On-site deli sells snacks, beer, wine, and a few pantry essentials
Free boat transfers to and from Beef Island
Huge, hilly resort that’s nearly impossible to get around on foot
Some rooms are far from amenities
Some may find the private island location isolating
This hotel has partially reopened following the damage of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina is the perfect spot for BVI travelers who want it all at their fingertips — and who don’t mind shelling out the cash to have it that way. The stunning 61-room luxury property is located on its own private island, but offers nearly every amenity available. Guests have access to a 55-slip deep water marina, three beautiful pools, two gorgeous beaches, a clifftop spa and marina-view workout facility, and three restaurants and bars. To top it all off, rooms are huge and tastefully decorated with dark woods and island-inspired accents. Many have full kitchens, separate living and dining rooms, and laundry facilities. The only downside to Scrub is its massive sprawl and hilly terrain, which can make getting around pretty difficult. Travelers looking for a more compact resort with similar offerings might prefer Cooper Island Beach Club, which has cheaper nightly rates but not nearly as many amenities.
A luxury private island resort that attracts yachters and an upscale clientele
Arriving by boat to Scrub Island sets the tone for what’s in store. Guests are greeted dockside by staff members with tropical drinks. From this vantage point, guests can see almost all Scrub Island has to offer — a crescent beach with bright turquoise waters, multi-level pools, and yacht-heavy marina, and restaurants with a view. The lobby has a formal, almost British Colonial feel, with mahogany moldings and coffered ceilings, thick floral drapery, and model ship replicas. But its formalness is softened by woven seagrass accenting the furniture, and modern light fixtures. Outside, the scene is mostly quiet. Guests watch boats sail across the channel, lounge by the two-tiered pool, and take in the sights of the marina. Guests run the gamut from families with young children, to middle-aged couples, to groups of party-hearty twentysomethings. Although the British Virgin Islands is not exactly known for LGBT acceptance or recognition of same-sex couples, Scrub Island is an exception. During our visit there were quite a few rainbow flags flying in the marina.
On a private island, about a 10-minute ferry ride from Tortola
Scrub Island is a private island one-and-a-half miles off the coast of Tortola. Travelers arriving by plane will be greeted at Beef Island Airport (EIS) by Scrub Island representatives, and escorted to the Trellis Bay Ferry Dock. A free ferry service runs between Trellis Bay and Scrub Island every hour.
Unfortunately for American travelers, there are no direct flights to Tortola from any U.S. cities. Travelers must first fly to San Juan Puerto Rico (SJU) or St. Thomas (STT) and then take a connecting flight to EIS. The flight from SJU is about 40 minutes, while the flight from STT is about 15. Alternatively, travelers can also take a ferry from St. Thomas to Tortola, but Tortola’s West End Ferry Terminal is an additional 35-minute drive from Trellis Bay.
Large and beautifully decorated with traditional island decor
There are multiple room types at Scrub Island, ranging from one-room studios to large villas with multiple bedrooms and full kitchens. Guest Rooms, the hotel’s entry-level category, have a British Colonial feel, with traditional dark wood furniture, thick patterned drapery, and plantation-style shutters. Tall coffered ceilings with a rattan inlay make rooms feel spacious, but also add an airiness that contrasts nicely with the dark furniture. Beds are outfitted with 300-count Egyptian cotton sheets and down duvets, and topped with an assortment of coral-colored pillows and bed runners. Other in-room amenities include flat-screen TVs, single-cup coffeemakers, iPod docks, and mini-fridges. A shuttered window separates the bedroom from the bathroom — a top-to-bottom marble affair with a deep soaking tub, separate shower, double sinks, and Elemis toiletries. All guest rooms have outdoor balconies with ocean views.
Guests looking for a bit more space can upgrade to the hotel’s multi-bedroom suites and villas. The hotel has One-Bedroom Suites, as well as two-, three-, and four-bedroom Luxury Villas. All have the same island-inspired decor as the guest rooms, but add large kitchens and separate living and dining spaces. Kitchens have dark mahogany cabinetry, stainless steel Wolf appliances, and speckled granite countertops. Suites and Luxury Villas are also equipped with washer/dryer units. Like the guest rooms, all suites and villas have outdoor balconies with ocean views, but some of the larger units also have private decks with plunge pools. The only downside to these larger units is that many are located far away from the hotel’s restaurants, pools, and amenities. The hotel offers free golf cart transfers across the property, but some guests may find this inconvenient.
Scrub Island has two beaches — the popular Pavilion Beach that overlooks the marina and the secluded North Beach that’s typically quiet. The crescent-shaped Pavilion Beach has powdery sand and calm water. It’s within a few feet of the marina and the two-tiered pool complex, and is one of the first things guests see when they arrive at the resort. There are kayaks and paddleboards here, and even a large water trampoline a few feet from shore. The quieter North Beach is hard to reach, but definitely worth the trek. Guests will have to hitch a ride from one of the hotel’s golf carts, and hold on for dear life as the vehicle makes some perilous turns down the steep winding path that leads to the sand. The North Beach is ruggedly beautiful, and has calm clear waters thanks to an outer wave break. There are a few lounge chairs scattered across the shoreline, and a small bar and beach restaurant where guests can grab snacks and drinks. In addition to the hotel’s two beaches, there’s also a private beach only accessible by kayak. This romantic spot is popular with couples, but unfortunately we couldn’t make it over there to take pictures. Imagine us with camera equipment in a kayak?! We’re good, but not that good…yet.
A 55-slip marina, impressive pool complex with waterslide and swim-up bar, and a spa with stunning views
For a small, private island, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina has a lot of features. For starters, the resort’s marina has 55 deep-water slips, including five designed specifically for mega-yachts. The marina is open for long- or short-term docking, which attracts all kinds of boaters making their way through the BVIs. Many yacht owners choose to dock at the hotel and use its facilities, while others rent rooms and use the hotel as a departure point.
Scrub Island has three beautiful oceanfront pools. The hotel’s two main pools overlook the marina side of the resort and offer sweeping vistas of neighboring islands. This two-tiered pool complex — complete with a waterslide, waterfall, and a swim-up bar — is where many guests spend their days. The lower pool has a wide zero-entry ledge, and tends to be quieter than its upstairs neighbor. The upper pool has a gorgeous infinity edge and a separate hot tub, but tends to be more crowded with kids. There is also a small, less exciting rectangular pool on the island’s North Beach. It is rarely crowded but doesn’t feel as luxurious as the others.
Ixora Spa, Scrub Island’s wellness and beauty center, is perched high above the ocean and offers stunning views from nearly every room. Guests will need to hitch a ride from a golf cart in order to reach it, otherwise the walk uphill is quite steep. The spa was once a private home on Scrub Island, and still feels a bit disjointed. While beautiful, the spa doesn’t seem to fit the caliber of luxury that Scrub Island is known for. Much of it is still decorated with the home owner’s original collection of African decorative pieces, which would look incredibly cool in a house, but don't quite scream “luxury spa.” Still, Ixora offers all of the typical spa treatments one might expect — facials, couples massages, outdoor water treatments — and is undoubtedly one of the best in the British Virgin Islands. The resort’s fitness center isn’t located in the same building as the spa, but is instead across from the marina. It’s large, and filled with modern Life Fitness equipment and a few flat-screen TVs.
Wi-Fi is free for all guests, and works well throughout the property.
A casual beachfront restaurant, poolside restaurant, and a fine-dining restaurant
Scrub Island has three on-site dining options, ranging from quick and casual to elegant. North Beach’s One Shoe Beach Bar & Grill is a shorefront bar great for tropical drinks and quick sandwiches and burgers. Tierra! Tierra! is the hotel’s poolside restaurant, which boasts stunning views of the two-tiered pool and the Pavilion Beach. Tierra! Tierra!’s daytime offerings include island favorites like conch fritters and curried chicken roti, while the dinnertime menu consists of entrees like baby back ribs, Caribbean rice and peas, and fresh fish. Caravella, Scrub Island’s signature upscale restaurant, serves breakfast and dinner. The dinner menu features steaks, fresh seafood, and a few pasta dishes. There's also a mini-market and deli where guests can pick up (overpriced) snacks, drinks, beer, and wine.
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