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Agape Cottages 2.5

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

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This hotel is currently closed for renovations.
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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Hilltop property with stunning views of Cane Garden Bay 
  • Warm, welcoming American owners who treat guests like family 
  • Apartment-style units with full kitchens and one or two bedrooms 
  • Homey, island decor throughout, including paintings by the property’s original owner  
  • Lots of bars and restaurants within walking distance 
  • Free Wi-Fi 

Cons

  • Steep driveway separates the property from the main road and the beach 
  • No pool 
  • Not all apartments have TVs 
  • Wi-Fi is spotty 

Bottom Line

This property sustained significant damage during Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September 2017 and is currently closed for repairs until November 2018. We will update our review as soon as we have more information. With large apartment-style units and warm, hospitable owners, Agape Cottages feels like across between an independent villa rental and a value-oriented bed-and-breakfast. This hilltop property is quiet and family-friendly, and offers stunning views of Cane Garden Bay. Each of Agape’s seven apartment units has a full kitchen, living area, and either one or two bedrooms — making them ideal for travelers looking for self-sufficiency. But thoughtful touches like hand-drawn maps of the neighborhood, a box of local recipes, and a few essential provisions supplied by owners Donna and Tom help set Agape apart from a typical vacation rental. There is no pool or on-site dining establishment, but Tortola’s famed Cane Garden Bay and a handful of local restaurants are within walking distance. The only major drawback here is the huge, steep hill that separates the property from the main road and the beach below. Anyone looking for a similar, less hilly, property should check out Icis Villas in Brewers Bay — which has a pool, but doesn’t have much to do within walking distance.   

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Scene

A quiet, hilltop property with stunning ocean views 

Set high on a hill above Tortola’s famed Cane Garden Bay, Agape Cottages makes a stunning first impression — if you can find it. The property’s hilltop location means it’s difficult to spot from the road, and a lack of (visible) signage makes it tricky for newcomers to locate. From the main road, a long, steep, winding driveway zigzags through the property — a hill that only some cars can handle. The “office” (aka Tom and Donna’s kitchen) is located at the top of the hill, so be wary of cab drivers who insist on dropping you off at the bottom of the driveway. Once at the top, however, the property offers stunning views of Cane Garden Bay, and Jost Van Dyke in the distance. 

Tom and Donna, the hotel’s owners, welcome guests like family into their home. The property and the original “A Building” were previously owned by Donna’s parents, who used it as their private home. Signs of Donna’s parents can still be seen all over Agape — dad’s paintings and mom’s hand written recipes can be found in every apartment, which gives the property a homey feel. Donna’s parents are also the ones who named the property Agape, a term derived from Greek that means “the highest form of love.” 

Location

In touristy Cane Garden Bay, within walking distance of the beach, bars, and restaurants 

Agape Cottages is a hilltop property located above Tortola’s famed Cane Garden Bay. The beach and and surrounding neighborhood are wildly popular with tourists, especially on days when cruise ships dock in Road Town. Cane Garden Bay is a large, wide beach with shallow, relatively calm waters. The beach is dotted with tons of bars and restaurants, which can make things a bit rowdy. Cane Garden Bay has a reputation for fun. It’s a place where people come to listen to music and enjoy the sun, and the party continues into the wee hours. Travelers looking for a quieter, less crowded beach should check out Long Bay or Brewers Bay instead.  

Agape Cottages is within walking distance (as long as you can tolerate the massive hill) of the beach and all its restaurants. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Road Town (Tortola’s capital), and about a 35-minute drive from Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport. Visitors can rent a car or rely on taxis to get around. Tortola doesn’t have the Caribbean’s best infrastructure, and road conditions can be iffy at times. Taxis are reliable and fairly reasonable, and local drivers are often better at handling the island’s insanely hilly, winding roads.  

Rooms

Homey, with tropical decor and personal touches 

Rooms at Agape Cottages are split amongst four buildings — A, J, P, and D. The A building is located closest to the main road at the bottom of the driveway. The J building is further up the hill, and the P and D buildings are located at the very top. Agape currently has six one- and two-bedroom units available, but Tom and Donna may transform their own home into a three-bedroom unit in the future. Each apartment is individually decorated, and features vary a bit between units, but all have tropical, homey decor. Wicker furniture, brightly colored tile, and hand-painted canvas artwork can be found in almost every unit. Some may consider the decor dated, while others may find it simple and charming. Not all units have TVs, and the Wi-Fi can be difficult to connect to, so for most people, in-room entertainment consists of books and board games. Kitchens are equipped with full-size ovens, stoves, and refrigerators, and are stocked with plenty of pots, pans, and flatware. Donna usually supplies a few basics, such as eggs, bread, milk, and coffee free of charge. It should be noted that only the bedrooms have air conditioners. But, if bedroom doors are left open, the air conditioners have the power to cool entire units.   

What makes the rooms at Agape Cottages special are the thoughtful touches found throughout. Donna provides visitors with hand-drawn (and incredibly detailed) maps of the neighborhood and surrounding areas near the hotel. She also selects a few of her mother’s handwritten recipes to leave in each kitchen, and welcomes guests with a bottle of rum or wine. Bathrooms are stocked with towels, and bedrooms have extra pillows and sheet sets. Rooms may not have the most modern, or updated decor, but something about them feels like home.           

Features

Free, spotty Wi-Fi 

There aren’t many features at Agape Cottages, save for the free Wi-Fi that can be terribly spotty. There’s no pool or on-site restaurant, but the beach and tons of local eateries are within walking distance.   

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Address

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean

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