During our five night trip to the British Virgin Islands, Stephanie and I stayed at the Long Bay Beach Resort & Villas on Tortola. The grounds were gorgeous—52 acres of sprawling, semi-secluded rooms nestled throughout the lush hills. We managed to snag a beachfront deluxe room for just $550 for five nights through TripAlertz. The room was clean and comfortable, the bathroom and walk-in closet were easily the size of most budget New York City apartments, and the full-sized window in the shower made me feel like a bit of an exhibitionist. But how can anyone resist opening the window to the sound of the waves and the moon glowing over the ocean just steps away?
The private beach right outside of our room was gorgeous to look at, but not the best for swimming. It wasn’t horrible by any means, but it was always wavy and some spots were a bit rocky just a few feet into the water. Our friends stayed at the resort the week before us and the one girl actually broke her toe swimming in the ocean on the first day of her vacation. Also there were signs all over the place warning of strong riptides, so swimmers beware!
We never made it down in time for the breakfast buffet, but we did order a proper breakfast at the resort’s restaurant 1748 a couple of times. It was good, not great, and a bit overpriced for the portion size. I only splurged for a juice with my meal on the first day because the serving size was hardly worth the price.
I usually can’t understand why anyone would go to a beachfront resort and then spend time at the pool. But as my aging skin quickly realized, sometimes you need a break from all of the harsh saltwater. Luckily the Long Bay Beach Resort has a fantastic pool with a swim-up bar and grill, friendly bartenders, and a water slide. What more could you possibly need? Oh did I mention the view is great too? Tropical green hills on one side, and a deck overlooking the ocean on the other.
Taking a stroll West down the beach to Belmont Bay made me second guess all of those times I ever made fun of any hopeless romantic who ever said “I enjoy long walks on the beach.” This stretch of beach is almost uninhibited, with pristine, soft sand and the occasional coconut here and there, and nothing but the sound of the ocean.
We asked a few people where was the best beach was within walking distance from the resort. Everyone pointed us in the same direction just beyond Belmont Bay. So we started our trek down this road a few yards from the beach, through the trees and private drives, around Belmont Pond, and right onto Smuggler’s Cover.
We continued on for another 30-45 minutes on a gravel path through the trees until we stopped hearing the sounds of the ocean. It was hot, and we were starting to wonder if maybe we’d taken a wrong turn.
Just as quickly as we’d started discussing the idea of turning around, what appeared to be a mirage of paradise emerged from beyond the thick green forest. The non-strenuous but sweaty haul was definitely worth it. This beach was a secluded, private oasis of crystal clear, calm water and no rocks and nonexistent waves almost as calm as a swimming pool.
I paid $8 to rent some snorkeling gear to swim around for an hour or so. Normally it’s $10 for 30 mins, but I don’t think they’re too strict about any prices at that beach. I started off on a stretch of reefs close to the shore where there were massive schools of tiny fish. Then I swam further out as the fish got even bigger, until a grey fish that was about 3 feet long caught my eye . My first reaction was “shark!” as I bee-lined back to shore thinking about the terrifying JAWS ride at Disney World.
Before heading back to the resort another local told us to walk into the trees and check out the Lincoln that Queen Elizabeth II had riden in on her visit to the island in 1976. I was intrigued, and expecting to see some sort of memorialized car in pristine condition. We walked for a few minutes without seeing anything, and realized that yet again we were taking some strange man’s advice and wandering off into the forest alone. But alas, we realized this rusted pile of junk was indeed the Lincoln.
All in all the Long Bay Beach Resort was a nice place to stay. It’s also just a short walk or even shorter cab ride to Bomba’s Shack (hosting the Virgin Islands’ Full Moon Party each month), and Sebastian’s on the Beach. It’s about a 15-20 minute cab ride to Road Town where most of the ferries arrive/depart for other islands, but if you’re only planning a day or two of excursions, Long Bay Beach is a great place to relax, unwind, and enjoy a sunset or three.