Honeymoon Destination: Scrub Island, British Virgin Islands
Everyone always counts down to the Big Day—the wedding day, the moment you finally say “I do.” And everyone should, of course. But we know that in your mind, there’s another countdown—one that goes past your vows and reception to the day when you’ll finally be side-by-side with your honey on a secluded beach somewhere, far removed from to-do lists and responsibilities, drink in hand.
Scrub Island, the most recently developed island in the British Virgin Islands—it opened in the summer of 2010—longs to grant you that wish. The island’s only resort, with the same name as the private island it sits on, is tucked into a scene of green and blue, with nothing but crystal turquoise waters and lush surrounding islands as far as you can see. Here, you can design exactly the type of honeymoon you’d like, whether that means activity and adventure or nothing but days of quiet. Here, you can also exhale: The countdown is over. It’s just you two.
BY DAY To ease into your ’moon with lounging, park yourselves on a chaise by one of the two pools or on the beach, where the sole reason to move is to take another sip of your piña colada (or fetch another from the swim-up bar). For alone-time lounging, ask a friendly staffer to zip you in his golf cart over to North Beach, where the One Shoe Beach Bar will keep you fed and hydrated, and each pair of chaise lounges, parked just at the water’s edge, is extremely secluded from the next by a generous amount of foliage. Or let staffers know you’re headed over to tiny, private Honeymoon Beach, just around the rocky bend from the resort’s main stretch, and they’ll pack your kayak with some lunch and champagne.
For activities off-island, Scrub will be happy to arrange any kind of trip or charter, whether it’s to dive, fish, go on a snorkel- tour (nearby Anegada is especially rife with colorful sea life), or sail a catamaran around to neighboring islands. Visit BVI’s largest island, Tortola, for the Dutch history, and catch the North Sound ferry to Virgin Gorda to see the Baths, a gorgeous and super-cool formation of pools, grottos and caves resulting from the natural placement of giant boulders along the shoreline.
However you fill your days, be sure to carve out time to visit Scrub’s Ixora Spa, perched high on the hillside. Each treatment room is set up to accommodate couples and has a full bath, outside shower and ocean-facing balcony. Don’t miss the Eterno massage, conveniently performed with stress-relieving lavender oil to ease away all that planning chaos, or the spa’s infinity pool, where you can perch with some champagne and stare at the Caribbean before heading back down to the rest of your day.
BY NIGHT After dinner, head to the Caravela bar, with its entire wall of windows facing the twinkling lights of neighboring islands, and have another drink or two before heading back to your room. Or grab a bottle of champagne and sneak down to the beach—which is even more romantic at night, under the stars. Check for bonfire nights down at One Shoe Beach Bar, where you can mingle with other guests over the warm fire and tropical drinks. And then there’s the most obvious option: Just stay in. Grab some wine and cheese from Scrub’s gourmet market, order some room service, and you don’t even have to change out of your robes.
WHAT TO EAT Scrub has two restaurants: Caravela, shifting in January 2012 from a Continental fine-dining restaurant to an upscale chop house serving custom cuts of meat and fish, and Tierra! Tierra!, a casual outdoor spot serving easy Caribbean and American cuisine, including conch fritters, local fish, and an amazingly tasty Caribbean guava- jerk chicken. Each takes turns hosting the resort’s weekly events, from an all-tropical- menu on Monday’s Caribbean Night (only native hands contribute to the preparation of this meal) to the Cheeseburger in Paradise Buffet on Fridays (both include live music). The wine-pairing- dinner served on Thursdays in Caravella’s candle room is especially romantic.
If you find yourselves hungry when out and about, the locally caught grouper tacos with longtime waitress Venita Chapman’s famous papaya pepper sauce are not to be missed at the luxe Rosewood Little Dix Bay resort on Virgin Gorda. And a visit to Saba Rock, a teeny (just an acre!) island, resort and restaurant just south of Richard Bronson’s Necker Island (both of which are viewable from high up on Virgin Gorda) where tarpon, stingrays and sea turtles glide by while you dine, will make for a great story.
WHERE TO STAY Since Scrub Island refers to both the resort and the island itself, all you have to decide is whether you want to book one of the 52 ocean-view rooms or suites, or a hillside villa complete with private dipping pool. Ask when booking: Some of the accommodations come with one of the marina’s boats—and a captain-—for your use throughout your stay (scrubisland.com).
WHAT TO PACK Loads of bikinis and sundresses, plus a few nicer outfits for fine dining. Throw in your sneaks for hiking and other land-bound activities, plus your passport and at least $20 cash for the departure tax when leaving.
BEST TIMES TO GO Temperatures don’t tend to drop below 80 degrees even in winter, so it’s beautiful year-round. And while hurricane season (also the quieter season) officially goes from June through November, the BVIs are very rarely hit hard.
NEWLYWED NEWS Scrub’s seven-night honeymoon package includes upgraded accommodations, champagne upon arrival, breakfast and dinner daily, plus one poolside dinner for two, an hour-long couples massage with a private breakfast served in the spa, a snorkeling trip, and, of course, use of all the resort’s lovely amenities.
GETTING THERE You can fly direct from Philly to San Juan on USAir; then it’s a quick 35-minute flight on either American Airlines or Cape Air to Tortola. (Or charter your own flight-for-two through Island Birds, and begin the celebration a little early.) From there, Scrub Island’s private boat will scoop you up, and in less than 10 minutes, you’re there.