Peter Island: Exclusive to Extraordinary
NOTE: As of June 2019, Peter Island Resort is currently closed for continuing renovations after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Booking is not available at this time. A reopen date is pending.
Every private island resort is, by definition, exclusive: you can't stay if you're not a guest. But it's experiences that help elevate the Peter Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands from merely exclusive to extraordinary.
Peter Island Rooms
Family owned Peter Island has a mere 52 rooms clustered around Deadman's Bay, each within easy walking distance of all of the island's amenities save the spa, which stands alone on Big Reef Beach about 3/4 of a mile away.
A two-story building on Sprat Bay houses the resort's 32 Ocean View and Deluxe Ocean View Rooms. The former, mostly located on the second floor, are the lowest-priced rooms at Peter Island, starting at just over $200 in low season but hardly bare-boned: they sacrifice tubs for stall showers but still have 312 square feet of living space and balconies with Caribbean views. The Oceanview Deluxe rooms add about 70 square feet of living space and have soaking tubs and French doors opening onto private patios, with swaying hammocks beckoning nearby.
We were fortunate enough to stay in one of Peter Island's 20 beautiful Beachfront Junior Suites, which combine sumptuous living space with a prime location looking down on the length of Deadman's Beach. They sleep four comfortably -- good news for families -- and couples like us will be spoiled with elbow room. Peaked wooden ceilings, interior stonework and whitewashed paneling impart a sense of rustic island elegance.
We loved lounging in the expanse of our king-sized bed while the light of sunrise filtered in through the slatted windows and taking breakfast on the balcony overlooking the beach, with the soft sand just steps away from our door. The bathroom was enormous, with adjoining two-headed showers and a jacuzzi tub with a window opening onto the bedroom and patio beyond. (Windows to the side of our end building were less special, offering a view of some old construction debris.)
Peter Island Dining
We were wined and dined in impressive fashion at Peter Island, where the breakfast and special Saturday night dinner buffet will blow away any preconceived notions you might have about "chafing-dish dining." The resort has one of the top wine cellars in the British Virgin Islands, providing plenty of stellar pairings for perfectly grilled beef tenderloin, pan-seared grouper in a coconut curry sauce, and other dinner entrees. For starters, the beet and goat cheese salad was excellent.
The weekly buffet is a lavish spread with tables piled high with cheeses, savory meats, and chilled seafood, pasta and carving stations, and an irresistible dessert table with bite-sized treats that include the resort's famous bananas foster. Speaking of bananas, they're a sweet side to the popular coconut-crusted French toast served a la carte at breakfast alongside a buffet with omelette station and indulgences like a "steak and eggs" featuring braised short ribs.
Drake's Lounge is a beautiful, open-air gathering spot next to the main resort pool with an impressive rum selection -- the perfect place to sip cocktails while enjoying the nightly live music performances by local artists. Deadman's Beach Bar & Grille is a more casual alternative for lunch and dinner -- splitting a pizza and a couple of beers here is as close as you'll likely get to an "affordable" meal at Peter Island if you're trying to keep a cap on costs (although that's not really the zeitgeist here).
Peter Island Villas
Peter Island is a money-is-no-object kind of place, and that's especially true if you're considering renting one of the island's private villas -- Falcon's Nest, Crow's Nest, and Hawk's Nest. The Hawk's Nest is closest to the resort's other rooms and amenities, and while it's hardly modest -- it can sleep up to 10 guests in three bedrooms -- the others are palatial properties perched on a pair of the island's high peaks.
The infinity pool and patios at the fully staffed Crow's Nest enjoy panoramic views of Sir Francis Drake Channel and the other British Virgin Islands, with four bedrooms sleeping up to eight guests. And the Falcon's Nest is simply one of those dream villas you've always wanted to stay at, with a lake-like pool and swim-up bar overlooking White Bay Beach, six bedrooms, a cavernous living room and dining room, and a three-story waterfall concealing a grotto bar. Come rent it with a dozen of your favorite friends: it's only $15,000 per night.
Peter Island Amenities
Peter Island's five beaches are a big part of the island's appeal. If you're staying in the junior suites, Deadman's Bay Beach and Little Deadman's Beach are right at your doorstep: for most resort guests, these are the main hangouts and have beautiful views across the bay to Dead Chest Island, where legend holds that Blackbeard marooned several of his pirate crew, each provided with only a cutlass and a bottle of rum (you can guess what happened next).
If you're feeling energetic, take a moderately steep and strenuous hike to White Bay Beach, where you also can rent a private tiki hut for the day, or Big Reef Bay, where the spa is located -- the latter is favored by joggers for its beachside trail. Biking also is an option, as is arranging for shuttle transportation to either location. Honeymoon Beach is a couples' delight -- and can be reserved by one couple at a time (more on that in a minute).
Snorkeling right off the beach is one of the true pleasures at Peter Island -- expect to see rays and turtles -- and the on-site PADI-certified dive shop can get you below the waves or sailing above them on a kayak, Sunfish, or paddleboard. Active guests will love the 24-hour fitness center, extensive (and sometimes challenging) network of hiking trails, and free morning yoga at the spa. There's also tennis courts (although these looked a bit neglected when we visited) and a basketball court.
Peter Island's Experiences
Private dining on beach or balcony have become pretty standard at upscale resorts, and Peter Island is no exception. But the resort also offers some singular experiences that make a stay here especially memorable, and we'd recommend them all if you're of a mind to indulge.
One of the first things you're likely to see when arriving at Peter Island is the resident sailing yacht Silmaril, a 51-foot Hans Christian sloop with a gorgeous teak interior that's available for day trips and sunset cruises as well as overnight charters. Compared to a typical catamaran cruise, a trip on the Silmaril is like stepping back into the glory days of elegant, wooden-boat sailing.
You can order a picnic lunch to tide you over for an afternoon at any of Peter Island's beaches, and the best place to enjoy your repast is in one of the tiki huts lining White Bay beach (rentals can be arranged through the resort concierge). We brought an iPod and speakers, a bottle of Cruzan, and our lunch-to-go and hung out here until the rum ran out: the best kind of beach day. Just make sure you're on the same page as your driver about your pickup time -- you don't want to be late for dinner.
If you're a newlywed, honeymooner, or just a diehard romantic, you can reserve Honeymoon Beach for just the two of you: located on the east side of Deadman's Bay, this sliver of sand is just far enough away to create a sense of isolation and intimacy, yet close enough to reach out when you need another snack or drink. The beach is closed to other guests while reserved by couples, but can be visited at other times.
Peter Island Sunset
We absolutely loved the Sunset at the Loop: a driver will take you up to a high peak on the western end of Peter Island to toast the end of the day with champagne and a snack of fruit and cheese. You can ease into an Adirondack chair to enjoy nature's light show -- but remember to bring bug spray, because the mosquitos can be vicious.
Peter Island Spa
What sets the Peter Island spa apart is its location: the spa is the only structure on Big Reef Bay, which itself is removed from most of the other resort amenities. Plus, it's built up on a bluff, so you have sweeping views of the beach and bay while you relax next to (or in) the spa pool, pre- or post-treatment. The 10,000-square-foot spa includes a eucalyptus steam room and 10 treatment rooms, as well as a pair of outdoor "bohios" for massages and other services delivered amid the island's natural beauty. Ayurvedic treatments are among the services offered on the spa menu.
Peter Island Information
One of the most complete luxury resorts in the Caribbean, Peter Island is truly a special-occasion destination. For an anniversary or honeymoon, this is a resort where you can fulfill your private-island fantasies to the fullest. You'll pay for the privilege to stay here, although we'd recommend looking for a low-season rate even if you can just come for a night or two as part of a longer trip to the British Virgin Islands -- a stopover on a charter-yacht tour, for example. It's an exclusive experience you won't soon forget.
British Virgin Islands