AN ODDYSSEY OF DISCOVERY – Tucked away at the eastern end of  Tortola’s North Shore, nestling between two verdant slopes, is a secret oasis of peace and tranquility: a beautiful, sheltered, white sand bay lapped by gentle, crystal clear waters.  The sand stretches far out into the sea, inviting barefoot swimming and appropriate noises of appreciation.

Villa Iona offers up a glorious blend of Caribbean ethnicity, Mediterranean balconies and terrazzas and modern conveniences tastefully embellished here and there by natural stone ornamentation.

A short walk along the well-worn path that takes you first through remnants of tropical forest, still displaying some mature turpentines, ficus and silk cottons, and then up through the carefully manicured, terraced orchards of the property will bring you to the front door of this Caribbean jewel, Villa Iona.

Of course, like us, you could use the more conventional route, passing through the electric gates and down the paved drive to the covered courtyard entrance, pausing to let your passengers out before parking up in the lockable garage or on the large forecourt – where there’s room for at least three cars.

Villa Iona does not, as the name suggests, bare any resemblance to the types of houses one would encounter in Scotland – no dull grey slate or gothic reincarnations, more warm, rose hues complemented by hints of rich terracottas and siennas.  Nor does it have any Greek pretence; although ornamental columns abound, they are Romanesque and not Ionic and the arches they support are smooth curves rather than the harsh straight lines of those favoured by the Hellenic peoples.  Instead, Villa Iona offers up a glorious blend of Caribbean ethnicity (pavilion hipped roofs and segmental arches), Mediterranean balconies and terrazzas and modern conveniences tastefully embellished with natural stone.

Inside, the butter-cream walls serve as a showcase for some stunning carpentry and furnishings.  Light floods in through the myriad teak-framed arched windows and doors (echoes of the external decoration) filling the open plan great room from the sandstone and marble floors to the highest beams of its pinewood cathedral ceilings. The view through those windows westwards down the North Shore and into the blue yonder is, quite simply, magnificent.

To the right of you as you step through the arched mahogany doors is the corridor leading to the master suite and second guest bedroom.  To your left is the black granite-topped breakfast bar that separates the kitchen from the rest of the living and dining space.  In front of you are seemingly acres of living space; for someone who likes to divide comfort and formality, three sets of furniture would not seem cramped.

The kitchen, with its cherry wood cabinets, black granite tops and huge, sparkling steel appliances – fridge/freezer, double oven, microwave, dish washer and sinks – is a gourmet’s dream.  The central island houses an extra hob set and sink, and is set at an ideal level for food preparation or children’s meals in the kitchen.  The dining area offers the opportunity to spill over on to a railed balcony; perfect for fine dining al fresco or breakfast bathed in the golden morning light.

The bedrooms, decorated in an array of pastel tones, are all en suite, have walk-in closets, and sport luxurious four poster beds in suitably rich woods (mahogany and teak).  The pale wood flooring makes it surprisingly cool underfoot.  The beautifully designed guest suite is situated to the left of the kitchen, with direct access to a private balcony.  The second guest room is the first room off the corridor to the left of the front door. 

The master suite, at the end of the corridor, is a sumptuous, spacious hideaway with extended living space opening out onto the pool deck (more about this later).  More arched doors and French windows replace brick walls, giving the impression of an open space converted to a room merely by the presence of another hipped roof.  The en suite bathroom is enormous, and the bath conveniently situated against another window to afford you an ablution view across the treetops to the indigo ocean.  If a soak in a tub is not on your agenda, then the view can be enjoyed from the outdoor shower.

For guests or extended family seeking a little privacy, beneath the main house are two further apartments.  The one bedroom apartment with an adjoining living room, patio area and state of the art kitchen, is located directly beneath the guest wing of the main house.  The other, a fully equipped studio flat, is situated under the master suite and is reached via a series of steps that meander down through the landscaped gardens from the parking area.

The focal point for Villa Iona has to be, though, the pool patio area occupying the space between the two wings of the house.  This wonderful deck fulfils a multitude of functions, from sun trap with dip pool to party area to romantic cocktail lounge complete with guaranteed spectacular sunset and crimson skies.  This patio can be reached through every one of those teak-framed arched doors that line the right hand walls of the great room, the corridor and the master suite.  There’s also a separate powder room just for the pool.

Villa Iona offers accommodation on a grand and luxurious scale.  Its setting, amongst the lush vegetation of Little Bay, makes for a quiet and secluded life for the private family who occasionally let their hair down with a wet and wild patio party.  The attention to detail is significant, with every embellishment, from the light sconces to the positioning of the palm trees, designed to make an owner want for nothing.

Price on Application