Private. Pampered. Perfect.
by Sandy Gilson
If you describe a luxury retreat as white sand beaches, surrounded by some of the best snorkeling and diving in North America, with an uncompromising level of genuinely caring personal attention, then the very private Peter Island Resort and Spa in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is definitely your cup of tea.
Originally built as a private playground, much the same as Richard Branson’s nearby Necker Island, Peter Island is totally self-sufficient, from its million gallon desalination plant, to its mountain topped wind powered turbine, that captures Sir Francis Drake channel breezes to supply almost half of its power needs.
Just how personal, intimate and natural can Peter Island be? Consider this, at any given time there are rarely more than 150 guests on 1,800 lush acres. Yet there is a staff of 185 empowered, caring people from Indonesia, India, Anguilla, St. John, Guyana, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Tortola, Jamaica and Canada, who unlike formulaic chains, are encouraged to be themselves, unafraid to express their opinion as to how guests can better enjoy their experience.
Peter Island encompasses only 52 beachfront and ocean view suites, and three luxuriously furnished private villas: Crow’s Nest, Hawk’s Nest and Falcon’s Nest (the latter named as one of Robb Report’s Top 10 luxury villas in the Caribbean). Yet the resort offers five pristine beaches lined with coconut palms and sea grape trees, on-premise dive facilities, three private yachts for cruising among the BVI’s 60 islands, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking, a water view gym, four tennis courts, and yoga, all with expert professional instruction.
The resort’s two restaurants, Tradewinds and Dead Man’s Cove Bar & Grill, feature natural, fresh, local BVI produce, local poultry and seafood (Chef Lisa Sellers participates in local fish auctions via Skype), and reflect both the flavors of the Caribbean and defining European influences. Additional culinary excitement is provided by guest chefs, such as Jose Garces of Iron Chef fame, who cook for and with guests on a rotating basis.
But the crown jewel for relaxation has got to be the incredible 10,000 square foot Spa, a facility one would expect of a resort property 20 times the size of Peter Island. Offering 10 treatment rooms, ocean front retreat suites, couple’s suites, a full beauty salon and a menu of dozens of body massages, indigenous body scrubs and wraps using frangipani, coconut, tropical lime and ginger, honey and sesame and Caribbean coffee. We tried the 135 minute Ayurveda rejuvenation treatment that begins with an herbal wrap, followed by a medicated warm oil massage with hot herbal poultice bundles, and finished with a hot oil drip. It literally leaves one unable to speak.
Now the private part. For some it’s a candlelit dinner on the beach under the stars. For others it’s the ability to shut down airspace over the resort. It’s this level of exclusivity that has drawn those in the limelight to Peter Island for years, although you won’t even get a hint of who regularly visits from any of the staff. As Andres Samoaya, the 24/7 manager of private villas informed us, this private getaway is “paparazzi proof.”
The peace and tranquility of Peter Island is truly unforgettable. General Manager Wilbert Mason explains, “This is the ultimate place to reconstitute one’s soul, to relax and connect to one’s inner being.” He carefully adds that even demanding New Yorkers calm down after 48 hours and always leave ready to book their next stay.