by Annette Bignami


British Virgin Islands tourism centers on charter and bare boat travelers, but there is a tidy collection of super-posh, posh, and demi-posh, "kick back" beach resorts worth a visit for those who adjust to island time and don't rent cars! It's a good thing there are 500 cabs on Tortola, and that the best resorts coddle you so well that you rarely leave as steep twisting roads dotted with cows, goats and chickens and, at least for North Americans, "driving on the wrong side." But the wonderful, uncrowded beaches alone seem worth a visit and all of these resorts are beach front.


Necker Island Super Posh

If you have to ask what it costs, you probably can't afford it, but take your most Bali Hai tropical South Pacific images, compound them with Caribbean calypso and add a "no problem" attitude and factor in the kind of perfect place Richard Branson the owner of Virgin Airlines, would build for his family and friends and you've paradise at about $12,000 for a week..

Consider a stone and wood Balinese Great House with ten bedrooms. Add in individual Balinese Cottages. Every tropical toy known to man is here. Enough said?

Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda -- Posh

The villas and guest rooms along a half-mile beach are individually decorated and set in perhaps the lushes 400 acres in the BVI, one of the oldest resorts in the Virgin Islands, it includes too many complimentary services to list. These start with an airport greeting and include aquatic activities such as water skiing. Daily breakfasts and tea and the use of seven tennis courts. Their Grandparents stay free programs and special summer rates are particularly good values. Restaurants include the Pavilion's Continental cuisine, the Sugar Mill with light Italian food and the Beach Grill with Asian food at night and, on Thursdays, a beach barbecue with a steel band.

Long Bay Beach Resort, Tortola -- Demi-posh

The choice of beach villas or newer hill rooms is a tough one. The former are steps from a lovely beach and the palm-shaded terraces overlook a nice pool, and, to the east a wonderful waterfront restaurant build in an old Sugar Mill. The latter offer views across Sir Francis Drake Channel and of the large "swim to the bar" pool, a couple of decent clay courts and a spa at the price of either a short but steep walk or a series of steps. The restaurant in the main lodge is better than average with some wonderful swordfish and other seafood dishes.


Lambert Beach Resort, Tortola -- Demi-posh

More isolated, and more convenient to the airport than Long Bay, this sprawling, palm-shaded resort offers the biggest pool in the BVI, a lovely restaurant Turtles which overlooks the beach area, serves better than average conch fritters. It's "demi-posh" and quite flat, each room is spacious and has private patios, it's easy to get around and only a quick "up and over" from Road Town. My husband notes there's good fishing off the rocks at the far end of the beach.