VIRGIN GORDA’S LUXURY RESORT LITTLE DIX BAY RE-OPENS

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Monday this week marked the official reopening of Little Dix Bay – one of the Territory’s top luxury resorts. The great news that the resort is fully operational has been well received and reverberated around the world; in fact many regular guests of the past and holiday-goers were awaiting this announcement following the closure in 2016. 

Little Dix, which was founded by conservationist Laurance Rockefeller over half a century ago in 1964 is a BVI gem and was one of Virgin Gorda’s top employers. Outside of the Territory the resort is regarded as one of the world’s greatest getaways. Therefore the announcement is being referred to as “one of the year’s most highly anticipated openings.” 

The iconic resort has been completely revived in its new splendor, albeit it still maintains its identity as a leading example of ecotourism. “Set across 500 acres of pristine private beachfront and breathtaking flora and fauna, the re-imagined resort provides an unparalleled island escape with expertly appointed accommodations, inspired amenities, dynamic dining outlets and bespoke services and programming,” the official announcement boasted. 

Andreas Pade, the Managing Director mentioned that the reopening is good news for the resort’s numerous guests.  “We are excited to welcome a new wave of ultra-luxury travelers as well as our adoring legacy guests to the re-imagined Rosewood Little Dix Bay,” Mr. Pade said. 

“Over the last four years, an expert team of environmentalists, architects and designers has worked tirelessly to honor the resort’s storied past while incorporating modern amenities and comforts, creating a truly one-of-a-kind offering in the British Virgin Islands that will delight discerning travelers for generations to come,” he added. 

Throughout a fifty-two-year tenure, the property held a premier place in the hearts of travelers from around the world, many of whom returned annually alongside new friends and family members to share with them the riches of the resort. After closing for a refurbishment in 2016, the property was soon shuttered by the effects of the catastrophic hurricane Irma. 

“Today, following a four-year, full renovation, the renowned resort remerges to universal delight as a paramount Caribbean retreat, retaining its original emphasis on celebrating the surrounding natural environment while introducing new elements that speak to the wants and needs of today’s travelers,” the opening announcement added. 

Some history

BVI historian Vernon Pickering has outlined the early decades of Little Dix Bay Resort for our readers: “American philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller first visited the BVI in 1957; for quite some time he had been contemplating the development of a resort hotel that would be consistent with his philosophies of conservation, yet enable vacationers to relax comfortably in a setting of great natural beauty. In 1958, Rockefeller had donated funds to the BVI Government for the purchase and conservation of Spring Bay and Devil’s Bay. Initially he acquired 56 acres with plans to build a resort at Little Dix Bay. For the purpose he employed Virgin Gordians under the direction of Marvin Flax. The project was of such magnitude that over 230 workers were employed – half imported labour, and half from Virgin Gorda and Tortola. A total of 142 acres of land and adjoining sections towards the Spanish Town settlement were acquired. A lease for approximately 365 acres of Crown land adjoining this property was signed by Rockefeller in 1961 making possible the development of one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful areas for vacationing. The original architect was Walter Prokosch of Tippets-Abbet-McCarthy-Stratton of New York. Building materials used in construction were local stone, red cedar, purple heart, locus wood, mahogany and wallaba shingles (imported from Guyana). The roof of the main dining pavilion is supported by large beams of purple heart, some weighing more than 3,000 pounds.  The official opening of the resort on 18 January 1964 was a truly historic landmark. With a name like Rockefeller investing in the BVI tourist industry the future of the islands looked very bright.  The hotel had fifty rooms and contributed considerably to the development of Virgin Gorda. It had an estimated cost of $3 million but upon completion some $6.5 million had been spent by Rockefeller on the project. To give a clear picture of the significance of Rockefeller’s investment in the BVI tourist industry suffice it to say that in 1963 the Territory’s budget was $1 million. On 1 June, 1993 Little Dix Bay became part of the Dallas-based Rosewood collection of hotels and resorts. At the turn of the century the luxury resort had 98 rooms and suites, in a beach-lined, garden paradise of 500 acres overlooking a crescent-shaped bay and a perfect crescent-shaped beach. © copyright 2020

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