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“Perfect place to stay if you aren't bareboating”

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Bitter End Yacht Club
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in North Sound
Certificate of Excellence
Vail, CO
Level Contributor
23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Perfect place to stay if you aren't bareboating”
Reviewed July 15, 2007

My husband and I just returned yesterday from a 7 night stay. What a wonderful place to stay. Our accomodations, while not luxurious, were extremely comfortable, clean and spacious. And it is true...the showers are fabulously large!

We love all water sports so we were extremely happy to be able to use all of the boats and join the snorkel trips that were offered. Extremely gracious hosts. The sailing staff are great! The sailing lessons were extremely informative and helpful.

Food: Not one bad meal served at this resort. While it may be an all-inclusive for some, it is not all inclusive food. THe food was extremely fresh, the homebaked bread to die for and the key lime pie, one of the best we have ever had and we travel ALOT.

All in all a great place to rest for a week or two. An even better place had we had our children with us. Thanks to everyone at the Bitter End who made our week so much fun......

  • Liked — The location and the amenities offered
  • Disliked — Nothing...
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank packedtogoagain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
San Francisco Bay area
Level Contributor
83 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2007

Having three teenagers we all felt that we picked the perfect place. The Bitter End was great! Before we decided to go there we looked into the other resorts on the island and also the house rentals, but they all lacked the boat excursions and snorkle trips.Going all the way to the BVI we wanted to be out on the water and that is what we were able to do. We took day trips to the Baths, to Norman Island, Cooper Island and Anegada and we also did local snorkling trips and they were so fun. The guys that run the boats are very helpful and nice. The snorkling was great, the water was so warm and the beaches were beautiful. We have been to Hawaii many times but this water was so clear and the colors were like nothing we've seen. Having all of these boat and snorkle trips included in our package for the five of us was a great deal. Plus, the resort itself is a fun and relaxing place. We stayed in the North Sound Suite with the A/C which was needed in June and even with a roll away we had plenty of space in our room, a great view, and the best shower (it's like a separate room.) It was quiet there, all we could hear were the birds. The refrigerator is stocked with soda and water (no charge). We could walk or call for the taxi (large golf cart) and he would be waiting for us before we could all get up the stairs to the road. It was a great service. The food was better than we thought it would be. There was an incredible selection and a beautiful spot to sit and eat. On the boat excursions they had BBQ's with fish, chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs with salads and desserts. More than we expected. The kids were always happy-- there were plenty of choices. We did some hiking and just relaxed at the beach and by the pool. It is a beautiful spot. The month of June was a warm (sometimes hot) time to go but there were less people (only 15 on our Norman Island trip.)
We loved our vacation at the Bitter End. It was a great place to all be togther.

  • Liked — Beautiful setting and view
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank N0rCalfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
60 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2007

We just returned from an 8 day stay for our 10th anniversary, having also come here for our honeymoon. I think one needs to understand the resort before coming in order to enjoy it.

Apart from the sunburn, we had a great time. We did two excursions and a local reef trip. One day I did the resort SCUBA diving course which was amazing while my husband took the free sailing course in the morning and then the second class in the afternoon. The next day he was able to take us out on the Hobie Wave. We also took kayaks one day and a whaler another day for more exploration around the Sound. While snorkeling and diving we saw amazing schools of fish, turtles, sting rays, lobster, coral, and squid.

One of the reasons we chose BEYC over other places in the area (Biras Creek, Little Dix, etc) was that we wanted a more informal area. We could wear t-shirts, shorts, and sandals to all meals. And while there were many families present, we were never really bothered by the kids. There are scheduled activities every day, but no one is going to pester you to do anything. You have to go to the watersports center to sign up.

And now for the honest evaluation:

Rooms
Both times we stayed in the North Sound Suites with the air conditioning. The first time, we were low on the hill, so the location didn't seem a problem. It is a little less than .5 mile from this area to the restaurant, so it was just a pleasant walk to and from the area. This time, we were almost at the top of the hill. The hike down wasn't bad, but coming back up was a chore. We would plan our treks down to minimize having to return to our room. By the end of the trip, though, we frequently just took the taxi back up. The room itself was fine. The view off the balcony was amazing. The bed was comfortable, though the pillows were way too thick for my liking.

Food
We were on the meal plan, so took almost all our meals at the restaurant. Don't be misled by claims of the resort having 3 restaurants. The week we were there, the Carvery was never open, so all dinners were at the Clubhouse. There is the Pub, but that is not included in the meal plan. The food at the Clubhouse is fine, but the menu doesn't change (though they do have different theme nights which are buffets with different entrees). So by the end of the trip, having sampled everything, we just ate at the Pub. Service, while friendly, is incredibly slow. We waited 30 minutes at the Clubhouse for grilled cheese sandwiches one lunch, and our pizzas at the Pub took over 50 minutes (and there was only one other table occupied when we ordered, so it wasn't due to being overly busy).

Beaches
As others have said, the beaches aren't great. The sand (at least near the North Sound Suites) is pebbly, and the ocean floor is covered in grass. We had water shoes, though, so neither of these things really bothered us. And there was never any one else at this beach. The beach by the Clubhouse looked a little nicer, and seemed more popular. That is, maybe 1/3 of the lounges were occupied.

Excursions
We went on 2 excursions, both on the Corinthian. 10 years ago, we went on one on the Paranda, but the lack of indoor seating made us prefer the Corinthian this time. The actual trip may or may not be what is described on the daily information sheet. One trip was entitled "Best of Virgin Gorda" and was supposed to visit the Baths, Fallen Jerusalem, Savannah Bay, and more. It ended up being Devil's Bay, Spanish Town, and Nail Bay. Another trip was to Norman Island which was supposed to be The Caves, The Indians, Pelican Island, and The Bight. We actually went to The Caves, Kelly's Cove, tried to do the Rhone but it was too choppy, and then The Chimney off Great Dog. If you just want a pure snorkeling trip, go on the local reef trips. The excursion is as much about just seeing more of the island chain as it is doing some snorkeling.

If all of this seems a bit negative, it is just to try to give a more realistic view of the resort than the pretty pictures on the website show. We did have a great vacation, but I don't think the resort is for everyone.

  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank eloracm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Ynez, CA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed June 15, 2007

If you love the beach or laying on a sunny deck...you should not stay at Bitter End. All the rooms were on the North side of the island in complete shade throughout the day. The rooms are old and surrounded by jungle. They do have views of the channel water.
As for beaches on the resort, they are pretty skimpy with rough sand and vegetation debris. Except for the beach right in front of the restaurant, the shallow water is full of eel-grass.
If you want beautiful beaches, and want them all to yourself, you can take a skiff or hobie and within 10 minutes be on an idyllic white sand beach.
We found the snorkeling off any of the nearby beaches to be less than desirable, but enjoyed the afternoon snorkle trip to the reef, even though the ocean was rough and we couldn't safely swim into the shallower water where the best snorkeling would have been. Actually, the water was pretty rough the whole time we were there (1 week), which prevented us from visiting The Baths from the day-trip snorkeling boat. Instead, we we delivered to the town's dock where we had a choice of visiting air-conditioned shops or getting a drink in an open air bar. The lunch served onboard the boat was good and the fish they barbequed was the best we had the entire week.
I would say, if you're looking for a great spot to sail, or take lessons in any watersport, Bitter End is your kind of resort. But as for beach-goers, snorkelers, time in the sun with a good book kind of people...this is not where you want to be.

  • Liked — The sunny end of the resort with the pool.
  • Disliked — The depressing old decrepit rooms with absolutely NO
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Sunny-Soleil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis, MO
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2007

We stayed at BEYC for our honeymoon in January of 2000. We were in one of the villas. The views of the Caribbean were spectacular and I loved just relaxing and reading on the hammock. We came to Virgin Gorda after spending a week in a villa on St. John. Afterwards, we both decided we prefered the villa over BEYC but BEYC was still a unique experience we will never forget. We learned all about sailing and did some scuba diving. Both experiences are very memorable. We did spend some time on the beach which I found to be okay but like past reviewers have said, the beaches aren't the most amazing the Carribean has to offer and swimming is not ideal here (we didn't even know there was a pool until the end of our trip because we were at the other end of the resort and never thought to really check into it further). The food was okay--club food. Nothiing too memorable. Overall, if you have the money to blow and love to sail, etc. this is a great place (very unique!). However, I felt the resort pricey for what the accomodations are, etc. plus its remote and hard to get to. We aren't big sailing enthusists and while I'm glad for the experience we had, I don't think we will go back. I'd rather spend that kind of money elsewhere.

  • Liked — The unique experience
  • Disliked — The overall experience was not worth the cost
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank TimeTravelerer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed April 16, 2007

We just returned from 10 days at the Bitter End, and we have very mixed feelings about this unique resort. A little background will help explain our viewpoint: we have been coming to the Caribbean since about 1984 and have stayed in a wide range of resorts on many islands. This is our fifth or sixth visit to beautiful Virgin Gorda, but our first to Bitter End. We have previously been to Biras Creek, many years ago, and several times to Little Dix, the last just in December of 2006.

I wanted to take sailing lessons this time, and both of us wanted to relax on the beach and do some snorkeling. Again, mixed results all around.

What we liked about Bitter End:

1. The water sports folks were very friendly and accommodating, and I had 2 good sailing lessons, on a Rhodes 19 and a Hobie Wave. There are plenty of other boats available for guests to use with a minimum of fuss, and people using the boats seemed to all be having a great time.

2. We had one of the “beachfront” rooms, 28 South, perched on a hillside almost at the edge of the Bitter End property. The room has a wide, wrap-around deck with a hammock and lounge chairs, and strong breezes keep the room cool all day and night. No need for AC at all. In fact, why would you want it down there, as long as you have the trade winds? The room decor is simple to the point of non-existence, but that's OK. The bed could be a bit newer and less lumpy, but we slept OK anyway. The bathroom vanity is Formica, and not new Formica at that, a far cry from the newly refurbished marble baths at Little Dix. Lighting is miserly, a real problem to voracious readers like us, but we were generally too pooped after dinner to stay up late trying to read anyway. (The elderly and infirm, or just lazy, be warned: most of the rooms are quite a hike, and climb, from the waterfront and restaurant area. We climbed about 60 steps to get up to our room, so we tended to plan carefully when we packed our beach bag after breakfast.)

3. Scheduled activities tend to occur on time, which is a bit un-Caribbean but quite welcome. We took advantage of several of the snorkel excursions to nearby reefs, and the sunset cruise aboard the large sailing catamaran. More about the need for those snorkel trips in a moment.

4. The staff were uniformly friendly and helpful, and housekeeping was most efficient. Our room was cleaned and ready for us each day by 1 pm or so.

5. No need to carry money here. All of our meals were included in our room rate (we had the Admiral’s Package), and we signed for drinks or purchases in the 2 boutiques. There is a small grocery store that caters to the live-aboard boating crowd, but we didn't venture inside.

6. This place is heaven for families with young children. There are many activities for the kids, and the place is very safe for free-ranging children who are trustworthy around the water. We were there as a couple, and we could usually find kid-free zones when we wanted peace and quiet.

7. The food is plentiful and OK. Nobody comes to the British Caribbean expecting haute cuisine, and neither did we. The food is what I'd call "basic club food," meaning members of US yacht and country clubs would feel right at home in the dining room here. The dining rooms, inside and out, are lovely and tropical, with interesting nautical touches, and just right for the setting. Service, by and large, is pretty sharp for the Caribbean.

What we didn't like:

1. Boat maintenance seemed to be an after-thought. We took a Freedom 30, a 30-ft sailboat, out for a day sail one day, with one of the sailing instructors as captain. The idea was that I'd get to sail under supervision and learn a lot, and we'd visit a couple of snorkeling beaches. The boat was in disgraceful condition, embarrassing our captain. We should have declined to take it out, but we were in that "let's go have fun" mode and didn't want to make a scene. As we were going aboard, another staffer told our captain that there was something wrong with the engine cooling system, spewing water into the cabin, but not to worry, the engine worked fine. So we set off, with the engine working but sounding bad, and then set sail quickly and sailed out of Gorda Sound. All was well until we noticed the heavy smell of diesel fuel in the cabin, and water sloshing on the pretty wooden floor. I needed to use the head, but couldn't stand to be down below because of the combined stench of the diesel and the uncleaned toilet. It was truly foul, and even the captain agreed it was best not to try to go down there. The men managed better than I did; I ended up making inventive use of a plastic sandwich container. There was no handle for the bilge pump, either, and several other important boat items were missing. The Quarterdeck Club people should be ashamed of themselves for presenting such a nasty vessel for guests to use. I learned a lot about sailing, we saw the whole circumference of the island, and we had a good time, but we could have had big problems with that engine. Afterwards, we heard other guests complain about the condition of some of the sailboats.

2. No beach towels are left in the rooms. This may sound like nothing, but it's a bit of a problem at Bitter End because of the layout of the resort. We've never been to another beach resort, even very modest ones, where beach towels aren't part of the daily resupply of the room. At Bitter End, you have to pick them up at the watersports hut, which is a long way from most of the rooms. If you forget to get them after breakfast, it's a long trek back from the beach area near the rooms. A couple we met said this is a new wrinkle, that on previous visits, beach towels were supplied each day in the rooms.

3. No good beaches. Yes, that's what I said. Near most of the rooms, there is only a narrow, grainy-sand beach from which you can't swim. The bottom there is full of turtle grass, very prickly underfoot, and in any case the water is only about a foot deep. It's too shallow for swimming until you'd be out in the boating channel. Near the restaurant and mooring area is a tiny roped-off area for swimming, but the area is too busy for our kind of quiet beach reading/lounging. And beach chairs in that area tend to get claimed early in the day, mostly by large family groups. Close to the pool, a long, long, hot walk from the restaurant, is another small beach. Swim to the left of it around Wedding Point, and there is some decent snorkeling. But we were told by a local that the moored boats there dump their toilet waste directly into the water! After hearing that, we were less enthusiastic about snorkeling so close to those boats.

The resort tries to make up for the lack of good swimming/snorkeling on property by offering 2 snorkel boat trips a day. Those are fun, and without them we would have been miserable.

4. No WiFi in the rooms. Yes, I know we're on vacation and shouldn't be working. But most resorts of this caliber and price range offer free wireless Internet to guests, and Bitter End should get with the program. Most people who can afford this kind of vacation have demanding jobs, and we need to be able to check our email, read documents, etc. And I like to email my friends and family while on vacation, and keep up with the news as well. We'd take our laptop to breakfast and sometimes dinner, because there is WiFi in the restaurant area. We were not alone in doing this. I'll bet BEYC will listen to guests and provide wider access pretty soon, but for now, you should be forewarned. The beach area opposite Saba Rock is within range of that hotel's free, unsecured WiFi network, FYI.

5. This is something BEYC can't control, I'm sure, but it's something to be forewarned about: One night of our stay, there was a DJ at the Saba Rock restaurant, across the narrow channel from the Bitter End. Loud, thumping music, heavy on the bass, pounded until the wee hours of the morning. Our room was just far enough away that earplugs helped me sleep through it, but we heard grumbling from other guests who got little sleep that night. In addition, people staying in the North Sound suites on the marina side of the resort reported loud partying until the wee hours on the boats in the marina. If you like peace and quiet, consider the so-called beachfront rooms. An earlier review mentioned the loud generators, but we were lucky that the power was out for only a few hours one night, and we weren't too bothered by the generator noise. It was mostly "white noise," hidden in part by the pleasant sounds of the breezes and palm fronds sussurating outside our windows.

Would we come back? Probably not, because of the beaches, or lack of them. But many guests return year after year, and I can see why if boating is their joy. BEYC is the kind of quirky, truly special place that inspires loyalty, but some modernizing steps should be taken, and maintenance of the fleet should be improved.

  • Liked — Perfect weather, friendly staff
  • Disliked — Poor boat maintenance, no WiFi in rooms, no good swimming beaches
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
22 Thank skilover53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2007

Really friendly staff,,,,rooms were great...love the fact that there is no television ....DON'T GO HERE IF YOU WANT A NICE BEACH AND POOL....For the money , you are better off at Biras Creek....however, the way BEYC is designed it forces you to leave the resort...which was great for us.......we did the European Plan...which includes no meals...and no boats.....A lilttle pricey for $510 plus 17% taxes....with nothing included......food was adequate when we ate at the resort........however, staff went beyond call of duty when we standed at the Carnival on the other side of the island......If you go there , you must rent a BRADLEY....and tour the islands...it is worth the money......request a room closer to the reception area.....we had a 15 minute walk everytime we wanted to go to the room......overall, the waters of Virgin Gorda...and BVI are magnificent....next time we will check our Biras Creek...a lillt bit more expensive and quiet...( many families at BEYC)

  • Liked — room
  • Disliked — beach and pool
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank sbobushka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bitter End Yacht Club

Property: Bitter End Yacht Club
Address: Virgin Gorda
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > British Virgin Islands > Virgin Gorda > North Sound
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in North Sound
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Bitter End Yacht Club 4*
Number of rooms: 85
Reservation Options:
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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

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