Resorts reborn in the British Virgin Islands

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Resorts reborn in the British Virgin Islands

I must admit, I've never met a Caribbean island that I didn't like. But I do have my favorites.Memories have a lot to do with it. There was a gardener

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I must admit, I’ve never met a Caribbean island that I didn’t like. But I do have my favorites.

Memories have a lot to do with it. There was a gardener who spent time showing me his treasures on Barbados, a vendor who gave me a hand-rolled cigar in Cuba, school kids in uniform who offered me a fistful of wildflowers on Bequia and a boat builder whose pride in his craft was as big as the smile on his aged face on Carriacou.

The British Virgin Islands are definitely among my favorites. The 60 or so islands and cays east of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are the top of the necklace of islands in the Leeward Islands of the northeastern Caribbean.

After being shut down for months by the pandemic, the destination reopened to international travelers on Dec. 1 with a list of protocols and health and safety measures similar to what many other island countries in the region have in place.

Caribbean islands have put protocols in place for travelers. Our map and report provides details on each country’s entry requirements for U.S. visitors.

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And even as island life slowed during this past year, the sound of hammers has reverberated at several resorts as they worked to repair, rejuvenate and revamp with an eye toward the reopening of the destination and its properties.

The wait is finally over for Saba Rock, the iconic 1-acre island resort in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, which plans to welcome guests by April or May.

(Saba Rock, once a haven for pirates, is not to be confused with the 5-square-mile island of Saba in the northeastern Caribbean, 28 miles southwest of St. Maarten.)

Made famous by diving pioneer Bert Kilbride in the 1960s, the barefoot-casual cay with a laid-back Caribbean vibe has long been a favorite spot for boaters, sailors, yachters and watersports enthusiasts.

Hurricane Irma ravaged the place in the fall of 2017, so Saba Rock’s reopening this spring will be cause for big celebrations among its die-hard fans.

As the locals have said of the prior incarnation of Saba Rock, there was no better place to party in the whole Caribbean.

General manager Alain Prion is hoping for the same reviews this time around.

“We’re eager to rejoin our local tourism partners in welcoming guests to this beautiful destination,” Prion said.

“Saba Rock holds a special place in the hearts of many, and we can’t wait for our past guests to see and experience the new resort. We expect that fans will embrace our new identity and hope that our chic and casual setting will attract new customers, as well,” he said.

Saba Rock’s complete reconstruction — from deck, docks and dive shop to the Happy Hour Bar and Lounge, a restaurant, a spa and a kiteboarding and kitesurfing school — also includes accommodations featuring seven guestrooms and two suites, all done in a contemporary design aesthetic.

Room rates in the low season from May through October are $550 per room, per night, double, and $950 for a suite.
High-season rates from November through April are $750 per room, per night, double, and $1,150 for a suite. Prices are higher at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Waterfront marina bungalows will be a feature of the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda when it reopens later this year.

Waterfront marina bungalows will be a feature of the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda when it reopens later this year.

The 64-acre Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda has been an epic landmark in the North Sound since the co-founders started building there in the 1960s.

That landmark also fell victim to Hurricane Irma, and its crew has been busy ever since preparing for its return later this year.

The first phase of redevelopment has been focused on the waterfront and Caribbean village, including a two-story marina building with a lounge and bar.

The Clubhouse restaurant will have a dining area as well as a casual sports bar element, lounge areas, outdoor dining, a grocery and a gift shop.

The former Sand Palace Movie Theater has been re-created as an outdoor, tented area for multipurpose use, such as events, receptions and a gathering area for yachters and guests.

The first phase of marina bungalows will soon be available along the shore along with the Summer House, which is large enough for family groups.

A new version of Bitter End’s Water Sports Shack will return later with sailing instruction and watersports adventures.

Bitter End has not yet announced a reopening date or rates.

Long Bay Resort on Tortola, which reopens this month, will offer dining in its 1748 restaurant.

Long Bay Resort on Tortola, which reopens this month, will offer dining in its 1748 restaurant.

Long Bay Resort, an iconic resort on Tortola, plans to reopen later this month with 20 guestrooms and a restaurant on Long Bay Beach.

The resort was another victim of Hurricane Irma that has been rebuilding ever since.

Guests can dine with their feet in the sand at 1748, located in what was once an 18th-century sugar mill. The restaurant will feature organic produce from the resort’s herb and vegetable garden.

The Beach Bar will be the place to catch the sunset, savor a nightcap of top-shelf rums and enjoy live music and entertainment.

Beachside massages, yoga, hiking, surfing, mountain biking, kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing excursions will be among the activities available to guests.
Rates in late February start at $390 per night, double, for a first-floor, oceanview suite.

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