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Frenchmans 4.0

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

  • Stunning, secluded private beach with a calm swimming lagoon
  • Five-minute drive to West End ferry terminal
  • 10-minute walk to bakery and coffee shop
  • Beautiful stand-alone villas feature full kitchens and large, ocean-view balconies
  • Shaded sundeck and pool situated feet from the sea
  • Romantic, open-air restaurant with lovely water views
  • Free hot or cold breakfast
  • Tennis court and kayaks are available
  • Fast, free Wi-Fi property-wide
  • Free self-parking and bottled water

Cons

  • No points of interest within immediate vicinity
  • Steep, hilly property

Bottom Line

Frenchmans was significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and is currently closed for repairs. The property estimates that repairs will take 9-12 months. We will update our review as soon as we have more information. Frenchmans offers some of Tortola's most well-liked four-pearl accommodations right on a stunning, secluded peninsula overlooking the Caribbean. Although it’s tiny, every feature -- including the soft sand beach with a private lagoon, waterfront pool, and lovely, open-air restaurant -- is exceptional. Each of the nine rooms is a large one- or two-bedroom villa with an extensive list of amenities including a full kitchen, separate living and dining areas, upscale bathrooms, and furnished balconies with stunning ocean views. Although there are few points of interest nearby, the West End Ferry Terminal and a popular marina are less than five minutes away by car. Sugar Mill Hotel is a similarly priced, three-and-a-half-pearl alternative situated on the site of a four-hundred-year-old sugar plantation, though it lacks stand-alone villas.

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Scene

Intimate villa hotel with a refined, tropical vibe

Interiors of this intimate villa hotel have an upscale tropical vibe, such as in Safran, the on-site restaurant and bar that is popular with locals and guests alike

One of the most well-liked hotels on Tortola, Frenchmans gets plenty of things right. Interiors throughout are varied, but have a consistently upscale, tropical twist. Wicker seating, liberal use of teak, subtle pops of brightly colored linens, and white-washed wood furniture all perfectly blend modern aesthetics with tasteful Caribbean flair. By day, the combined pool and beach areas serve as the main social hub of the property. However, with only nine rooms, neither space is ever crowded. At night, the spacious Safran at Frenchmans serves as the primary gathering place -- the restaurant and bar is equally popular with guests and locals. The dining room is typically packed and has a convivial atmosphere. Overall, the relaxed, sophisticated vibe is better suited for couples than vacationing families with young kids, though the spacious villas ensure that families do pass through here on occasion as well.

Location

On a quiet, secluded peninsula with little in the surrounding area

Map of Frenchmans

The tiny island of Frenchmans Cay -- the home of Frenchmans -- is situated off the southwest corner of Tortola. The hotel sits on a secluded peninsula at Frenchmans Cay's east end, and it feels worlds away from anywhere. There’s little within walking distance, though a bakery and coffee shop both lie a 10-minute walk west or so. For more entertainment options, the West End Ferry Terminal and a popular tourist marina with several shops and restaurants are approximately five minutes away by car. Road Town, the nearest city, is reachable in 30 minutes and has plenty more shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions.

Guests arriving by plane will likely touch down at Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) on the far east end of Tortola. The airport is nearly an hour’s drive away, and the hotel does not offer transportation. Several brand-name agencies provide rental cars in the terminal. However, taxi and shuttle service is frequently the cheapest, most convenient mode of long-distance transportation on the island. Both options are easy to arrange at the airport, and travelers should expect to haggle, especially with shuttle bus drivers.

Rooms

Large stand-alone villas with full kitchens and furnished sea-view balconies

The spacious Two Bedroom Villa provides guests with a full kitchen and upscale dining area; beach-themed art and sea-view balconies add local flavor

With plenty of space and style, the stand-alone villas that make up this hotel are ideal for a home-like stay in paradise -- albeit in an exceptionally nice house. The decor in every villa is best described as “modern tropical.” Whitewashed wood furniture, travertine flooring, wicker seating, and a creamy color palette create an aesthetic that’s bright, upscale, and inviting. The addition of beach-themed art -- all of which is tasteful and even rustic, rather than kitschy -- reminds guests here of exactly where they are, while pops of bright color here and there add a touch of pizzazz. 

Villas are available in one- or two-bedroom configurations, however, they otherwise feature an identical, split-level design. The main level holds a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances plus an adjacent dining room and a furnished sea-view balcony with seating for at least four. A separate living room has a flat-screen TV and a DVD player. Down a small set of stairs, the master bedroom provides a comfortable king bed, a large amount of closet space, a vanity, and a private, water-view balcony. Two-bedroom villas have an additional floor with a second bedroom and bathroom that’s identical to the master, but without a balcony. Other amenities typical of a hotel of this category -- air-conditioning, in-room safes, and bottled water -- are also included. Wi-Fi is free and fast throughout the entire property.

Like their respective rooms, every bathroom has a bright and polished look. Pedestal sinks and brushed nickel fixtures look sharp, while creamy marble adorns almost every square inch, creating a sophisticated look and feel. An large walk-in shower stall with a bench and a rainfall showerhead are all standard. Bee Kind premium organic brand bath amenities are also included.

Features

A stunning soft sand beach, a lovely sundeck with a pool, and a popular open-air restaurant

The lovely sundeck and swimming pool looks out over the ocean

While Frenchmans is an intimate hotel, it packs a lot of features into a small package. Its secluded beach and private swimming lagoon are both breathtaking. The sundeck is lovely, with a pool situated just feet from the sea. Safran at Frenchmans -- the only on-site restaurant -- is popular with guests and locals and lively almost every night of the week. It's worth noting that there is no spa or fitness center, though these aren't commonly found in small hotels on Tortola. 

Thanks to the hotel’s location at the tip of a secluded peninsula, the private beach is quiet and intimate, with breathtaking views. The sea water on the south side of Tortola is often choppy, but a man-made breakwater just offshore creates a calm lagoon exclusively for guests of the hotel. A dozen lounge chairs provide ample space to relax, though the lack of umbrellas means that most of the beach is constantly exposed to the sun. Opposite the main beach, a smaller beach area provides additional lounge chairs and palapas overlooking the inlet between Frenchmans Cay and Tortola. A few kayaks are also available for anyone interested in exploring the shoreline. For more land-based ways to stay active, there is a tennis court on-site.

Situated between the restaurant and the beach, the tiny sundeck provides lovely views of the sea. The pool is well-maintained, clean, and small, though adequate given the hotel’s size. Four lounge chairs and a few standard patio dining sets provide seating. While there are no umbrellas, the adjacent trees offer substantial shade. The restaurant and bar are located a few feet away up a short staircase, but don't expect poolside drink service.

The hotel’s restaurant, Safran at Frenchmans, is situated in an expansive, open-air space with lovely water views. The decor blends chunky, carved wooden chairs, an exposed-beam ceiling, wicker furniture, and a warm tropical color palette to create an aesthetic that’s bright, upscale, and modern. At the center, a bar with a beautifully polished wood countertop and a natural stone facade serves a full liquor menu. A small exhibition kitchen at the rear of the restaurant adds a bit of gourmet flare. Guests are provided with a free breakfast daily -- hot or cold -- while a la carte service is available for lunch and dinner. The latter two menus consist primarily of seafood-centric dishes like stuffed Caribbean lobster, paella, and Mahi Mahi. The restaurant is popular with guests and locals, ensuring that it’s busy and lively most nights.

Parking is free, as is Wi-Fi, but the hotel does not provide airport transfers. The front desk can provide concierge services, and the hotel can arrange to have kitchens stocked ahead of arrivals.

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Address

Frenchman's Cay, VG100, Caribbean

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