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Trip Report Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda: Fantastic Place with Kids Trip Report

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First of all, I think LDB is an amazing place. Fantastic for kids, and it seemed like all the honeymooners I talked to loved it also. I’ll write this commenting largely on my experience with our 2 kids, 6 mo and 2.5 yrs old, and comment on hotel stuff later.

Best part of the with-children experience is the staff and the bay. Staff seemed genuinely interested in the children, and were very engaging without being obsequious. Front desk staff, Pavilion (dining area) staff, even staff walking down the resort path in the am would stop to dote on them. Several of the Pavilion staff remembered the childrens’ names.

The bay is the reason we’ll go back. You can find gracious staff at many resorts, but the proximity of the water to the rooms, and the shallow, calm waters of the bay are just perfect for kids. I took our children in the water every day. Slightly cool in am, but bathwater temp by noon and later. The bay is a horseshoe, with a coral reef across about ¾ of the opening, so that the incoming waves are all muted and gentle for the rest of the way into the shore. You can walk out 50-100 feet and be at no more than shoulder (for adults) water level. Our neighbors were there with 3 children ages 3-9; they were in the water 6-8 hours a day, with little need for caution.

Other activities for kids are a cool main pool, with a smaller upper pool, which seemed to be used mostly by 1-2 families at a time with small children, and a lower pool which typically had up to 6-10 people in it. The beach is great sand, easy play area. There were about 10% of guests with young children. Enough to find other parents to hang out with, and friends for the kids.

We were at the far left end of the resort, as you look at it from the bay. Great beach section there, with no coral or rocks along the shore. 50 feet from room to water- one of the best features of LDB. Kids need something? Stroll to room to retrieve. It’s a 6 min walk to Pavilion for meals, 10 min at a 2.5 year old’s pace. But they have a golf-cart shuttle that is very responsive, and will take you up each time.

The Children’s Center is good, but not amazing. Has a play house, a bunch of toys. I think it also had some video stuff for older kids, but not sure. The director was ok- a bit stern for what I would expect at a high-end resort, but that may be more cultural. And maybe she needs to be, with all the kids she has to keep in line. Maybe an off week for her? But if you get a babysitter, they take the kids to the Center, and they get dedicated time, and a place with activities, rather than just sitting in room. Babysitters are not allowed to take kids to pool or beach. Babysitters seem to all be local women. The 2 we met were (we had same woman all week; briefly met the neighbors' babysitter) in the 40-50 age range, with children of their own. And very nice.

We did massage/ facials at the spa. My wife loved her facial- said it was top-notch. Make sure you go early or stay late and hang out at the Spa pool. Fantastic place to relax. Phenomenal view. Also a great place to take photos.

We hired a photographer for family photos. Amanda of www.virginportraits.com based on Tortola. Did a nice job, although could have engaged kids a bit more. Always tough to predict whether children will be in photo mood. Nevertheless, I recommend her. She has sent photos, and as fussy as the kids were, the shots are very good.

Took a day sail, coordinated by neighbor (at resort) with 3 kids. Keith- not sure what name of charter operation was, but has info at activities desk (2 masted, approx 40 foot). Rate supposed to be $445/ half day. Negotiated $390 for 5 adults, 4 kids. Nice time. Recommend.

Virgin Gorda may just be the most beautiful Caribbean island I've visited ! If you have the time and inclination, rent a Jeep and explore the island. We rented from Thos (has the taxi and Jeep rental concession stand at the front of the resort). $60/ day cash; $73/day if pay with CC. Absolutely spectacular view of North Sound as you crest Gorda Peak. North Sound is where Bitter End Yacht Club and Biras Creek are. BEYC seems to be solely for those who are looking to have a vacation filled with water sports- small boat sailing, kayaking, windsurfing. 1.5-2 times the cost of LDB (base room), with more rustic/ bare rooms, and not same luxury as LDB. But spectacular views from the hillside rooms, each with a hammock, and an amazing setting on the bay in North Sound. Didn’t get over to Biras Creek.

Ate at Top of the Baths for dinner. Very good food. Once again- great views. Go for dinner at 6 or 6:30 to have time to watch the waning sun and sunset.

Logistic details: We flew into St. Thomas. My wife hates small planes, which is how we got over to VG. The flight over gives you a cool perspective of all the islands. One of the more interesting Caribbean landings into VG, as the pilot crests the hill on approach, and then nearly kills the engine as plane drifts sharp left, and coasts into landing strip. Typical can’t-believe-it-until-you-experience-it small Caribbean island airport landing. The flight is all of 15 minutes. $250/ person, each way.

We took the public ferry back. $40 adult, $10 child. Goes to Tortola, brief 10 min disembark to pay departure tax, then on to St. Thomas. VG to St. Thomas direct is only Tue, Thurs, Sat. Took 1:45 total. Not much to do in St. Thomas with 2 little kids in tow. We had a nice pub lunch overlooking the water at Hook, Line, & Sinker, a 5 min walk to the left as you come out of the ferry terminal on St. Thomas before strolling back and catching cab to airport. Took 45 min- 1 hour from airport arrival until through customs. Small airport. One café with a persistent 15 min line in the gate area.

Most people we spoke with got a room upgrade at LDB. Resort was reportedly 15% full the week prior in early-mid June; 50% the week we were there. We were upgraded to the Premium Ocean View Room. Good size room, even with crib and twin bed added in. The crib and bed were very nice quality for the kids.

There are 2 computers in front common area. Easy access, as there were not a lot of people spending time on the computer. But they don’t have a .pdf reader installed. I never bothered to ask for that, but I couldn’t do it on my own (need administrator level).

Laundry is very expensive, as you’d expect. BUT, for $15 they will do an entire bag of children’s clothes with a 24 hour turnaround. Very worth it. We did it after a few days, and near end just so we’d have them cleaned prior to trip home.

There is a little market in Spanish Town. A $6 round-trip cab ride. Buck’s Market has most baby supplies that a corner convenience store would have. Diapers size 1-5, swimmies, small selection of baby food, juice. Most of the time they have milk. No baby clothes. Expect to pay 50-100% more than normal. $5 for a half gallon of milk.

Cost of room you can get via ‘reservations’ section of website. There’s a 7% occupancy tax, and 10% resort fee in lieu of gratuities, and all food and beverages have an automatic 18% gratuity built in. Figure that you’re going to eat most meals at the resort…. We didn’t drink much wine there, only had a couple beers at dinner. Dinner was avg $120 for us, then add 18% gratuity. Andrew Harper members get a few amenities complimentary.

My favorite parts of the stay: Breakfast buffet each day, the beach/ bay access in front of our room, and the on the beach dinner (very romantic- a must). My wife’s favorite things: The beach dinner, the Spa facial and pool.

Mosquitoes were nonexistent the first several days. Then we had 2 nights of rain, and there were a few mosquitoes. Not bad though.

I thought LDB was a nicer resort than Cap Juluca, where we stayed 5 years ago for our honeymoon. Staff just seemed more genuinely nice. Manager Mark wasavailable, inquiring, and seemed connected to his staff. Nicer central front office area, with a TV and 2 computers, the Children's center. Also, kayaks and sailboats to use, some good hikes adjacent to resort.

One note of caution I have to mention: The last night there, while packing up, a scorpion came scooting out of the closet. This is a tile floor, and I was standing in the closet getting my suitcase and shoes just 2 minutes prior. I beat the snot out of him with a hangar, and kept him for staff to see the next day. They were a bit casual about it- very surprising to me. I didn’t even know that they existed in the Caribbean ! I think they should either improve their pest management, or at least warn people. To do neither is dangerous, in my opinion. My 2 year old would have curiously reached for it, had she encountered it. After a bit of web-reading, only 25 of 1400 scorpions world-wide are poisonous, and most stings are moderately painful, like a bee or wasp sting. Treat initially with ice. Medical contact needed if children bitten, but antivenin only given for species found in desert Southwest.

This episode aside, GREAT place. We’ll definitely go back. I'll work on adding some photos.

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