Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | Islands

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands

A private home since the 1980s, the BVI's newest villa Valley Trunk Estate is now open to the public. Set on 19 acres of Virgin Gorda beachfront, there's nothing else like it on the island.

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Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel

From the road or the water, I can barely even see Valley Trunk Estate — my home for the next four days — as any sign of development is shrouded by this manicured jungle.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | BVI boats

The BVI are all about boats, so it was only natural that bobbing yachts of all sizes were part of the scenery at Valley Trunk Estate.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Private Beach

Technically there aren't any private beaches in the British Virgin Islands, but you wouldn't know it here on this fleece-white crescent at the base of Valley Trunk that looks more Seychelles than Caribbean. I saw just one other beachgoer during my four-day trip (it's only accessible by boat if you're not staying at the villa). Giant boulders carve tunnels of cyan water so clear I didn't even need my glasses to see the grooves in the sand 10 feet down.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Bali House

A gathering spot for meals and mingling, the beachfront Bali House was actually discovered in Bali by the owners of Valley Trunk, then desconstructed and rebuilt here on Virgin Gorda.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | View

I could get used to waking up to this view every morning from the master suite. Perched high on the bluff, no one else around, it felt reserved just for me.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Ocean View

Besides on the charter flight from San Juan, Virgin Gorda's best views may be from Hog Heaven, a cliff-top shack that serves good barbecue and even better painkillers. Spot Necker Island, Mosquito Island, the Bitter End Yacht Club (hence all the boats) and even Anegada in the distance.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Xanadu

A day on Xanadu cemented the fact that I was living someone else's life for a week. As I stretched out on the cushiony top deck of the three-story 68-foot Bertram — sunscreen and a cooler of Caribs previously laid out — I really didn't even care where we were headed. But it turns out that was pretty cool too: snorkeling at Salt Cay, where I swam with a giant eel, a barracuda and packs of parrotfish.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Boulders

These giant granite boulders — like those that form the Baths National Park, just 100 yards away — are singular to Virgin Gorda's landscape; Valley Trunk is built around them, with stone pathways leading the way from the top of the bluff to the beach.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Shoreline

The water in the BVI, particularly at Valley Trunk's shoreline, is a mix of blues unlike I've ever seen (#nofilter).

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Beach Day

A day at the beach here means hand-delivered towels when I emerge from the water bound for my beach chair. It also means a stocked cooler and free-flowing mojitos. Good thing I tried the stand-up paddle board first.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Dinner

The chef at Valley Trunk is big on themed meals, and Moroccan night was a standout: grilled zucchini and eggplant, lamb tagine, chicken pastilla, and spicy hummus and olive tampenade scooped up with pita-like batbout. I didn't think I could eat another thing — that is until I heard the words "homemade coconut ice cream."

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Caribbean

Finding my way to the beach meant following steep wooden staircases and winding stone pathways down to the bottom of the Valley Trunk, where this shaded archway opened up to that Caribbean blue.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | INfinity Pool

From the pool's infinity edge is a different view of Valley Trunk Bay — through the dense greenery, beneath bougainvillea and coconut palms, to Tortola in the distance.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | Rock Beach

Sitting on this perfect white sand all by my lonesome gave me plenty of time to nap in the sun, sit in the little pools created by the boulders and make shapes out of the rocks. The one on the right is definitely a turtle.

Audrey St. Clair

Why You Should Stay at Valley Trunk Estate in the British Virgin Islands | BVI Resorts & Places to Stay | Virgin Gorda Travel | The baths

Here at the Baths I'm thankful I'm a good climber as I make my way through knee-high pools and over and under the massive boulders, some as big as 40 feet in diameter. Around 5:30 p.m. proved the best time to visit since most tourists had come and gone by then. Hiking through the Baths leads to Devil's Bay, which we reached just in time for a snorkel and a sunset.

Courtney Cox

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