We were going to jump right into boat stories, but we loved our pre-boat hotel so much that I wanted to do a quick review in case others visit the BVIs. We stayed at the Sugar Mill Hotel on Tortola. It is built on the site of a former rum distillery (from a couple hundred years ago). They have a perfectly round swimming pool, which is built on the track where oxen turned the mill that crushed sugar cane. It is a beautiful property and very laid back – with only about a dozen rooms – a place for relaxation, not a lot of activities (although that can be arranged). And I t was comparable in price to the hotel at the boat base – with a lot more atmosphere!
They greeted us with champagne on their open air veranda, then loaded us in a golf cart with their logo and drove us to our room up the hill – which has a balcony with a view. They invited us to their weekly cocktail party, where we met all kinds of people. It turns out families have been coming to this hotel for years for a week at a time, so half the people knew each other from prior visits and were introducing each other to new family members – “You remember Harry – he just got married, and here is his new wife, Emily. Now she comes with us to Sugar Mill, too.” That sort of thing. It was a very friendly crowd.
Sugar Mill is most known for its dining room and considered one of the best in the BVIs. The menu changes daily and is served either on the verandah or in the old mill, lit with candles. It was delicious – my favorite was grilled shrimp and scallops; Frank’s was almond-crusted lamb chops (always his favorite!).
Best of all – they have a private beach. We were amazed that we were the ONLY ones there. Others use the hotel as a base to see other islands or go diving, so they were all out and about. We lolled the day away reading. They had a nice seaside cafe (you can see in background above) so we didn’t have to leave the beach at all. And the pool has an honor bar – you can mix your own drink and just write your name down in the notebook. (For some reason, this really impressed us.) I even worked one morning (before the honor bar), and they set me up with a desk overlooking the ocean with a pot of English Breakfast tea.
And when we left – they all hugged us. That is just the kind of place it is. We were sad to leave and hope to return to Sugar Mill again one day.
P.S. My favorite part of the beach: these beach beds! Here’s the view from the outside and the inside. : )