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“A Special Place”
Review of Guana Island

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Guana Island
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Guana Island
Certificate of Excellence
NYC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A Special Place”
Reviewed December 9, 2007

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.

  • Liked — Beautiful from every angle
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank jsdm1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed December 3, 2007

After an easy flight through Puerto Rico, to Beef Island, we were taken by boat to Guana.

The first impression was quaint, low key and a good place to relax. Turns out, it was too relaxed. No phones, no tv's, nothing to do after dark except go back to your room.

After the first full day there, we'd had enough. We had done everything there was to do on the island (hiked, sailed, kayaked, etc) and we started deliberating on leaving the island to go someplace where there were more activities.

The food is just average (and I believe that term is being generous), the accomodations are quaint, no a/c, difficult to get to without asking someone to drive you on a golf cart to the beach or elsewhere on the island. The cottages are at the top of a mountain, the beach an incredible walk downhill.

We took several day trips just to get off the island and go to Tortola, so we could eat WHEN we wanted to and what we wanted to. We were able to do all kinds of things at Tortola that arent even offered at Guana. When we asked to be booked on a day trip, the management acted sincerely insulted, as if their island wasnt good enough, why should we want to go elsewhere?

At Guana, there are mealtimes and you eat then, or you dont eat. And supposedly this resort is all inclusive. It only includes the meals and wine with meals, if you want a soda or drink, its on the honor system. Take a drink, fill out a card. This adds up quickly, while sitting on the beach, or while in you room.

If you want food delivered to your room at mealtime, rather than dine family style with all the guests, its $40.00 per delivery and $80.00 for delivery at dinner.

All in all there are many, many other places we would choose to go rather than this island.

The equipment at the beach is in bad shape, the hobey-cat, sailboat etc were all in disrepair and awaiting parts for replacement. Even the water taxi broke down on a trip from Tortola back to Guana. It seems nothing is really kept up.

Unless this is a honeymoon trip and wish to be alone, this place is not for you.

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
26 Thank woolie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2007

My wife and I were recently blessed with a full weeks stay at the North Beach Cottage on Guana Island. The entire experience was one we will cherish for life.

Departing the Tortola airport we were greeted immediately by a Guana representative who drove us the short distance to our water taxi. The whole experience was expeditious and fun (try your first Carib while on the boat).

Once you see Guana from the boat you know it’s different than all the other islands as there are no visible houses. Here’s when things get good…

There to greet you on the deck is the aforementioned, in previous reviews, Jason Goldberg (aka Goldie or GGTG) the GM of Guana Island. All you’ve read about him and the staff is true and then some.

Think of Jason as the debonair and suave white-suited Mr. Roarke of Fantasy Island fame. He can help make your stay 'that special' if you take the time to get to know him and ask for his help with whatever it is you need.

We stayed at the all-inclusive North Beach Cottage and highly suggest it to anyone who is okay with being away from civilization. You are given your own golf cart to get to and from the cottage on North Beach.

North Beach Cottage becomes your home complete with a stocked frig, full kitchen, your own heart shaped pool and…. Oh yeah, your own private beach! If there is anything missing from the cottage just ask Goldie and it will be there is a snap. We wanted great coffee… we got great coffee… candy, we got candy. So on and so on… Thanks Jason!

Meals are all served up at the main building on top of the hill. You can eat at a solo table with any one of the incredible views or with some of the other guest if feeling more social. Food is very good and pretty much covered in the other reviews so I’ll leave that be.

Guana is for the active as well as leisurely. The first half of our week we conquered serious hiking trails, snorkeled, swam and burned all those calories that made the wonderful meals guilt free. The second half of our trip we were slugs laying on our beach, by our pool, the wonderful main beach, read several books, got messages… you get the point.

If you can’t deal with the occasional bug, lizard, snake or lack of air conditioning then you may want to look elsewhere but you’d be missing out on one of life’s great treats!

Thanks again Jason for making our stay so wonderful! You’re now a friend for life!

Stayed November 2007
Helpful?
20 Thank DaveODallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vermont
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2007

Guana Island is a special treat....having been to the BVI several times before, we were searching for a slightly different, unique experience. Guana far surpassed our expectations..the beauty, serenity and staff exudes with warmth and friendliness. This resort is blessed to have Jason Goldberg, the General Manager. From meeting us at the dock and making us feel TOTALLY welcome was a natural position for Jason. He was attentive without being overwhelming, knew what our needs were and granted all of our wishes. When fellow travelers arrived exhausted and w/ out luggage that had been lost enroute to BVI, Jason promised he would see the problem through and have their luggage returned. Jason spent most of the following day at the airport, speaking to the powers that be and low and behold...the luggage was returned the following evening!! What could have been a very stressful situation for the guests, was immediately put to rest, addressed and solved. The handling of this situation is only an example of Jason's sincerity, warmth and honesty.
I am hesitant to go into all of the other details that made our vacation so special, as in my eyes this is the best kept secret in the BVI...don't tell anyone, just go experience it for yourself and you'll understand!!

Stayed August 2007
Helpful?
6 Thank nikivt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 15, 2007

Guana Island surpassed our expectations for an idyllic getaway. Greeted at the airport in Tortola, transferred by van to the dock at Trellis Bay, Captain Val and first mate, Adrian, whisked us away on the island’s private boat with cold Caribe beer and icy bottled water. We were graciously welcomed by the attentive staff as well as Jason Goldberg, the general manager, whose warm and friendly hospitality made us feel at home immediately.
Guests are transported from the arrival dock to the Great House via golf carts. April Bates of Guest Services met us and explained all the “need to knows” of Guana making us feel like members of the family. Always available, April’s gracious and helpful manner added joy to each day. She is an asset to the hotel.
Our spacious room included a separate sitting area with game table and sofa and our private terrace offered us enchanting views of the mountains and the sea. The white stone bathroom with an extra large shower and Aveda amenities was a delight. Our cottage did not have air conditioning, but the soft, gentle breezes and ceiling fans kept us cool, even in July. Of course, the 14 inch stone walls of the cottages help!
A stay on Guana Island includes breakfast, lunch and dinner – complimentary wine with lunch and dinner. Linus and Dwight, the chefs, aim to please with homemade bread and pastries, fruit, juices and a hot entrée for breakfast. Lunch is not to be missed with salads and several entrees available. One day we enjoyed curried chicken and sautéed shrimp! Both breakfast and lunch are buffet style. Hot chocolate chip cookies make their appearance as an afternoon snack. The staff including Christine, Helen, Kathleen and Belinda make extraordinary efforts to ensure guests’ comfort. Hors d’oeuvres and canapés, served in the living room, start off the evening. Dinner served on the terraces, always included a delectable soup, a fresh cool salad with homemade dressings and meticulously prepared main courses served with vegetables and proper accompaniments. There are usually two choices for dinner. We enjoyed the best duck breast we have ever tasted, grilled red snapper and a tender sirloin steak. Desserts are made on premises and the blueberry crème brûlée is to die for! Bottles of red and white wine are placed on each table each evening and after-dinner cordials are available in the living room. Our only problem is that the food is so good, we ate a lot!
The beach at White Bay beckoned us each day. Pure white sand, raked by the staff, clear, sparkling Caribbean blue water, comfortable chairs, towels, a beach honor bar, various toys (paddle boat, sunfish, floating mats, etc.) and a marvelous curve of terrain, make for a perfect beach day. The flora and fauna make Guana Island a wildlife sanctuary, unique among the islands in the Caribbean. Spotting the Iguana pinguis makes every day an adventure and watching brown pelicans dive into the sea is always delightful. Guana Island offers Castaway picnics, tubing, tennis, water skiing, massages and other activities, if desired. We were happy sitting and staring at the beauty, swimming to and from a stationary dock, napping and generally enjoying the serenity offered by this treasure in the sea.
If you seek relaxation and beauty, go to Guana Island. You will be treated like royalty, while being made to feel at home.

  • Liked — The family feel, the beauty of the island and the wonderful people
  • Disliked — n/a
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank Sister2Travelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed July 2, 2007

10 out of 10, perfect, cannot fault the place.

We stayed for a week on our honeymoon and both Jason and April (management) made our stay faultless!

This place is totally unique from anywhere else we have stayed. 15 rooms set on a hill side, maximum 30 guests (there were 6 of us most of the time) and 100% luxury with first class service.

We stayed in the the Upper Greneda room (the highest room on the island) and it was superb.

The Snorkling, walking, eating, drinking chilling out is all first class.

Nothing to say other than first class. Check out the website [--] its all true to its word.

Jason/April you made this trip the absolute best!

  • Liked — Everything, beach, food accomodation
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank coopertrooper2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
178 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 231 helpful votes
Reviewed June 1, 2007

Our family (parents and adult son) had a perfect holiday in May at Guana Island. The website photos and information, although accurate and lovely, could never duplicate the Guana experience. It's an incredible island, reminiscent of the way all the islands of the Caribbean used to be. It's certainly not for everyone (thank goodness), but for those in tune with nature and who appreciate the true "luxuries" of a natural, non commercial, safe and undeveloped setting, this place is at the top of the list.

The setting -- tall, green peaks, lots of foliage and lovely flowers, rimmed by one long white-sand beach and six other pretty beaches tucked in coves around the island -- some on the Caribbean side; others on the Atlantic. Though there is more formal landscaping in spots around the main building and cottages, most of the island is wild with wonderful trails crisscrossing in many directions, some leading to high peaks with gorgeous views and others down to secluded beaches where the only other creatures you'll see are the iguanas and pelicans. There's a lovely orchard in the valley with a great variety of fruit trees, which supply much of the fresh fruits for the table. And Dr. Liao, the resident ornithologist, who manages the orchard, will hike, share information about the plants, sing, recite poetry, or otherwise entertain you should you decide to spend a couple of hours in the orchard (a must do during the stay!).

The rooms -- are in white stone cottages spread along the top of a ridge. Only 30+ guests are on the island at any one time, so it's pretty much like visiting a friend's home on a private island. The rooms are large with walk-in closets and showers big enough for two. Some rooms have an additional sitting room and all have terraces or patios with incredible views of either the Caribbean, the Atlantic, or BOTH! The furnishings are simple -- wicker, concrete floors, but very comfortable beds. There's no television or radio or telephone in the rooms and no airconditioning (this is why Guana is not for everyone). BUT during our stay in mid May, with the tradewinds blowing up the ridge and the ceiling fans spinning, we slept beneath a blanket most nights. It was very comfortable.

The food -- excellent. Not what you'd get in a fancy French restaurant, but certainly wholesome and plentiful with a good deal of variety. We were not disappointed with any of the selections and loved the arrangements every night -- with only 30+ guests, folks are shifted around each night to different tables so you get to know other guests. It was such fun and so many interesting people.

Watersports -- snorkeling, Hobie Cat sailing, swimming, boating, almost anything you want to do, the staff can arrange.

Staff -- we've never been treated better anyplace. Always polite, efficient, and friendly. As I said earlier, it was like visiting family. And there are no locks on the doors (you don't need them), so coming and going anytime day or night is so simple...no security boxes in the rooms either. It's one of the very few places I've been where you never have to worry about your possessions -- in the room or on the beach or on some hiking trail in the mountains.

Guana is special. It's also expensive. But you can put your wallet away the minute you get on the plane. Taxis, ferries, tips, taxes, food, watersports, etc. are all included. However, if you're looking for night life and casinos and shopping, don't bother. This is not the place. But, if you truly do want to get away from it all in a gorgeous setting where the people will treat you like you're the only person on the island, put this place on your list.

  • Liked — the natural setting, gorgeous scenery, and no crowds
  • Disliked — loved everything
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Katie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Guana Island

Property: Guana Island
Address: P.O. Box 32, Guana Island
Location: Caribbean > British Virgin Islands > Guana Island
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Guana Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Guana Island 4*
Number of rooms: 15
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Also Known As:
Guana Island Hotel Guana Island
Guana Island Hotel Tortola
Guana Island Tortola
Guana Island British Virgin Islands

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