Nearly a year ago the tiny, beautifulislands that make up the British Virgin Islands were hit in an way by Hurricane Irma that some of them may never recover. Richard Branson’s infamous Nectar island sustained damage that devastated the private island. Anguilla’s multi-million dollar resorts are in the process of recovery. The private island Scrub Island is working to be open by November and their quick recovery process has been thanks to their parent company Marriott – they’re an Autograph Collection property and are only hiring previous employees to bring their community back from devastation. In September when Hurricane Irma took her toll on the island it left not only complete destruction in her path but also more than 140 of Scrub’s employees out of work for quite some time.
As the island has worked to rebuild they have set up a fund to cover expenses and loses by their employees, are only brining employees in to do the work on the island (yes, their amazing bartender’s are now also carpenters helping to rebuild the island) – what once stared out as work has quickly become a family operation. My first time to visit the BVI’s will most definitely not be my last – read on below for all of my insider tips and how to get there, when to go and of course where to stay.
How to get there:
Getting to the BVIs always sounds far more difficult than it really is. Most people don’t realize that it is simply a quick flight to San Juan, PR and less than an hour puddle jumper to whatever island you’re heading to. We took a 5 AM flight down from NYC to San Juan that landed at 8:50 AM with a Cape Air 11:04 AM departure from San Juan to Tortola. We arrived shortly after our planned 8:50 AM arrival, grabbed coffee and made our way to Cape Air. Not only was this easy, it was incredibly easy. Given that most people don’t realize how up and operating the islands are the flights are pretty quite.
We landed at Beef Island/Tortola, walked less then 3 minutes to the dock and boarded the small boat to Scrub Island. You can grab a cab but we preferred to walk, it was right there plus we had been in a plane all morning.
The water taxi took under 10 minutes and we were on the island by 12:15 with our feet in the sand on one of their many private beaches by 12:30
Pro-tip: Take the 5 AM flight. It was the best decision we made and made this trip completely worth it. Even with the lack of sleep we were sitting on a private beach with a beer in hand in the BVIs in under 6 hours. You can’t even get to the beaches by LA in that little of time from NYC and often times you can’t swing it to the Hamptons in under that time either over a holiday weekend.
Where to stay:
The BVIs are comprised of a number of number of private islands, I picked Scrub Island as it is not only a small private island with both a hotel and beautiful residences that you can walk from one side to the other in under 10 minutes but it is also part of the Autograph Collection of hotels who as you all may know I am a fan of (hello Adolphus!)
Scrub Island could not have been a more perfect location for my first visit to the BVIs, even if you are just cruising through on a boat this is an ideal spot to drop anchor, grab a few drinks and stay the night. The islands in the BVIs were hit quite hard during last year’s hurricane’s but are in full recovery mode now. Scrub Island’s property is back up and operating with the hotel, restaurant, bars, spa and more open now. The full island will be 100% back to operating in November with its private residences and a new additional bar.
We arrived via the water taxi to a warm welcome from the staff, after a quick check in we were off via cart to our room. A large sprawling two bedroom suite with French doors that opened up to the harbor’s blue waters and even bluer sky.
The rooms are complete with a full kitchen and one and a half baths not to mention patio decks, all things that we as New Yorker’s do not have the luxury of living in so this was divine.
We spent our mornings after our hikes to see the sunrise sitting on this deck drinking iced lattes and enjoying every little bit of vacation. Nights were equally as heavenly here sitting with a glass of wine watching the boats come in and dock for the night with the sunset dropping behind the island across the way.
What to do:
Scrub has more activities on the small island that it is entirely impossible to not enjoy yourself. Or just chill out in pure bliss on one of their private beaches, which is exactly what we did every day – plus activities!
Definitely stop by DIVE BVI when you arrive to schedule a snorkel excursion or rent a boat outing to take you island hopping one day! We combined both of these and had an absolute blast, quite possibly one of my favorite days I’ve had this year.
The Dive BVI team is incredibly knowledgable – we toured around the islands, got a chance to stop at a near by island, Cooper’s Island and Beach Club for a tour of their on property brewery and enjoyed a few beers while we were at it! A definitely must do!
We also went hiking every morning, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We woke up, made the 10 minute trek to the other side of the island and experienced the beauty and magic that is island life.
Want to really relax relax, book a spa treatment. The spa is under construction but the private residence that they have taken over is heavenly, with a private pool, tables to enjoy the view and a cup of tea. Sheer total bliss.
This also makes for a great stop for those bouncing around on the islands who want to take a break from the boat, ocean or pool! The menu is extensive and the staff are phenomenal, I had one of the best massages of my life!
Video diary coming soon but needless to say I’ve fallen in love with this little slice of heaven and cannot wait to come back. For anyone looking to head down to the BVI’s reach out and let me know, I would love to help you book the same experiences that I had!0