blanc’ sits on the south east coast of the US, pushing the boundaries of architectural design from the pristine white sand beaches of Seagrove. Perched as close to Santa Rosa Beach as foundationally possible, this eye-catching home takes its architectural cues from the Art Deco stylings of Miami blended with the white-washed homes of the Greek islands. On the market with Savills for $14.995 million, this is a house with serious holiday vibes.
Belle-Epoque Mansion, Provence-Alpes-Côte D’Azur
Europe, too, has plenty of seaside chateaux and villas. On France’s famed Côte D’Azur, a pastel pink, Belle-Epoque mansion overlooks the Med — and could easily be plucked straight from the pages of a sun-soaked Christie thriller.
It’s easily large enough to host of the most opulent of murder mystery gatherings as well. With 10 bedrooms, six bathrooms, two kitchens, a large dining room in which to gather the suspects and an outdoor swimming pool for the dramatic climax of the thriller, it’s yours with price, naturally, on request.
Villa Grecale, Sassari, Italy
Across the water, another opportunity sits for sale on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast; a seafront villa complete with private boat jetty and beautiful loggia. In fact, despite its 13 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, Villa Grecale is all about al fresco living. Its outdoor space spans nearly 6,500 square metres and includes lush gardens, numerous terraces, a huge pool and a Jacuzzi.
Beachfront Villa, Elounda, Crete
The islands of Greece don’t disappoint, either, with this homely, pretty Cretan offering sitting mere metres from the Aegean. Listed with Savills for €10.5 million, the estate comprises a six bedroom main house and one bedroom guest house, as well as a stunning swimming pool on a raised terrace, all sitting on a 4,800 square metre plot leading to a stretch of private beach.