Charter Advisors Special Feature
Scrub Island Redux - Beach House Edition
by Capt. Kev
A few years back Charter Advisors was invited to be one of the groups to preview Scrub Island Resort during its pre-grand opening. Having seen the resort constructed over many years, we were eager to see how all the hard work and millions of dollars translated into the newest exclusive Caribbean escape. Fast forward to 2013, we're back but this time we experienced a fully open, well oiled, and even more exclusive version of the Scrub Island Resort we first reported on back in 2010 (see our original review in our Feature Articles section). The cake has been iced nicely, so to speak.
If you've never been to Scrub Island or if this is your first time hearing of it, it's a little jewel of an island in the British Virgin Islands. It's the only private island resort that's not reserved for guests of Sir Richard Branson. In other words, it's accessible to all of us not knighted by the Queen and compares in price to any of the upscale resorts throughout to Caribbean. With three beaches, two pools, water-sport toys, spa services, two restaurants, shops, and a full service marina Scrub Island Resort is like a resort and village in one. They offer luxury suites (as any respectable resort should) but villa "homes" are also part of the offering. The latter combine multi-floor accommodations with their own private pools, decks, and in the case of the Beach House villa, it's own private beach! Guess which one we reviewed?
Overlooking the Camino Island pass the Beach House Villa is a three level, three bath, two bedroom villa with all the amenities of home and a luxury resort. I've stayed a lot of places throughout the Caribbean and British Virgin Islands, and the Beach House Villa is by far the best accommodations I've ever experienced. I thought the suites were pretty darn nice when we originally reviewed Scrub Island resort, but The Beach House Villa is just amazing.
Our Stay - The Beach House Villa
Stepping off the Scrub Island Ferry after a five minute ride from Trellis Bay is like stepping into another world. I'm still in the Caribbean, but even more ideal. As we stepped off the ferry, an attendant welcomed our group on the dock with fruity drinks and guided us to the main building for check-in while our bags were unloaded and taken up to the villa. Check-in took only a few minutes. Then we hopped into a small van waiting out front to take us up to the Beach House (and I do mean up!).
When we arrived I noticed right off how well polished everything was. The villa look so fresh and clean, it would be easy to assume I was the first to stay there (which I was not). Every detail was looked after. Opening the door revealed white marble floors, custom slat wood treatments overhead, and an ocean of granite countertops. The entryway sits at the center of the villa. Walk forward through the front door and though a set of double doors across the hall and I'm on one of thee back decks. To the right of the front door sits a large living room with another set of double doors and another deck. Both the dining room and the large gourmet kitchen are part of the living area's open floor plan connected to the living room. This "level" of the villa also houses a half bath with an exterior side door leading to an outdoor shower. A set of marble stairs to the left of the entry connects to the master bedroom upstairs, and guest bedroom down. Splitting the bedrooms on their own levels gives each couple real privacy. Every room has sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea and Camino Island. No matter where I found myself I had an awesome view that created a refined luxurious feel.
The bedrooms come complete with a wet bar, deck, and huge luxury bathroom. Each bedroom is set up with flat screen TVs, WiFi, desks, lounges, and beds so nice and comfy it's frankly hard to get out of bed in the morning. Granted, for all the right reasons. If I wasn't in the Caribbean I probably would have turned into a room hermit. This is what luxury and comfort should be. The Beach House Villa comfort, space, and amenities make rejoining the outside world completely optional.
Walking out onto the deck, the views open up revealing island and wide open sea views. The deck wraps around the entire villa. It's so big there are three sitting and lounging areas. But that's just on this deck. A large balcony off the upstairs master bedroom adds a private deck area, then there's what lies at the end of the outside stairs. Stepping down off the deck, and down the steps, sits another large deck perched over a rocky outcropping, right over the breaking waves. Sitting in the lounge chairs at sunset is an existential experience. Another set of steps lead down further, all the way to our own private beach! Exploring a lightly touched beach is a rare experience. I went into shell hunting mode instinctively. We found complete sand dollars, conch shells, and the widest variety of seashells coral anyone could ever hope for. As I headed back up the steps from the beach coated with sand to my knees, I realized the only drawback of having your own private beach: sand everywhere! That was before I noticed a second outdoor shower, this one at the base of the steps leading back to the villa. Scrub Island really thought through the experience they wanted guests to have. A timely outdoor shower doesn't just appear for no reason.
The luxury and space afforded by the Beach House Villa would seem out of place in many a Caribbean getaway, but not at Scrub Island Resort. The resort and its amenities carry a high quality luxury feel be it pool side, on the beach, in the marina, or sitting down to dine.
When meal time came, Scrub Island offers a casual option in Tierra Tierra, and the more formal surroundings of Caravela. The kitchen for both is headed up by Michelin award winning Executive Chef Davide Pugliese. The British Virgin Islands have a history of famous people and hidden treasures. It only seems fitting I found a famous chef in such a local. His creations showcased in the upscale setting of Caravela are gastro treasures that should never be hidden. Not even Blackbeard, who's known to have visited Scrub Island (obviously very very pre-grand opening) wouldn't have been able to resist bragging about such a meal.
Every meal was both poolside and beach-side. At breakfast and dinner I had towering views from Caravela overlooking the pools, marina, and Caribbean Sea. At lunch the same was true from the more casual outdoor surroundings of Tierra Tierra. The food at Scrub Island Resort is terrific, and the Sunday brunch should not be missed. Over five days I had the chance to sample everything on the menu at least once at both restaurants. I've been called a bit of a picky eater, but that wasn't the case dining at Scrub Island. We had outstanding food no mater the time of day with incredible service to match. Jenny in Caravela served us each morning, and got to know what each in our group liked quickly. It was nice to walk into Caravela for breakfast to be greeted by Jenny and a waiting cup of coffee.
The exceptional service also showed brightly one evening when I wanted to eat in, up at the villa. The only trouble was that I wanted something not on the room service menu. I called in my order asking them to please do their best to get close to what I was looking for if they couldn't specifically accommodate. They could have said no, I'm sorry we can't, and that would have been okay. But they didn't. In fact the folks taking my order at Caravela said they'd do their very best. Guess what? They delivered exactly what I asked for. Now that's service! That evening I got to enjoy the exact meal I wanted, in the exact place in the world I wanted to be. And I knew the next day would end the same way. How awesome is that!?
Villa or Room?
You know, this is a tough call. The Beach House Villa was absolutely outstanding, but the rooms are decked out to the hilt as well. Scrub Island Resort has done such a good job designing a world-class luxury resort that every guest suite, room, and villa are comfort centered with every amenity that could be needed or wanted (including washer dryers). What sets them apart is space, exclusivity and compounding luxury. Obviously a villa has more space, and its simple to see the bonus of privacy and having a "home" unto ourselves. But then there's the matter of luxury and endless comfort with a view of the Caribbean and its distant horizons. That's compounding luxury! Going from a guest suite to a villa is like going from awesome, to more awesome. See why it's a hard call? Awesome is awesome. But more awesome is better. It just is.
Scrub Island has a selection of villas, suites, and guest rooms with a range in price comparable to any nice resort in the British Virgin Islands. For my money, if I can get nice or awesome for the same price, I'm going with awesome. And after experiencing the Beach House Villa at Scrub Island Resort for myself, I'm not going to hesitate booking their villa next time. It's more than a room, it is a full on experience. One that exceeded every expectation.
- Charter Review: The Moorings 5800 Ocean Suite by Captain Kev
- Charter Review: VOYAGE Charters, VOYAGE 520 Silver Lining by Capt. Kev