"I’ve been here for 30 years, but I call it a couple of mornings," says Hugh "Benji" Benjamin, concierge extraordinaire at the Peter Island Resort. I, however, visited this amazing place for only five days and left it wishing that my visit could have lasted 30 years. In fact, this magical and majestic gem of an island had me entranced in just under 30 seconds.
Situated on 1200 magnificent acres, and surrounded by the crystal waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Sir Francis Drake Channel, Peter Island is located just four miles south of Tortola. Even though Peter Island (part of the 60 islands, quays and reefs that comprise the British Virgin Islands) is visible from other islands and is easily accessible by boat, it feels miles away from nowhere.
You won’t find nightclubs, corporate resorts, commercial restaurants or a bevy of boutiques in this slice of paradise, but if you are lucky you will find yourself. This shouldn’t be a difficult feat considering the idyllic setting, serene atmosphere, and unparalleled service and accommodations.
With just 52 guest rooms and suites and four private villas, there are never many more than 100 guests on Peter Island at one time — that’s about 12 acres of space per guest. Most of the land is undeveloped, natural and just waiting to be explored.
Being an island, sea and sand is expected, but here, guests may choose from five beaches — one more breathtaking than the next. Deadman’s Bay stretches on for about a mile and boasts silky, white sand, coconut palms, abundant lounge chairs and unobstructed views of Dead Chest (where the infamous pirate Blackbeard slew 15 mutinous men with just one sword and a bottle of rum) and Salt Islands. If you’re seeking some physical activity, Deadman’s is the beach to windsurf, kayak and sail with Peter island’s natural athlete and instructor, Shermon King. His smiling face and cool wit will give you the confidence of a professional in no time at all. Honeymoon Beach is the resort's most intimate, and couples seeking solitude can often be found lazing in the shade on the site’s two lounge chairs found beneath a small, thatched hut. Snorkeling is best at White Bay, where thousands of fish exist among natural reef. Little Deadman’s Bay is a Caribbean hot spot for yacht-watching and Big Reef Bay is perfect for beach combing and sunset strolls.
While beachside, be sure to take lunch at Deadman’s Beach Bar & Grill. Relax and breathe a sigh of content at this open-air restaurant that boasts serene views of turquoise waters and surrounding islands. Be sure to try the grilled swordfish or warm grilled calamari salad with tabouli and arugula, followed by divinely decadent chocolate chip cookies and fresh fruit for dessert.
Dinner will most likely take you oceanside, to Tradewinds Resataurant (overlooking the Sir Francis Drake Channel), where veteran Chef Wilford "Willo" Stoutt prepares sophisticated, tongue-tantalizing continental and West Indian dishes. His specialties include "famous" Crab Cakes, Carmalized Red Snapper Fillet and Grilled Prawns with Panchetta. Adjacent to tradewinds is the wine room, which houses between 300 and 400 bottles of fine wine. And what’s dinner without desert? Put your calorie counters away and indulge in Chocolate Passion (light chocolate mousse with chocolate passion fruit crème brule inside) or Pina Colada Cheesecake. Says Food & Beverage Director Allen Davis, "We want guests to enjoy a diverse menu of world class cuisine with the flair of indigenous Caribbean products."
Sun, surf, sand, delectable food. . . can it get any better than this? Only at Peter Island Resort. Visitors will now be able to experience the brand new, $3.2 million "Sea and Self" spa. Constructed on its own secluded beach, the spacious, full-service facility sprawls across 13,000 square feet, encompassing 10 treatment rooms in addition to elegantly understated common areas, complete with views of natural surroundings. The spa also is home to its own pool, two seaside spa suites and a juice bar that serves calming concoctions and light meals.
If you seek respite from the day-to-day doldrums of the world, or just need to get away, Peter Island is the perfect place to do it. It’s a haven for serenity, a savior of souls and a lover’s dream world just waiting to be discovered.