The British Virgin Islands, or BVIs as those in the club will know it, were once traditionally reserved for those arriving by sea aboard their super yacht or flotilla. Today, luxury hotels and restaurants are springing up across the islands giving us mere mortals arriving by air and land an array of options to experience the high life.
For our much needed fix of R&R we ventured to one of the region’s original hotels, and widely considered the best hotel in the Caribbean; the newly refurbished Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda.
Built in 1964 by conservationist Lawrence Rockafellar, the hotel was acquired by the Rosewood group in the 90s and following devastating damage by hurricane Irma was brought back to glory after a 4 year, multi million dollar refurbishment. Today the hotel offers “barefoot Caribbean luxury”. Sophisticated luxury meets modern mid century design and an eco friendly outlook. The hotel group’s philosophy “A sense of place” can be seen everywhere as the resort stays true to its location’s history, culture and geography.
The Rosewood Little Dix Bay comprises 80 rooms, suites and villas, each sympathetically designed using natural materials to create bright and airy living and a connection to the island’s tropical landscape. Every room comes with an ocean view and not 1, but 2, dedicated butlers catering to your every whim.
We were met by Alson and Reddy who took us on a tour of the 500 acre estate before delivering us to our One Bedroom Pool Suite with stunning views over the powder white beach and lapping Caribbean sea. Our suite came with a separate living room, bar, terrace and pool and the sumptuous bathroom offered double sinks and showers, back to nature outdoor shower and heavenly Diptyque toiletries (we won’t lie, a few may have found their way into our suitcase).
Everything at the hotel oozes a refined elegance, people come to disconnect from their busy lives, to reconnect with themselves and with nature and to feel secluded from the stresses of the outside world. 90% of the rooms at Little Dix do not come with a TV and there’s no late night entertainment offering, after a couple of days your body clock resets with the rise and fall of the sun and you’re gently lulled into a sense of relaxed contentment: fairly easy to do when you’ve got 2 butlers and literally nothing to worry about.
Dining at the resort is all about fresh ingredients, its stripped back fare done well with 4 restaurants as well as pool and beach side dining to choose from. All restaurants look out across the bay and offer a variety of local and international cuisines.
Breakfast was included in our room rate and meant we could start the day from a selection of continental treats or be lured by the tempting a la carte menu. Whether it’s a healthy egg white omelette or a calorie laden stack of French toast they’ve got you covered. Breakfast is served in the Pavillion restaurant each morning where guests gather under the high vaulted, almost pyramid style wooden ceilings and are met with breath-taking views and a welcomed gentle breeze – trust us when we say there are worse ways to start the day.
Restaurants rotate daily with the Pavillion serving comfort food and a mix of Indian inspired dishes, for something lighter The Sugar Mill offers a selection of Caribbean small bites and raw bar or alternatively you can take your pick from salads, flatbreads, burgers or fresh fish on the grill at the Reef House. It was Mexican night during our stay and we can confirm the tacos were a triumph.
It might be controversial, but our favourite food by far was the beachside dining. At the touch of a button the beach waiting staff are quite literally at your feet with a cocktail list that’s just begging to be tried – our pick of the week was the Pink Panther and Raspberry Mojito – and with the hotel’s resident (award winning) mixologist conjuring up new recipes each week there’s always a reason to go back! The international menu of light bites delighted us everyday and whilst we should really have tried everything we became fixated on the Shrimp Wrap with Guacamole, Lettuce, Mozzarella, Pickled Onions & Jalapeno and the Tomato, Pesto Panini with Buffalo Mozzarella (we can also vouch for the Beef Luc Lac and the black forest ham and swiss cheese ciabatta).
Lastly, it would be remiss of us not to mention the Rum Room, an open air lounge with an extensive range of cocktails (often as imagined, rum based), whiskies, wines and cocktails. It’s the perfect end to an evening as you cosy up on the outdoor sofas around your own personal fire pit.
It seems we’ve made it quite clear already that the name of the game is relaxation and enjoyment at Little Dix and for us the beautiful stretch of white beach and crystal clear waters would quite easily have been enough to satisfy us. Throw in resident turtles and rays, an illusive shark and the local reef and it had us smiling from ear to ear. If you need a break from all that snorkelling then the perfectly placed pontoons with inbuilt sun loungers were a revelation.
If something energetic is more your scene then non-motorised water sports are available free of charge on the beach with catamarans, paddle boards or kayaks to choose from. Or alternatively dive into one of the resort’s two pools, try your hand at a game of tennis, visit the fully equipped fitness centre or take a hike on one of the several signposted routes.
If you’ve got little ones in tow then why not leave them in the capable, friendly hands of the Rosewood Explorers and allow yourself some well earnt downtime.
If reading that leaves you out of breath then maybe The Sense Spa has got your name on it. Book an evening treatment and arrive early to experience the beautiful sunset across the tiered infinity pool. Treatments take place in cliffside private cabanas, each looking out across the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The treatment menu is unique to the Little Dix combining local remedies and traditions with modern techniques from across the globe. We opted for a signature massage and If we could we’d visit every day.
Out and About.
If you’re staying on Virgin Gorda then a visit to the Baths is a must, follow our lead and a hire a Moke for the day to take in all the island and the several stunning bays before heading up to Hog Heaven for a giant fix of pulled pork, burgers and anything else you can douse in BBQ sauce and whack on the grill (not the most refined experience but the views across to Necker and Mosquito make up for it).
If you’re looking for a change of scenery and want to dine off resort once or twice then we’d thoroughly recommend the Asian inspired menu at Coco Maya, or take the shuttle ferry over to Saba Rock – we didn’t make it that far but we’ve heard good things.
Let’s be honest, travelling halfway across the globe by air, transferring to another plane and then jumping on a boat to get from the UK to Virgin Gorda isn’t the most sustainable way to travel, however there are things you can do to try and make good. We flew with BA who have partnered with Pure Leapfrog to help you offset your carbon footprint and most airlines offer a similar service.
Once you’re then at Little Dix the hotel is going above and beyond to try and ensure they’re doing their bit. Approximately 20% of all fresh produce comes from the Chef’s Farm on the resort, there is no single use plastic allowed on the resort and like many hotels, laundry is reduced to every 3rd day or on request. The hotel is proud of its natural surroundings and works with local conservationists on the protection of the turtle population and undergoes continuous reef restoration work.
If all that sounds good, then book your stay at Rosewood Little Dix Here rooms start at £658 + vat per night. Just remember to pack the credit card or some extra dollars as the bill gets quite toppy!