Exterior of Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Rosewood Little Dix Bay
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands


 

Even by Caribbean standards, its half-mile crescent of velvety sands backed by swaying palms alone would be enough to make Rosewood Little Dix Bay a stand-out resort in the region. But what really sets the hotel apart is a mid-century modern flair that beautifully harks back to the days of its inception.

A perfectly shaped and blindingly gorgeous beach makes a pretty solid backdrop for a luxury resort. That much is clear. And you could argue that businessman and conservationist Laurance Rockefeller knew this, too, when he first opened a property amid the trees of a quiet bay near Spanish Town in 1964. ‘Wilderness Beach’, as he named the bay, has attracted in-the-know travellers from all over the world ever since and, in 1993, the array of structures dotting these grounds entered a new phase, opening as a Rosewood hotel.

Staying here has arguably become a more elevated affair since, although owing to the resort’s 500 acres of natural gardens and the aforementioned beach, you’re still guaranteed birdsong and sand between your toes. In fact, when we arrived (on the hotel’s private ferry, which picked us up from nearby Tortola), we took our shoes off to step right off the arrival pier and onto the beach – bliss that was only made better as our butler Alson handed us a cool towel to freshen up and a welcome drink to, well, get the holiday started.

Having reopened in 2020, after a complete refurbishment following the destruction caused by 2017’s hurricane Irma, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is home to some 42 rooms, 25 suites and four villas, with two of the latter sitting in the hills that look out over the bay. Those wanting to splurge can do so with a stay in the three-bedroom and 417 sqm/4,487 sqft Villa Innocence, the largest of all accommodations at the resort (and potentially this part of the island). We chose to stay in a 90 sqm/970 sqft stilted Tree House Suite between palm trees right by the sea, however, and loved that we could go from bed to beach in about the same time it took you to read this paragraph.

A fair amount of our time was spent on our wraparound terrace, which offered pretty views yet felt perfectly quiet, too, with loungers ideally placed in the shade next to our front door. Interestingly, the Tree House Suites are laid out largely across two connecting octagonal structures, one of which serves as a bedroom while the other is home to a comfortable and luxuriously furnished lounge area alongside a wet bar. The set-up of our bedroom, meanwhile, felt airy and modern, with our Kingsize bed in the centre of the room and a built-in wardrobe and storage area at its end (somewhat whimsically, connecting rooms are linked through wardrobes!). There was no TV, which we liked, as the only thing we wanted to get lost in was the sea, anyway.

Our suite was otherwise fitted as you might imagine; think floor-to-ceiling windows, blackout curtains, an outdoor shower with Diptyche toiletries, etc. There were a few vintage photographs of beachgoers in what would’ve been considered rather fashionable swimwear at the time the images were taken, that added some local feel and a touch of colour to an altogether muted palette of white and beige tones. That said, in its pursuit of minimalistic elegance that at times bordered on near-Scandic chic, the suite fell a little short of being truly evocative or exciting. In our opinion, a few textured surfaces or spontaneity in design would’ve gone a long way in making the space homelier.

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While you’re Out There
While many a guest will do their best to not leave the resort during their stay, a few local gems make exploring nearby Spanish Town a real experience: we enjoyed the cocktails and Asian-meets-Latin fusion cuisine at CocoMaya, where post-dinner, we danced in the sand and played a seriously addictive game of cornhole by the beach.

We did get to poke our heads into two of the villas, too, which by comparison felt a lot warmer and immersed guests in a beach vibe with rustic stone walls, designer boardgames and stylish details like carved statement furniture. The design language of these, which also came through in a few features in our suite, was a nod to mid-century aesthetics – something that’s rare to come by in island resorts, and which helps make Rosewood Little Dix Bay stand out from its competition both within the British Virgin Islands as well as within the greater region.

The property’s most show-stopping sight by far is arguably its iconic Pavilion, a pyramid-roofed structure divided into four spaces home to both the Rum Room, where vintage cocktails and rare rums are served in a stylish setting, as well as Pavilion restaurant. There being no walls, the latter conveniently comes with a side of stunning sea views, which we found particularly dreamy at breakfast, itself a blend between a few on-menu staples and a buffet with a live cooking station en plein air. We didn’t exactly go hungry at breakfast, but being vegans, we had to ask for plant-based options to be specially prepared and arranged, which at times led to staff forgetting about parts of our orders… something that the hotel could easily avoid by making dietary-inclusive options more readily available.

There’s also the Reef House, a relaxed dining outlet that might’ve been our favourite at Rosewood Little Dix Bay. The tacos are excellent (and so is the chef’s famous hot sauce!), and the staff wear specially designed floral-print shirts we found so beautiful, we were tempted to ask whether we could buy one ourselves. Sugar Mill rounds up the resort’s gastronomic offering, and the team here spoiled us with a huge variety of vegan-friendly dishes ranging from sushi to roasted kale salad, quinoa, veggie paella to creamy tomato pasta and more – although why our waiter, who was aware of our dietaries, offered us a steak, dangling it right in front of our face, we weren’t quite sure.

There’s plenty to keep you busy and burn off some calories across the property’s extensive grounds, too: you could explore the organic produce gardens, dip into the free-form pools, take to the sea on a kayak or paddle board, spend an hour or two in the hotel’s excellent gym, or ask for a private tennis lesson with the resident instructor. At six tennis courts and two pickleball courts, Rosewood Little Dix Bay would arguably be fit to host regional tournaments (and no one’s stopping you from putting on yours, except for the heat, perhaps!). For a more relaxed way to spend the day, complimentary beach drops to seven different stretches of sand across Virgin Gorda can be arranged in no time.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to schedule some time at the Sense spa. Sitting atop cliffs at the resort’s far western end, Sense has been purposefully designed by NYC-based studio Meyer Davis to feel like a retreat within a retreat, featuring a two-tiered infinity pool, a yoga platform and a small bar where healthy snacks and smoothies are freshly prepared upon order. Our massage here was an exciting blend of techniques from all over the world made more sublime through the addition of warm blankets and soothing scents. When it finished, we stepped onto the balcony of our treatment room to enjoy a cup of tea and look out over a sparkling, turquoise sea. Perfection.

www.rosewoodhotels.com

Photography courtesy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts




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