BVI Holidays

Exciting New Updates From the BVI

It’s exciting times in the beautiful BVI.  Rosewood Little Dix Bay  on Virgin Gorda is re-opening on January 1st and the hotel looks absolutely stunning.  I always wondered how they could improve on perfection but….they have done just that and I can’t wait to visit.  So much has been upgraded and they now have butler service catering to their guests’ every need.

After an active day perhaps playing tennis, kayaking or island hopping around the other islands in the BVI, you can have a nice relaxing treatment in the Rosewood Little Dix Bay Spa followed by an aperitif in the Rum Room before enjoying a delicious dinner in one of Little Dix’s three fabulous restaurants.  The following day you can take advantage of the complimentary beach drop off provided by Rosewood Little Dix Bay…..who wouldn’t like to be here…….

More exciting news comes from the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda.  The owners have been working hard on the rebuild since the hurricane in 2017 – the eye passed directly over Bitter End and the hotel was wiped out completely.  After the recovery operation on the island was completed (the owners of Bitter End were very involved in this), they got down to the painstaking task of clearing away the debris and now the first phase is almost complete. This will be the shops along the waterfront, the docks, moorings, marina facilities and dining.  There will also be plenty of great spots to enjoy Painkillers and killer sunsets!  We have to be patient – rebuilding Bitter End is not just about building an hotel – it’s like rebuilding a small town!

The day is not too far away when we will be seeing this beautiful sight again in the North Sound, Virgin Gorda.  The buzzing, thriving hub that is the Bitter End Yacht Club.

 

 

The Sailing Capital of the World

What happens when steady trade winds meet an island-flecked channel with tame currents and hundreds of protected salt-rimmed bays?  They create the sailing capital of the world – an ocean of great adventure.

There really is nothing like sailing in the British Virgin Islands.  Discover hidden coves, great anchorages and snorkel spots and deserted white sand beaches.

If you want that “adrenalin rush” join in with the many regattas that are held throughout the BVI.  From a fun “whatever floats” race to high level international, match-racing regattas.  The BVI is the place to be.

You can charter monohulls, catamarans and power boats and because the islands of the BVI are close together, you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner on 3 different islands.  If you would rather sit back and let someone else do all the work, you can hire your very own skipper while you sit back and enjoy a rum punch on the aft deck.

There is lots of fun to be had below the waves as well as above – the snorkelling and diving in the BVI are second to none and you can also try your hand at SNUBA, which is somewhere between the two and particularly good for people who have never snorkelled before.

The British Virgin Islands are special – do come and see for yourself.

 

It’s Official – BVI is the Best!

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has been ranked as the number-one best holiday destination in the Caribbean.

Online travel magazine ‘US News’ ranked the BVI ahead of 16 other Caribbean destinations, edging out St Lucia who ranked second and the neighbouring US Virgin Islands in third place.

The online magazine computed these rankings based on their user-votes and expert insights along with other contributing factors which included accessibility to beaches, tourist attractions and comfortable accommodations.

It also described the BVI as a paradise which attracts travellers who love sailing, diving and seclusion. US News further dissected the main and sister islands, listing some of the benefits tourists can look forward to when travelling to the territory.

For Tortola the online magazine described the main island as having mountainous cliffs and chalk-white beaches characterised by changing tides and calm, easterly winds.

Jost Van Dyke was labelled as having the region’s best New Year’s Eve parties, offering delicious Caribbean food and drink and providing water sport activities such as diving and fishing.

The popular attraction, The Baths – which can be described as the pride and joy of Virgin Gorda – was said to be one of the most ‘picturesque shores’ in the BVI. Anegada in the meantime, was described as the place to be for supreme seclusion, for its slow pace, flat terrain and sparkling sand.

The BVI also ranked high in some of the magazine’s other regional categories including third best family holiday destination and one of the best places to visit in February. The territory was also mentioned for best Caribbean honeymoons and best Caribbean beaches.

Only one thing left for you to do – pick up the phone and ask me to arrange YOUR holiday to this beautiful Caribbean paradise that is the British Virgin Islands.

 

 

 

 

 

Guana Island

One of my favourite spots in the whole BVI is beautiful Guana Island.  It really is heaven on earth.  Stay in a luxurious hillside cottage or your own private villa with pool.  Enjoy stunning beaches, excellent snorkelling and a choice of watersports.

You can challenge your partner to a game of tennis or be pampered in the Spa.  Sip herbal tea in the orchard specially made for you by the lovely Jamal.  Feed the 6′ long iguanas on fruit – they love melon balls (!) and enjoy freshly laid eggs for breakfast from Guana’s very own hens.  There are numerous hiking trails on Guana, all clearly marked and some more challenging than others.

After a delicious dinner on one of Guana Island’s romantic terraces, you can watch your favourite movie in the Garden of Eden while popping popcorn and sipping your favourite wine.

Allow me to arrange your next holiday to Guana Island in the beautiful BVI.

Peaceful, personal, paradise……this is Guana Island.

Island Hopping in the BVI

In my opinion, the British Virgin Islands is the best destination in the world to go island hopping.  You can visit so many beautiful beaches and have lots of amazing snorkel stops in one day.

How many islands you can visit (and there are lots) depends on whether you wish to be under sail or power.  If you just want to enjoy a leisurely sail on a lovely catamaran where you have plenty of sunbathing space, a suggested itinerary would be to head for Virgin Gorda and spend time at the Baths or Devil’s Bay.  There is a trail between the two but you need “jelly” shoes or similar – it’s not for the faint hearted!  Next stop could be snorkelling at Fallen Jerusalem which comprises a jumble of granite boulders interspersed with small patches of silky sand.

Moving on for lunch at Cooper Island Beach Club is a must where you can be lazy and watch the marine life (in real time) drift past on a television positioned above the bar, while you enjoy a nice cocktail.

Another quick stop is to snorkel among the magnificent tarpons at Benure’s Bay, Peter Island en route to Norman Island for a late afternoon cocktail at Pirate’s Bight Beach Bar.

A truly fabulous day out and, if you are under power, there are so many more places in the beautiful BVI you can visit in a day.

A Great Testimonial from Sandy in Georgia, USA!

Thank you BVI Holidays and particularly, Joyce Kinniburgh, for relentlessly searching for a place in the BVI to meet the needs of our large family vacation.  She certainly met every need we had! We are most grateful for her finding these two lovely homes for us to enjoy.

 

Blue Lagoon and Beachcomber houses in Mahoe Bay Virgin Gorda are an amazing combination of homes for a large family gathering.  Over Thanksgiving of 2018 we took our five children, their spouses and their children to Virgin Gorda for a week. Our group made up 12 adults and 12 children under the age of 10.  The accommodations could not have been better. 3 couples and four children stayed in Blue Lagoon and the rest stayed at Beachcomber. Every bedroom was comfortable with air conditioning, adjoining bathrooms and plenty of beds to accommodate our needs.  All of our requests were waiting for us which included groceries, high chairs and porta cribs. We took advantage of a chef coming to prepare one meal for us which was a huge hit. The guys in our group held non stop ping pong matches at the provided game table as well as putting competitions on the lovely green at Blue Lagoon.  Both homes provided modern kitchens with all updated appliances including extra sharp cutlery. Being that we had serious cooks among us, that was quite a welcome bonus! Being able to have laundry handled for a crowd this size made packing lighter for all. Our housekeeper, who came daily, helped keep everything tidy as well. As far as swimming is concerned,  we were able to protect the more fair skinned little ones from the hottest sun in the shaded pool area of Blue Lagoon whilst enjoying the beautiful view. The two homes are merely a concrete road distance between each other so the children ran safely back and forth throughout our stay. Both homes are equipped for larger numbers to socialize. We also appreciated that we never felt on top of one another and that there was always space for the introverted to escape the energy of 12 children.

 

There are no words to describe the beauty of the landscaping of both homes but Beachcomber is beyond words. It is a tropical paradise. The Beachcomber pool is easily accessible with outdoor dining space for large crowds both near the house and additional space near the ocean. The beach is smooth beautiful white sand with calm enough waves to enjoy paddle boarding and snorkeling. I appreciated the shower and faucet near the beach for easy clean up of sand covered children as well as the placement of the hammock in the tree to be able to view everything going on both at the beach and the house.  Of course, all the children and the adults enjoyed the outdoor shower experience in most of the bedrooms. We felt like special guests of the owner as he sent someone to check on any maintenance issues (of which there were none) or any questions we might have.

 

Mahoe Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

We have traveled extensively in the BVI over the years.  This is by far the most beautiful and welcoming place we have stayed.  I highly recommend it. Sandy Thoms/ Athen, Georgia, USA

Thank you Sandy for this amazing and wonderful review.

If you would like to stay at either Beachcomber or Blue Lagoon, please do call and I will be delighted to arrange this for you.

Special Packages Just for You

Here are a few suggestions for fabulous but reasonably priced holidays in the beautiful BVI.

7 nights at Sebastian’s on the Beach Hotel, Tortola in a Beachfront room followed by 4 nights at the Anegada Beach Club in a Palapas Retreat – from £1290.00 per person based on 2 people sharing.

Palapas Retreats, Anegada Beach Club, BVI

7 nights at Limeberry House on Tortola followed by 7 nights at Tamar Villa on Virgin Gorda – based on 6 people sharing – from £1550.00 per person.

If you would like to combine a few nights ashore with some time afloat……

Pay for 7 nights sailing and get 3 free!  6 guests sharing this Nautitech Open 40 Catamaran for 10 nights followed by 3 nights at the Sugar Mill Hotel on Tortola in 3 Deluxe rooms with breakfast – from £1140.00 per person.

Flights additional.

Call us now to book an amazing BVI holiday!

 

 

30 Years of Saving Lives at Sea

Yes the British Virgin Islands comprises beautiful islands, stunning white sand beaches and amazing scenery but sometimes, it’s not just all about lazing in a hammock in the warm sunshine, sipping a cocktail and today I would like to introduce you to one of the essential emergency response services without which, in the past, lives would surely have been lost.

As with so many of the BVI’s volunteer groups, the members of VISAR – Virgin Islands Search and Rescue, come from all walks of life:  they’re lawyers, doctors, people from the marine industry and the hospitality industry. But this is no ordinary group of volunteers. Instead, these folks are saving lives at sea.

The work sounds more like a demanding career than a volunteer endeavour, but for the past 30 years, this is precisely how VISAR has functioned, 24 hours a day, every single day of the year.  Some volunteers stay on dry land focusing on fundraising, maintenance or other necessities for an organisation running two bases, two fully equipped rescue vessels, and a 24/7 emergency rescue phone line. Other volunteers, however, are literal lifesavers, and receive intensive training to qualify to respond in person to stranded vessels, injured boaters, and basically any other emergency at sea.

Operations manager Julie Schneider tells me that VISAR has two primary functions: search and rescue (which, as the name implies, has been the focus since the founding) and, more recently, medical response.

So how does it work? It begins with a call from a boater in distress, usually to VISAR’s emergency telephone line -767. The volunteer on duty takes as much information as he or she can, then puts out a text to all qualified crew:  “Report to base.”

When they arrive, the crew has no idea what they may be walking into. “What have we got?” they ask as they rush in the door. The coordinator will share all the details and any other pertinent information, and once enough crew have arrived, (there needs to be a qualified VISAR captain, or helmsmen, plus at least three other crew members before the vessel can head out) they rush away.

This all happens within minutes. Personally – I’ve witnessed it twice – a shout has come out during dinnertime. The fork is promptly dropped on the plate, the shoes found, followed by a mad dash out the door, with a “I’ll call you or see you later.”

During the response, the crew displays empathy for the family or others involved, especially if a death has occurred, says Duncan Muirhead, one of VISAR’s founding volunteers. He describes the crew as selfless in these scenarios, which often involve meeting an ambulance back on land with an injured person who needs to be transported to the hospital.

Royal Navy helicopter on a training mission with VISAR.

Once the emergency is over and the crew returns to base, there’s a debriefing to review the emergency, and if necessary, any information that needs to be shared with other volunteers to improve responses in the future. While the BVI is generally considered a very safe place to sail and boat, such shouts are common and people can get into trouble: 2016 saw rescue vessels launched 82 times, nearly twice a week.

Today, the VISAR vessels and crew are so well equipped it is mind boggling. They do not call themselves an ambulance at sea, but to the untrained eye, they are precisely that. As the shouts (calls for assistance) are often medical in nature, the boats are equipped with all manner of emergency medical gear. The crew frequently goes through a regular checklist, making sure all the items are in proper working order. The boats – Virgin Gorda’s Gorda Peak and Tortola’s Spirit have engines powerful enough to right themselves (with lift bags) if a capsize at sea occurs. The current boats have served VISAR well but are reaching retirement. Happily, one new search and rescue vessel with updated features recently arrived.

Despite this broad scope, VISAR operates almost entirely on donations, following the pattern of the UK’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Support comes from a range of backers, from shoppers dropping spare change in VISAR’s bright orange cans at the supermarket, to VISAR members who pay from $150 per year, to the higher-dollar corporate sponsors and those who attend or donate prizes at annual fundraisers.

I hope you have found this interesting and thought provoking.

 

A TRUE LOVE STORY

Fort Recovery Resort on Tortola was built by the Dutch sometime around 1620 and may have been used for a barracks for wounded and ill soldiers hence the name “Fort Recovery”.

Fast forward to 1968 when Broadway actress and producer Anita McShane holidayed on Tortola in the BVI.  Anita decided she had found paradise when she stumbled across Fort Recovery and was totally enamoured by the location and stunning views.

“There was only palm trees, this extraordinary view and a fort,” explains Anita, a gregarious New Yorker with a penchant for meeting new people. “I instantly fell in love. I felt like I could go back to New York and tell my fellow actors that I owned a slice of heaven.” Anita bought the property in 1969 and built four units and a bar where the locals used to hang out, sometimes until 3a.m..

“Running an hotel wasn’t that different from staging a Broadway show”, explains Anita. “As a producer I had to know about budgets, building sets and managing people – the actors and back stage crew. These are all skills that I needed here on Tortola, plus I had the most magnificent stage scenery ever – what Mother Nature provided for us.”

Anita soon became adept at balancing both careers, commuting back and forth between her two beloved islands – Manhattan and Tortola. In her absence, Sonny Cottoy, a young Vincentian, kept the hotel running smoothly. “It ran more smoothly than I thought it would. I spoke to Sonny on the phone every day. He took care of the hotel’s maintenance and garden, he was the contractor and the bartender. I couldn’t have done it without him,” says Anita, adding, “It was a perfect life. Whether I was in New York, or at Fort Recovery, each morning when I woke up, I couldn’t wait to go to work.”

Anita and Sonny married in 2000 inaugurating a period that she says was her “real love story.” Sonny, who sadly died unexpectedly in 2016 was both an integral part of her life and the fabric of Fort Recovery. “I really feel I found a special type of companionship, that we shared so many interests. There was a rhythm and passion between us. It was a perfect love story for us.”

Anita expanded Fort Recovery and now offers a selection of one, two and three bedroom suites and villas and also a magnificent 8 bedroom villa which has to be seen to be believed.  It is truly amazing and the views are still stunning.

Fort Recovery also has its own Sunseeker yacht available for charter and upon which a trip around the BVI is included in a 7 night stay.

It has been just over five decades since Anita first set eyes on Fort Recovery, and she has not regretted her decision for a minute. “Being involved in what you love to do, I believe, is the answer to what keeps you going. It doesn’t seem like work because you are creating every day.”

Wise words indeed.

View from the 8 bedroom villa at Fort Recovery, BVI.

Fort Recovery 8 Bedroom Villa

Be Merry and Bright in the BVI!

Another year draws to a close and I’ll bet I am not the only one saying “my goodness – where has 2018 gone?”

‘Tis the season to be jolly – the season for planning a fun-in-the-sun Christmas holiday in the British Virgin Islands! This is your chance to swap snow, onesies and slippers for sun, flip-flops and swimsuits. Too often, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season takes its toll. During the month of December, time gets away, stress runs high, and energy levels dip. To escape all of this, consider a Christmas on island time in the beautiful BVI.

Walking in a White Sand Wonderland

Not many places can boast beautiful weather throughout the holiday season, but the BVI most definitely can. This time of year, the temperatures are just right, and the sun shines effortlessly. Ocean breezes, warm afternoons, and balmy evenings – the kind of weather we only wish for, reigns supreme during the month of December all the way into the new year!

This time of year brings not only gorgeous weather, but also the clearest waters for a Christmas morning dive that’s nothing short of breath-taking, especially at The Indians and the Caves at Norman Island and for those not interested in diving, there are many other ways to appreciate the abundantly clear waters during the month of December – snorkelling, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding conditions at the world-famous Baths, never cease to amaze.

A New Year’s Party in Paradise

Ring in the New Year with the biggest, most renowned beach celebration in the world – Old Year’s Night at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar & Restaurant. Guests that attend this annual beach bash in Great Harbour are guaranteed a great time complete with live local music, delicious food, and a Caribbean style countdown. Sailors arriving by boat are advised to anchor early for the turn-of-year festivities.

Obviously too late for this year but….perhaps you would like to consider booking the BVI for next year. You will be guaranteed a Christmas and New Year to remember!

Call me early in 2019 and I will be delighted to assist in arranging this for you.