The moment I knew I was truly in another world was when I climbed the steps of Little Dix Bay's Sense spa. A curtain of hanging palm fronds revealed a baby blue-hued infinity pool, and just beyond that was the bay, appearing in a stunning shade of almost-cornflower blue and speckled with sailboats. From now on, this image will be the one I conjure up when I need to go to my “happy place.”
There are many such places at the 500-acre resort, located on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. Every single room could qualify, in fact, since all are no more than 30 steps from the sand. The one my husband and I stayed in, beachfront cottage 25, was right by the bay and yet somehow secluded, thanks to the sea grape trees. The roomy cottage, outfitted in calming pale peach and white linens, featured one of my favorite vacation indulgences: a stone-walled outdoor shower stocked with some incredible-smelling lemongrass and grapefruit amenities. (What isn't on offer is a TV, unless you rent one of the multiroom villas, but we honestly didn't miss it. And if we had, we could've gone to the Activities Room for its large plasma.)
As soon as we arrived (via San Juan, then Tortola, followed by a 20-minute private boat ride while sipping a frosty glass of rum punch), we headed to Little Dix Bay's crescent-shaped beach, where guests can help themselves to snorkel gear, Sunfish sailboats and kayaks. While snorkeling right off the beach isn't considered ideal, it is where I spotted one of the resort's unofficial mascots, the sea turtle, about 20 feet from shore. (He was too busy munching on sea grass to notice that we hovered above him for a while.) But for a true BVI snorkel experience, arrange for a drop at one of the dozens of nearby beaches. On an inside tip, we went to Mountain Trunk, with a scrumptious picnic lunch, and shared the waters—and lounge chairs—with only five or six other beachgoers.
Speaking of lunch, the food at Little Dix is superb, thanks to the executive chef, Marcel Driessen, who hailed from Sandy Lane Hotel & Golf Resort on Barbados. Our culinary highlights: the cooked-to-order omelettes at breakfast at the more casual Pavilion restaurant; the lobster and pumpkin fritters at the open-air Beach Grill; the blueberry dessert at The Sugar Mill, the resort's upscale restaurant; and, our favorite, lobster tail with fingerling potatoes. This is a Sugar Mill specialty, but we enjoyed it during a romantic beachfront dinner for two set up on the beach in front of our cottage. Each course arrived at the perfect time and temperature. I'm not sure what's more idyllic than dining à deux with the waves lapping at your feet and the stars twinkling overhead in a navy sky.
As memorable as this setting was, we discovered the absolute best place to watch the sun go down. (We had this all to ourselves, though I can't promise the same for future visitors.) Head to the spa, then make the short hike up to the yoga deck, which faces the ocean. Look straight down a few yards, and you'll spot a small teak table and two oversized chairs perched on a little grass patch on the edge of the cliff, seemingly placed to beckon you and your loved one. That's where you want to be, with two glasses and a bottle of wine, as the sun goes down.
In fact, for all that Little Dix has to offer—the beachfront pool, the snorkel tours, the diving trips, the nightly movies in the Activities Room, the tennis and fitness center, the cocktail cruises-it was the spa that kept calling us. We loved the Couples Massage Instruction class, which ought to be on the agenda for every honeymooning couple. Ask for Nancy—she's a fantastic teacher and leaves you believing you could, and should, make at-home massages a weekly ritual. (Your only regret may be that you hadn't thought to add a massage table to your registry.) Another eye-opener was the meditation class led by Sunshine, the aptly named yoga instructor. We left thinking we might actually be able to apply some of what we learned to our daily routine. (I'm now trying to meditate as a way of taking the edge off of my pesky commute.) The goal, of course, is to bring us back—in spirit—to our happy place until we can return for real.
Rooms from $550. For more information, visit littledixbay.com.