Laying Back at Biras Creek, British Virgin Islands
In a world where we all seem to want more and more of everything, what I love about Biras Creek is nothing. That’s right, nothing. And lots of it. „There are no distractions, no crowds, no traffic and no hawkers trying to get you to buy their wares. No commercialism,“ says Sarah Watts, Food and Beverage Manager of the Biras Creek Resort. And I have to agree with her. It’s pretty close to heaven. However, it’s not for nothing that this Relais and Chateaux destination was chosen as one of the „Top 10 Luxury Resorts in the Caribbean,“ winning the 2005 TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award. So, what’s so special about it?
The Epitome of Solitude
Biras Creek sprawls out over 140 acres of British Virgin Gorda, an island inhabited by only 5,000 people, and you can only get there by boat from British Virgin Tortola (access is easy via San Juan or St. Thomas). The ride is an invigorating half hour from Tortola and every yard the motorboat speeds away from Tortola is another yard you’re closer to solitude and relaxation on BVI Gorda. When you hit the resort and your ocean-front room, the first thing you’ll want to do is lie out on your balcony and just listen. The sweet air is filled with the sound of the ocean breaking onto the shore, in fanfare to your arrival. But there’s the cacophony of cicadas chirping at the top of their voices, vying for your attention too. It’s tough to know which one you should listen to. Hmm, ocean breaking or cicada symphony? It’s too hard to decide. So, just let the warm air kiss your skin and drift off instead. Just about everyone falls asleep when they first arrive here.
When you eventually awaken—no rush, of course—you can try out the refreshing shower. It’s in the garden, a great way to connect with nature and get clean at the same time. It will even take two people. Brides magazine rates the shower and the whole resort highly. „Rustic chic is one way to describe Biras Creek, one of the Caribbean’s sexiest hideaways (think outdoor showers for two)…for privacy-seeking couples who crave things low-key.“
Where the Action Can Be
And low key is plenty of what you’ll get here. Still, if you want activity, there’s plenty of that too. The choice is yours. „It can be quiet if you want it to be, or active if you want it to be,“ said honeymoon couple Darren and Marsha from New York. Active can mean trying out the water sports or visiting Spanish Town via the disused Copper Mine. You can stop at the famous Baths with their granite rock formations and saltwater pools, where colorful fish are waiting to be discovered. Actually, the Baths are the island’s most famous attraction. Also waiting to be discovered is the nightly sunset aboard the Biras Sailboat. Enjoy the skyline while you relax and let others do the sailing—the changing hues are too spectacular to miss! And, if you just love boats and can’t help yourself, try the Sailaway Package, which offers five nights at Biras Creek and two nights aboard the sailboat, complete with captain, cook and all meals and beverages. It doesn’t get more relaxing than letting someone else do the sailing.
Snorkeling is definitely one of the best ways to relax while you explore the water at the same time. You can book a half-day snorkeling tour at the resort. The boat will take you out toward Necker Island, owned by mogul Sir Richard Branson. Exploring the island itself is not allowed (though renting it for a day or a month for several thousand dollars is); still it’s nice to think that Sir Richard and his friends have snorkeled the same protected waters you’re now enjoying. The crystal clear water makes observing the coral formations and the fish easy. Of course, the swimming itself couldn’t be better. You may never see water so blue or clear. It invites you to just jump right in and you certainly can. If other hotel guests feel like an intrusion, there’s a plethora of deserted beaches around the island. Alternatively, you can hire out any of the Boston whalers at the resort and take them anywhere on the map you’ll be given. One favorite stop is the Sandbox bar, where you can get a drink and observe other water adventurers. For those new to the sport, scuba lessons are available at the pool. If you’re feeling capable after that, you can go for an ocean scuba drive later in the afternoon. It’s a great way to try out the sport for the first time. Windsurfing and kayaking are also available, as is hiking—you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view at the top of the hill, so don’t forget your camera!
Don’t Forget to Relax…Again and Again
If all this seems to be a touch too much like „`work“ and you’re looking for the height of relaxation, there’s the spa. What more can I say? There are many treatments to chose from, from the Island Cooler where you begin with a salt water scrub, get encased in a body wrap, then luxuriate in a final massage, to the Hot Stone Massage, which this writer enjoyed, offering deep moist heat from basalt stones for a total ‚wet noodle‘ experience. Your hardest choice is which treatment to select for maximum pampering, and the professional masseuses will be happy to advise you. And when it comes to advice, since you are in the tropics, it’s not unusual to ask for advice on the wildlife. You don’t need to worry though—in keeping with the laid-back atmosphere of the resort, you won’t find much wild life here (human or animal). What you will find, though, is the odd iguana crossing your path. Don’t worry, the animals are vegetarian and won’t harm you. They’re actually quite shy and will be just as likely to run and hide from your curious stares as you’ll want to study them just a bit more closely. If they run off, no problem, you’ll have another chance to study the wildlife with the pelicans out in the bay, who endlessly search for fish and don’t seem to care if you watch their antics or not. They’re quite happy to put on a show in an almost laidback fashion. Seems to be the theme of this resort. When it comes to food for the human kind, though, that’s a show worth seeing. Everything is included in the room rate and you’ll dine on a sumptuous daily special (as well as other menu items) every night. The unparalleled views from the restaurant won’t disappoint you either. The candlelit dinner is romantic in the extreme. It’s not for nothing that so many honeymooners decide this is THE place for them. Getting married here is also an option—there are very few residency requirements.
One thing you’ll notice pretty quickly after your arrival is the lack of cars on the resort, although there is transportation. Bikes will get you around the resort and you can leave them anywhere you like—your room number is on the back license plate so no need to fear you’ll lose them. But this is the one complaint I have about the resort (even paradise has to have a fault, right?). There’s a serious lack of signs so that when you think you’re cycling off to the Fat Virgin Café, which is not marked, you end up at the beach instead—totally the wrong direction.
Once you get your bearings, though, you will want to go to the beach … to taste the succulent barbecue that’s available three times a week. You might even want to go for a snack at that renowned Fat Virgin Café (which is great for Internet access too, for those who simply can’t stay away from their email). But if all that surfing (even if it’s only in cyberspace) proves to be more work than you thought (there’s that four letter word again), you can simply rock your cares away in one of the inviting and oh-so-hard-to-get-out-of hammocks suspended around the white-sand beach. Now, this is what an island vacation is all about. Breathe deeply; the air is heavy with the smell of hibiscus, oleander and even cactus, all native to the island.
A Secret Too Good to Keep
This island that’s only eight miles long and two miles wide was believed to once be connected to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as recently as 15,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age. Thankfully, the reception you get at Biras Creek is anything but icy. In fact, known as „the Hideaway for the Fortunate Few,“ Biras Creek is a hidden secret that’s been hidden too long. But, shhhhh, just don’t let on it was we who told you about it. Who’d have thought that in a world where everyone wants everything, so much of nothing could leave mind, body and spirit feeling so deliciously fulfilled and relaxed?
(The Epoch Times)