Luxury Travel Advisor and four VIPs recently had the privilege of staying at one of the best villa resorts we’ve ever seen in the Caribbean—Villa Aquamare.
Here’s the skinny on pitching this Caribbean dream to VIPs heading to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands:
|Bathrooms at Villa Aquamare offer plenty of space, plus rain showers with partial ocean views.|
This resort is made up of three, perfectly designed, 8,000-square-foot villas all within a stone’s throw from one of the most beautiful beaches on Virgin Gorda and all spaced out enough to ensure privacy. Celebrity Sightings: Luxury Travel Advisor was told that one of Villa Aquamare’s first VIPs was actor Harrison Ford. We were also told that musicians, such as rapper Ludacris, have also stayed at the resort.
Each villa is situated on a different elevation and surrounded by landscaping for even more privacy, yet angled to maximize views of the stunning Sir Francis Drake Channel. Note: There is a separate Concierge House in the resort to provide attentive guest services at every turn.
Hint: Clients have the rare option of renting more than one villa, or even all three, to accommodate large gatherings of up to 36 people in one private enclave. Advisors booking all three villas should do this four to six months in advance.
All five-bedroom villas have comfortable spacious areas and ample balconies with spectacular ocean views. But a distinguishing feature of the Aquamare experience is found in each of the spa suites: open, yet completely sheltered marble bath areas with separate outdoor shower rooms the size of most New York City apartment living rooms.
We didn’t want to leave the private swimming pool on the bottom floor, couldn’t wash off enough in the outdoor rain showers—which are available in each of the three master suites and the studio (the other room is a double)—and frankly just didn’t want to leave the villa.
Note: The full-time housekeeping service the villa provides may require VIPs to sacrifice a little privacy in exchange for a meticulously clean villa. The housekeepers could be in their open-air living room anytime from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. so make sure they’re not doing anything they wouldn’t want their mother to see. Having said that, VIPs will get over that small inconvenience when they come down from their bedroom to see the evidence of the previous night’s festivities already discarded before breakfast is even served.
Private, in-villa dinners, lunches and breakfasts are also offered where one can get either a gourmet meal or some down-home cooking. For dinner, we chose some comfort food cooked by our incredibly friendly chef, Mimi, who may have made the best sweet potato and leek soup we ever had.
VIPs also have the option of getting a butler, who will come to the villa for eight-hour shifts and take care of their every need from packing and unpacking to bringing them some cold Carib beers on ice on the beach.
For room inquiries and bookings, advisors should contact Lizzie Paz ([email protected]; 787-725-2552), hospitality and reservations manager for Villa Aquamare.
|The Three Villas come with their own infinity pools.|
Aquamare’s private Beach Park is the ideal setting for destination weddings and small meetings. Now, just to be clear, most beaches are not private in the Caribbean. That’s why there was a “public” beach and then another man-made one just for villa guests. There’s help-yourself kayaking, snorkeling, a cabana and the clearest, calmest water you can imagine.
Villa Aquamare has an onsite concierge named Gino, a very charismatic Peruvian native who knows the island inside out. Nice Touch: Gino can assist VIPs in just about everything from coordinating boat excursions along the Sir Francis Drake Channel to a champagne sunset cruise, or coordinating just about any in-villa services.
Note: Tell VIPs to book groceries before their arrival and recommend a private dinner in their villa for at least one or two nights. Now, before Luxury Travel Advisor and our four guests arrived at the villa, we ordered roughly $700 worth of groceries from burgers and hot dogs to beers, wine and liquor. It was way more than we needed for the four-day stay. We recommend getting simply what you need for the first day or two and then playing the others days by ear. Advisors should note though that there is a 25 percent service charge for the groceries pickup.
Tip: Advisors should also highly recommend renting a car if clients would like to skip the 25 percent service charge and pick up some groceries on their own or if they want to see one of the Caribbean greatest attractions, The Baths, which is just a seven- to 10-minute drive from Villa Aquamare.
Hint: We also highly recommend private boat transfers. Or at least book one for the way back. The public ferries, however, are actually pretty convenient and cost about $20 each. Make sure your VIPs taking the ferry have cash for the ride. The ferries, however, run roughly every two hours, so planning it around your return flight can result in getting to the airport way earlier than you really need to.
Note: Advisors should tell VIPs that there is a $20 tax to leave the country. It is not included in the air ticket, and most major credit cards, except American Express, are accepted. VIPs should also be warned to use as much bug spray as possible. Paradise doesn’t come without a catch or two and in this case, it’s in the form of some pretty hungry mosquitoes.
Luxury travel advisors should contact Tracey Harlowe ([email protected]; 954-345-4078), the resort’s travel industry sales representative with The Harlowe Group, a boutique representation company.