St. John or Virgin Gorda?

Old Nov 10th, 1998, 06:07 AM
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St. John or Virgin Gorda?


We are seeking a resort which has a drop-dead beach but not drop-dead
prices. Important activities are: snorkeling, sailing, decent food and cabana type beachfront units. We are leaning towards Caneel Bay since Little Dix describes the snorkeling and sailing at a nearby yacht club. Can you recommend a cheaper place or a good travel agent?
Has anyone been to the Bitter End or Drake's Anchorage in Virgin Gorda?
Old Nov 10th, 1998, 07:00 AM
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Carol - I was in the same predicament last year. I was referred to travel agent Phil Kaye at 1-800-585-9896. He knows the Virgin Islands like the back of his hand and was able to advise me to just what I was looking for - we ended up staying on Tortola and had a great time. I know that Little Dix & Caneel are the nicest and most expensive on VG and St. John. While this may not be a concern, I do know that Caneel Bay does not have air conditioning (this may have changed). Good luck - you will have a great time where ever you go.
Old Nov 10th, 1998, 07:23 AM
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For a great travel agent try:


VERY knowledgeable and friendly staff!
Old Nov 10th, 1998, 07:28 AM
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We have been to all of the places you have mentioned. Little Dix and Caneel Bay are both in a class of their own. Bitter End is for boating people and it does not have the beach or other items you desire. Drake's Anchorage comes the closest but its rates have gone up to the point where it is expensive and I hear that it has gotten a little run down. It is no longer the great value that it was once. It is not is the same class as Caneel Bay or Little Dix. You are right there is not good snorkeling in front of Little Dix however the swimming is fine. Depending what you are looking for, there is not that much sea life and coral at Caneel Bay either. Long Bay on Tortola has the beach but not the snorkeling. Frenchmans Cay, I like better. Jost Van Dyke has the beach but the snorkeling is limited. The Sandcastle is on the beach. The least expensive place with beach units, good food, excellent beach and good snorkeling 200 yards down the shoreline is Cooper Island Beach Club. This is not a resort in the true sense however. There a lots of great beaches but good snorkeling is hard to find based on my standards. The best snorkeling I know in both Virgins is off of Anagada. Unfortunately the accomodations there are modest at best.
Old Nov 10th, 1998, 04:30 PM
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Thank you; you're well informed.
I have been to the Half Moon Bay
Hotel on Antigua and found that
property to have both good swimming
as well as good snorkeling.
Have you ever been to Peter Island?
What about Turtle Beach Resort in Barbados? Spice Island in Grenada?
I was disappointed in your response to Caneel Bay since I was actually
leaning in that direction in spite of the
ridiculous prices.

Old Nov 12th, 1998, 10:56 AM
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I have been to Caneel Bay 3 times and am looking forward to going again next June for a week. We absolutely love the beaches - how can anyone not love 7 private, powder sugar sand, white beaches that you often have all to yourself! I agree the price is high, but it beats renting a car and having to drive to a beach for the day. We have 3 weeks scheduled in June and are looking for a sailing trip for a week or so. We would need a captain since we don't know how to sail. Someone fun, cheap and knowledgeable who could sail us around the BVI's. I'd appreciate your suggestions.
Old Nov 12th, 1998, 12:51 PM
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To: Carol
In the top 15 Caribbean/Atlantic Resorts the readers of Conde Nast rate Caneel Bay #3, Little Dix #5, and Peter Island #12. I am not certain what all of this means but I am not ready to argue with anybody about the ratings. Yes we have been to Peter Island, but before it was rebuilt from its last serious hurricane damage. Of the three I would choose either Caneel Bay or Little dix. I liked the location, outlook, rooms and food better than Peter Island. Peter Island is as expensive as Caneel Bay. In season rates including beach location, and meals run about $6,200 at both places a week. To that you add about 7 percent tax and 10 percent service. We have not be to Grenada or Barbados. The closest we have been is to Palm Island and Young Island in the Genedines.

It is hard to judge peoples personal tastes. In the BVI area our favorite places are Guana Island and Cooper Island. They are very different in both in accomodations and cost. Guana Island is a private island with in season rates around $650 including meals for two put not service or tax. The rooms are on a top of the hill looking down onto the beach, comfortable but plain, and the meals are set and you are seated with other guests. This is a lovely island, in an informal setting, and you meet intesting people. Details are at At Cooper we just love to watch the boats come and go, snorkel off of the end of the island, and enjoy the easy going atmosphere. Are the costs at Caneel Bay outrageous. Not really if you knew how expensive it is to run and maintain a top class resort in the Caribbean. All of the resorts that offer the same general class of facilities, location, food, and services are prices about the same. I guess Jumby Bay is back in business and it used to run about $1,000 a day all told.

Can most people afford these rates? The answer is no. Since we started going to the Caribbean about 35 years ago rates seem to go up about 10 percent a year but the quality of the places stay about the same. The only diffenence in Little Dix over the last 20 years to our eyes is that it is getting a little worn in spots. We visit when we are on Virgin Gorda. However, it appears that major upgrades have been made in the room decor and furnishings recently. This is definitely the case at Caneel Bay based on photos shown on their web site.

Today we are not interested in the quantities of food and other services provided by major resorts. We like smaller places with fewer people that are closer to nature. We do like however, a ceiling fan, screens, a comfortable bed, hot and cold running water, and healthy food. This does not have to cost $800/day.

If Caneel Bay and Little Dix are in your budget, split your time between the two. Rosewood offers this type of plan. It is hard to decide which place you would like most. Both are excellent choices all told. They also meet most of the criteria that the average person expects from a resort.
Old Nov 12th, 1998, 02:43 PM
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Thanks again for being so helpful!
We were hoping not to have to spend over $2,500. per person per
week, but given my taste, I'm afraid
that we have no choice (especially
since at Caneel Bay, I hear that the
meals are extremely expensive as an
additional cost). Wish we could
afford to go to the Grace Bay Club
on Turks and Caicos; it really looks
fabulous! The lesser expensive places (like villas) would require that
I cook on my vacation, which I'd rather not do. We are going on our
honeymoon (ea. for the second time),
and want this trip to be special.
Thank you for all your help....we will
make a reservation at Caneel and hope that one of their 3 restuarants
can reflect normal prices.


Old Nov 13th, 1998, 11:51 AM
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We stayed at the Bitter End and loved it. It does not have a drop-dead beach but its location makes it great for sailing and snorkeling. You can take a boston whaler out and discover your own favorite beach and snorkeling spot. There is also several snorkel trips that leave from the dock. We took boat trips to the Baths, Horseshoe Reef and Anegada. They also will pack you a picnic lunch for your trip. We are not sailors but there are plenty of boats to take out. We also enjoyed the sunset cruise on their catamaran and the lobster beach barbacue. All this was included in the admiral package. We also stayed at Peter Island. They did a beautiful job renovating the property and the beaches are drop-dead gorgeous. Sandy Lane on Barbados is another great resort but it is closed for renovations.
Old Jan 8th, 1999, 11:35 AM
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Which BVI should I visit for a one day trip from St. Thomas-?
Old Feb 5th, 1999, 04:21 PM
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Carol, given your priorities, if Caneel Bay is more than you'd rather pay, I would suggest you look at Biras Creek on Virgin Gorda. It's the next price category down from Little Dix or Caneel.
Let me be clear, that although I've been to the BVI quite a few times, I have not yet stayed at Biras, but I have plunked down my money for a stay this year and I've done no small amount of research on the place.
Do this: go to for her write-up on Biras and go to the Biras site itself (actually links to scubamom). You will find some good photos, floor plans, etc. And the price is definitely lower. I like the fact that they send a boat to pick you up at the airport and that meals are included and are haute cuisine from what I've heard. The beaches look great
Old Feb 25th, 1999, 02:48 AM
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Ah! Such choices! Personally I prefer Little Dix to Caneel ... smaller, more intimate but it recently took a hit from Harpers on the food! They have a/ce'd the Premium and Delux rooms leaving only 2x3 opening at the top of windows (boo hiss!) and are in the process of a/c'ing Caneel ... Peter Island was wonderful ... got blown out of there this year ... so info is one-year old but beaches are great ... especially White Bay! Definately check out Biras ... beach is three quarters of a mile from the rooms ... they provide the bikes! ... Bitter End ... very commercial, Americanized ... too much hassle and bussle there for me! ... food just so so and beach not great! Caneel has easy access to St. Thomas ... a fifteen minute ferry ride ... if you are looking for shopping, activity, etc. Hefty surcharges and taxes in the BVI!!! Drake's had wonderful food ... but not sure of current status.
Old Feb 28th, 1999, 07:57 PM
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I stayed at Caneel last August. Its wonderful, but the lack of air coniditioning was a problem. I'm not sure when you are planning your trip, but don't underestimate that factor.

We were also trying to do Caneel on the cheap, such as its possible. One warning: the restruants ARE expensive, and don't think you will have three to choose from. One is always open for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner. During the hig season, I understand that you can choose where to go for dinner. But we had no choice, so we would get stuck with whichever restraunt was on that night. We chose one of their package deals, which included our dinner and breakfast, but no alcohol. We were pleased with its value, and especially loved the Beach Barbecue cruise. DEFINITELY go on thsi cruise if you go to Caneel! You are taken in their boat to a beautiful snorkeling area, where we saw sea turtles, and then to a completely private beach where an amazing tent was set up for our lunch, including wine and beer. We totally felt we were living the lives of millionaries on this cruise, and it was one of the greatest times of our lives. I'd also recommend getting a room on Hawkwsnest Bay if you can afford it.
Old Mar 8th, 1999, 05:47 PM
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Old Mar 8th, 1999, 06:02 PM
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We are planning a vacation either to Caneel Bay, St John or Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda in June 99. We want to have the best view possible. We heard that in Caneel Bay an oceanview at cottage point would be the most desireable room - Near Paradise Beach - because their on the 1st floor. Has anyone stayed in this room? How many fans are in the Rooms? Can the idea of not having an A/C ruine the trip. How bad is it? Can these ceiling fans do the jobs. It is best to have a room on the 2nd floor.

If you had to make a decision which one would be your number one choice and why?

I understand that after June 14 the air fare goes up. Can anyone describes howt he oceanviews room are in both Little Dix Bay and Caneel Bay? I've seen a couple of pictures on the rooms for Caneel Bay but, which ones are the oceanviews ones. As for Little Dix Bay I've only seen just one.

Any information provided would be greatly appreciated.


Old Mar 13th, 1999, 02:40 PM
Pat VandenHeuvel
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I would agree with the reply that Little Dix has it over Caneel - smaller more intimate, lovelier grounds, slightly better food. If you want a smaller hotel with gourmet food and water activities in the British Virgins, try the Sugar Mill on Tortola. Formerly with Gourmet magazine, they even have a respectable cookbook out. Been to both Caneel and Little Dix -spent half the week at each. The beach barbecue excursion is great.
Old Mar 24th, 1999, 04:17 PM
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I would like to personnaly recommend
Little Dix over any of the others. Have
been to Virgin Gorda five times and can
not wait to go back again. Absolutly
the best snorkling anywhere to me. Lix
Dix will take you by Boston Whaler to
several different beaches of your choice
and even provide a picnic lunch and this
can all be included in your package.
The duplex cottages on the beach are my
choice, love to sit and watch and here
the ocean right out the back door. Flora
is magnificient and the staff the best
I have seen at any resort. We love them
all. Food is great and car rental , boat
rental ferry to tortola and no commericalism. It would be worth taking
a look at they have a web site at, I think. Have fun!

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