Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s Much-Longed-For Rebirth
Rebirth of Rosewood Little Dix Bay
Looking for an idyllic tropical hideaway, a resort steeped in legendary history yet exuberantly refreshed and reimagined? In the celebrated annals of luxurious, nature-loving Caribbean retreats that brim with who’s-who lore, the British Virgin Islands is home to iconic Rosewood Little Dix Bay, newly reopened on Virgin Gorda this month after a four-year, at times tumultuous, closure. Secluded on 500 acres with a half-mile, powdery white sand beach, landmark Rosewood Little Dix Bay will undoubtedly be the happy talk of the turquoise sea during 2020 and beyond.
Founded more than a half-century ago by businessman and ardent conservationist Laurance Rockefeller (grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller), Little Dix Bay sparkled as an eco-conscious haven, a gem of his RockResorts properties, which were embraced by environment-attentive, well-heeled, privacy-preferring travelers, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Prince Charles, as well as film stars and financial titans. Little Dix Bay changed ownership in 1993, joining Rosewood Hotel Group. In 2016, a planned renovation commenced. But a few months before its reopening, Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s future dramatically shifted. Fueled by nearly 200 mile-per-hour winds, Hurricane Irma, in 2017, centered its Category 5 eye directly over the property—devastating it and much of the neighboring community. The catastrophic result required a total rethink, a major and deep-breath rebuilding.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s much-longed-for rebirth this month feels like a baptism of sorts, a recognition of commitment and fortitude, realized hopes and dreams. It deserves a resounding high-five to everyone who came together—management and the people of Virgin Gorda and the British Virgin Islands—to transform upheaval into uplift. Their can-do spirit is a graceful affirmation of the power of renewal.
Masterful architecture company OBMI and New York-based design team Meyer Davis unfolded the metamorphosis. Eighty all-new guest rooms—one- and two-bedroom suites and villas with unobstructed water views—incorporate the latest modern amenities into an earth-appreciating aesthetic, showcasing natural materials, such as stone and wood, in artistic and fashion-savvy ways. Nodding to Rockefeller’s earlier era, Meyer Davis had fun paying tribute to the jet-set 1960s (with Jacqueline Kennedy as muse) by designing mid-century modern furnishings and integrating artwork and sculptural elements that exude playfulness: retro photographs of women wearing bathing caps; a cabinet of curiosities in the Great Room. Colored in soft earth-and-sea hues, guest rooms feature fantastical outdoor showers; some suites have their own plunge pools. Lushly replanted, floral gardens and palm trees are eye-catching and eye-soothing.
“Little Dix Bay has been such a darling of Caribbean travelers for 56 years,” says managing director Andreas Pade in an exclusive interview. “So from a Rosewood perspective, we are very proud of how we have been able to keep the resort’s identity and character intact, yet give the food and beverage as well as the service experiences a much more sophisticated feel—along with a distinct barefoot luxury approach.”
In addition to Little Dix Bay’s verdant beauty, its architectural and engineering advancements, such as protective shuttering, hurricane-proof windows and hurricane-minded construction, are fortified. “This project has had its share of trials,” continues Pade. “The process has been very long. What personally gives me the most joy is seeing the resort open again—and all the positive reactions from new and legacy guests alike. [To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt] ‘Nothing easy is ever worthwhile doing.’”