Overwater bungalows are coming to the British Virgin Islands thanks to Bitter End Yacht Club

Dec 16, 2021

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There are once-in-a-lifetime destinations that people visit and never forget. Then there are once-in-a-lifetime places people visit and realize that once in a lifetime just isn’t enough — and they become regulars.

Bitter End Yacht Club, a 64-acre island resort situated on a stretch of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, is one of those places. And now, after a four-year closure, it’s back and better than ever before.

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Built in 1969 for sailors by sailors, Bitter End Yacht Club has a storied history. Its location, called the “end of the line,” is where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and, in the 1500s, was where Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins convened battle armadas.

Fast-forward some 400 years, and the resort was taken over by the Hokin family, who have been its stewards and private owners since 1973. Over the decades, the family has transformed Bitter End Yacht Club from a little island outpost into a world-renowned island destination where fun and relaxation go hand in hand.

Unfortunately, in 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria completely devastated the area, flattening buildings and wreaking havoc on the property. According to the resort, “no 10 storms combined would have amounted to the destruction wrought” by those two hurricanes.

Related: Reopening guide to the British Virgin Islands for travelers

But like any true sailors, the Hokin family carried on, using the destruction as an opportunity to build something better than could previously have been imagined. Over the last four years, they’ve taken everything they’ve learned in the last five decades to build Bitter End 2.0, an entirely rebirthed property that pays homage to its past while reaching far into the depths of what it means to be a modern-day luxury resort.

Bitter End is aiming for a winter reopening date.

rendering of a-frame style room with wood beams and bed
(Image courtesy of Bitter End)

While there are a lot of exciting renovations and updated facilities to discuss, the most exciting part is Bitter End’s all-new accommodations: the only overwater bungalows in the British Virgin Islands. Called the “Marina Lofts,” these new rooms were inspired by vintage sail lofts, and “built for those who desire to sleep at the water’s edge.” In the lofts, a second-floor balcony gives guests views of the sea while a lower-level deck offers direct access to the water.

rendering of hotel room with balcony over the water
(Image courtesy of Bitter End)

Upon reopening, only two Marina Lofts will be available, though more will eventually roll out.

rendering of overwater bungalows with balconies, lofts and blue waters
(Image courtesy of Bitter End)

Other totally renewed parts of the resort include the Clubhouse Restaurant, the Quarterdeck Marina, the Watersports Center and the Reeftique Boutique. In these areas, guests can expect open-air buildings that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings and are all connected by a waterfront plaza designed to be a social hub of sorts for guests, sailors and the local community.

“The village is an incarnation of Bitter End’s roots as a yachting destination and sailor’s hangout. Its beach, seawall, and plaza are dotted with seating areas designed for settling down with a cold drink and conversation, a favorite book, or simply taking in the beautiful expanse of North Sound,” Lauren Hokin shared in a statement.

For food, a handful of dining options will be available, including new takes on the Clubhouse and the resort’s waterfront bar. Some new offerings include an open-kitchen pizza and wine restaurant and a “sunken vessel turned into the coolest beach bar in the Caribbean.” Much of the food offered will be supplied by the resort’s on-property farm growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and other produce. The culinary approach here is “farm-and-sea-to-table.”

rendering of beach area with chairs and palm tress
(Image courtesy of Bitter End)

One of the main reasons people visit Bitter End, though, is its love of watersports — and that hasn’t changed a bit. Sitting on “two natural watersports playgrounds,” the resort offers sailing, kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, diving and windsurfing to guests.

And while many of us might head there simply to stay at the resort, one of its primary objectives is to serve yachts heading out to sea and coming in to play. The new Quarterdeck Marina offers 70 mooring balls, 25 marina slips and a two-story, open-air escape for folks who need a hot shower, strong Wi-Fi and a few hours off the boat. On the way out, yachters can stock up on provisions like fresh produce and prepared meals before heading out on the next adventure.

Related: Best points hotels in the Caribbean

While the reason this essentially brand-new resort was created was heartbreaking, it’s safe to say that the Hokin family took it in stride … and are making strides to build something we all can’t wait to visit. As Laura Hokin said, “While a lot has changed, we still are unmistakably Bitter End.”

Featured image courtesy of Bitter End.

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