Which one is right for you?
The four resorts in this review - Guana Island located north of Tortola,
Biras Creek and Little Dix on Virgin Gorda, and Peter Island south of Tortola
- are all special destinations, but each has its own distinctive atmosphere,
cuisine, and surroundings. Hopefully the information included in
this report will provide some insight and help you select which might best
suit your personal interests and expectations.
We visit, but do not stay on Tortola. While we enjoy an occasional
day trip to that island, it does not have the best BVI beaches for snorkeling
or swimming, and the quaint hotels and inns on the north side do not have
diving operations nearby or on-site. We have stayed at the Bitter
End Yacht Club, but it is not included since it is a huge resort with minimal
beaches and focuses primarily on vacationers who love boating and sailing;
however, a review and photos of that resort are available on my
BVI webpage. Drakes Anchorage, previously in this review, has
been closed for several years and has no plans to reopen, however, those
who enjoyed Drakes will be delighted with Guana Island.
Resort size can make a big difference in surroundings and atmosphere.
Guana is located on a big private island, but holds the smallest number
of guests - only 30; Little Dix, the largest resort, can easily hold up
to 300 guests and their children. Generally, the bigger the resort,
the more activities are available; however, not everyone wants endless
schedules of daily activities and some may prefer to privately enjoy a
few wonderful days at the edge of an almost deserted beach or strolling
through a tropical wonderland at a resort with less guests. To each
(in order from least amount of guests to most)
Guana Island - 10 minute boat ride north of Tortola Beef
30 guests, 7 beaches, 1 restaurant, 850
acres on its own secluded island, natural surroundings & nature preserve,
resort wear, gourmet food.
Biras Creek - North Sound of Virgin Gorda - 25 minute
66 guests, 2 beaches, 1 restaurant, 140
acres on a remote section of Virgin Gorda, natural & groomed surroundings,
resort wear, Caribbean Continental food.
Peter Island - 20 minute boat ride south of Tortola Beef
100 guests, 5 beaches, 2 restaurants,
1800 acres on its own island, natural & groomed surroundings, resort
wear, American & Continental food with West Indian flair.
Little Dix - center of Virgin Gorda, 25 minute boat ride
200-300 guests, 1 beach, 3 restaurants,
500 acres near Spanish Town, “country club” groomed surroundings, resort
wear, Ameican & Continental food.
Note: all the resorts will take guests by crewed launch to a remote
beach for a secluded “castaway” day. Biras Creek also has motor dinghies
for adventuresome guests to take on their own around the North Sound for
exploring or snorkeling.
GUANA, a magical private island, has only 15 cottage rooms for 30 lucky
guests who are seeking a secluded, gorgeous destination with 7 beautiful
beaches, excellent snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, world class tennis
courts, outstanding vistas, and miles of hiking trails through 850 acres
of wooded tropical forests to reach bat caves, sugar plantation ruins,
and remote white sand beaches. This is the perfect place to be alone with
your favorite person to enjoy nature at its Caribbean finest.
Everything about this destination is unique. Cottages are set along
a high ridge 200’ above sea level and overlook the surrounding islands
of the Virgins and the deep blue sea beyond. Roads and hiking trails
lead down to beaches and up to three peaks at 325’, 442’, and 806’.
The main beach at White Bay has several snorkeling reefs teaming with fish
of every kind, plus a wide array of marine life can be found at the other
beaches and coves which ring the island. The food is outstanding
- a gourmet's delight often with fresh fruits and vegetables grown on the
Eight cottages hold one, two, or three guest rooms which have different
locations, configurations, and outstanding views of the Virgin Islands.
All rooms have a private patio or porch, while others also have a common
area and are perfect for family reunions. While some reviews call
the accommodations “rustic”, we found them very spacious, comfortable,
and exquisitely basic - white stone walls, painted concrete floors with
scatter rugs, one of the best king beds we’ve ever slept on under a powerful
ceiling fan, plus an ample bathroom with large shower and lots of hot water
with good pressure. Best of all was our huge private porch with wicker
lounges and rocking chairs where we quietly read books and enjoyed the
incredible vistas. We usually spent afternoons at the beach, sunning,
windsurfing, snorkeling, or paddling kayaks around the huge bay.
For a couple wanting the ultimate get-away, Guana has the “North Beach
Cottage” - a lovely ocean side house complete with bedroom, full bath,
living room, kitchen, patio, and boardwalk to a private shoreline and swimming
area. A golf cart is included for puttering through a tropical forest
to reach the main beach.
Guana has the ambiance of a large B&B or small inn where guests
are generally on their own to enjoy the “back to nature” surroundings,
but if they need anything at all, managers will be glad to help.
Scuba diving? No problem, a dive operation will pick you up at the
pier. Day trip to other islands? Sure, when do you want to
leave and return? Where's the best snorkeling? Just ask.
The meals are outstanding and are served under covered verandahs with
gorgeous views. Breakfast offers a cold buffet and guests can also
select from a menu of eggs, pancakes, waffles, or eggs any style.
Lunch is a buffet of delectable delights. A three course dinner is
by candlelight - guests can join “group tables” and visit with other guests,
or request their own table on a second verandah. Dinner is sometimes
served on the lovely candle-lit “Sunset Terrace” – one of the most romantic
dinner settings in the BVI. Both red and white house wines are complimentary
with lunch and dinner.
Guana's most unique attraction, however, is the incredible flora and
fauna. Under the direction of owners Henry and Gloria Jarecki, this
private island has become one of the most important nature preserves and
wildlife sanctuaries in the Caribbean. Many “lost species”, once
native to the islands but endangered by mankind, have been brought to Guana
and re-established. The plants, animals, and birds here are found
few other places in the Caribbean, such as the “great iguana” which is
6’ long and far more rare than relatives in the Galapagos. During
September and October, the resort is generally closed to guests when scientist
pursue research in marine biology, entomology, archeology, and botany.
Guana is a magical wonderland, best enjoyed by couples who want a true,
“the way the Caribbean used to be” getaway... to be alone with each other
and all the beauty that island flora and fauna have to offer. This
is truly a “one of a kind” destination.
Dress: Beachwear with cover-ups for breakfast and lunch; summer dresses
or pants and blouses for ladies, and slacks and collared shirts for men
Getting to Guana Island Resort is easy. Fly into the Beef Island
Airport on Tortola and a taxi will take you a short distance to a pier
or dock. A resort representative will meet you for a 10 minute boat
ride to the island. It is best to arrive before 5 p.m. or sundown.
BIRAS CREEK on Virgin Gorda
Biras Creek Resort is known for having lovely, secluded accommodations
in a 140 acre natural setting with a long walking beach, a protected cove
with white sand beach, plus a towering hill in the center of the resort
crowned with a dramatic stone restaurant - one of the most enchanting dining
rooms in the BVI.
This resort is located on a remote northeastern tip of Virgin Gorda,
and like Guana, is accessible only by boat. It uniquely sits on a
slender isthmus of land which separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean
Sea and North Sound. Biras Creek is a nature lovers paradise and
offers numerous hiking trails through tropical forests, up steep hillsides,
and along the beaches. Guests can also take a long leisurely stroll
around the hill to the Bitter End Yacht Club. Activities include
tennis, biking, plus sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing in Deep Bay.
Day trips to other beaches, the rest of Virgin Gorda, day sails, snorkel
trips, and diving with Dive BVI or Sun Chaser Scuba can be arranged by
the resort staff.
Twelve of the sixteen cottages (two suites to a unit) line a rocky,
coral strewn beach lapped by rolling waves and are situated so that each
is very private with its own path, entry way, and patio. The breeze
cooled suites have ceiling fans and optional air-conditioning in the bedroom
with king or twin beds, a separate sitting room with sofa, chair and desk,
plus a roomy bathroom with a large shower open to the skies. Four
units are nestled into the gardens within viewing, but not hearing distance
of the rolling surf. Two spacious Grand Suites at the end of the
beach have a private patio, two verandahs, huge living room, air-conditioned
bedroom, six ceiling fans, separate room for toilet and bidet, plus a shower
and sunken tub large enough for two people. A two bedroom suite has
a large living room and three terraces. Each cottage comes with two
bicycles, used for peddling to the watersports beach or the gift shop at
the marina. The grounds surrounding the rooms and restaurant are
perfectly landscaped with colorful tropical plants, yet most of the resort
has been left in its natural state.
A seaside spa near the pool provides full services to guests and has
a pretty sitting area for relaxing after treatments.
Breakfast, some lunches, and dinner are served in the hill top restaurant
which resembles an open sided stone castle. The three course dinner
menu changes each day and offers a choice of soup or garden salad, entree,
and dessert; after dinner, guests may also enjoy a complimentary cheese
table and port wine. Cuisine at Biras has always been outstanding
with a wide array of choices. Lobster is available each night (in
season), and usually an interesting vegetarian entree is also featured.
Early risers can enjoy coffee, tea, juice, and pastries at the pool area,
and English Tea is served each afternoon. Three days a week, Biras
serves a fun “Barbecue on the Beach” at the Deep Bay Bar, about a 15 minute
walk from the rooms, or a leisurely bicycle ride.
Be aware that there are 100 steps from the suites up to the "castle"
dining room and that it is fastest to use bikes (rather than walking) to
explore the property since it is so spread out. As a result, it would
be difficult for the infirm, very elderly, or wheel chair bound to get
around the resort.
Visitors looking for an upscale, quiet, secluded hideaway with private
rooms and natural surroundings will enjoy Biras Creek. It strikes
a perfect balance between small, intimate inns and large properties with
Dress: pack two or three bathing suits, some cover-ups for the
public areas during the day, and resort wear such as pant suits or summer
dresses for the ladies, collared shirts and slacks for the men in the evening.
Getting to Biras is best done by flying into the Beef Island airport
on Tortola where the resort will arrange a 25 minute boat transfer.
Presently, only small commuter aircraft fly directly to Virgin Gorda; taxis
then take guests to the Biras boat at Gunn Creek for a 10 minute ride to
the resort. Reaching Biras from St. Thomas can take up to a half
day of ferry rides through the U.S. and BVI, so it is best to fly directly
to Virgin Gorda or Tortola.
Peter Island Resort is an exquisite paradise with 50 rooms on a corner
of its own 1800 acre island and offers guests a large choice of accommodations,
menu selections, and activities. While this resort is on the edge
of elegance, it has a friendly, casual atmosphere not found at many destinations
of its caliber, and offers something for everyone to do. Guests can
partake of all the on-site or off-island activities available, or simply
spend some secluded quiet time on one of Peter Islands three long stunning
LITTLE DIX on Virgin Gorda:
Dining at Peter Island is a gastromic experience. Chef Wilford
Stoutt has been with this resort for over 20 years and creates elegant
four course dinners in the Tradewinds Restaurant. On some nights,
guests wanting a more casual atmosphere can wear their spiffy shorts, shirts,
and sandals to dinner in the Beach Grill which offers a fixed menu.
Lunch at the Beachside Grill has an extensive salad bar plus grilled to
order fish, chicken, ribs (some of the best I’ve ever had and I'm from
“Texas Rib Country”), sandwiches, and burgers, followed by a dessert buffet,
including their trademark homemade cookies. A light lunch of salads and
sandwiches is also served by the pool. Breakfast offers a huge fruit
& cereal buffet plus cook to order eggs, pancakes, and french toast.
Early birds can enjoy coffee and Danish by the pool as the sun rises.
Don't miss Peter Island's Sunday lunch buffet with a steel drum band and
the Monday night West Indian Buffet with a band and jumby stilt dancers.
Most of this vast island has been left in its natural state and has
plenty of hiking and biking trails for exploring guests. The highest
point is over 500’ and provides outstanding views of the BVI. The
grounds around the resort have been beautifully landscaped with tropical
plants and coconut palms lending to the breathtaking island atmosphere.
Air-conditioned Ocean View accommodations are located in gardens near
the main dining/reception area and the swimming pool which overlook Drakes
Channel and the island of Tortola. Nicely sized rooms have a king
or twin beds, small sitting area, desk, full bathroom with a tub, and patio
or balcony. Spacious Beach Front rooms in stone buildings on Deadman's
Bay feature a patio or balcony, king or twin beds, large sitting area,
desk, and huge bathroom with a romantic two person Jacuzzi tub - each has
optional air conditioning, plus ceiling fans. One hillside Villa
is available - with three bedrooms, three baths, a living room, kitchen,
pool, and sun deck with a view of Deadman's Bay and the islands beyond.
An outstanding, fully staffed four bedroom villa with a private pool, the
Crows Nest, perches at the top of a hillside with a panoramic view of Drakes
Channel and Tortola. A full service Spa overlooking Big Reef
Bay provides full services.
Activities abound at Peter Island. Guests can enjoy playing tennis,
or sunbathing on the gorgeous mile long beach at Deadman's Bay, the sparkling
remote beach at White Bay, and the shell strewn beach on Big Reef Bay which
has a fitness trail. Water sports include snorkeling, windsurfing,
and sailing, plus divers and snorkelers will be pleased to find a complete
scuba dive operation on site. Hikers and bikers have 10 miles of
trails to explore. A tour around the island by safari van is available
twice a day, and the Peter Island Ferry goes to Tortola eight times daily
for those who would like to shop at Road Town or take a day trip around
that island. A resort ferry will also take guests on a "shopping
and golfing" day trip to St. Thomas on Tuesdays and to Virgin Gorda and
its famous "Baths" on Thursdays. Sports fishing, day sails, and snorkeling
trips to Norman Island and other coral gardens are also available on Peter
Islands own fleet of watercraft.
Staff members are very gracious and provide excellent service in all
respects. Most of the staff has been with the resort for years.
If a guest needs a ride anywhere at all on the resort property, the staff
will be happy to arrange it - just call the front office.
Peter Island appeals to those who love endless beaches, lots of on-site
and off island activities, personal service, gourmet food, and privacy
when and if they want it.
Dress: Pack bathing suits and cover-ups for day wear, plus resort
wear such as sun dresses or summer pants suits for ladies, and collared
shirts and slacks for men at dinner in the Tradewinds restaurant.
Getting there: No problem - Peter Island will arrange a 20-25 minute
ride on one of their own ferries, regardless of the time of arrival or
departure from Beef Island Airport on Tortola. A resort representative
meets each guest at the airport and helpfully arranges transportation.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, guests can arrive in St. Thomas and take a Peter
Island air-conditioned yacht to the resort if their plane lands by 3 pm.
This large 98 room, classic resort overlooks a half mile crescent beach
surrounded by hills. Little Dix was originally created in the 1960s
by Lawrence Rockefeller as an exclusive 50 room retreat for “rich and famous”
vacationers and wealthy honeymooners. Located in a picture perfect
setting, rooms are hidden beneath palms and tropical trees set among meticulously
groomed lawns and manicured landscaping. Over the years, this “fancy
campy” getaway of yesteryear doubled in size, filling the entire half-mile
beach and under the direction of Rosewood management was recently transformed
into a modernized resort for families with children of all ages.
A “Children's Grove” day care center offers scheduled activities for children
All of the air-conditioned rooms are located along or near the beach
- some are almost at waters edge, while others overlook the gardens or
a rolling lawn ending at the shoreline. Two floor plans prevail -
square rooms grouped in one or two story buildings, and roomier hexagonal
rooms, two or four to a unit with some set on stilts shading a patio and
hammock below. All have a sitting area, desk, and small to moderate
sized bathrooms with showers, except for several suites which have bathtubs.
Only a few of the rooms offer complete privacy - many are located near
the beach and pathways with lots of visitors and children drifting by.
Guests wanting solitude should request rooms at the furthermost ends of
the beach or choose another resort with more secluded accommodations.
Two beachside villas are available – one with two bedrooms; the other
with three. Both have large living and dining areas and private pools.
These are very popular with families.
On site activities include tennis, hiking, kayaking, sunfish sailing,
water-skiing and snorkeling. Dive BVI has a scuba instructor and
small shop near the pier and schedules dive trips each morning and afternoon.
Many different charters can be arranged for snorkeling, day sails, and
fishing. The resort can also provide a trip to a remote beach, however
guests who order box lunches should check to be sure plenty of drinks are
provided. The resort welcomes children of all ages, and has daily
and evening scheduled activities for age groups of 3 to 6 and 7 to 12.
Nannies are also available for children.
During the winter season, Little Dix has three restaurants open to
guests - the Beachside Grill, the huge Pavilion, and the small intimate
Sugar Mill - all with superb views of the bay. Dinner menus in the
Pavilion feature “fashionable” cuisine and appear to follow the latest
culinary trends. The smaller Sugar Mill has a menu full of grilled
steaks and seafood, plus a la carte veggies. Lunch at the Beach Grill
includes hot dogs, hamburgers, fruit and chef's salads, turkey club sandwich
and several entrees; a buffet lunch at the Pavilion offers a salad bar
and grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and fish, plus delightful desserts.
Breakfast at the Pavilion has a fruit, bread, and cereal buffet, followed
by blueberry pancakes, eggs, omelets, and waffles. English style
tea and aperitifs are served each afternoon on the Pavilion Terrace.
Plenty of high chairs are available for tiny tots.
The Little Dix Spa is located high on a bluff with breathtaking views
and has an amazing series of pools cascading through gardens. Individual
massage and treatment cottages overlook the ocean and have lovely sitting
Little Dix has a huge staff, necessary to provide service to the large
number of guests, provide activities for the children, and to maintain
the extensive grounds. Most of the staff were friendly and attentive,
however, dessert always seemed to take an extra hour to order and be served.
This resort is best enjoyed by families and couples (who don't mind
vacationing with children of all ages) searching for a classic resort with
lots of scheduled activities for all age groups.
Dress: fashionable sports wear for the public areas. In the evening,
ladies wear elegant resort wear and men wear collared shirts, slacks, and
“closed toe” shoes (coat optional). Children should be appropriately
dressed if dining with parents.
Getting there: No problem, Little Dix has a fast power catamaran
which transfers guests to and from Beef Island at any time, and vans which
provide shuttles to the Virgin Gorda airport.
"BEST OF" GUIDE
THE FOLLOWING is a guide to the “most or best of”. Where you see
more than one resort listed, it’s because I asked my husband's opinion
which doesn’t always match my own!
Most quiet & remote: Guana Island, Biras Creek
Back to nature surroundings: Guana Island
Country Club family atmosphere: Little Dix
Elegant, relaxed atmosphere: Peter Island
Best for families with young children: Little Dix
Best for families with teenagers: Peter Island
Best for romantic couples: Peter Island, Biras Creek, Guana Island
Best Hideaway resort: Guana Island
Best Entertainment: Peter Island's Sunday Lunch Beach Buffet with steel
drum band, and Monday “West Indian” night with band and jumby stilt walkers.
Best Spa: Little Dix Resort
Best Breakfast: All of them
Best Lunch: Peter Island
Best Dinner: All of them
Most romantic, intimate dinner setting: Guana Island's Sunset Terrace
Best Sunset View: Guana Island; Biras Creek
Best “all around” and friendly service: Peter Island
Most private rooms: Guana's Cottages, Biras Creek Ocean Front Suites
Most secluded accommodations: Guana North Beach Cottage, Biras Grand Suite;
Peter Island Villas
Most elegant rooms for romantic couples: Biras Creek Grand Suites, Peter
Island Beachfront Suites with two person Jacuzzis.
Most on-site activities: Peter Island, Biras Creek (Boston Whalers are
Most off-site activities: Peter Island, Little Dix
Best on-site snorkeling: Guana Island, Peter Island
Best windsurfing: Peter Island, Guana Island, Biras Creek (Dix on windless
side of island)
Most varied hiking trails: Guana Island
Most convenient diving: Peter Island since a full service dive
shop is on site. Little Dix is a close second since Dive BVI has
a dive instructor there. [Note: Scuba is available at Guana Island
and Biras Creek too - boats pick up at the dock.]
|Small Sailboats & kayaks
|Telephones in rooms
Some people like phones, some don't. (They can be easily unplugged.)
A note about Fitness Centers. Use those at home where
you look at four walls and a TV. In the beautiful islands, surround
yourself with Mother Nature while taking a hike or jog down the beach,
climbing a hill or mountain, going for a long swim, snorkeling the reefs,
or paddling a Kayak – you’ll probably get more exercise that way and enjoy
it much more too!
POLICY FOR CHILDREN:
Guana Island – prefers children over age twelve.
Biras Creek - prefers children over age eight.
Peter Island - prefers children over age eight.
Little Dix - children of all ages are welcome. Day
Camp activities and nannies available.
STAYING AT TWO RESORTS: Some vacationers
who take 10 day to 2 week vacations often like to stay at two different
properties. Transferring between these four resorts is very easy.
Traveling between Biras Creek in the North Sound and Little Dix near
Spanish Town in Virgin Gorda requires a short boat and breathtaking taxi
ride over the mountain. Transfers between either of these two Virgin
Gorda resorts and Peter Island or Guana Island requires two 20-25 minute
ferry rides making a connection at the Beef Island airport pier.
Peter Island also takes its big motor yacht to Virgin Gorda on Thursdays,
so vacationers could easily move to or from there on that day. Lots
of possibilities for those who might want to stay at more than one resort.
Generally, changing resorts only takes an hour or so.
Both Biras Creek and Peter Island offer "Sailaways" for guests who want
to stay several nights at the resort and also do a two day sail.
This would be another way to transfer resorts - simply have the sailboat
drop you off at the second resort where you can continue your vacation.
RATES: All but Little Dix include
breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals in the room rates. Little Dix
has optional dining plans which can be added to room rates.
Summer (low) season with best rates is usually from Mid-April to Mid-December;
Winter (high) season with most expensive rates is from Mid-December through
March. All the resorts have weekly packages at good savings over
daily rates during the year except for the Christmas and New Years holidays.
For more information, take the links to each resort review below.
10 Timber Trail, Rye, NY 10580
(800) 54 GUANA or (914) 967-6050 FAX: (914) 967-8048
c/o Ralph Locke Island, Inc. P.O.B.492479, Los Angles, CA, 90049-8477
U.S.& Canada: (800) 233-1108 U.K. 0800-894-057 Other Countries:
310-440-4225 FAX: (310) 440-4220
220 Lyon Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2208
(800) 346-4451 or (770) 476-9988 Fax (770) 476-4979
P.O.Box 720, Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S.V.I. 00831-0720
(800) 928-3000 (284) 495-5555 FAX: (284) 495-5661
OLSON TRAVEL &
NAUTICAL CHARTERS (ScubaMom's Travel Agent):
401 Highway 181, Portland, TX 78374
(800) 525-8090 (361) 643-4555 FAX: