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Sebastian's on the Beach 2.5

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

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Review Summary

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  • Beachfront hotel in Apple Bay's laid-back surfer enclave
  • Two-minute walk to locally famous Bomba's Shack restaurant
  • Views of Belmont Point from the hotel's narrow beach
  • Five-minute drive to the West End Ferry Terminal
  • Rooms feature mini-fridges, microwaves, and air-conditioning
  • Casual beachfront restaurant and bar for a la carte meals
  • Affordable, well-stocked market sells sundries and essentials
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout


  • Dated room decor and public interiors
  • No pool
  • Beach disappears at high tide

Bottom Line

Situated on Tortola’s northwest shore, among funky hotels and surf shacks, Sebastian’s on the Beach offers two-and-a-half-pearl, waterfront accommodations in a pleasant, but dated, package. There aren't too many amenities here: a casual a la carte restaurant and bar, a mini-market, and a small beach with lovely views of Belmont Point are the hotel's greatest assets. The 26 rooms are bright, but outdated, with free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, microwaves, and air-conditioning. Upgraded rooms feature wet bars and sea-view balconies. Unfortunately, the lack of a pool, relatively few nearby attractions, and limited usable beach space at high tide might leave some guests wanting more.

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Cheerful and simple -- but dated -- with an unpretentious beach vibe

Almost right away, the hotel feels miles away from the packaged big-budget hotels elsewhere on Tortola, with it's cheerful colonial-inspired exterior. In a part of the island frequented by laid-back surfers, this simple hotel fits right in with its no-nonsense, unpretentious vibe. That being said, from a style perspective, things are stuck in the '80s and '90s. It all has a homey, budget-hotel-on-the-beach vibe, with lots of palm trees, bright green and white paint, and plastic furniture almost everywhere. From the tiny lobby to the simple restaurant to the dated rooms, everything feels custom-made for beach bum travelers who expect few frills. At the center of the property, the open-air Seaside Grille blends seamlessly into the beach just a few steps away. The result is a single, lively social space where guests gather day and night. Visitors are most likely to find couples and single adults seeking a straightforward budget-friendly vacation with plenty of cheap booze and food they recognize.


On lovely Apple Bay amid budget surfer hotels and bars

The hotel is situated on Route 1, Tortola’s main ring road that runs roughly parallel to its entire coastline. Aside from a few casual restaurants -- including the island’s famous Bomba’s Shack -- there are no points of interest within walking distance. However, this is one of the most popular areas for surfers on Tortola, and everything in the area has a laid-back, bohemian quality. The West End Ferry Terminal (with service to the U.S. Virgin Islands) is roughly five minutes away by car. Hiking and other active pursuits are available at Sage Mountain National Park, which is reachable via a 20-minute drive. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Road Town.

Beef Island International Airport is located on the opposite end of the island, a 45-minute drive away. The property does not provide free transportation. However, shuttle service is affordable and easy to arrange in the terminal. Airport rental car service is also available with rates comparable to other Caribbean island destinations.


Dated rooms with budget furnishings, but a decent list of amenities

As will be expected from the dated common areas, rooms here have an old-school look to them. Pale yellow or lime green walls and bold textiles keep things bright, but everything from whitewashed rattan furniture to tropical-print bedspreads to faded prints on the wall have a decidedly budget feel to them. Dark drapes hang over the windows, and tile or wood-laminate floors are lain with homey area rugs in many rooms. In some cases, shower curtains appear to replace closet doors, adding to the downmarket effect.

Entry-level Tropical Garden rooms are situated behind the lobby, across the street from the restaurant and beach. The one-room floor plans are smaller than a typical budget hotel with either a single king or two double beds. All overlook a small, lush garden courtyard with a handful of plastic patio sets. Across the street, adjacent to the restaurant, are the Beachfront and Beachrear rooms. Both feature almost identical, one-room floor plans with either one or two beds. Private, water-view balconies with lovely views of Apple Bay are standard in all Beachfront rooms. The villas offer substantially more floor space with larger, furnished, ocean-view balconies. Some have additional amenities like whirlpool bathtubs, toaster ovens, and wet bars.

Every room includes a decent list of amenities. Flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, coffeemakersmicrowaves, and mini-fridges are all standard. Wi-Fi is free property-wide, though the area is prone to blackouts that can cause unexpected Internet outages. Beds in all rooms received mixed reviews with many guests complaining of old, sagging mattresses.

Bathrooms in the Tropical Garden, Beachfront, and Beachrear rooms are modest. Upgraded Villas boast larger bathroom floor plans, some with whirlpool bathtubs. Like the corresponding room decor, all bathrooms are done with '90s-era accents. Small, walk-in shower stalls and generic bath amenities are standard in every category. We did spot a bit of dirty grout in some of the showers that we saw during our visit.


Simple waterfront restaurant and bar, and a decent beach that disappears at high tide

Sebastian’s attracts budget travelers seeking few-frills accommodations with only the most essential amenities in a beachfront property. Seaside Grille serves a la carte breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in a casual atmosphere. Guests can dine indoors, on a large casual patio, or on a small beachfront terrace. The lunch menu consists primarily of sandwiches, burgers, and a few salad options. Dinner is slightly more upmarket with local, seafood-centric fare such as Caribbean lobster and shrimp Creole. A late-afternoon happy hour menu has drink specials and a limited selection of bar foods and appetizers -- it's popular with guests. The atmosphere is typically lively -- though not raucous -- throughout the day with barefoot guests drinking bottled Coronas and playing ping-pong on the terrace.

The soft sand beach is clean, well-maintained, and adequately sized relative to the property. Unfortunately, much of the sand disappears at high tide, making the space almost unusable for half the day. Consequently, the property does not provide any chairs or umbrellas on the sand. The water conditions are unpredictable. During our visit, the wind made for strong waves and rip currents -- all better suited for surfers than snorkelers.

A well-stocked marketplace adjacent to the lobby provides an extensive list of sundries. Beer, wine, toiletries, detergents, snacks, and souvenirs are all available. Coupled with the mini-fridge and microwave (and optional toaster oven) in every room, it’s a nice-to-have for guests who prefer the independence of self-catering. Parking is free, but only available in an open, third-party lot a block away. Wi-Fi is also free, but prone to power outages.

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