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Surfsong Retunes

Surfsong Retunes: Resort's Future Plans
By Victoria Bezemer and Richard Finnegan, Roger Downing & Partner Co. Ltd.

With the depletion in today’s resources, when it comes to architectural and interior design, it is essential that we first ask the question, what can be reused? Renovation, as opposed to new construction, is certainly the environmental preference (and perhaps more favourable in today’s economy). Utilising the existing footprint of a building reduces excavation works and landscape disturbance, whilst adopting the existing structure reduces the demand for raw materials. Since producing one ton of cement (the main ingredient of concrete) emits one ton of carbon dioxide, this design choice does in fact make a big difference.

Rendering by Thor Downing for Roger Downing and Partner.

 This same conscience is required when making interior design choices. Renovations are inevitable, but are there ways of reducing the environmental and economic impact? (It is possible to do both!) Longevity is a critical factor in all design decisions. Not only do we examine whether the material or product can withstand the extreme climatic conditions of the BVI salt air, extreme sunlight, but we ask will it provide aesthetic longevity: Is it going to be out of style next year?

Surfsong Villa Resort is nestled in Well Bay, Beef Island, edged by blue waters with unspoiled reefs, tidepools, mangrove trees and coral and shells for beachcombing. A protective cay extends a distance from the shore to create a secluded shallow beach which is decorated with huge boulders and shaded by palm trees. The current owners purchased Surfsong with the intent of improving and expanding on the basic amenities by providing updated, contemporary villas that still reflected the local style of construction combined with Balinese hardwood furnishings for the interiors. The owners' design sense and commitment to the environment allowed for tasteful updates in style and amenities while reusing existing structures as much as possible. The result is an exquisite, tranquil personal space with quiet Caribbean charm surrounded by a dramatic natural landscape—the reason repeat visitors come to the Virgin Islands.

An aerial view of Surfsong Villa Resort in Well Bay. Photo by Chuck Krallman.

Future expansion plans for this boutique resort involve single storey, environmentally sensitive villas that are designed to be nestled amongst the giant boulders and mature trees and provide large, shaded outdoor areas which separate living and sleeping buildings. Stone-faced walls, sourced from local stone, and greying, cedar-shingle roofs help create invisible architecture, as landscape and time blend the buildings into their surroundings. While naturally rustic in exterior appearance, modern conveniences and contemporary interiors provide guests with a high level of comfort and allow them to stay connected (if they want) to the world through high-speed internet and satellite TV throughout the resort.

The resort owners are currently developing an opportunity for a select few to build their own vacation villas at Surfsong, which will combine turnkey, hassle-free usage with the extended income potential of a proven villa rental program by the experienced management of this successful boutique resort.


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