Romance in Tortola, British Virgin Islands

By: Ellen Keralla

Tortola is one of the many British Virgin Islands. Just 60 miles east of Puerto Rico lay the West Indies. These islands are accessible from the air via San Juan or by a 15-mile ferry via St. Thomas (approximately $50/person/round trip). The islands were named one of the top ten Caribbean islands for 2006 in the Conde Nast Traveler. The 12 inhabited islands have villas, apartments and resorts to choose from. Finding the most romantic on each island is my personal quest. I specialize in Romantic travel and I try to find at least one great property on each island I visit to share with my clients.

The BVI, as those in the know refer to them, are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom even thought the U.S. dollar is the only legal tender. To most visitors, the islands are really all about sailing. One can charter a yacht with a crew or attend a recognized teaching school for sailing. For me, it was finding a romantic hotel to send my honeymoon and anniversary clients to visit.

A wedding in the British Virgin Islands will be memorable and stress-free. A marriage license is simple to arrange and the certificate is valid in the United States. I was able to witness one of those stress-free weddings at the cozy and romantic Sugar Mill Hotel.

The rain forced the wedding to take place under the large, tree-shaded alfresco gazebo. With twinkling lights, flowers and ribbons the ambiance was definitely romantic.

The Sugar Mill Hotel is set in a lush tropical garden among the ruins of a 17th century sugar plantation. According to Conde Nast Traveler 2006, the Sugar Mill Hotel is one of the top 5 in the Caribbean. The critically acclaimed cuisine in the historic stone building once housed the plantation’s rum distillery. The food is a culmination of Caribbean ingredients meets California cuisine in an imaginative, award-winning menu that changes nightly.

Across the street from a small white sand beach in reef-protected water this resort is located on the west side of the island. Travelers from the U.S. must remember that driving is on the left side of the road. I suggest a taxi from the airport. Car rental can be arranged at the Sugar Mill Hotel if one is so inclined.

The hotel has a honeymoon suite located very near the restaurant. Although superbly appointed, this stand-alone unit is too close to parking and the pool for me. I much rather prefer the Plantation House Suites. They are designed to reflect the charm of the traditional Caribbean architecture, with fine stonework, breezy porches and lacy gingerbread trim. These rooms are just a few steps from the beach. With an open plan layout, each master suite has a king size bed, large bathroom with double sinks a living room are with sofa and chairs, cable TV, VCR and kitchenette with microwave and refrigerator. Steep hillsides give all guest great views of the ocean and some neighboring islands.

The honeymoon package for 7 nights includes deluxe accommodations, bottle of fine champagne, 3-day jeep rental, 1-hour massage, full day sail to neighboring islands including lunch and drinks, gourmet picnic for two, a bottle of Sugar Mill rum, welcome cocktail and a copy of the Sugar Mill Caribbean cookbook written by Jeff & Jinx Morgan – Bon Appetit columnists. Breakfast and dinner can be included in your daily charge.

If low key and relaxing is what you are looking for than this island resort is for you. Not for the physically challengedArticle Search, this hotel is for a few special people whom enjoy getting to know the staff and other guests.

For more romantic travel information please contact me at Special Occasion Travel either by phone 1-800-691-0243 or email me at Ellen@SpecialOccasionTravel.com. Please visit my website at http://www.specialoccasiontravel.com and sign up for my complimentary weekly travel tips.

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