Guana Island Resort lies on one of the few remaining private islands in the British Virgin Islands. Once home to a Quaker colony who ran a sugar plantation on the island in the 18th century, it’s now owned by the Jarecki family who bought the island with the intention of creating a luxury resort, whilst preserving the island’s untouched beauty. There’s a small museum in the resort documenting the island’s history.
Set on a hilltop overlooking both the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean, the resort has a typically Caribbean, laid-back ambience. There’s plenty of possibilities for exploration and activity but equally it’s also the ideal spot to relax and do nothing.
The feel of Guana Island is more one of a beautiful family holiday home than a resort, with many guests dining communally and a very sociable atmosphere especially at the evening canapés. The private cottages and villas are dotted along a hillside looking toward the ocean and are decorated with a rustic, yet stylish finish.
A protected wildlife sanctuary, four giant tortoises live on the island as well as flamingos, iguanas and lizards. Many species once indigenous to the island have now been re-introduced and a research team stays in the resort once a year to conduct extensive research on the island’s unique and flourishing ecosystem.
This is an understated, yet luxurious private resort, providing a secluded refuge in which to relax and a stunning beautiful, natural setting. There’s more than ample space for more active couples to roam, whilst the airy rooms and terraces are designed for simply relaxing.
Please note that the hill from the beach up to the resort is steep although the hotel does provide a buggy transfer. However, the paths to many of the cottages involve steps and uneven paths so it may not be suitable for those who are less mobile.
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Photos of Guana Island
The whitewashed rooms are nestled into a private garden of vibrant bougainvillea with views of the aquamarine ocean below. Each room is built in local stone with a private entrance and outdoor terrace with loungers. Stylishly decorated with locally influenced textiles and rustic furniture. The hotel has Wi-Fi throughout but no phone or TV.
Guana Island is a 10 minute speedboat ride north from Tortola. A secluded private island, the resort is centred in the northwest of the island on a hillside overlooking Muskmelon Bay to the west and a salt pond to the east — some points of the resort offer views of both the Caribbean Sea on one side of the island and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.
The rest of the 850 acre island is a protected wildlife sanctuary, blanketed in a lush covering of rainforest. Sugarloaf Mountain, the island’s highest peak, rises from the centre of the island and the ragged coastline shelters seven pristine beaches and numerous hidden coves. White Bay beach, the largest, is a half mile stretch of white sand.
Food and drink
The restaurant, built into an 18th century ruin, is set on a hilltop overlooking the surrounding rainforest and ocean. The delicious food is a fusion of local Caribbean flavours and international influences, cooked with fresh local ingredients.
Breakfast and lunch are buffet, whilst dinner is 3 courses à la carte. Wine is included during lunch and dinner. Snacks are served at the main restaurant or White Bay beach bar through the day.
In keeping with the feeling of staying in a friend’s private holiday home rather than a resort, many of the guests choose to dine on small, communal tables for lunch and dinner although you can elect to sit at a private table and there are a few particularly intimate tables with great views over the ocean. Lunch and dinner are served at set times so all guests eat together and between meals guests are free to help themselves to drinks at the honesty bar on White Bay beach on the main house. Canapés are served in the main house before dinner and this is a very social time as guests gather together.
Arrange for a picnic lunch and you will be dropped off on a secluded beach with a freshly made lunch and plenty of chilled wine.
Although mostly favoured by couples, Guana Island does welcome families at certain times of the year — outside of this time, children are welcome, but numbers are kept to a minimum. There is a designated family beach area with showers and babysitters are available.
The hotel staff are on hand to arrange boat charters, the easiest way to explore the surrounding area and visit nearby islands. Enjoy evening drinks on a sunset cruise, or spend the day snorkelling, diving or fishing.
There is no dive centre at Guana Island Resort, however, the hotel is happy to arrange dive trips for you with local dive operators to the nearby spots.
With three distinct reef areas, there are some excellent dive spots around the island. North Bay on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island hosts some flourishing deep reefs and shipwrecks.
An in-house therapist provides treatments in a specially built cabana overlooking White Bay Beach where you can hear the waves lapping the shore. Alternatively, you can enjoy a treatment on your private terrace or in the organic orchard.