My husband and I, along with our teenage son, recently enjoyed our second visit to Bitter End Yacht Club. All three of us adore Virgin Gorda and, I always tell people, "if you like shopping, nightlife, or golf -- don't go to Virgin Gorda." But, the absence of these things is precisely why Virgin Gorda appeals to us. The island is unspoiled and beautiful. The atmosphere at Bitter End is relaxed and casual. Both of our visits were fantastic experiences and, although the cost makes Bitter End a definite splurge for us, I feel their Admirals Package is a good value for what you get (provided you take advantage of the many sports, excursions, and activity offerings that are included, which other resorts and/or cruises charge extra for). The food and service at Bitter End are outstanding as well.
We have visited Bitter End in February and in May. There are pros/cons to both:
-- February --
Busier, more crowded
A/C not needed (you can sleep with open windows and enjoy the breezes)
-- May --
Uncrowded (you can score a waterfront table at every meal)
Hot (non-stop A/C required)
Bitter End offers so many activities, you can fill every minute of every day, or just choose to relax in one of the hammocks or deck chairs that are everywhere. There is also plenty of shade, which is important for us great white Northerners. The three of us took advantage of windsurfing, kayaking, Hobie Cat sailing, snorkeling excursions, two of the day-long excursions (Best of Virgin Gorda and Norman Island), and a sunset sail. Again, many of these types of outings can easily cost over $100 per person at other resorts or as shore excursions on a cruise, but are included if you get the Admirals package. I also enjoyed yoga (no extra charge) and we all loved the hiking in the area. (The Bitter End trails are nice, but don't miss the trails at the adjacent Las Brisas resort for some spectacular views!) The watersports staff were all excellent, and Joe especially went out of his way to help my husband and son have good windsurfing experiences (showed them where the most consistent winds were, offered to drop them there by boat and bring them back). It is also very reassuring, for anyone out on the water, that the Bitter End staff is watching out for you and comes to assist folks who capsize or are having trouble getting back to shore. We also really appreciated Captains Samson and Kinto, who guaranteed that our snorkeling and excursion outings were all wonderful experiences.
We all agreed that the food on this visit was even better than we remembered. The menu seemed to include more lighter, low carb offerings such as the grilled Wahoo on greens served for lunch and the grilled Tuna on panzanella salad served at dinner. The fish was always fresh, perfectly grilled, and beautifully presented. We also had steak a couple of times, and it too was delicious and perfectly grilled to our specifications. Each meal includes a self-serve buffet in addition to the items you can order from the menu. The buffet gives everyone the opportunity to pick and choose what they want from a multitude of soups, salads, fresh fruit, and side dishes (and, if needed, exercise a bit of portion control). The special theme nights (West Indies grill and Seafood Extravaganza) were fabulous. Desserts were wonderful and my favorites included mango cheesecake, banana creme brulee, and the chewy almond cookies. My husband is an espresso junkie, and his one comment was "they have a great espresso machine, but need a better espresso roast." The kitchen also seems to go out of their way to accommodate people with food sensitivities.
Service is generally excellent throughout the resort. In particular, the front desk was very accommodating when, on both our visits, we arrived several hours before check-in. The front desk staff graciously allowed us to enjoy lunch in the restaurant followed by a full afternoon of water sports so we were able to begin enjoying our vacation the minute we stepped off the ferry.
Service in the dining room was generally good. Although, even if you are on an all-inclusive package, you still have to ask for (and sign) a check at the end of every meal (even breakfast and lunch). From a guest's perspective, this just feels like an unnecessary inconvenience. Is this done so the servers will get tips? (I'd be happy to tip at the end of the week, just like you do on a cruise.) Is it so you see the cash value of what you have eaten? (I know food is expensive in the Caribbean.) Sure, alcoholic beverages are not included in the package, but couldn't you just pay for those at the end of the week as well?
Rooms and Housekeeping
We stayed in the North Sound Suites. We found our room to be very comfortable and spacious enough for the three of us. There are nice welcoming touches with you arrive -- fresh flowers, cold drinks in the fridge, snacks, and a small bottle of rum. Very nice toiletries and bathrobes are provided. The A/C was a definite plus because it was hot in May. Housekeeping mostly did a good job, but some things could have been better. Coffee and kleenex were not replenished. Doors and screens were left open during cleaning allowing even more mosquitoes to get into our room. A housekeeper knocked on our door one evening at 6:20pm and asked if we wanted turn down service. I said we were getting ready for dinner (which doesn't even start until 6:30pm) and could she come back in 15 minutes. She gave me a look that very clearly implied she would rather not, and I told her to just skip us. Personally, I don't care one iota about turn down service but, if you're going to offer it, please do it right. Relations with our daytime housekeeper were also odd in that she would suddenly appear on our balcony and attempt to come into our room via our sliding glass door, and cheerfully ignoring the "do not disturb" sign on the main entrance to our room (just beware all you honeymoon couples!).
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- Also Known As:
- Bitter End Yacht Club Hotel North Sound
- Bitter End Yacht Hotel
- Bitter End Yacht Resort
- Bitter End Yacht Club Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands