True to their website's claim, Guana is a Virgin Island that still is. Tortola may have traffic jams, Virgin Gorda, specifically Little Dix Bay, may have sleek, marble-bathroomed villas on the once untouched hillsides, but Guana Island is still pure. Preserved. It is the Caribbean in its closest-to-pristine and untouched state. The beauty of this incredible place is not the spa facilities or Arnold Palmer golf course (relax, there isn't one). it is about simple things: a deserted 1/2 mile-long powder white sand beach, hiking up and down dense hillsides, snorkeling around replanted coral beds (the fish are happy about this one too), the lack of man-made noises, kayaking through a school of tarpin, collecting shells at North Beach, watching the six resident flamingoes wade through the pond, an honor system at the beach bar.
My husband and I were at Guana for four nights, which felt like an ideal length of time. We loved our room, which was high up on the hillside. There was no A/C and we didn't need it at all since the thick, concrete walls (constructed in the 30's, I think) kept the place cool at all times. The room was spacious and immaculate. The bathroom, quite literally, cavernous and stocked with Aveda products. The view from the verandah was breathtaking.
Breakfasts were my favorite meal with a buffet of fresh fruits, yoghurts, cheeses, and freshly baked muffins. You can order eggs, done any which way, and pancakes or waffles. Lunches and dinner were very good but not haute, which I consider a blessing. Every evening, guests met at the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail and delicious canapes. My only request would be to see more locally-inspired food on the menu.
One of our highlights on Guana was visiting The Orchard, where some of the fruits served at breakfast are grown. Dr. Liao, Guana's resident pith-helmeted horticulturist from China was delighted to see us when we visited him. He showed us into his "conference center" -- a collection of tree stumps and boulders that substitute for tables and chairs. Here, he offered us fresh coconut water, recited some poetry and then took us on a tour of the gardens. You could sense the visceral connection between this man and the earth. I imagined Dr. Liao doing the rounds every morning, cooing at his plants, lovingly stroking each avocado and reciting haiku to the baby bananas.
We did leave the island for a day trip to nearby Anegada to go scuba diving. This was effortlessly arranged by Jason, a sort of wunderkind of hotel GM's. He may look young but he operates as smoothly as a seasoned pro. Nothing seems to faze him. He arranged for a motor boat with a captain and a dive master, and all necessary scuba equipment, to take us to Anegada complete with a packed lunch and drinks. Jason obviously has a trickle down effort on his staff because everyone seems happy to help and eager to please.
Guana Island is such a special place that anyone who cannot appreciate its beauty or simplicity, not to mention the Herculean effort it has taken, and still takes, to maintain it, should not come here. It's the only way to ensure preserving this island for generations to come.
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- Also Known As:
- Guana Island Hotel Guana Island
- Guana Island Hotel Tortola
- Guana Island Tortola
- Guana Island British Virgin Islands