Peter Island

Coordinates: 18°21′12″N 64°34′35″W / 18.3534°N 64.5763°W / 18.3534; -64.5763
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Peter Island
Peter Island, BVI.jpg
Peter Island viewed from the uninhabited Western tip
Peter Island is located in British Virgin Islands
Peter Island
Peter Island
The location of Peter Island within the British Virgin Islands
Peter Island is located in Caribbean
Peter Island
Peter Island
Peter Island (Caribbean)
LocationCaribbean Sea
Coordinates18°21′12″N 64°34′35″W / 18.3534°N 64.5763°W / 18.3534; -64.5763
ArchipelagoVirgin Islands
United Kingdom
British Overseas TerritoryBritish Virgin Islands
Additional information
Time zone
ISO codeVG

Peter Island is a 720 hectare (1,779 acre)[1] private island located in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). It is about 5 miles (8 km) south-west (195 degrees true) from Road Town, Tortola. The island was named after Pieter Adriensen (nicknamed "The Commander") who was the brother of Abraham Adriensen, Patron of Tortola under the Dutch West India Company in the early 17th century. Pieter Adriensen and Joost van Dyk built a fort and slave pens at Great Harbour on Peter Island to facilitate privateering and the nascent trade in slaves from Angola.

In 1968, Torolf Smedvig purchased most of the land on the island for $950,000.[2] He prefabricated 20 luxury A-frame chalets in Norway. In 1969, two ships with thousands of tons of prefabricated buildings, house trailers, concrete, lumber, plumbing supplies, tractors, earthmovers, cranes, and more came over from Norway. Accompanying them was 20 Norwegian craftsmen and works, who would work with about 30 island workers. It took about ten days to assemble the A-frames on-site. Dredging Sprat Bay made it deeper and reclaimed land for the resort to sit on. All the A-frames, the pool, the lobby, bar, dining room, and hotel offices were all built on reclaimed land.[3] The resort also included a harbor and a marina. Peter Island Yacht Club was marketed as one of the premier holiday locations in the West Indies. It incorporated a hotel in cottage colonial style and plots of land for sale. However, the development was costly and occupancy rates low, leading to significant economic losses. After Torolf's death, the resort was put up for sale in 1978.[4]

In 1978, the Devos family (Amway Corporation), purchased Peter Island after sailing past it several years before. There, they established the resort that exists today and lived on the island to maintain the resort.[5]

Peter Island is the largest private island in the BVI and the fifth largest of the 60 islands, quays, and exposed reefs that comprise the BVI. It was owned by the Amway Corporation from 1978[6] until 2001 when full ownership was transferred to the Van Andel family, co-owners of Amway.[7]

The island is predominantly undeveloped but contains hiking and biking trails on which to discover the tropical flora and fauna indigenous to Peter Island. The beaches face the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Two of the beaches (Honeymoon and White bay) are for use by guests only. The island's biggest beach is Deadman's Bay, a mile-long crescent beach shaded by palm trees with a beach, bar, and restaurant open to day boaters. Deadman's Bay is said to be named for pirates that were marooned on neighbouring Dead Chest island and subsequently drowned swimming to Peter Island, their bodies washed up on shore.[8][9]

The only hotel, the 52-room Peter Island Resort, ranked in Conde Nast Traveler's “Gold List,” and the Travel and Leisure “T+L 500” for 2007, is accessible by boat or helicopter. A 1984 review in the New York Times was critical of the food.[6] It has since twice been named by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the "Best Places to Stay in the World".[7]


  1. ^ "Peter Island, BVI - Frommer's". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Peter Island, British Virgin Islands". Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  3. ^ "Peter Island: A private resort paradise past and present". Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  4. ^ "Smedvig: - Rikdommen har aldri gått til hodet på meg". Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  5. ^ "British Virgin Islands Vacations - Welcome - Peter Island Resort & Spa". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  6. ^ a b "For Privacy, Peter Island". New York Times. 8 April 1984.
  7. ^ a b "Peter Island Resort plans $multi-million enhancements". Island Sun. 27 April 2001. Archived from the original on 23 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Deadman's Bay on Peter Island | Deadman's Bay - BVI". Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  9. ^ Stephen Blakely, "Norman Island," TravelBeat, Jan. 5, 2009

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