Island Hopping in the BVI

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Virgin Gorda is most famously known for The Baths at the southern end of the island. Here you can see evidence of the volcanic origins of the island, and the beach is strewn with massive rocks and boulders, and caves like structures have formed, creating magical spaces which you and swim through and explore.

Until now, The Baths were the only part of the island I had explored. This time we ventured to the other side of the island where we were taken across to Biras Creek, an incredibly wholesome and relaxing luxury resort.

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Only accessible by boat or helicopter, and with only 31 suites, Biras Creek has a luxurious feeling of exclusivity and you really do feel as though you are hidden away from reality.

After hopping off the speedboat we had taken from Creek Harbour, a friendly welcome awaited us and we enjoyed a tour resort, rum or virgin cocktail in hand, and were shown to our suites. At this point we were also told how to work the resort bikes. That might seem odd, but with no brakes they require a skillful pedaling backwards motion to be mastered before you can go anywhere!

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Once I was happy I could break to a halt on the bike and would not go crashing into the lovingly pruned foliage on either side of the paths, the bikes were SO much fun! It was amazing to be able to whizz around the resort, and as there was a lot of relaxing to be done, it was also great to do a little activity, albeit minor.

The suites were fabulous. Fresh flowers decorated the rooms, and each little hut also had it’s own outdoor seating area.

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For those wanting to do more than just chill, day trips for diving or snorkelling are available, and keen sailors can take the resort’s Boston Whaler out for the day and explore the surrounding waters. The resort will even lend you a captain for the day if need be, so you don’t even need to know how to sail.

Down by the beach you will find kayaks, laser sailboats, hobie cats and paddle boards all available to play with. I noticed some guests begin their day with an 8.30am yoga session in one of the relaxing huts, and there is a full spa taking appointments each day.

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Thee flags by each set of chairs are to be used to let the bar staff know you would like a drink!

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The other place to relax during your stay is the pool. Looking out over the ocean, as you soak up the sun you hear the waves crashing on the beach below.

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Afternoon tea is served each day at 4pm over looking the bay. Home rock cakes, poundcake and sweets with a huge selection of teas and coffee…t really couldn’t be more dreamy!

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And the breakfast. Well. As you would expect, it was phenomenal. A full continental buffet awaits you in the rooftop restaurant serving delicious fresh watermelon, grapes and melons. Freshly baked breads, muffins and pots of tea and coffee are also laid out and hot breakfast items can be ordered too. The apple pecan pancakes with maple syrup did not disappoint, nor did the perfectly poached eggs benedict on home-made English muffins.

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Another eatery option whilst at Biras Creek is The Fat Virgin; a cute, laid back shack down at the dock. Perfect for lunch, you can enjoy delicious wraps and salads, watching the yachts come and go and planning the best strategy on how to change your life in order to buy one ASAP.

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In the evening we ventured across to Saba Rock for dinner. The bay in-between Biras Creek and Saba Rock was like a floating village, lite up with hundreds of sail boats, all docked for the night.

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On arrival, Saba Rock was buzzing, and we enjoyed a delicious dinner whilst we soaked up the holiday atmosphere. Unfortunately the light was too poor for images on my lowly camera phone, but I can tell you the Commodore’s Pasta dish was to die for. A large bowl of linguine, piled high with lobster (and lots of it too), mussels and prawns all tossed together in an indulgent creamy garlic and white wine sauce.

To give you a feel for the place, here are some amazing images from the Saba Rock facebook page.

Back at the resort, the gardens and paths were lined with the most beautiful plants, flowers and trees, all adding to the rustic and luxurious charm of the place.

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After copious amounts of lounging, biking and soaking up every inch of zen at Biras Creek, we reluctantly made our way back to Tortola, and the dramatic skies we witnessed on our drive back to the port at the other end of Virgin Gorda were a beautiful send off.

A perfectly stunning end to a dreamy couple of days.

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Spa Deliciousness at Sandy Lane, Barbados

Sandy Lane, Barbados
Sandy Lane, Barbados

If you’ve just finished reading about the ridiculously delicious white chocolate sauce dessert at Daphne’s in Barbados, prepare for another few paragraphs of paradise because you’ve just jumped from food heaven to spa heaven!

Sandy Lane in Barbados opened it’s pearly white gates back in 1961 and has been the go to spot for jet setters looking for an outrageously luxurious Caribbean get away ever since. When my Mum announced that she had booked treatments for myself, my sister-in-law and her at the famous spa, I was beyond excited! If you, like us, are not staying at the hotel you can book in for treatments and use the spa, but only until 3.30pm – I can only presume that’s when the George Clooneys and Kylie Minogues of the world appear, as they were nowhere to be seen when we were there!

After giving our names at the gates, we drove into the vast grounds of the hotel and spa. The gardens were stunning and completely immaculate. As we walked towards the spa, even the AIR was perfumed and amazing! Honestly, it was as if they had planted little air-fresheners full of deliciousness about the grounds.

The spa is nestled behind the waterfall which fronts the enormous hotel pool. Quaint, white bridges dotted about taking you across the pool to the spa, and on the other side, the poolside bar, make it this an enticing area for hotel guests. wpid-20140425_211515.jpgwpid-img_20140425_211246.jpg

Before being led down to the spa we sat in the huge, marble atrium filling in the usual spa forms and enjoying calming ginger tea and some water, room temperature or cold, should you want the options! The therapists were so friendly and welcoming, and urged us to enjoy our day at the spa by making use of all the facilities before, and after, our treatments.

I was booked in for a back, neck and shoulder massage. This was a Swedish style massage which also used hot stones and I was given the choice of two Sandy Lane Signature oils, Sunrise or Sunset. I chose the latter and for 45 minutes I was the most relaxed I have felt in forever! I left feeling completely de-stressed and my skin was luxuriously soft and had soaked up all the gorgeous smelling coconut oils. After my massage I had an eyebrow tint, which was just as relaxing and the therapist took such time and attention to make sure she used just the right shade of dye for my complexion and hair colour.

The spa facilities are, of course, fantastic. Outside there is a hydrotherapy pool complete with air beds and a jacuzzi, and on the other side of the patio, an array of experience showers, each with a different water temperature and scent designed to awaken the senses. The cold room, set at 6 degrees C, was delightfully cooling, and I must admit with temperatures outside at 28 degrees I didn’t venture into the sauna. Indoors there is a stunning relaxation room where you can sip an amazing selection of teas, enjoy fresh fruits and juices, and quite simply chill out. 

All robed up and ready to relax...
All robed up and ready to relax…
View of the hydrotherapy pool from my deck chair
View of the hydrotherapy pool from my deck chair
Panoramic view of the outdoor spa patio
Panoramic view of the outdoor spa patio
Gorgeous garden and waterfall at the back of the spa
Gorgeous garden and waterfall at the back of the spa
The ultimate chill out zone
The ultimate chill out zone

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After our treatments we floated back upstairs to the spa cafe for lunch. There was no need to change out of our robes which was great, and the lunch menu had lots of fresh salads and light snacks – exactly what we were in the mood for! I enjoyed Gazpacho, a cold, Spanish, tomato and onion soup. Served with a dollop of sour cream, the soup was refreshing and tangy, exactly how I remembered it from my time in Spain. My sister-in-law had a california roll and my Mum went for a colourful Greek salad.

Refreshing gazpacho soup with sour cream
Refreshing chilled gazpacho soup with sour cream
Sushi - the perfect spa snack!
Sushi – the perfect spa snack!
Greek salad with feta and olives
Greek salad with feta and olives

After lunch we retreated back downstairs for one last final hour of zen before heading across to the main hotel area for celebratory cocktails. The perfect end to a perfect day…  and now I am left wishing every day could spent in the sunshine and luxury that is the Barbados Sandy Lane Spa!

Balcony overlooking the  terrace and beach
Balcony overlooking the terrace and beach
One Mojito and one Monkey in a Tree cocktail!
One Mojito and one Monkey in a Tree cocktail!
Love the SL cocktail sticks!
Love the SL cocktail sticks!