4 Great Beachfront Havens for Sailors
- June 1st, 2013
- in Yachting
Fine Dining by the Sea
By Stephen L France and Dan O’Connor
Photos provided by respective restaurants (photo gallery below) and aLG
See: Savouring the Sail – Luxury Crewed Yacht Charters here
The steady Virgin Islands trade winds and warm waters provide ideal conditions for sailors and charter guests from around the world to sail through.
Visitors and residents populate our waters and beachfronts in search of quiet coves or popular beachside locales—both widely available on our ample seaside playgrounds.
Whether the occasion is a peaceful moonlit dinner for two, a party of twelve or a wedding for two hundred, the VI affords abundant options for sun, fun and fare, footsteps from the boat.
From Jost Van Dyke to the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, the Sir Francis Drake Channel provides a highway of options for guests—many who return to the islands with a preference for old favourites. On Jost Van Dyke, Foxy’s Bar and Restaurant provides new and return guests with a welcoming taste of the eclectic island.
Foxy is usually on hand to welcome guests with a joke and a drink; they often stay for the mouthwatering ribs and burning Great Harbour sunset.
Across the watery divide, Myett’s Garden Grille has a strong presence within Cane Garden Bay, with a 20-year stake in the BVI’s most popular beachfront.
After a few decades of success and continued growth, proprietors Val and Kareem Rhymer like to say, “The beat goes on,” with the help of fine dining, affordable refreshments and overall good vibes.
At the first stop along the Sir Francis Drake Channel, Pirates Bight is too tempting to pass up. It’s recent renovations invite sailors to the BVI’s most secure yet historically infamous anchorage and mooring field. Pirates celebrates its treacherous past with chic barefoot ambiance and fine Caribbean cuisine.
Past Spanish Town, into Virgin Gorda’s North Sound, pristine waters welcome sailors into perhaps the most elite aquatic neighbourhood in the VI.
Saba Rock, the one-acre island in the middle of it all, attracts all kinds for unconventional dockside dining and fun. “The living room of the North Sound,” as its regarded by regulars and return guests, offers a little something for everyone.
Foxy’s, Myett’s, Pirates and Saba Rock, all with their unique, compelling qualities, provide for a delectable dining experience. These establishments have often convinced yacht owners to disembark from their boats permanently and purchase property in the BVI, and vice versa with Virgin Island property holders seeking to explore the VI with a new catamaran.
Peruse this page and revel in the possibilities…
Foxy’s: Jost Van Dyke – More fantastic than the famed fox
Like the famous book, Fantastic Mr Fox, there is everything fantastic about sailing into Foxy’s at Great Harbour. Across the water, opposite Cane Garden Bay, Foxy’s Bar and Restaurant acts as an eclectic home for tourists from all over the planet.
Renowned for its Old Year’s Night party, the quirky architectural design of Foxy’s adds an unconventional feel to fine beachside dining. Foxy’s first opened in 1968 in eccentric fashion, with skydivers filling the air and a party that lasted through the wee hours of the morning.
Over the years, Foxy’s has become one of the most renowned, authentic beach bar and restaurants in the world.
Owners Foxy and Tessa Callwood, who have run the restaurant from inception, are still as enthusiastic about their successful establishment as they were when it opened. “Good food, good drinks, good service, good company,” said Tessa, defining what her restaurant delivers.
Sailing into the Great Harbour, a safe anchorage and 30 mooring balls allow flexibility for seafarers, who may wish to relax on their boat and embrace the ambiance that Foxy’s atmosphere radiates.
Over the years, the establishment has expanded, tailoring its services and appearance to the multitude of repeat guests and new visitors that travel through its notable harbour.
“In the nineties when business was booming, pieces were added,” said Tessa, describing the expansion. “A dining room to complement the feetin-the-sand section; a beachfront gazebo and outside bar for additional dining space closer to the beach, a Grillzebo where we serve barbecue on Friday and Saturday nights and for large and small groups comprised of 40 people or more; a small shop to sell Foxy T-shirts and paraphernalia that blossomed into a full-fledged boutique.”
Delicious “fare with flair,” as Tessa regards the flamboyant servings, is available with varitions of old Caribbean favourites. The a-la-carte menu Sunday through Thursday at both lunch and dinner is a great option for undecided patrons looking to try a little bit of everything.
For the Millennium celebration, an upstairs room aptly named The Upper Crust was added for guests desiring VIP exclusivity; this room can tend to 150 fun-loving guests.
The panoramic view of the bay as well as over the outdoor venue titled the Outback area preserves patrons’ pleasure, hosting major acts like Shaggy and Tarrus Riley on a 40-foot stage, with space for 1,500 people.
It is no wonder that Foxy’s, located within nature’s little secret, is not so secret and to the contrary, internationally known and overwhelmingly popular.
Myett’s: Cane Garden Bay, Tortola – The beat goes on
Calmly cruising into Cane Garden Bay, the alluring beach is the welcoming host of a family of restaurants that line its soft white sand. Whether driving in by car or breezing into shore on a dinghy, visitors are invited onto a bay that instantly invokes a sense of calm.
The globally renowned Myett’s Enterprises’ conspicuously inviting visage is highlighted as a Virgin Islands beachfront establishment.
Comfortably set in lush green flora, Myett’s unassuming appearance blends so casually with its green surroundings as though it was conceived out of the Earth alongside the soaring trees that encompass the restaurant.
Founded in 1992 by Kareem Rhymer, his wife Valerie and brother Sandman, the family-run complex was developed from a simple shack bar and restaurant to the multipurpose complex that repeat visitors adore with passion and a fierce loyalty. Guests will feel like they have been introduced to their second home, though many proudly deem Myett’s their sole home.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, appetizers, main courses and desserts 365 days a year, the diverse menu ranges from dishes red snapper, lobster and tuna steak to bar-eats like ribs, wings and nachos. Myett’s even bakes fresh bread and makes sandwiches to go.
Their range of services seems limitless, from selling bags of ice to offering local weather reports from their communication centre to accommodating weddings on their beach.
If a few days off the boat arouses interest, excursions around the island are available, with a historical, photo and rum tour as selections. The natural ambiance of the vivid surroundings, abundant wildlife, fresh open air atmosphere, and charmingly warm service fuse to create a dining experience that has become internationally acclaimed.
If it’s been a rough sail across the Virgin Island waters, Myett’s Sea Spa offers all amenities to pamper your palette, whether you’re seeking a soothing massage, a rejuvenating facial or indulgence in a manicure or pedicure.
Green Globe certified, the restaurant employs all measures to protect the surrounding environment, involving themselves in community initiatives like their annual Underwater Beach Clean-Up, protecting and preserving the famed waters that sailors from all over the world relish.
With a host of hotel rooms and cottages, seafarers may find they want to return to land for a few days; the charismatic hotel exceeds wishes even providing a unique bottle of complimentary Myett’s rum in each room.
Olivia’s Corner Store offers many great souvenirs and gifts to take a little piece of the family-owned restaurant back to your boat. If it’s the music that entertained the family or local art design that impressed upon you, an assortment of items are available.
In the evenings, live entertainment from a variety of local and international artists will stimulate dancing shoes and even if aboard your boat, the beats and melodies that effervesce onto the ocean. When it’s time to depart and head to the next destination, it will be difficult to leave after seeing the hypnotic and serene Myett’s sunset, that lulls the senses into the perfect relaxation.
Pirates Bight: Norman Island – The island’s real treasure
Norman Island’s location along the Sir Francis Drake Channel has made it a primary stop for travellers over the years. During the time of plundering and piracy, the island acted as a hideaway for rebellious swashbucklers and privateers.
Today, snorkeling and diving enthusiasts venture to Norman Island to explore its famous caves and rocky outposts, where it is rumored buried treasure still exists. The real treasure of Norman Island, however, is Pirates Bight—a chic beachside bar and restaurant that stands on the ruins of Blackbeard’s domain.
The newly refurbished restaurant celebrates the island’s storied past, only with less violence and treachery and a bit more barefoot elegance.
Pirates Bight has accommodated sundrenched sailors since 2002, earning a reputation as a family-friendly destination offering relaxed afternoons and legendary late-night parties. Today, the famous retreat has a new, modern look after undergoing renovations led by Lane Pettigrew, the renowned architect responsible for St Barths’ Nikki Beach and other chic beachside retreats around the Caribbean.
Together with a team of designers, crews from Meridian Construction and hospitality experts, Pirates Bight has reimagined the dining and lounging experience.
“Our goal was to take the very best of the trendy beach destinations of South Beach or Rio de Janeiro and combine it with the unique charm of the Caribbean,” Pettigrew said of the locale’s barefoot refinement. “The result is a modern beach-lounge experience with all the comforts and amenities of a first class resort, but with that hint of mystery.”
Along with the aesthetic renovations, Pirates has also refined its culinary palette, offering new takes on old favourites. Jamaican Chef Patrick Williams brings experience and expertise to Caribbean fare, infusing local seafood, chicken and beef dishes with mouthwatering homemade flavors.
At the teak bar, patrons line up for the famed Pirates’ Bushwacker, a frozen cocktail that will surely shiver your timbers. Norman Islands’ storied past and celebrated present make it one of the most visited attractions in the Caribbean. Pirates Bight—where beachside fare meets modern elegance—offers travellers the opportunity to soak in the sun, enjoy fresh cuisine and daydream of tall tales.
Saba Rock: North Sound, Virgin Gorda – The ‘sound’ living room of the VI sea
The North Sound, Virgin Gorda neighbourhood has long been a sailor’s paradise. The pristine waters, flourishing reefs and elite superyachts are a draw for aquatic enthusiasts from around the world. And centred within the nautical neighbourhood, Saba Rock exists as the perfect perch for travellers from all walks of life to unwind and indulge in everything that the North Sound has to offer.
Fondly regarded as the living room of the North Sound, Saba attracts an eclectic mix of cruising families, world-class yachtsmen and the occasional sun-seeking celebrity. The one-acre island has a rich history, originally developed by the BVI’s most famous treasure hunter, Bert Kilbride, who for many years served as Her Majesty’s Receiver of Wrecks.
Although since refined and modernized, Saba still celebrates its treasure-hunting roots, displaying the Wreck of the Rhone’s original anchor and cannon in an aquarium at the restaurant’s entrance.
Today, the resort and restaurant boasts a barefoot, off-the-dock elegance. It’s current proprietor, Jonathan McManus, has blossomed the tiny establishment into the preferred North Sound hangout it is today.
The McManus family has a long list of hotel and restaurant success in the Hawaiian islands, including luxury Hotel Wailea in Maui, and take a special pride in Saba.
For years, the McManus family has made the BVI a second home, circumnavigating its bountiful seas and befriending the long-time residents and visitors who occupy its shores. Their love of the sea and the islands is personified at Saba Rock, with a mix of island chic and authentic charm.
“Our goal here was not to reinvent what [Kilbride] established, but to expand the reputation that Saba has built over the years, essentially as the living room of North Sound, where people can unwind after a long sail, meet and gather and enjoy the view,” said Jonathan McManus, adding that Saba also acts as a reprieve for yachtsmen looking for a hot shower, warm meal and a frosty cold beverage.
At happy hour, the nautically-themed bar and comatose-inducing lounge area come alive with a mix of yacht owners, wanderlust travellers, and the famous and infamous alike, who congregate to enjoy one another’s unconventional company.
The menu is extensive and varied and a bar menu is available for those in search of more casual fare. Others with a hearty appetite choose to dock up on Sundays to enjoy Saba’s all-you-caneat buffet and salad bar with a lamb or beef roast.
The wrap-around restaurant and resort capitalize on North Sound’s otherworldly environs. Situated in the epicentre of paradise, Saba embodies all the postcard perfections that are seldom found but often sought-after for those searching for a piece of paradise.
The BVI proudly carries the reputation as one of the most sought-after hubs in the world to sail to and explore.
Aside from the azure waters and ample tradewinds, the attractive establishments on each of the islands support the brilliance of why there are regular cruising expeditions thrusting through the territory’s grand seas.
With succulent cuisine, friendly company and horizons that will astonish even the most worldly of travellers, creating timeless memories, the BVI is fully worth the adventure.
See: Savouring the Sail – Luxury Crewed Yacht Charters here
BELOW: Huge photo gallery! – Restaurants in the following order: Foxy’s, Myett’s, Pirates Bight, Saba Rock – Photos courtesy of respective establishments