People tend to think of the BVIs as mainly a boater destination, but these Caribbean islands offer so much more on land. The British Virgin Islands Tourism Board welcomed its travel agent advisory board down for an active week of island hopping and sightseeing from November 14 to November 18, 2016. With Little Dix Bay currently under a year-long plus renovation, the Tourism Board was savvy to recognize now is the time to promote and raise awareness of the dozens of hidden gems spread across the more than 50 islands that make up the British Virgin Islands.
Upon arrival on the first evening, board members were transferred to Scrub Island Resort where they checked into beautiful ocean-view four-bedroom villas and individual suites. After a welcome dinner with Dr. the Honorable D. Orlando Smith, premier of the British Virgin Islands, we were escorted by boat over to Tortola for a “Supermoon” party at the bars that stretched all along Trellis Bay.
The next morning, touring started with a visit to the charming Guana Island. Perfect for those looking for something with a more “old Caribbean” feel and rustic charm without sacrificing service, Guana is incredibly romantic yet also great for active travelers who would appreciate its steep cliffs and walking paths. The onsite organic garden generates a fair amount of farm-to-table cuisine for resort guests and is one of the best in the BVIs.
Top of the Island: Kendra Thornton revels in the lush luxury of the BVI.
Next stop was Peter Island Resort & Spa for lunch at Falcons Nest Villa and a tour of the resort’s incredible multi-bedroom villas with sprawling views of the ocean and nearby islands. The new general manager, Scott Hart, has brought with him a renewed emphasis on F&B and a new executive chef, Todd Howard, who is creative and talented. The resort is currently expanding to add a conference center and more villas. The board spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful beach and water sports on property.
Back to Scrub Island for dinner, board members were delighted to dine at the resort’s North Shore Beach, where lunch is served daily for hotel guests and dinner is offered every Wednesday. It was a beautiful setting, well suited for a private event or wedding.
The second morning began with a yacht charter, courtesy of Marine Max, where the very skilled Captain Kirk took board members on a lovely ride past Richard Branson’s Mosquito Island home and Larry Page’s Eustatia Island home, with the latter available for a full rental buyout. The first stop was to the new development — Oil Nut Bay. The board members were all impressed with this resort, which spared no expenses on room furnishings by Fendi and had jaw-dropping views from villas etched into the cliffs. A mix of privately owned homes for rent and some not, Oil Nut Bay is quickly expanding and will no doubt become one of the most exclusive and luxurious resorts in the BVIs. High-end clients with children will be delighted to know that the children’s play house was one of the most expensive buildings custom designed for the resort with something for even the youngest of guests.
Richard Branson with Kendra Thornton at Necker Island.
After a delicious poolside lunch at Oil Nut Bay, board members hopped aboard their charter for a ride over to Necker Island. Owned by Richard Branson and typically only available for a full island takeover, the resort has promised to add more Celebration Weeks in 2017 where smaller groups or individuals can rent just one of the 17 rooms on property. On this day, the ultra exclusive Necker Cup was in full swing and board members were delighted to spend time chatting with Branson himself as well as rub shoulders with Mike Tyson, professional tennis players, performers such as Robin Thicke, and Jewel and Sports Illustrated models.
Keeping a tight schedule, board members said goodbye to Necker and hopped back on the charter for a boat ride to legendary Bitter End Yacht Club. Best described as “glamping” oceanside, Bitter End continues to thrill guests with the largest fleet of watersports in all the BVIs. Board members were unable to see guestrooms on this visit as the property was sold out for the Necker Cup, but the resort acknowledged they are currently beginning the process of renovating a large number of their villas.
That evening, board members checked into new accommodations on Virgin Gorda with half the group staying at Villa Aquamare (currently not available for rent) and the other half at Valley Trunk Estate, a 20-acre private estate that has recently been opened up by the owners for rent as a full house takeover. We ended the second day with a fabulous dinner at local favorite Rock Café Tree House.
Sail Away: The BVI is where visitors coast from one isle to another, with a free-style vibe.
The board conducted a three-and-a-half hour meeting after breakfast on the third morning to cover outstanding business, and review what had been visited during the week. After the meeting, the group transferred back to Valley Trunk Estate for an amazing lunch prepared by its in-house chef at its breathtaking beachfront Bali House. This estate has the most pristine gardens ever and the beach has some of the softest, most beautiful sand. Board members agreed the room décor, while very high end, might not be to everyone’s tastes, but the property is suited for a client who wants exclusive privacy and the run of their own Caribbean estate with a full staff to cater to every whim.
After lunch, we were all shuttled off to the infamous The Baths, National Park for an hour of exploration and swimming. The evening concluded with a white party cocktail hour at Baraka Point, a beautiful cliffside five-bedroom villa available for rent through BVI Villa Rental, followed by farewell dinner at the popular Coco Maya.