Following lockdowns, Zoom calls and travel restrictions, the world is cautiously starting to reopen. From milestone birthdays to weddings afinidnd anniversaries, we’ve missed out on countless celebrations with family and friends since the pandemic began. For those seeking to make up for lost time and reconnect with loved ones, the British Virgin Islands is encouraging visitors to come and share the “BVI Love” with the people who matter most at one of its idyllic resorts.
There are few destinations more fit for marking such a special occasion. Nestled between Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the archipelago of over 50 tropical Caribbean islands is famed for its natural beauty, stunning private retreats and a laid-back pace of life. If you’re arriving by private jet, the exclusive IAM Jet Centre is now open at Terrance B Lettsome International Airport.
The four bigger islands – Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke – are surrounded by islets making it easy to embark on island-hopping excursions. Speak to BVI Adventure Tours about designing a bespoke tour for your group and visit secluded snorkel sites, vast stretches of deserted white sandy beaches, or The Baths – a unique national park scattered with giant granite boulders.
Intrepid travelers may want to consider ziplining above the rainforest canopy in Johnson’s Ghut for breathtaking views of the surrounding islands, or – for those that would rather keep their feet firmly on the ground – head to Tortola’s legendary Callwood Rum Distillery for a group tour.
World-renowned as a sailing destination thanks to its steady trade winds, calm waters and year-round warm weather, a yacht charter is a must. The Moorings is on-hand over in Road Town, Tortola, to organize your trip. The impressive Moorings 5800 Legacy – a six-cabin, 58-ft catamaran, which comes complete with skipper, chef and captain, means your party won’t have to lift a finger.
A flotilla is a fun and relaxing way to explore the islands for larger groups. Whether you are experienced sailors or would rather hire a crew, Sunsail offers a range of flotilla vacations with social evenings, beach barbeques and excursions to explore local shipwrecks.
With its burgeoning reputation for culinary excellence, sampling the BVI’s cuisine is a delight. CocoMaya, located beachside just a stone’s throw from Virgin Gorda’s iconic Baths, is well worth a visit. Locally sourced produce features heavily on the vibrant menu which fuses Asian and Latin American flavors. The sharing plates are ideal for groups of any size, with dishes ranging from Pad Thai noodles to House Ribs, served alongside carefully crafted cocktails. For a more intimate celebration, opt for a private beach dinner on the water’s edge.
Of course, the BVI’s cuisine can also be enjoyed from the comfort of your villa. We recommend talented private chef Neil Cline, who runs the Indigo Beach House in Cane Garden Bay on Tortola.
The most famous place to book your stay is Necker Island – Richard Branson’s exclusive 74-acre private retreat. But the BVI offers plenty of other perfect spots for you and your group to call home. Here are some of our favorites.
Located just two miles away from its sister island, Necker, 122-acre Moskito Island is Richard Branson’s second resort in the BVI. The estate is made up of three villas: Headland House, Beach Villa and Mangrove Villa. From the end of September, guests can choose to rent the entire estate, which sleeps up to 22 people, for the ultimate private island party experience. Each villa has a freshwater infinity pool and hot tub as well as direct access to the protected white sandy beach. The shared Recreation Area – home to a laid-back beach bar, tennis court, clubhouse and dining terrace – is the perfect place for the group to gather. Take advantage of the wide range of group activities for all ages, from Treasure Hunts and Beach Olympics, to scuba diving and paddle boarding. And keep an eye out for the flamingos!
This luxury seven-bedroom villa is situated on six acres of flowering gardens on the peaceful and uncrowded Beef Island. At the heart of the property is a sun dappled pool and patio, dotted with palm trees and cushioned lounge chairs. Formerly the Governor’s home, the secluded retreat has ample room for entertaining. The property’s elegantly decorated dining room comfortably seats 10, while the uncovered stone terrace outside can accommodate up to 100 guests for larger gatherings. Sweeping views of the island’s south side and the Sir Francis Drake Channel create the perfect setting for sunset cocktails and a reunion to remember.
Three 8,000-sq-ft beachfront villas, located on the immaculate Western coast of Virgin Gorda make up the Aquamare Estate. Designed by renowned Swedish architect Liselott Johnsson and interior designer Jean Pierre Santoni, the villas are understated and elegant, taking inspiration from their lush tropical surroundings. 30-foot vaulted wood ceilings, spacious open-air living areas and private infinity pools create an ideal location for bringing together family and friends. Up to 36 guests can be accommodated across the three properties which are situated at different elevations to ensure maximum privacy. The attentive concierge service means your party can enjoy all of the amenities of a five-star hotel, from massage therapists and butlers, to a gourmet stocked kitchen with private chefs on-hand to prepare meals.
Just a short boat ride from Tortola, The Aerial is a brand-new, all-inclusive property located on Buck Island. The 45-acre private island resort is comprised of five residences that have been thoughtfully designed to fit in with the natural environment, sleeping up to 30 people. All rooms have unrivalled sea views overlooking the 14 surrounding islands. Health and wellness is central to the resort’s philosophy with world-class nutritionists, chefs and spa therapists available for consultations. Committed to sustainable practices, the resort offers guests the opportunity to get involved in turtle tagging or reef clean-up activities to help make a positive contribution to the BVIs wider community. Choose from group activities including nature hiking, guided writing and environmental healing. Make sure to head to the exotic animal petting zoo to visit the resort’s rescue animals.
This 850-acre island boasts seven white sandy beaches, dozens of hiking trails, mountains, gardens, an orchard and even a flock of flamingos. Hosting a maximum of 35 guests at any given time and with no commercial facilities, Guana Island is a prime spot for those eager to avoid the crowds and escape to their own private paradise. Just 13 minutes from neighboring island Tortola on the resort’s speed boat and a 45-minute boat ride to the iconic Baths on Virgin Gorda, you can explore the archipelago with ease. The island is peppered with villas and stone cottages, ideal for group celebrations. Highlights from the array of activities on offer include tennis, kayaking, water skiing, deep-sea fishing and snorkeling.
For the latest information on travel protocols to the British Virgin Islands, visit bvitourism.com/reopening