British Virgin Islands –more than just Necker Island?
Think of the British Virgin Islands and most people think of sailing or Richard Branson’s Necker Island, but there is plenty more to discover as I soon discovered back last year.
Access to the main airport Tortola has been a challenge, but thanks to the direct service now being offered on VI Airlink from Antigua on Friday’s and Saturdays, the British Virgin Islands (BVI’s) are more accessible than ever. Tortola is a mere 40-minute flight from Antigua and the view coming into land is pretty special.
The villas offered in the BVI’s are spectacular, whether you are looking for a traditional Caribbean style home or a modern, contemporary expansive house. There are standalone private homes or villa resorts, so you have the benefit of privacy with access to resort amenities.
Upon arrival into Tortola, you can choose to stay on this popular island or visit one of the other islands. When we arrived, the main boat pier is a 3-minute car journey and then a six-minute boat transfer to the nearby Scrub Island. This resort offers a good mixture of rooms, suites and villas. Our villa offered plenty of space, a plunge pool overlooking the bay and Tortola in the distance and 3 en-suite bedrooms. If you can tear yourself away from the villa, then the resort has a main swimming pool, dive shop, boutique and a selection of dining options from gourmet fare to casual dining. The spa was under renovation when we visited but one of the villas is being used for treatments with panoramic ocean views.
We used a golf cart to visit the other side of the island and you could find yourself with a long stretch of beach to yourself! There is a casual bar and grill offering snacks and refreshments.
Scrub Island –
We left the next day for the short transfer back to Tortola to catch our next boat transfer to the impressive Guana Island, a private island resort with an abundance of nature and hiking trails. We were welcomed by the resort’s managers and transferred by golf cart up to the main reception area – a cosy lounge area. The chef had prepared some delicious snacks, and although feeling full from the breakfast offered at Scrub Island, it was impossible to refuse the fresh snacks of seafood, hors d’oeuvres and refreshing cocktails. We were given an overview of the resort before viewing some of the accommodations on offer. This resort really does give a sense of “getting away from it all” even though you can connect to WiFi if need be…..but with 7 beautiful beaches to choose from, an orchid tour or boat trips on offer, you probably won’t find the need to. There is a selection of cottages and a large villa on offer, and Guana Island won’t be to everyone’s taste as it is secluded and only accommodates up to 40 guests but we would certainly recommend a couple of nights at this intriguing island.
Next we headed back to Tortola to visit some villas dotted around various parts of the island. Tortola is the main island of the BVI’s and has a selection of good villa offerings from contemporary to sophisticated, all with sweeping ocean views. We stayed at the Balinese-inspired Golden Pavilion Villa with views back to Guana Island. It is hard to miss this villa thanks largely to its green and yellow exterior.
The entrance to the main house is via a small courtyard where 4 bedrooms, lounge, living area and the kitchen are located. A separate cottage features a bedroom, living area and kitchenette. The outside area has a BBQ, large dining table, hot tub and seating area, perfect for enjoying the sunset. The villa comes with a chef and house manager, making sure you are fully catered for.
The next morning, we had a 15-minute boat journey to Virgin Gorda and the stunning Rosewood Little Dix. Boasting its own stretch of beach and offering a range of accommodations from hotel rooms to beach houses and villas, there is something for everyone at this impressive resort.
After settling into the 4 bedroom spacious villa with fully-equipped kitchen and swimming pool, we ventured down to the luxury spa for a massage….visting so many villas can be exhausting! The feel and atmosphere as soon as we arrived soon put us in a relaxed frame of mind. Certainly one of the best spa’s I had visited. Then it was time for a spot of lunch at the main grill and it was rude not to try one of the areas typical delicacies – the Roti! Tasty and fresh!
After exploring the resort for the rest of the afternoon, we then ventured to the beachfront restaurant for dinner – a buffet style offering a selection of the finest seafood, international cuisine and desserts. It is hard not to over indulge as the food was exquisite.
It was soon evident that Rosewood not only boasts one of the best locations in the BVI’s but also caters for couples, families and groups alike without there being a feeling of “overcrowding”. We were surprised the resort was full as you still get the feel of privacy and seclusion thanks to the sparse landscape the resort is located on.
I had to tear myself away from the resort with the promise I would return. The resort is planning a major refurbishment and will be closed for 18 months from May 2016.
After exploring the beautiful Virgin Gorda, we stopped at Baraka Point – a 5 bedroom fully staffed villa overlooking the ocean. The bedrooms are in 3 separate pavilions away from the main house, so even groups or large families can still experience a sense of privacy. The swimming pool is at the front of the property adjacent to the al fresco dining table.
The staff are on hand to cater for all your needs and be sure to try the refreshing rum cocktail! This villa is adorned with artifacts from India and Asia, giving it a sense of Eastern flair.
It had at this point become evident that the British Virgin Island’s not only had some of the best scenery I had experienced, but also a selection of private villas and villa resorts which are perfect for groups of families. It was hard not to be uber-impressed at this point…and then came Valley Trunk which further enhanced my opinion that I may just have found a little paradise on earth.
This villa is inclusive of food and beverage with a host of staff on hand to ensure you have a memorable holiday. There are 9 bedrooms dotted around this expansive estate with a few additional bedrooms that would suit nannies or staff travelling with the main party. Located down at the beach is a traditional authentic Balinese House, perfect for evening dining as we discovered. The best was yet to come as we headed to the beach to relax around a bonfire on comfy beanbags and sipping refreshing after dinner cocktails. I may have been tempted to stay there all evening but then I recalled my bedroom suite and headed back for a good nights sleep.
We visited several other villas around the island before heading up to Hog Heaven – a great restaurant with views of Mosquito Island, Necker Island and the rest of Virgin Gorda. A certain must for those visiting / staying on Virgin Gorda.
At this point, I had forgotten Necker Island as I had experienced so much and formed my own impressions of the the stunning BVI’s…Before when I was asked what I thought when thinking of the BVI’s – like you, it was “Necker Island”. Now when asked, I simply say “unparalleled beauty and complete relaxation”.