British Virgin Islands

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Best known amongst sailors, the British Virgin Islands are a series of exceptionally beautiful islands on either side of Sir Francis Drake Channel. Even the largest of the BVI, Tortola, has only only about twenty thousand inhabitants, and the smallest are just tiny blips with nothing but a beautiful beach and a bar - which is why they're so well loved by sailors. And some of the best places to stay in the British Virgin Islands are the single resort islands.

Of course they're technically British, but they're cut from a similar cloth as the better known U.S. Virgin Islands, though quirkier and less developed.

Tortola's full moon parties are pretty legendary, so it can get busy, and the bougainvillea clad guesthouses and villas in the hills tend to book up far in advance. Tortola's capital, Road Town, is the home to the sailing business - this is where you'll find the marinas and boatyards. There are some relatively basic hotels here, but also some quite decent ones, for this is also the centre for offshore finance.

The next largest island is Virgin Gorda, which has a much more typically Caribbean feel - hotels and resorts beside superb beaches, and isolated coves with just those friendly beach bars, and a very laid-back atmosphere. Popular with the yachting set because of its bars and restaurants, Virgin Gorda's real appeal is its natural beauty.

The Baths, giant granite rock formations which are probably the BVI's best known landmark, are well worth a visit and even if you're not staying here you should ferry over to see them. You can also climb Virgin Gorda Peak.

Then there are the smaller islands. Anegada is certainly amongst the best places to stay in the British Virgin Islands for divers with almost 300 ships sunk off its reefs, but it's also popular with those looking for something a bit different - here you'll find cacti and salt ponds and iguana. Sandy Spit is also popular with divers, and tiny Jost Van Dyke is very popular with those who want to escape the need to do anything at all!

Best Places to Stay in the British Virgin Islands

For a special occasion

  • Peter Island is one of the private island resorts - 5,000 acres worth of paradise just off Tortola. It is easily one of the best places to stay in the British Virgin Islands for sheer barefoot luxury and a very special holiday.
  • Guana Island is another private island resort, with 18 elegant rooms featuring ocean-view verandas, direct beach access and a superb seafood restaurant.
  • Scrub Island is a five star beach resort offering the best of both worlds - both full kitchens and ample living space, but also a choice of four restaurants. Decor is Caribbean but without a hint of twee - think gorgeous dark wood beds, opulent fabrics and enormous private balconies. If you want to try scuba-diving or sailing, this is the place to do it as the hotel has a wide array of courses and trips to try. Of course, you could also just paddle out to one of the private beaches to enjoy a picnic lunch.

For a beach break

  • The Cooper Island Beach Club is a small eco-hotel right on the beach. In addition to the amazing views, this is a great spot for divers and sailors alike. And the locally sourced, Caribbean food is excellent.
  • The 26 room Mango Bay Resort on Virgin Gorda is a collection of elegant villas lining an idyllic beach. The atmosphere is quiet and the decor is colonial.
  • Tortola's Long Bay Beach Club is another beachfront hotel with plenty of charm. Rooms have wood-beamed ceilings, kitchens and large bathrooms, and there are amenities galore, from a cocktail bar on the beach to a gym and tennis courts.

For families

  • Little Dix Bay is a gorgeous, colonial style resort on Virgin Gorda, overlooking a palm-fringed beach. It is a mid-sized resort so they're able to split their kids clubs into age groups, and they offer all sorts of watersports to try.
  • Leverick Bay Resort is a colourful, family-friendly hotel with a marina, tennis courts, a lively restaurant, a spa and mooring facilities. Making it very popular with the sailing crowd. There are just 14 rooms and suites, some with self catering facilities, starting from just £73 per night.
  • Fort Recovery on Tortola is a collection of relaxed, beachfront villas, with colourful, traditional decor and full kitchens. There are excellent facilities to keep you entertained, but this is also a relatively peaceful spot, surrounded by lush gardens.
  • Just minutes from the beach, Sugar Mill is a small resort with plenty of charm. The traditional style rooms have kitchens and private balconies, but there's also a superb, family friendly restaurant and two beachside bars.

Still not sure which to book?

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The best hotels in British Virgin Islands

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  • Leverick Bay Resort

    Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

    Family friendly hotel with marina. Colourful rooms have rattan furniture, large bathrooms and balconies. Outdoor pool, tennis courts, mooring facilities and spa treatments. Superb and lively restaurant serving international cuisine. Laid back, jolly and ideal for sailing fans.

    14 rooms from $119
    Families  -  Suites have large kitchens/living rooms for family dining, plenty of child friendly activities and hotel entertainment
    Sailing  -  Seafarers are always welcome at Leverick Bay Resort & Marina. Hotel offers a full service dock
    Local markets  -  Nautical Gallery in hotel - hand crafted jewelry, art and gifts in the Caribbean
    Diving  -  Dive BVI
    Recommended by  -  Fodors
  • Guavaberry Spring Bay

    Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

    Charming self-catering villas set amid spectacular gardens. Spacious suites have full kitchens, beamed ceilings and large verandahs. Lush gardens with massive rocks & bougainvillea galore, and direct beach access. Peaceful, relaxed and perfect for independent travellers. Excellent value too.

    12 rooms from $160
    Hideaway  -  With kitchens and living rooms to whip up your own meals, a very secluded spot with white sandy beaches on your doorstep
    Sights nearby  -  To the south lie the fabled "Baths", a spectacular phenomenon of tranquil pools and caves formed by gigantic boulders
    Views  -  Some villas have wonderful view across the Caribbean to other small islands
    Great walks  -  Along Spring Bay
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers
  • Mango Bay Resort

    Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

    Six elegant villas on an idyllic beach, divided into smaller units & offering flexible accommodation. Decor is contemporary with Italian furniture and there are large outdoor terraces for lounging or dining. All units have BBQs and outdoor showers. Direct access to an unbeatable beach.

    26 rooms from $195
    Beach Life  -  Secluded bay, large hidden verandahs, full kitchens to take it at your own pace, watersports close by
    Swimming Pool  -  Only with larger private villas
    Sights nearby  -  The Baths
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers
  • Cooper Island Beach Club

    Cooper Island, British Virgin Islands

    Eco-hotel on the beach. Contemporary rooms are in white and taupe with wooden furniture, marble bathrooms and stunning views. Excellent local-grown Caribbean cuisine, breezy beach bar. Laid back, very secluded and friendly and great value.

    9 rooms from $210
    Beach Life  -  Sailing trips from the dock (in front of the restaurant), white sand beach, laid-back atmosphere
    Sailing  -  Cooper Island’s Manchioneel Bay features on many sailing itineraries
    Fishing  -  Deep sea fishing trips can be arranged
    Diving  -  60 dive sites to choose from
    Recommended by  -  Fodors
  • Fort Recovery

    Tortola, British Virgin Islands

    Relaxed beach front villas. The decor is traditional and colourful with tiled floors, beamed ceilings and full kitchens. Outdoor pool, spa, gym and watersport centre. Family-friendly restaurant. Surrounded by lush gardens, it is quiet and a good choice for families.

    30 rooms from $245
    Families  -  Villas have full kitchens, large living and dining rooms. Minutes from watersports for adults and beach for little ones
    Swimming Pool  -  Freshwater outdoor pool
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Fodors
  • Sugar Mill

    Tortola, British Virgin Islands

    Charming resort minutes from the beach. Traditional style rooms have colourful fabrics, kitchens and private balconies. Outdoor pool, lush gardens and spa. Superb restaurant and two beach side bars. A great choice for families and excellent value.

    19 rooms from $265
    Families  -  Rooms have kitchens and plenty of living space for all; child friendly activities and menus
    Local markets  -  One-of-a-kind antiques, silk-screened fabrics, intricate ship models, and watercolours by Tortolan artists
    Diving  -  Hundreds of ship wrecks, caves and coves teeming with tropical fish
    On the beach  -  Small beach with a natural reef which is great for snorkelling
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers
  • Frenchman's Hotel

    Tortola, British Virgin Islands

    Beautiful cottages on the hillside spilling down to the beach. Rooms are in contemporary style with tiled floors, Balinese furniture and full kitchens. Outdoor pool, spa, tennis courts and gardens. Superb French menu and cocktail bar. Chic and quiet.

    9 rooms from $365
    Groups  -  Full kitchens, living spaces, large sun decks and locality to sailing trips around the island
    Sailing  -  Sopers Hole Marina has multiple day sail companies that provide day trips to Peter Island, Cooper Island, Norman Island
    Kayaking  -  Explore the bay and watch the sea turtles, sting rays and fish swim below
    Great walks  -  Frenchmans Trail – Explore some of the twelve acres
  • Peter Island

    Peter Island, British Virgin Islands

    For top class peace and quiet and a perfect beach, this private Island in the Virgin Islands is probably unbeatable. Ocean view rooms, suites and villas are stylishly decorated and have stunning seaviews. Loads of on island activities and sumptuous spa. Perfect barefoot luxury.

    55 rooms from $400
    Beach Life  -  Five secluded beaches
    Spa  -  Includes 10 indoor treatment rooms, two outdoor bohios, couples suites, a beach-side Jacuzzi and a tranquility garden.
    Sailing  -  The island has its own marina and private yacht
  • Long Bay Beach Club

    Tortola, British Virgin Islands

    Charming beach front hotel. Rooms have wooden beamed ceilings, kitchens and large bathrooms. Outdoor pool, spa, gym, tennis courts and direct beach access. Great seafood menu in the friendly restaurant, cocktail bar on the beach. For atmosphere and amenities, good for younger groups.

    40 rooms from $404
    Groups  -  With kitchens or kitchenettes, private BBQs, large living rooms and snorkelling on the doorstep
    Sailing  -  Day trips to Jost Van Dyke, Norman and Peter Islands, the Indians, and the Baths on Virgin Gorda
    Great walks  -  Along Long Bay
    Recommended by  -  Frommers
  • Scrub Island

    Scrub Island, British Virgin Islands

    Five star beach resort. Elegant rooms have mahogany furniture, nautical features, kitchens and stunning views. Outdoor pool, gym, spa. Excellent Caribbean and American cuisine, buzzy bar. Low-key luxury, with extras which make it the ideal romantic destination.

    58 rooms from $435
    Romantic Break  -  Nearby Honeymoon beach is accessible only by kayak for complete privacy; spa and private dive lessons
    Close to nightlife  -  Visit lively bars on Marina Cay or Beef Island (also full moon parties)
    Fishing  -  Closest marina to the North Drop, the hot spot for world-record Blue Marlin
    Great walks  -  Plenty of tracks and roads across Scrub Island for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Fodors
  • Biras Creek

    Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

    Secluded beach hotel. Elegant rooms have mahogany furniture, Caribbean art work and bathrooms with sea views. Outdoor pool, spa, gym, tennis courts, direct beach access and gardens. Excellent seafood cuisine, ocean front bar. Intimate, grown up and friendly.

    31 rooms from $500
    Hideaway  -  Tucked away on a secluded bay accessible only by boat or helicopter with all activities you could desire on the doorstep
    Suites  -  All suite accommodation. Grand suites and Premier suites have private plunge pools
    Great walks  -  Discover the island's diverse flora - from cacti and brightly-colored wildflowers to the thick mangrove forest
    Sailing  -  Two-hour excursions in the North Sound and Deep Bay
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, Kiwi Collection
  • Bitter End Yacht Club

    Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

    Colonial style cottages on the marina. The decor is dark wood, contemporary furnishings and large bathrooms. Outdoor pool, spa, gym and direct beach access. Choice of great international and seafood menu in restaurants. A perfect location for an active holiday.

    85 rooms from $630
    Active Holiday  -  Outstanding range of watersports from this harbour location and specialist sailing courses
    Fishing  -  Catch elusive bonefish & Tarpon in the shallows surrounding Virgin Gorda, and Kingfish, Dolphin, Wahoo and Tuna just offshore
    Kayaking  -  Tandem and single Hobie “Lanai” and “Kona” kayaks are ideal for taking in the scenery surrounding Bitter End
    Sailing  -  Bitter End’s Basic Keelboat Course (additional fees apply) is taught on Rhodes 19s and IC-24s
    Recommended by  -  Fodors
  • Guana Island

    British Virgin Islands

    Spacious private island resort. Elegant rooms have rattan furniture, tiled floors and ocean-view verandahs. Outdoor pool, tennis courts, spa and direct beach access. Superb seafood and island-grown menu, understated bar. Secluded, peaceful and low-key.

    18 rooms from $695
    Hideaway  -  Totally secluded island resort, with excellent spa, white sand beaches and plenty of space to relax
    Great walks  -  Endless trail routes through the island's 850 acres
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Fodors
  • Little Dix Bay

    Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

    Gorgeous resort within the palm trees. The decor is colonial with wooden beamed ceilings, contemporary furniture and blue tiled bathrooms. Outdoor pool, beach access, spa, tennis courts, gym and watersports centre. Great Pan-Asian & seafood menus, ambient bar. Luxury stay in an unbeatable location.

    100 rooms from $840
    Families  -  Extensive and excellent kids club for both younger and teenage children; large family suites
    Romantic Break  -  Palm-lined beach, outstanding spa, romantic beachfront dinner and gorgeous gardens
    Sailing  -  Resort offers hobie cat sail boats to learn the art of sailing
    Fishing  -  Half and full day deep sea fishing excursions can be arranged
    Recommended by  -  Fodors
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