Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina is just one of the large Virgin Islands properties that plan to reopen starting Tuesday, when the territory’s borders will open to visitors. (Photo: PROVIDED)

Some of the territory’s largest resorts announced last week that they plan to open their doors either on the same day or shortly after the territory as a whole does the same.

The government’s entry protocols for visitors prompted widespread scepticism and some cancellations when they were first announced last month, but they have since been relaxed, and some resorts are rising to the occasion by offering pandemic-friendly options for lodging and transportation, and enhanced hygiene and safety protocols.

“We’ve been working diligently to comply with the travel protocols laid out by the BVI government, and to make sure the return of our guests is safe as possible so they can relax and enjoy this fabulous island retreat,” Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina General Manager Michael Schoonewagen said in a press release. “Our resort guests have the entire island to themselves, with ample space to spread out and enjoy the stunning natural Caribbean beauty in complete privacy. And the marina is perfect for those who want to venture out on a wide variety of land and sea excursions that still meet health and safety measures.”

Scrub, situated on a private island east of Tortola, will be among the resorts throwing open their doors Tuesday.

“Having completed extensive preparations to safely welcome guests back, the resort has reactivated its online reservation system,” the press releases stated. “As a member of Marriott’s prestigious Autograph Collection, the resort also follows the brand’s Commitment to Clean programme, providing a safe environment for guests and staff.”

On Virgin Gorda, Rosewood Little Dix Bay plans to reopen a few days later on Dec. 4. Before the pandemic, it initially had reopened last year after closing for renovations prior to Hurricane Irma and then suffering major damage in the 2017 storm.

“The strength and resilience of Virgin Gorda and Rosewood Little Dix Bay never ceases to amaze me, and I’m proud to unveil our plans to reopen the resort and share its magic with the world once again,” said Managing Director Andreas Pade. “We’ve long made it our mission to provide an unparalleled, tailored experience to all who visit, and we look forward to welcoming guests back and furthering our legacy.”

The resort said a new charter service with Tropic Ocean Airways will let visitors bypass airport crowds by booking private or semi-private air travel directly to VG, “while enhanced operational protocols from Rosewood Hotel Group’s brand-wide health and safety programme Commitment to Care will ensure the well-being of every guest, visitor and associate.”

According to the resort, its protocols have been guided by leading health experts including the World Health Organisation, the Minnesota-based water-treatment company Ecolab, and the US-based cleaning product company Diversey.

These steps will result in more “thorough and high frequency cleanings” in public areas, the resort stated.

Employees will be provided with personal protective equipment to wear during their shifts, and guests will receive a set of masks upon arrival. Physical distancing will be required at the resort’s shared facilities, including the various restaurants and pool.

“Additionally, new, limitedcontact options for activities including check-in and checkout, in-room orientation, housekeeping and dining will be introduced, and guests will be consulted ahead of their stays to determine how they would like to be serviced during their time on property,” the release stated.

ONB resort

Oil Nut Bay, which also underwent a significant revamp of its Marina Village, restaurant and bar in 2019, also announced that it will open its villas to overnight guests on Tuesday.

“With your safety in mind and our protocols following government standards, your arrival experience may look a little different this coming season, but it will feel all the same with a warm ‘welcome home!’ and our signature rum punch in hand,” the resort posted on its Facebook page.

Leverick Bay Resort in North Sound has remained open to residents for staycations throughout the off-season, including its villas at Mahoe and Leverick Bay, and Operations Director Sharon Flax-Brutus said the property reopened its fine-dining restaurant last week in anticipation of the borders opening.

More properties

Back on Tortola, Wyndham  Lambert Beach Resort, whose Turtle Restaurant, beach and pool has been open to VI residents since Oct. 1, has also opened its system for overnight guest reservations starting Tuesday.

And Necker Island, the private resort belonging to Sir Richard Branson that has been undergoing a rebuild since Irma, has also chosen Tuesday for its debut, with Moskito Island resort to follow early next year. Necker’s restoration includes a new “Bali Hi” complex, two additional guest rooms and the installation of three giant wind turbines, the resort stated.

Travellers entering via the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport starting Tuesday and seaports starting Dec. 8 must quarantine at approved accommodation, submit to Covid-19 PCR testing, obtain medical travel insurance, and subscribe to a mobile phone-based contact tracing system and a tracking bracelet.

For the first four full days,  they must remain within the compound of their accommodation. Only after receiving a negative PCR test result after the fourth full day of their visit will they be free to move about the territory.