INSPIRATION – Every year sun-lusting vacationers are drawn to high-profile locales to put to test their sunscreen and the promises of heavy destination branding.  The BVI however, is no such Atlantis; not falling prey to casinos, water parks or false reefs.  The size of the BVI and preserved natural beauty has drawn tourists and foreigners to these ‘natural secrets’ for many decades.  It is this exact balance of quietude and familiarity that inspires citiphiles to leave their desks for weeks at a time — A paradise lifestyle in its most authentic incarnation.  Needless to say, the visitor of the BVI is a more sophisticated animal.

Long journeys can be hectic, but arriving in the BVI often includes and element of adventure or fantasy—private boats rides and taxis that meander through mountains of vistas keep you guessing to the last minute.  Entrances to most resorts, villas and homes in the BVI are understated, like a pedestal for the natural splendor.  There are no iconographic palaces or row of Italian designers, each day can be spent exploring wonders in and above the sea and beyond.  It is these experiences that remind us of their namesake — these islands truly are Virgin.

That being said, I have come to believe that every famous image I see of a lone palm tree or swaying hammock was taken by a photographer staying in Cane Garden Bay.

The natural beauty of the BVI lends itself to an aesthetic that is clean and quietly adorned.  The style is basic, comfortable and elegant; cooling grey and beige stone facades encasing wooden beams and shutters.  This is an update on the traditional colonial structure, made more livable with sleeker masonry, more modern with contemporary furnishings.

Every anticipatory ferry passenger gets their hair tussled with sea spray and cheeks kissed by the sun, letting excitement and exhaustion battle out the first day.  Finally arriving at your beachside suite is like falling into a bank of clouds surrounded by palm trees.  You are offered warm light, cool breezes and expansive windows to frame every view from the comfort of your Egyptian cotton sheets.  Unlike some Caribbean destinations, a vacationer to the BVI would be hard-pressed to find a room without a view, let alone not take a quick stroll to white sandy beaches.

Most resorts in the BVI do not subscribe to an itinerary or theme, save privacy and comfort.  The resort is made to suggest every sensory pleasure; it is indulgence set to your own pace.  In this way the BVI embodies the Caribbean aesthetic that reaches beyond densely saturated colors—it is a combination of all things cultural and natural.  This Leeward escape is about finding a smart equilibrium of extended exhales and vibrant flavor, but perhaps not in our room all at the same time.  

Most places to stay in the BVI are private communities that terrace the hillside and sprinkle the waterfront.  Intimate rooms and suites stand apart to give guests piece of mind and let the greenery grow.  The clean luxury of a spa can be found in every room.  Stone slab countertops, teak furniture and 4-poster beds all under a tall roof of exposed beams.  The simplicity of design comes from keeping with the natural earthen elements composed in clean lines. Every interior echoes elements appreciated throughout a day’s adventures.   

In the same breath outside living is as essential, offering more than the room you pay for.  Those same comforts of home and bed are laid throughout sloping beaches and tropical verandas for a true communion with nature. The look is a push and pull between rustic naturals and refined luxury.  Beach napping on a carved chaise would be incomplete without a rough thatch umbrella for protection.  

6:24 and the sunset is giving way to the islands on the horizon, silver seas and fiery peach sky.  A brisk tiptoe across coral and tile before dinner under the stars.  Lights come up on a veiled path and it becomes clear that simple details that once seemed inconsequential have provided this lifestyle.  

Lily Stockdale is the resident Potter at Bamboushay Pottery, Nanny Cay.