My husband and I and our 23 year old son vacationed on Guana Island during the first week of June, at which time the weather provided upper 80 degree, sun-filled days and an occasional shower. This was the most relaxing and enjoyable vacation we have experienced. The island and resort are incredible – White Bay beach and the island views are beautiful, the accommodations are clean and spacious, and the food is 5 Star. This is the place for you if you like peace and quiet, nature, beaches, snorkeling, hiking, great food and pampered service. This entire vacation on Guana was magnificent from start to finish. Thanks goes out to Jason, the reservation manager, who was friendly and enthusiastic in answering all our questions about the island, providing valuable insights ahead of time and made sure our arrival time was coordinated properly. Also, thanks to all the staff who were extremely friendly and treated as if we were the only guests on the island, which we actually were for most of the 7 days.
To reach Guana Island you first need to get to Tortola, which we chose to do by ferry from St. John Island. We arranged in advance for a taxi to drive us to the Beef Island dock where a Guana representative picked us up for a short 15 minute boat ride to our destination. If you are traveling from St. Thomas, there are ferry companies that take you directly to Tortola in about 60 minutes. Upon arrival at the dock we were pleasantly greeted by the Guana staff, Andrea and Asia, who gave us a citrus scented cool towel and bottle of water. We were driven up hill to the resort in golf carts and given a short tour of the main resort building and our room, while our bags were taken care of for us. We were then offered a perfectly prepared lunch on the front terrace overlooking White Bay – what a magnificent view and fabulous food.
ROOMS: Each of the resort’s cottages is named for a Caribbean Island; we stayed in the Dominica, about 100 feet from the main resort building area where meals were served on the various outdoor dining terraces. Our room was quite large with a walk-in shower, walk-in closet and an extra room for our son. The well-appointed rooms reminded me of a Greek resort with white washed walls and many large windows offering tropical breezes and exceptional views of the bay. Our room also had its own terrace, surrounded by bougainvillea, cactus and other flora with views of the North Shore to the left, the Salt Pond and pink flamingos to the front and White Bay Beach to the right. Some room amenities included a refrigerator; coffee maker; WI-FI and lightweight, comfortable bathrobes. There was no TV in our room, but we didn’t miss it. The room and its location were absolutely perfect for the three of us.
DINING: Thanks to Xavier, a young Chef from Spain, each meal was a delight. His culinary expertise was displayed with each meal he prepared, not only in taste but in presentation. Each meal was well balanced and perfectly portioned, never leaving us hungry or wanting to eat between meals. As we were the only guests for most of the week, we felt like we had our own Iron Chief. Xavier was not only a top notch chef but a friendly person who we enjoyed talking with and seeing his smiling face each day. Each meal is served on an outside terrace offering beautiful views or lunch can even be served at the beach.
Breakfast: Breakfast began with a buffet of an array of fruits, cheeses,Tuscan meats (prosciutto, speck, salami), breads, croissants, muffins, cereals and yogurt. This was followed by daily specials such as eggs Benedict, French toast, crepes or other delicious breakfast dishes along with your choice of breakfast meats, eggs, juices and coffee.
Lunch: On some occasions ilunch also began with a buffet, but always consisted of a 4 course meal which included fresh fruits, salads, breads, vegetables, a fish or meat entrée and ended with a delicious dessert.
Dinner: Each night, it was fun for us to guess where we would be seated for dinner as the staff ensured we enjoyed a variety of views, often overlooking the water as the sun set. The tables were accented by candle light and the pathways lit by Tiki torches. Each dinner was accompanied by complimentary bottles of a red and a white wine. Dinners were 4 or more course, 5 star meals that began with a soup, followed by a salad, meat or fish entrée and dessert. Chef Xavier’s chick pea and coconut milk soup was not only exotic but delicious and his chicken cannelloni was as good as any pasta dish we have experienced during our trips to Italy. An example of a dinner menu was: Mulligatawny soup, lobster tower, herb crusted rack of lamb with mushroom Arborio and panna cotta for dessert. FANTASTIC!!
Drinks: In addition the complimentary wine at dinner, each day the resort provided ice cold water, freshly made lemonade, iced tea and a delicious tropical fruit drink. These were always made available at both the main house and the beach. Conversely; sodas, beer, additional wines and alcoholic drinks are available but at an additional charge.
ACTIVITIES: This beautiful island is ecologically protected and produces its own electricity, purified water and has a wonderful orchard of tropical fruits and sugar cane. Activities are primarily recreational, although the main resort building has family friendly board games and a library of books to read.
Beach: The beach is a beautiful white sand, palm tree laden, ½ mile dream beach with beautiful turquoise water. There is beach house with showers, restrooms, lockers and a bar area where you can have drinks and snacks. The resort has thought of everything for beach fun – there are comfortable loungers, chairs, foam full body length floats, paddle boards, kayaks, etc. I particularly enjoyed lying on a float in the warm turquoise waters watching the pelicans soar above. The bay also offers good snorkeling. My son and I enjoyed snorkeling each day around the five fingerlike coral projections which were accessible directly from the beach. We saw a variety of fish, some of which were the usual tang; grunts; squirrel, parrot and trunk fish and sting rays; but we also encountered barracuda, tarpon, squid, porcupine pufferfish, spotted drum and a nurse shark to name a few. At the end of your relaxing beach day, if you don’t want to walk up the steep hill to the main resort, Mr. Sugar, will gladly give you a lift in the golf cart.
Hiking: There are many trails available to hike; unfortunately, we didn’t have sufficient time to explore the various hiking trails as we were enjoying the beach most days. We did hike to the North Shore and Crab Cove and walked around the Salt Pond to photograph the flamingos. We also enjoyed walking the well-kept trails near the main resort which were lined with beautiful flowers and plants. I enjoy photography and the island provided many opportunities for good photos.
Orchard: Highly recommend that you take time to visit the Orchard. Woo and Mae Ling, who maintain the orchard, were very friendly and really wanted to share the beauty of their orchard. They provided educational information and prepared fruits for us to taste. We loved the passion fruit, mango, papaya, and fresh coconut.
Spa Service: We enjoyed massages from Ceri, she was wonderful. These are at an additional cost of course, but well worth it.
HELPFUL HINTS: You may want to bring you own supply of bug spray and sunscreen; although the resort does have some on hand, you don’t want to run out. We are avid snorkelers so we brought our own gear, but the resort does provide if needed. We over packed – you don’t need fancy clothes for dinner, the atmosphere is more casual and you just need to be covered up at meal time. No need in June for a lightweight sweater or jacket, unless you want to bring something to wear if it rains. Do recommend hiking shoes or Keens if you plan on doing the trails. Don’t forget your camera!
TO SUM IT UP: It’s been nearly 2 months since we arrived home from Guana Island and we continue to have that longing feeling to return. Wish Xavier was here to cook for us. This was truly a vacation of a lifetime.