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Mooney Bay

The North Sound has always been one of the playgrounds of the British Virgin Islands. Encircling some of the most beautiful and well-protected waters of the BVI, it has attracted romantics, sailors, families and adventurers over the years, and some never leave. Located in its own private cove, the secluded six-bedroom Mooney Bay Estate sprawls over pristine lawns and a soft sandy beach. It is conveniently situated west of Leverick Bay and across from Prickly Pear and Mosquito islands with access to all the North Sound’s pleasures.


All photos by Dan O'Connor. 

When Doug Riegels first proposed the idea of having me spend a weekend in Mooney Bay Estate in order to write a review of the location, I jumped at the chance to stay at what is certain to be the next jewel of the North Sound.

Typically, I only spend a few hours or an afternoon at a property, but Doug thought I should have the opportunity to relax and absorb the harmony of Mooney Bay. He said an afternoon would never be enough, recounting how he and his wife have spent many nights out on the dock, gazing at the islands and sailboats moored in the Sound, pleasantly removed from reality. He wanted Property Guide to experience the property by day and night.

A few weeks later, Doug and his family ferried me and nine friends (plus one very small dog) from Trellis Bay to Mooney Bay Villa, which is accessible only by boat. We were a diverse group of twenty- and thirty-somethings with jobs ranging from dolphin trainer to CCT marketing executive to squash instructor to lawyer. The journey was a quick but scenery-filled 30-minute ride, and Doug told me that guests staying at the Estate will be picked up by private motor yacht and transported to Mooney Bay. Once we arrived, Doug gave us a mini-tour, and I dropped off my backpack in the air-conditioned master suite—a bedroom with a king-sized bed, sitting area, a walk-in closet, en suite master bath and outdoor patio with two lounge chairs.

While the others romped about the grounds and unpacked in one of the other five bedrooms that fan out from the central pavilion, Doug and I walked the pier to the swimming platform that traverses a seagrass meadow. Doug pointed out a Christmas-stocking-red starfish a few feet away below the surface. Another lurked in the seagrass on the other side of the pier, and two more orange ones lingered by the ladder. I later learned that the squat-armed, dinner-plate-sized echinoderms are called bat stars. We also saw a puffer fish and minnows darting around the dock. Doug showed me a light at the end of the dock that attracts a multitude of fish large and small at night. Again, he emphasized the beauty of the place by starlight and his personal love of the property shone through as he encouraged me to escape the crowd by dark to appreciate it for myself.



Shortly after our chat on the pier and a quick snack by the Estate’s pool, Doug boated away, and our group scattered to take advantage of the activities (or inactivity) Mooney Bay had to offer. Some swam and suntanned. Others played tennis. I won two games of boules. After the tennis players tired out, the gang came together on the lawn for a game of ladderball then dispersed again. While one friend dived off the pier, I sat on the edge, dangling my toes in the water. I leaned back on my elbows and observed the yachts rocking nearby and the gentle breaking waves across the bay at Prickly Pear.


A full indoor kitchen and dining room were available, but we opted for outdoor grilling and al fresco dining in the central pavilion. This outdoor great room, with sofas, overstuffed chairs and ottomans, dining table and ambient lighting, overlooks the pool, lawn, beach and docks out onto the sparkling, yacht-strewn waters of the Sound.


The beauty of Mooney Bay Estate and its 22 acres is the fact that you can hang out as part of the group, or you can go off and do your own thing. After dinner and playing cards, I walked down to the pier to look at the fish while the rest of the gang played Cranium. I observed the minnows for a bit then flipped off the switch. Unlike many night-time views in the BVI, no lights competed with the celestial show. I remembered that the reason we had come in by boat was that there are no roads on that side of Virgin Gorda. The only sounds I heard: the rustling waves, the wind in the mangroves and an occasional burst of laughter from my friends. I knew this was what Doug had been talking about.

While I may have felt like I was on a deserted island, the arrival of two masseuses the next morning reminded me that anything we could possibly need was only a short boat ride away. While some of us relaxed with massages on the swimming dock, the rest ate breakfast by the pool, snorkelled, explored nearby shores with the Estate’s private dinghy or lounged on the beach beside the mangrove stand and watched two daysailers race across the Sound. No one was in a hurry to leave.

Mooney Bay boasts a rustic yet opulent Caribbean decor complemented by colourful and pristine landscaping. After some minor cosmetic renovations, Mooney Bay Estate will be available in spring 2010 with a full-service estate staff that will cover watersports, concierge, fine dining and spa services. Doug’s intention is to offer the anonymity, seclusion, and service of a private island, nestled close to the amenities of the North Sound, making it available to BVI visitors and residents— the romantics, sailors, families and adventurers.  

For more information on Mooney Bay Estate please contact
Mosaka Ventures: [email protected]

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