just back from Little Dix Bay

Oct 31st, 2005, 08:02 AM
  #1  
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just back from Little Dix Bay

Just returned from a week at LDB. Here is a quick update and info for future travelers. First, let me say that we stayed at Caneel bay 5 yrs ago and if I was forced to compare the 2 resorts I would pick Caneel over LDB. It is more refined and quieter and the grounds are nicer. However- they are 2 very different resorts and each one has it's own pluses and minuses. We did enjoy our stay at LDB. We stayed in rm 28- beachfront cottage. Beautiful room in a perfect location as far as nicest beach area and not too far of a walk to the main area for dinner etc. Service was great- everyone was pleasant, friendly and willing to go that extra little bit for our comfort. Now- about the construction... it definitely was noticeable everywhere. They are redoing rooms as well as tthe Sugar Mill restaurant as well as tons of construction on the hillside overlooking the resort. You cannot avoid it- you walk through it to get to breakfast, you can hear it on the beach but that wasn't so bad- the waves coming in usually helped to drown it out. I don't want to sound too negative about it but it is obvious. We knew about it before we went so I wasn't as annoyed as I would have been had i not expected it. Also lots of families with kids- more than I expected this time of year. The beach from around room 5 - rm 20 is kind of rocky(in the water). The best beach is from rm 26 to about rm 30ish. The rooms to the right of the main pavillion(if you are looking from the water) are back quite a bit from the beach- actually behind the pool. Beachfront cottages IMO are definitely the way to go. Much bigger than the rooms at Caneel and you get your own hammock and private patio underneath. I would recommend a beach drop off and definitely order the picnic lunch-- tons of food(we saved half for another lunch) and really nicely done for a picnic. Food in general was very good- menu changed midweek which was nice. We did the meal plan for the first 5 days only because we love big leisurely breakfasts and didn't want to go into town every AM. Speaking of town- very small, minimal shops and kind of cheesey stuff. Went to Chez Bamboo one night- not bad, not great. Did 2 breakfasts at Fischer's Cove- very good, friendly staff and reasonable prices. Rented a car one day and just putted around the island- beautiful views. Saw the Baths- very touristy- didn't excite us. Over all a great trip with great weather, terrific service, fabulous room. I would return to LDB.
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Oct 31st, 2005, 10:36 AM
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Terric: The news about the construction is very distressing. We are scheduled to leave for LDB in 4 days. We were told several months ago that the construction was limited to some villas near the spa, and some "soft renovations" of some of the rooms. They also said all of that would be complete by November 1st. I'm guessing that by now, LDB will not consider a refund of our deposit. So, the best we can hope for is requesting a room as far away from the construction as possible. If we request a room on the far east side of the resort (the opposite end from the spa), would that help us avoid most of the noise, unsightliness, etc.?
Thanks.
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Oct 31st, 2005, 11:02 AM
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brenkj- Yes- request a room above 28 and you will be further from the construction. Like I said though, you will be walking by it almost everyday but it really isn't as horrible as it seems. The rooms(most of them) have been recently redone- i know 28 was and we were happy with the location. If you go way past 28- like into the 40's it is quite a hike to the ,main area but the beach is very nice down that way. It's not miles but doing it a few times a day is annoying. I remember we remarked that 28 was just far enough. You will have a great time- the people are so nice- get William to take you on a beach-drop!
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Oct 31st, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Terric: This is really helpful; I appreciate it. Quick follow-up: We're staying in a "premium" room, and we'd prefer to be sort of far away from people, activities etc. (we really don't mind walking). So, if we were to go with a premium room on the opposite side of the dock from where you stayed (like rooms 49-52 or 57-60) would that be good?

Thanks again.

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Oct 31st, 2005, 12:09 PM
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brenkj- that would be perfect- it seemed very quiet down that way. i'm soo jealous- I want to go back now ! Have a terrific time!
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Nov 2nd, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Hi terric,

Thanks very very much for reporting back abt LD and also for being willing to answer questions by e-mail. I was able to find your trip report by clicking on your name, so hopefully I won't need to bother you in that more personal way. I do have a number of questions though.
I'm quite concerned abt the construction. Like the other responder, I also, was assured that contruction would be over when we were there (early December). I would not want to be at a resort that had that kind of noise in any case (esp such an expensive one), but this time we're going to be in serious need of a vacation-- a peaceful one. We were hit by Wilma, not as bad as many, but our nerves are frazzled and we're working ourselves ragged in clean-up, etc. In short, I will definitely cancel LD and find somehwere else to go if things in Dec will be as you describe them. I just wonder if I can ever get a completely honest answer from those folks. My sense is that the state-side reps don't know a great deal, so perhaps I'd better speak to LD directly.

In the case that we do go ahead with this trip: I'm a little confused abt the beachfront cottages. Are some of them up on stilts (with the hammock, etc underneath) and some not? Did you see the ones that don't have that patio underneath? Are they less desirable in your opinion? I've read somewhere that rooms 120-121 are especially lovely and private. Do you know anything abt them?

Did you never do the "complimentary" continental breakfast? What was afternoon tea like? At Caneel it was so good (and of course in that gorgeous setting) that we would often take some of the goodies back to the room and have them for breakfast with coffee in the room.

Abt the drop-off island: Which did you go to? Was the snorkeling good? In fact, what was it like at LD? (not good by most reports) (and perhaps snorkeling isn't all that impt to you-- it's our "main thing")

Did you happen to see Mahoe Bay on your travels around the island? We're doing 5 days at LD and 5 at a villa on Mahoe, so I'm curious....

I'm wondering whether I perhaps should have used your e-mail after all. I don't want to take up other people's time with very specific, self-interested questions. But perhaps others will appreciate the feed-back. In any case, I suspect I'll have more questions, so let me know, please, whether you'd prefer me to ask here or on e-mail.

So many thanks!!
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Nov 4th, 2005, 01:20 PM
  #7  
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poss- you really do need a great vacation. Sorry to hear about your experience with Wilma, hope all works out. I would call the resort directly and voice your concerns about the construction. It seems that the room redos should definitely be done by Dec- they seemed to move quick in the week we were there. The construction on the Villas on the hillside will be going on for a while, I suspect. All the beachfront cottages are elevated to my knowledge. I didn't spend much time up near rms120-121 but that area is directly under the construction on the hillside. The complimentary continental breakfast IMO was a joke. One pot of coffee and about 12 danish. Now that was at the Beach House- I didn't see what was offered up near the pavillion which I THINK also has a continental breakfast out. Afternoon tea was very nice-- lovely selection of cakes and pastries as well as hot and iced tea. We only did the tea one day since we were usually busy at that time of day. I also can't compare it to Caneel's since we didn't do tea when we were there. We did a beach drop on Mountain Trunk beach which was beautiful- I would recommend it. I thought the snorkeling there was very good but I must admit I am a novice snorkeler. Other people we talked to said they thought it was very good too and they seemed more experienced. The snorkeling at LD is not awful- I enjoyed it but the beach is small so, so is the reef. You may be bored with it fast. There were lots of turtles at LD. We did see Mahoe Bay while driving around the island. It looks beautiful and we actually are thinking about returning there with family and renting a villa. Wow- alot said! I do not think you will in any way have a bad experience at LDB. December is still a far away and construction will definitely be less. That will be the high season too and I'm sure they don't want to inconvenience a full resort. I wouldn't miss the experience if that is the only thing concerning you. You should, however, speak directly to the resort- that will clarify things more. I will check back here to see if you have more questions.
terric
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Nov 5th, 2005, 05:55 AM
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Hi terric-- thanks for your reply. I've e-mailed LD in the hopes (not foolish I trust) that I'll get an honest accurate answer to my questions about construction.

I've got a couple more for you, as you're no doubt not surprised to hear
The "town" that you spoke of in your report: That's not the "main" town on Virgin Gorda, is it? Is this one where you went to breakfast, etc in nice walking distance from LD? Is the "other" town-- the "main"-- one an ok place? (I ask bec we'll be doing the villa thing for the other part of the trip. I'm not at all into shopping, but it'd be nice to have a couple of decent restaurants and a reasonably decent grocery store.)
I remember those dreadful "continental breakfasts" that Caneel put out: Motel 6 would do a better job.
We don't enjoy big breakfasts, so not sure what we'll do.. probably just try to stow away some stuff from tea. Are there good fridges in the rooms? We much prefer our cocktail/hors d'ouevre hour in our rooms.
Rooms: Still not sure which to request. I know that we absolutely want to be as far away from any action as possible, and as private as possible. And I sure hope the place isn't over-run with kids when we're there (Just before high-season kicks in: Dec 9-14). I adore kids-- was an impassioned teacher for 29 years-- but not on vacation, esp this time...) Also, as you've gathered, we're noise freaks. E.g. many folks love the sound of surf at night. Not us (though we do love that sound during the day). So: Can you hear the sea from the rooms? From room 28 for instance? Are there some from which surf wouldn't be heard I wonder? Speaking of rooms: I still think there are some in that "beach cottage" category that aren't on stilts. i.e. I suppose they're like the ones at Scott Beach at Caneel-- which I don't think we'd enjoy because of the fact of people periodically strolling by.
You said you missed afternoon tea at LD because you were usually elsewhere. What sorts of activities did you enjoy there? We're sailors, but if LD is anything like Caneel, it's pretty boring to take out the little sunfish because they don't really let you go very far. What'd you do on that little island, by the way? Unless the snorkeling wre terrific, I can't imagine enjoying it. I.e. I could happily read on a beach for hours-- but not unless there were comfortable chairs.
Well, here I go back to storm clean-up. Ugh. And thanks!!
poss is offline  
Nov 5th, 2005, 02:57 PM
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Hi Poss- This is sort of fun chatting with you like this because i get to relive my whole vacation again and again!
The town I believe is the main one there. It does have quite a selection of restaurants. I did a search of restaurants in Virgin Gorda before we left and got quite a few suggestions. One good one I remember was Giorgio's but that was closed when we were there. I think it may be near your villa. There is anoter area, "town" on the opposite side of the island-Leverick Bay. It's not within walking distance- about a 20 minute ride. We did drive over there one day while tooling around in our rental car but not much to see. There is a grocery store there but there is also a small one that was quite sufficient nearer to LD. I also think most of the restaurants are nearer to LD. It's about a 10 minut walk down one road but bear in mind it will be dark on your walk back. As I said we only ate out one night and had the car. I felt safe everywhere we went on the island. Everyone was very nice.
The fridges in the room are small sized but perfectly serviceable. we used them for a couple of bottles of wine and other snacks we got in town as we too enjoy cocktails on the patio of our room. About ocean noise- we had the A/C on all the time and really heard nothing. We tried sleeping with the windows open one night purposefully so I could hear the ocean but didn't- just the rustle of palm trees. Also- we got a little too warm and turned the A/C back on around 3AM! I too hate people strolling by my room so ask for an upper level room- like the one we had at Hawksnest on Caneel. As far as what we did- - mostly the beach thing. My husband took a scuba lesson one day and did a dive the next day , paddled around in the kayak, snorkeled a bit and basically did nothing. There really isn't anything to do on that island which was fine with me! I know there are day sails to other islands you might enjoy but boats are not my thing so we didn't do that. Also- if you are experienced they will let you take the Hobie Cat(sp?) out into the ocean.
One suggestion I have is that considering you have a villa you should really rent a car- I'm sure you already thought of that. Just a thought.
Hope this helps!
terric
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Nov 7th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Thanks again for your reply, terric!
I'd heard abt Giorgio's and am hoping it'll be open when we're there. When we do villas on vacation, I like eating breakfast and lunch in, but not dinner. I also don't like having to drive to dinner (the drink and drive thing-- we will have a car for the 5 villa days by the way). So I'm not sure what we'll do if Giorgio's isn't open (or isn't good). (That was one of the reasons we enjoyed Gallows Point on St John, by the way-- plenty of decent restaurants to walk to-- and one of the best ones right there) Speaking of restaurants: I'm still trying to decide whether to do a food plan in advance. E.g. if one is on the plan for dinners, is there a surcharge for the big-deal buffet? Did you indulge? (We never did at Caneel-- too expensive and too much food-- but maybe this time?) Do you happen to remember what breakfast cost?
I e-mailed Little Dix abt my construction concerns, but haven't heard back. I'll be annoyed if I don't hear fairly promptly from them. I'm still trying to find out abt the non-"stilt" beachfront rooms. Stateside reps just don't seem awfully knowledgeable; and of course they're in the business of "selling." That's why Fodor's is such a valuable source. (I've not found Frommer's even half as good.)
Thank you!!!
poss is offline  
Nov 7th, 2005, 12:52 PM
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Hello again, terric: I just heard back from LD-- and they assure me that renovations will be complete by December. I'm going to try to believe that. They also explained that "beachfront cottage" is ground level and that "oceanfront cottage"= stilts. I believe they cost the same. Were you not aware of the beachfront cottages when you were there? I wonder if they're the ones in the area towards the spa. I'll need to look into this a bit.
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Nov 7th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Poss here again-- and yes, I know I'm becoming a nuisance. I hope you can bare with me a little while longer. This up-coming trip is what's keeping me from getting good and depressed over the storm clean-up and mess; I'd like to get it as "right" as possible.

If you can remember those ground level rooms (which supposedly are closer to the beach than the ones on stilts?), do you remember whether their patio was same size as yours? From your lanai #28 what did you see? good view of the ocean? any other buildings in sight? Could people generally see you when you were out there? (I assume that they couldn't see into the room, even if they looked up.)
Looking at the water, with back to rooms-- which part of the beach has the best snorkeling? Which part is likely to be less "busy/active"? (I kind of dread the fact that they have water skiing-- loved that Caneel didn't.... Also loved that there were no kids on beaches at Caneel, except that main one.)

Thanks so much, terric-- hpefully I'm winding down..
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Nov 9th, 2005, 11:06 AM
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poss- Don't worry about the water skiing- they take you to another spot about 10 mins away. From our room we could see trees with a peek of blue ocean. Not an unpleasant view at all. We really didn't spend much of the day in our rooms and I much prefer my view of the ocean from the beach so that room view was not crucial to us. The best snorkeling is closer to the main buildings- quietest down toward the furthest end away from the spa. The spots on the beach actually right below the spa looked quiet too but the water I think was rockier. I really liked our area of beach even though it was near the watersports and dock but there really weren't many people there the week we were. I imagine around Dec it gets more crowded. I will tell you that although no one could see into our room I had a birds eye view of every room in front of us- the one-level rooms. I would never get one of those- you might as well sleep on the beach. From what I could tell of those rooms near us the patios are not private at all. We walked by those rooms numerous times on our way to the beach house and whatnot and unless the curtains are drawn you can see right in. The buffet is not extra with the meal plan and it was wonderful! Lobster and shrimp- eat till you can't move! Wonderful vegetarian type things like dips, hummus, roasted veggies, taboleh salads- i love that sort of thing. Tons of carved meats, a pasta bar and of course dessert. Good luck with your room selections and please report on things when you get back- like i said I'd love to do a villa next time.
terric
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Nov 9th, 2005, 11:07 AM
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poss- also the ground level rooms near us had no ocean view at all- just sea grape trees.
terric
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Nov 9th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Thanks, terric! I absolutely do intend to post when we return-- but you have my e-mail address. If for some reason I don't get around to it, and you're interested to know specific details (I guess that's redundant) abt our villa rental on Mahoe, don't hesitate to e-mail me.
I suspect, by the way, that we're going to find 10 days on Virgin Gorda a bit much, but we'll see. (When we used to bareboat in the area, I could have gone on for weeks.) When we go to St John, we stay 4-5 nights at Caneel and 5 at Gallows Point-- and have never felt that was too much time. But Cruz Bay, funky as it is, at least has a number of good restaurants to walk to-- plus there are dozens of wonderful snorkeling spots all around the island, not tomention at Caneel itslef. I'll be pleasantly surprised if VG snorkeling can match it.
The main thing, though, is that we'll be away from the sounds of chain saws, tree-hauling trucks, re-construction crews, etc. What a holy mess! Thanks again for your abundant and generous help.
poss is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 05:16 AM
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dalegeo: I tried to call up your website, but it didn't work. Would you check, please, to see if what you wrote here is correct?

Since you work for Little Dix, perhaps you can tell me whether all the renovations are complete yet. Has every single bathroom on the property been renovated?
The other thing I'm interested in knowing is which of the accommodations-- of the beach/ocean cottages-- would truly be the most private and quiet. We don't like being near a path-- and we DEFINITELY don't like other people walking past our room on the way to the beach or whatever. What are the accommodations like on the left side (facing the water)? Are they on stilts or are they ground level? Are they the most private? What's the beach like at that end?
Where is afternoon tea at Little Dix?
Mainly: Is the construction finished???!
Thanks for your help.
poss is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Poss:

I'm back from Little Dix. We had a great time. Let me know if you have any questions. I plan to post a fairly comprehensive trip report soon.
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Nov 14th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Hi Brenki,

Welcome back and thanks for posting!
I'm happy to hear that you had a great time-- and will for sure be eager to hear details. If you can zero-in on some of the questions I keep asking, that'd be great. Esp. which room to request. We've reserved a "beach cottage," but I still don't know where on the property to ask for. I know that I don't want to hear the sea at night-- and I for sure don't want folks walking back and forth in front of our room. In other words, I hope we can have as much quiet and privacy as possible. (At Caneel we like Cottage Point best of all.)
Did you do any meal plan? I sure wish we could order breakfast and lunch from a menu. We're just not big eaters and, in fact, often split meals. Obviously, one can't do that on a buffet.
Was afternoon tea pleasant? Where was it?

Thanks so much, Brenki.
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Nov 14th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Poss:

I'll do my best. Most of the construction we saw was going on in the range of rooms 15 to 25, and 35 to 40 (that's just a guess). It really didn't bother us much - a slight "eye sore" if you're walking down the service road to the rear of the rooms, but completely invisible from the beach. Also, while we could hear the construction when we walked right by it on the road, we never once heard it on the beach.

There are small paths winding around the rooms, connecting the beach and the service road, but these paths don't cross in front of the rooms. Each room - or grouping of rooms - has its own small path down to the beach. So, with all the rooms we saw, the chance of people walking by seems slight, since they'd have to get off the paths to do so. We never saw much traffic by our room, with the exception of the people in the room next to us.

With regard to the waves, you have nothing to worry about. All the rooms we saw were at least 50 feet from the water's edge. Plus, there's a wall of greenery in between the beach and the rooms. I didn't stop to notice, but I don't think we heard the waves at all at night.

We only had the breakfast buffet one morning and it was great. It was also really reasonable - about $10 per person. We neved had afternoon tea.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Nov 14th, 2005, 12:33 PM
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So curious! I just called Rosewood stateside to ask abt the breakfast buffet price, and they said $25. (Same price as lunch.) When I said I'd heard that breakfast was significantly less than that, the woman said, wait. let me call directly down there and get a definitive answer. I stayed "on hold" and she returend with the same answer: $25 for brekfast buffet. I'm so mystified about this. Would love to learn of a way to have the breakfast be in the $10 range, so that we didn't need to hoard stuff from the previous day's "tea." Did you do other meals right at the resort also? What did you do for breakfast on the mornings you didn't do the buffet?
Thanks!!
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