Back (Again) from the splendor of the BVI

Old Jan 13th, 2001, 05:43 AM
  #21  
Ann
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Rick, continuing with LB, the beach is superb in terms of its beauty, the little mountain at one end, the way it curves. IMO it's one of the most picturesque in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, many people have written here that you can't swim from it. Rocks under the water. I cannot personally attest to this, I've heard it too many times to doubt it. Their pool is your standard large pool. Nice seating around it, a fairly large snack bar, nicely landscaped and just off the beach. <BR>The restaurant is mediocre and, certainly, too expensive given the quality of the food. But chefs seem to come to the BVI to have the opportunity to have a working vacation, so they come and go. It might be a great restaurant today. Who knows? <BR>On tennis: 2 courts above their water reservoir and laundry. So the roof is the tennis courts. <BR>Location is nice, although the place is busy from a traffic standpoint, even though it is almost at a dead end. <BR>Would I stay there? Not as long as Frenchman's Cay is still around!
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 05:57 AM
  #22  
Ann
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Hey, Rick. I'm on a roll. <BR>So that's about it for LB. Let's transition to a few comments on Frenchman's re your questions. First, though, I note you are going in April. So do I so here is a pertinent remark about weather. In the Spring the breeze is 24/7 onshore from the south and southeast at about 10-15 knots. That makes it delightful on the South coast where Frenchman's and many other resorts are, and breathless on the north coast where LB is. For that reason FC does not have or need A/C in the rooms. LB does. The temperature will be either 81 or 82 F. Assess that as you will. <BR>FC has 9 villas and 7 are for rent so you have a small number of guests at any time. In April the two 2BR villas are not in use more than about half the time since April is low season. Compared to LB, your kids will have little chance for socializing with children their age if that is important. <BR>FC offers 2 pools and its beach for water activities. The beach has a breakwater so that it is, in effect, a salt water pool. Nice sand bottom. You may object to it being man-made, but that is due to FC facing into the sea and wind and the effect of that wind and sea on the shore. Hence the breakwater. It makes for better swimming than a pool because there is a fair amount of fish and stuff to be seen through your mask. Nice for kids since they can flop around and chase the anchovies, etc. Quite safe. The pools are just off the beach. One is about a foot deep and it's for little kids. The other is no more than 20 or 25 feet long and varies from 4-6 feet deep. They are on a terrace 2 steps up from the beach so Mom can perch in a hammock on the beach 5 feet from both pools and 20 feet from the shoreline. Absolutely great for keeping an eye on the kids. Plus the restaurant is right there as well.
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 06:06 AM
  #23  
Ann
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Rick, this should do it. Hope it's not overkill. <BR>Both FC and LB are kid-friendly from the standpoint of the management, but as I have said, there will be more kids at LB. I may be right in observing that a number of posters in the past have said LB tends more toward retirees, but even if that is so, there just has to be more kids there than at FC. I like the swimming situation at FC better than at LB. And I'm pretty certain that FC is about as friendly a place as you'll ever find anywhere. <BR>Tennis: there is one court at FC and it is seldom used. <BR>If I have missed anything, let me know. <BR>Have a super vacation!!!
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 06:52 AM
  #24  
Rick
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Ann, <BR>Thank you for your persistence! You provided a lot of great information. I have to check on price and availability at Frenchman's for comparison purposes. Sounds as though there are a few things at each place that the other doesn't have. <BR>Thanks again.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 12:24 PM
  #25  
Joel
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Rick, one of the things about the BVI is that while it's small and---so far---not overdeveloped, there is a variety of experiences available. FC is an outstanding example of a very small resort in the middle price range. Long Bay is a decent larger resort. The only thing that all the resorts on Tortola seem to have in common, imo,is that they are very laid back and informal. Have a super vacation!!
 
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 08:12 AM
  #26  
Andrea
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To all of you who read about Frenchmans <BR>Cay..beware..they may suddenly cancel your hotel without little or no warning at all. This is what happened to us back in October. They wouldnt even try to find us accomodations at another hotel on the island. We did get the deposit back & "I'm sorry for the inconvenience". It didnt help though, we had to buy new airline tickets & plan a honeymoon in a matter of 1 hr!!!Curacao turned out better than we ever expected or hoped!!!!
 
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 03:02 PM
  #27  
Joel
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Andrea, <BR>Bizarre. I wonder if it was due to weather? Was any reason whatsoever given?
 
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 03:41 PM
  #28  
Andrea
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Reply to Joel: Frenchman's blamed the weather; a hurricane was 1800 miles away & they werent sure where it was headed. It turned out that it completely missed them..some high winds.Anyway we understood this but not the way we were treated. They could've easily found other accomodations or had sent some kind of voucher to use for their hotel at a later date. Regardless we will never go there. It's a shame because we had researched the island & Frenchman's for 6 months. We'll definitely go to the BVI but not Frenchmans!!!! Any info on St Kitts Joel we want to go 1st week of July? Thanks
 
Old Jan 16th, 2001, 02:16 PM
  #29  
Joel
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Andrea, thanks for getting back to me on your Frenchman's Cay experience. I understand your feelings and would, myself, feel very let down by a last minute cancellation not of my own choosing. I think I also understand what might have happened and it might help just a bit. <BR>I preface my comments from knowing Terry and Pam pretty well and from knowing how totally devoted they are to customers. <BR>An important point is that when it looks like a hurricane is going to hit, each resort has to fend for itself to prepare for the battering it's going to take. No civil infrastructure in the BVI to help in these situations at all. It might have been the case that a goodly percentage of the other Tortola resorts saw themselves in the same situation, each one following its own strategy, and were also cancelling reservations. Finding a substitute resort for you means that they would be choosing for you. It is not clear to me that there is another resort that is similar at their price. If you arrived and found the substitute not to your satisfaction Pam & Terry would feel very badly, for sure, but maybe your vacation would, in your opinion, be ruined. <BR>Another aspect of this unfortunate situation is that there is no one at FC able to find another resort for you except Terry and Pam who run the place virtually single-handed. There's a cook (often Pam), and a cleaning/wait staff. Sometimes there is an assistant manager. I have often watched this couple work. We're talking 12-16 hour days, and in this particular case, it comes on top of an arriving storm. Last time I was there they had been devastated by a hurricane. Obliterated the beach. Just mounting the storm shutters on the 9 villas will be a 2 day job. <BR>Then there's the issue of getting help to do all this storm prep work. The locals do things on "island-time" which means they may or may not show up. <BR>There was a posting here about a year ago from a couple who had gone to Biras Creek. A hurricane hit and the resort simply advised them to get out as fast as they could. They delayed a bit and lost the chance to catch the last ferry off Virgin Gorda. The resort sent its staff home and refused to feed the couple or take any responsibility at all. The couple was pissed and wanted to know here if they could sue, etc. I point this out not to compare it to your situation, of course, but to illustrate the difficult position of resort managers. <BR> <BR>
 
Old Jan 21st, 2001, 12:15 PM
  #30  
Alby
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To Andrea, I'd have to agree with Joel about Frenchman's. The resorts are in a damned if you do damned if you don't situation on incoming tropical storms. The big resorts can maybe rebook guests to other resorts, but I would expect that the other resorts would refuse them. After all, if the storm is likely to hit one resort it'll hit all of them. And it's just Pam and Terry trying to handle all this.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 06:26 AM
  #31  
Tim
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This is off topic as far as Frenchman's Cay, but... My fiancee and I are staying at Little Dix for 4 nites on the first leg of our Honeymoon(St John for the final 4 nites)July 8, 2001. We are wondering if it is easy (and worth it) to go to Aneganda(sp?) Does it take long to get there? Can we do it in 1 day? Also, does Virgin Gorda really shut down in early July(restaurants, etc...)?
 
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 02:33 AM
  #32  
Joel
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Tim, my wife and I enjoyed our day at Anegada. Our point of departure was Tortola, not Virgin Gorda, so you would need to find out if there is direct transport to Anegada from VG. We used Fly BVI's all-inclusive day package which was very, very good. It leaves from the Beef Island airport (Tortola), the same island you'll use to arr/dep the BVI. There are other means of getting to Anegada such as catamaran cruises, etc. Don't know what may depart from Spanishtown, VG. <BR>Anegada is a reef island, flat as a pancacke. The only reasons to go there to my knowledge would be to find almost total isolation, fresh lobster lunches on the beach, and snorkeling from the beach. The beach circles Anegada and the reef is out there a couple hundred yards. But even 50' off the beach you can find islands of coral full of fish. <BR>The Fly BVI package has the advantage of getting you there/back quick. A taxi awaits on Anegada, you are whisked to Loblolly Bay where there is a beach restaurant/bar and absolutely nothing else. Once there you snorkel or otherwise entertain yourself until the cab comes back for you. You need money only if you buy drink/food outside your heavy lunch. <BR>IMO, if I was only on VG for 4 days it would be a close thing as to whether I's choose a day on Anegada or not. It's really a one-time thing, I'd say. If you really enjoy snorkeling and getting away to a "Castaways" setting, it is quite nice. <BR>As to VG in July, I've not been there then, but you are edging into hurricane season. Compared to Tortola, VG always seems slow. Compared to St. John, VG is in a time-freeze. If anything actually shuts down, I'm not aware of it. Don't take that as the quintessential answer!
 
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 10:05 AM
  #33  
Tim
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Thanks for the info Joel. Was the Fly BVI trip you took expensive? Did that include the lobster lunch I keep hearing about? Sounds like I'll need to decide if a whole day for Anegada will happen, but the "Castaway" setting sounds good to me. thanks again.
 
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 02:04 PM
  #34  
Joel
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Tim, the whole thing was $220 for 2 persons, lobster lunch included. You'd have to bring your own fins and mask, but we always borrowed ours from our resort, which is the standard thing, I guess. An advantage of flying is you're there quickly. You can contact them at [email protected].
 
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 11:31 AM
  #35  
Lace n' Leather
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Ann, we were also at Frenchman's a short while ago and enjoyed the stay. Sounds like you saw a few other resorts and that you know something about Biras Creek. How would you rate Biras compared to Frenchman's. We are considering Virgin Gorda for next year and have ruled out Little Dix Bay due to cost. Biras seems more affordable. Here are what we are looking for: a lot of privacy and quiet, nice setting and nice view (knowing that it's impossible to beat Frenchman's view), and the possibility to do some hiking. We do like to get away from the resort some, so can you tell us how hard that would be given Biras' location??? Thanks much.
 
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 11:55 PM
  #36  
Ann
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To Lace n' Leather: We spent a week at Biras in 99 and enjoyed it. I always have trouble making a comparison between Biras and Frenchman's, because I stumble over the word "upscale". Biras has spent a lot more money to create a beautiful setting: lovely cottages, phenomenal landscaping, 100+ acres to roam, the finest dining experience in the Virgin Islands imo. All that said, at Frenchman's you get more square footage in your accomodation, it's a stand-alone, small villa vs. a duplex at Biras, the view is better, and the small size provides a very personable atmosphere. So... I can't say one is "better" than the other, but for us personally, we are more comfortable at Frenchmans and we certainly like Tortola more than Virgin Gorda. Regarding your list of interests, here's my opinion. On privacy and quiet, they are equal. If you don't want to see anyone except at meals, you've got it at both. Even though Biras is much bigger, the ample grounds and the fact that the swimming beach is a good quarter mile from bay where the cottages are assures that everyone gets kind of spread out. Both are away from traffic inasmuch as BC can only be reached by boat and FC is at the end of a private road that goes nowhere else. <BR>Regarding hiking, BC has trails that go all around the grounds including up some steep hills that provide sweeping panorama views of Gorda Sound, but if you mean hiking miles and miles, you'd want to take one of the whalers (free to borrow) about half a mile to Gun Creek, rent a car or hire a driver, and hike in the national park surrounding Gorda Peak where there are trails. Gorda Peak on Virgin Gorda is the equivalent of Sage Mt on Tortola. There'd be no reason to rent a car for the week because you'd always face that boat ride to/from Gun Creek and there's not so much to do that you'd want a car for more than a day anyway. <BR>Last, regarding the view from your cottage: at BC your cottage is right on the beach at Berchers Bay so you're looking SE right into the bay. The bay is very wide and open, very few sailboats on that side of the island since it is facing into the open Caribbean versus the FC view right up the Sir Francis Drake Channel. So I'd call the BC view an unadorned "sea view" from the water's edge. As you know, at FC you're maybe 50 feet up the hillside and you're looking at a whole bunch of islands, lots of sailboats, big view of St. John, etc. <BR>In a nutshell, BC is going to be more chic, more stylish, more services and pampering, more isolated, and has a more unique setting located as it is on an isthmus. FC is going to give you the ambiance of a small homey resort, killer view, very spacious 2 story quarters with every feature of a home, and a car to give instant access. <BR>Hope this helps. It's hard to be completely fair and balanced to two excellent resorts. <BR>
 
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 11:47 AM
  #37  
Lace n' Leather
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Ann, thanks a bunch. Could you tell me a bit more about the Biras Creek cottages? How big are they versus one of the Frenchman's villas? I've seen the sketch of the layout at the Biras website, but haven't much of a sense of size. <BR>Thanks so much!
 
Old Jan 29th, 2001, 07:26 AM
  #38  
Ann
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To Leather n' Lace, <BR>I'd say the total sq. footage of the Biras "Ocean View" and "Garden View" 1BR cottages are a bit more than a third the size of Frenchmans' cottages/villas. The bedroom at Biras is a tiny bit bigger than the one at Frenchman's and it has a small air conditioner just for the BR. Not really necessary, imo. Off the BR is a sort of day room with a tiny refrigerator such as hotel rooms often have. That day room is practically useless. Too small to sit in and the studio bed is high up so even my husband's feet didn't touch the floor. The shower is outdoors but fully enclosed for privacy. Very nice! <BR>Where Frenchman's really has an advantage is in the spacious living room, the full dining room and kitchen, and the shady porch. <BR>If I were going back to Biras I would expect these things based on my experience staying there for a week: a very romantic and charming setting, outstanding dining (quality and setting), super wine list, seclusion bordering on isolation, and good value for your dollar. There is especial value at Biras if you like to put around Gorda Sound; lots of snorkeling sites you can motor to on your own using their whalers.
 
Old Jan 29th, 2001, 10:53 AM
  #39  
wallace
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We're going to Biras for our honeymoon in April 2001. In looking into the resort, I believe they re-decorated the rooms during the closing in the fall of 99. Not sure when Ann went in '99, but possible the day rooms have better furnishings now?? Also, if you are going during non-peak, you can rent a grand suite of for only $600 more for the week. They look huge. We would have booked it, but they were not available for our honeymoon week.
 
Old Feb 2nd, 2001, 02:18 AM
  #40  
Ann
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Wallace, I don't know whether the rooms had just been redone or not. That visit was, as I recall, about Apr/May of 99. It seems that everything was in excellent condition. <BR>In any case, it's a very small point. The room in question is the room you enter/exit from. It would be a living room, but because of its size it's bigger than a vestibule, but smaller than a living room. It seemed to us like wasted space, but in terms of your vacation you certainly mustn't concern yourself about it. I'm probably the only person that has ever cared.
 

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