Discovered by Christopher Columbus nearly 500 years ago and serving as a stopping point for European explorers en route to new lands, Scrub Island remained relatively untouched for centuries. Graced by three pristine beaches shelving gently into the Caribbean Sea, protected coves, nature trails and stunning scenery, the 230-acre island is now home to Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina – and those adventurous travelers fortunate enough to escape reality and experience what Travel + Leisure magazine called “one of the Best Secret Islands on Earth.”
The first new luxury, private-island resort in the British Virgin Islands in more than 15 years and a member of Marriott International’s renowned Autograph Collection®, the boutique Scrub Island Resort offers a variety of plush accommodations, including 26 guest rooms, 26 one- and two-bedroom suites and six remarkable villas nestled into the hillsides of Scrub Island, all offering dramatic views of the Caribbean Sea. The rooms all evoke a West Indies feel and I was elated to see the use of premium Italian Fili d’Oro sheets and Bvlgari amenities.
I arrived at the resort by Scrub Island’s ferry from Tortola and was fortunate enough to settle into one of the six exquisitely appointed Hillside Villas discreetly nestled into the contours of Scrub Island. My home for the week was the two-bedroom villa called The Beach House. Like all the villas, it offers plenty of privacy but is still convenient the Scrub restaurants and activities, and for exploring the natural surroundings. With services such as daily housekeeping, transportation on demand, chefs and butlers, the Hillside Villas are perfect for a variety of discerning travelers, from extended families traveling for the holidays to couples seeking an intimate honeymoon hideaway. The other five villas range from two- to four-bedrooms and offer expansive views of the Caribbean Sea’s azure waters and the surrounding islands.
Scrub Island’s fine-dining restaurant, Caravela, featured continental classics with modern flair, serving every meal with views of the beautiful marina and multi-tiered infinity pool. I highly recommend the succulent Anegada lobster from the nearby island of Anegada, which is available during the November to June lobster season. For al fresco dining, Tierra! Tierra! was the place to be for lunch or dinner. With panoramic views of Tortola and the surrounding waters, the outdoor poolside grille featured American and Caribbean cuisine, from burgers to seafood and salads. In addition to Scrub Island’s world-class fare, I was also able to take the short ferry ride back to Tortola, the largest island in the BVI, to explore other dining options.
Making the most of its idyllic location, Scrub Island offers three gorgeous beaches to discover. The most convenient to the resort is Pavilion Beach, which was easily accessed from the multi-tiered pool, complete with waterfalls and two swim-up bars. My favorite, North Beach, is the island’s largest and features lounge chairs, private sun decks, its very own pool and One Shoe Beach Bar. The third and most exclusive is Honeymoon Beach, which is intended for couples who want to be in solitude, relax and watch the world go by. A kayak provided by the resort allows guests to discover Honeymoon Beach on their own – an adventure that embodies the culture of Scrub Island and the BVI.
Needing a break from the tropical sun, I found indulgent refuge in Scrub Island’s Ixora Spa. Named for the native tropical shrub, the Ixora Spa is perched on a hillside overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. This 3,000-square-foot facility has treatment rooms offering magnificent views. The highly trained therapists delivered a masterful experience that rejuvenated my mind and body.
Many guests come to Scrub Island by vessel – like much travel done in the British Virgin Islands – and dock their boats in the Scrub Island 55-slip marina, five slips of which can accommodate mega yachts up to 160 feet. Considered to be the best marina shops in the BVI, the Marina Village shops include the upscale Scrub Island Boutique, Dive BVI dive shop and the Gourmet Market & Café.
The marina was my departure point for most of the water activities at the resort. The shallows surrounding Scrub Island, as well as many nearby coves, bays, reefs and inlets, were ideal for snorkeling and diving. Dive BVI also chartered eco-explorer tours, sightseeing charters and island-hopping day trips. With easy access to more than 60 nearby islands, the resort makes it easy to discover great events and happenings throughout the BVI, including numerous regattas, the Billfish Tournament, Poker Run and monthly Full Moon Parties on Tortola. Located on the island’s western shore, the marina is also a perfect departure point for the world-famous North Drop, known for the best marlin fishing in the Caribbean.
A trip to the BVI is no traditional vacation, but a chance to create a vacation all your own. With adventure around every corner and an exciting event calendar packed with activities year round, a return trip is definitely in order. From family vacations and executive retreats, to intimate weddings and honeymoons, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina provides an adventure in luxury island living unlike any other. For more information, please visit www.scrubisland.com or call (877) 890-7444.