SCRUB ISLAND REVIEWS:
Chic Family Travels visited Scrub Island, a private island in the British Virgin Islands, with the whole family in tow for Thanksgiving 2011.
We admittedly had to bring a nanny to help with our 16 month old due to the lack of affordable child-care services available on Scrub Island. $30 an hour is just too expensive! No worries, we knew what the resort had to offer prior to making our reservation. I provided this information as an FYI for families who are bringing young children and want to partake in some of the non-baby friendly activities this scrub island review recommends.
We booked our stay at Scrub Island through Jet Setter which is an online luxury auction website. We saved 40% on our vacation at Scrub Island by booking through Jet Setter. I am not kidding.
Scrub Island is located on a private island very close to Tortola which made for some tricky traveling plans. The best route would be to fly into Tortola at the Beef Island airport then take Scrub Island’s free ferry shuttle located within 5 minutes from the airport. However, the flights into Tortola were double the cost of flights into St. Thomas. Thus, we opted to fly into St Thomas and booked a private boat charter to the resort (note: ferry services are also available). The ferry is far less expensive but a lot more hassle. Price out both and make a good decision for your family!
Scrub Island Reviews Update 2013- There are new direct flights into Tortola/Beef Island on Seaborne airlines from San Juan Puerto Rico. However, we have found that it is still more economical and quicker to fly into St. Thomas and ferry over from the U.S. It is a shame because it would be a lot easier to fly directly into Tortola.
ARRIVAL/ Day 1:
We arrived at Scrub Island after dark not expecting to see much. Boy, were we wrong! The Scrub Island marina is lit with blue lights, ingenious idea, thus you can see the sparkling blue waters even at night. There were tons of huge tarpon swimming around, which was a delight for the kids to see. We made our way into the lovely lobby area where Anderson, the resort manager, was awaiting our arrival. He quickly greeted us with rum punches and swept us off to our rooms. The rooms/condos at Scrub Island really are the highlight of the resort. Scrub Island consists mostly of condos which is a must for families. The condos are five star quality with amenities such as Sub Zero and Wolf appliances, jacuzzi tub and of course an ocean front balcony. You really can’t go wrong when booking a room at Scrub Island because they are all ocean front. I would request a condo with the taller ceilings. I may just be a hotel snob, but it really made a difference in the feel of the space.
We headed to dinner in the main restaurant, Caravela, while the kids went for a swim in the pool. The pool is also the second highlight of this resort! It is voted the best pool in the Caribbean and we agree! The pool is two story with the upper pool featuring an infinity edge and a nice sized jacuzzi. There is also a water-slide that leads to the lower pool. The lower pool is a very child-friendly area with a zero-entry and pool bar. We particularly loved Luis at the pool-bar who even went as far as to peel a tangerine for our 16 month old while he was swimming around.
Chic Family Travels pre-booked a private boat charter for our first day in the British Virgin Island. We booked our charter with an outside company, but in hindsight, I would recommend using the company recommended by the resort. They are fairly priced and the resort recommendation goes a long way. With that being said, we had an excellent day on the boat! We headed straight to the Baths at Virgin Gorda. We really did not know what to expect but were blown away by nature’s beauty at the Virgin Gorda Baths. Note: the Baths are not toddler friendly. There is lots of climbing and tight spaces to maneuver. The Baths are simply amazing. You have to see them to appreciate them so I will not go on and on.
After the Baths, we spent the rest of the afternoon stopping at Little Dix Bay, Cooper Island, and the Oceans 7 Beach Club on Peter Island. I would highly recommend visiting any of these stops. Oceans 7 Beach Club was a fun spot for the kids because they had a water rock-climbing wall and water trampoline. The staff was very friendly and we were literally the only people there! Apparently, Oceans Beach Club is located on Peter Island but not owned by the Peter Island Resort. They were very happy for our business and served us lunch even after the kitchen was closed. I still feel bad for interrupting their dominoe game!
On day 3 we decided to just hang out at Scrub Island. We rented snorkels for a price of $10 a piece and headed by kayak to a nearby reef. This was really a plus for Scrub Island. There are daily charters from St Thomas that come all the way here to snorkel. It was an easy kayak ride with the kids. Next, we enjoyed a hike around Scrub Island. We found the hidden jewel, called North Beach. It is a beach on the other side of the Island that includes a pool and bar (not staffed but they will bring anything you want with a phone call. There is a phone at the bar). It was really a nice area and the beach was actually much larger than the one at the main resort. We ended our day with a visit to the Scrub Island Spa. It was worth every penny!
We took a trip to Tortola to swim with the Dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. It is a bit of a trek, but totally worth it! You will take the Scrub Ferry to the Trellis dock then a 30 minute cab ride to the Dolphin Discovery.
We asked for recommendations for a Tortola lunch spot from Anderson at Scrub Island. He made reservations for our family at the Tamarind Beach Club. He said that the Sunday Brunch is known as the best in Tortola. We were a little surprised when the cab driver pulled up to the Tamarind Beach Club. It was not really on the beach. In fact, it was in the middle of the Tortola mountains (aka… the middle of nowwhere). The parking lot was full of cars so we decided to just go for it. It was quite an interesting spot. Apparently, Tamarind Beach Club is also a hotel in Tortola. Thus, the dining area overlooked the hotel pool and the staff welcomed the children to swim. The crowd was mostly the “continental locals” as they call them. There was a great Sundy Brunch vibe and the free mimosas were flowing. The food was AMAZING! If you want an authentic English Caribeean meal then this is the place to go for Sunday Brunch.
From the Tamarind Beach Club, we headed to swim with the Dolphins. Chic Family Travels gives this a DOUBLE THUMBS UP! We have swam with the dolphins at the Atlantis and this program totally blew it away. You actually get to swim with the Dolphins and interact with them up close and personal. The toe push was the highlight for our family. We soared through the water thanks to our Dolphin friends 🙂
The British Virgin Island is all about island-hopping so we had pre-booked another day on the boat. We started off the boat trip with some great snorkeling near St. John. We all saw star fish, parrot fish and other colorful marine life at this shallow reef. I would have no idea how to tell you to get here other than it is near St John and there is a small beach in the middle of the reef.
From there, we headed to Foxy Taboo at Jost Van Dyke. Foxy Taboo, owned by the daughter of Foxy, is really a hidden jewel on Jost Van Dyke. It has the best beach bar food in the island from our experience. Don’t come here expecting a greasy cheesburger and fries. The menu features lamp chops with a mint aoli and eggplant cheesecake to name a few and you would never expect it! Everything is baked fresh at the restaurant including the pizza dough and it is truly the best pizza I have ever had. Oh, and those fresh home-made chips……
Ok, now for the second reason you should come to Foxy Taboo. It is home to the “bubbly pool.” There is about a 15 minute hike through the mountain to a natural discovery that all kids (recommended for ages 7 and older) will love. The bubbly pool is a wave pool that is created by waves that are coming from the Atlantic to the Caribbean. The bubbly pool is surrounded by two huge rocks and a break in the middle. When the Atlantic wave hits the Caribbean pool…well…. you will just have to see. This is a must-do stop in the Islands. Note: ask your Captain if the phenomenon at the bubbly pool is active because it does not always occur. Weather and currents has something to do with it. Also, bring water shoes! Flip Flops are not recommended.
After some fun in the bubbly pool we hiked back to the Taboo and our boat. We found some friends along the way. Now, I began to wonder if I really had lamb for lunch ?!
Next up, the REAL Foxy’s beach bar. We docked at the main town of Jost Van Dyke. Did I mention that only about 240 people live on Jost Van Dyke? Needless to say, there is not much in town other than Foxy’s and a cute little police station.
Once we arrived at Foxy’s, the first person we saw was Foxy himself! This was quite a treat as he is a funny guy. Foxy is the real deal. He lives on Jost Van Dyke and is the owner of Foxy’s. I timidly walked up to Foxy and asked him if he was Foxy. He said in so many words “no, I am just a ‘black guy’ ” Hey, I didn’t say it, he did! I was shocked and almost walked away but then he laughed and said….”nah, I’m just kidding, I’m Foxy.”
He asked where we were from and I told him the Alabama Gulf Coast. He asked “Do you know my friends from the Florabama? The owner was just here last week.” It is a really small world ! We spent the rest of our time at Foxy’s listening to Foxy tell jokes. He is quite a character. No wonder Kenny Chesney likes to visit this bar when he is in town.
Chic Family Travels spent another lovely day at Scrub Island Resort. As you can tell from our blog, we spent alot of time headed off the island because that is what the British Virgin Islands is really about! Alot of people actually stay on a Catamaran and hop from island to island for a week. This is a dream of ours as well, but not feasible with a 16 month old! I would highly recommend Scrub Resort but would encourage families staying there to rent a boat for 2-3 days to see what the British Virgin Islands is really about. Truthfully, the children would get bored at the resort for a full week without venturing out. Scrub Island does not have a kids club or organized activities for the children. The British Virgin Islands is one of the only places you can easily island hop due to the calm waters and close proximity of the islands, so book a charter and experience what the BVI’s is really about. Your kids will love it!
After a fun day at the resort, we headed to the “Last Resort” for dinner. We were in for quite a treat! We arrived at the Trellis dock via the Scrub Island Ferry. There was a sign and a phone to call the Last Resort to pick us up by boat.
The guy mentioned on the phone that their bigger boat was out of service but they could pick us up on the smaller boat. It was a short distance and I had a life jacket for the baby so I was game. Then, the boat arrived. We knew we were up for an adventure when he told us to use the bucket to get some of the water out.
We safely arrived to the Last Resort! The Last Resort is just that….the Last Resort. The restaurant has a cool vibe and a singing chef. SO MUCH FUN! We had a great night dancing, laughing and meeting the staff at the Last Resort who mostly all live there as well. Then the rain came…..
Seeing as though the only way to get back was a boat that is taking on water, this was not a great position to be in. The staff continued to make us laugh and made the best of it by covering the kids in trash bags. Eventually the rain stopped and Scrub Island picked us up at the resort so we were not stranded (this is not a typical stop for the resort but a recommended stop by Chic Family Travels!)
The Last Resort was a perfect end to a perfect trip at Scrub Island Resort in the British Virgin Island by Chic Family Travels. We hope you enjoyed our review of Scrub Island and it gave you some ideas on how to make your family vacation a memorable one.