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Virgin Gorda Vacation TipsMay 1, 2007 By: Lindsay Lambert Home-Based Travel Agent
The 411 on booking the ideal island trip for your clients
Travel requirements: According to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a valid passport is required of American and Canadian citizens for entry into the British Virgin Islands and re-entry to the U.S. Visitors leaving the island by air must pay a $20 per person departure tax; by sea, $5 (except for cruise passengers, $7).
Getting there and getting around: Visitors to Virgin Gorda can fly commercially into St. Thomas or Tortola, completing their journey to the island via private air charter or ferry (the North Sound Express is ideal for guests staying at Biras Creek or Bitter End Yacht Club; otherwise, any that dock in Spanishtown are advisable). American Airlines (www.aa.com) offers flights from New York's JFK to St. Thomas; hop a chartered air taxi with Fly BVI (www.fly-bvi.com) to Virgin Gorda.
Note: Virgin Gorda Airport (VIJ) is a small facility that services only inter-Caribbean flights and private charters. If your clients plan to travel inter-island commercially rather than by private charter, check out Air Sunshine (www.airsunshine.com/main.htm), the only commercial airline that does fly into Virgin Gorda. For clients who prefer to arrive via water, Speedy's Ferry (www.speedysbvi.com) and Smiths Ferry/Tortola Fast Ferry (www.tortolafastferry.com) are sure bets for a pleasant arrival.
Once on Virgin Gorda, independent-minded clients who like to explore on their own can pick up a rental car at Hertz Rental Car (284-495-5803; www.hertzbvivg.com), Island Style Car Rental (284-495-6300; www.islandstylebvi.com), or Mahogany Rentals (284-495-5469; www.mahoganycarrentalsbvi.com).
Lodging: Virgin Gorda has a handful of high-end and rustic resorts and hotels, not to mention villas and apartment-style lodgings. Little Dix Bay, A Rosewood Resort (www.littledixbay.com) in December 2006 completed a massive five-year renovation that included the addition of new junior suites and hilltop villas. Nearly all accommodations are advisable for couples, though Premium Ocean View Rooms, One-Bedroom Suites and Beach Front Cottages are ideal. The resort's new Rosewood Junior Suites and hilltop villas are particularly well suited for guests traveling with tots in tow. Contact Gerard Sclafani, director of sales and marketing at [email protected] or (212) 758-1735.
Biras Creek Resort (www.biras.com), a member of Relais & Ch?aux, comprises 33 suites on 140 acres of lush waterfront land on Berchers Bay, in northeastern Virgin Gorda. All 33 suites face Berchers Bay on the Atlantic Ocean side of the estate. Two-bedroom Premier Suites are popular picks for those with kids; alternatively, the resort's two Grand Suites, each of which has one large bedroom, a separate sitting room, two oceanfront verandahs and a large bathroom, can be booked as two interconnecting units. For guests who aren't in need of such spacious accommodations, Ocean View Suites A and B are a sure bet; they're the resort's most private accommodations and they afford stunning views of the water and quick beach access. Contact Reservations Manager Cleopatra I. Bradley ([email protected]; 284-494-3555) or General Manager Jan Oudendijk ([email protected]; 284-494-3555) to book.
The Bitter End Yacht Club (284-494-2746, www.beyc.com) on Virgin Gorda's North Sound has 85 oceanfront accommodations on a mile of sandy shoreline. Bitter End's various accommodations include island-style, beachfront villas and North Sound suites, which are air-conditioned hillside bungalows. Contact Chicago-based Reservations and Information Office (800-872-2392; 312-506-6205; [email protected]). Any one of three Vacation Planners on staff can help you create a customized stay. Bitter End's restaurants, bars, shops and water sports are all open to non-guests.
Dining: The Restaurant at Leverick Bay (Leverick Bay Resort and Marina North Sound; 284-495-7154; www.therestaurantatleverickbay.com) employs a carefully cultivated network of local fishermen that supplies the restaurant with a variety of seasonal seafood. The menu changes daily, but specialties include lobster, swordfish, tuna, mahi-mahi and deep water red snapper.
Saba Rock Restaurant and Bar ("The Rock") at Saba Rock Resort (North Sound; 284-495-7711; www.sabarock.com) offers a casual waterfront dining experience that's popular with the yachting crowd. Live music, dancing and a game room with a pool table and shuffleboard render the restaurant a suitable pick for kids. The food here is freshly made and reasonably priced.
At The Bath & Turtle in the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor (Spanish Town; 284-495-5239), mango coladas and peach daiquiris are a must, and tasty pub-style food, fresh seafood and pasta and meat entrees are on the menu.
Rock Cafe (284-495-5482) on Tower Road in The Valley between The Baths and Spanishtown, offers Italian and Caribbean food in an open-air setting with outdoor terraces and an air-conditioned dining room. —LL
British Virgin Islands Tourist Board
The Palm Tree Gallery