Scrub Island (British Virgin Islands)
||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (August 2013)|
Scrub Island of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean is a part of the Lesser Antilles, a group of islands that are young volcanic or coral islands. It is home to the Scrub Island Resort Marina and Spa.
Scrub Island Resort encompasses Marina Village and is home to all-ocean view guest rooms and suites - villas that are tucked into more private areas of the island, a 24-hour fitness center, boutique, gourmet market and dive shop. There is a marina for yachts as well as swimming pools and restaurants. Most of the island is uninhabited, allowing for quiet, relaxation and exploration.
In late 2013 the Scrub Island Resort went into bankruptcy protection in the United States, and was locked in dispute with its primary lender, FirstBank, after receivers were appointed in the British Virgin Islands in relation to unpaid loans made to the Resort. The resort emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2015.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina is a luxury private island resort built in 2010 and was the first resort development to be built in the British Virgin Islands in more than 15 years. It features 52 guest accommodations as well as a collection of two-, three- and four-bedroom villas, Ixora Spa, world-class restaurants, three private beaches and a 55-slip marina. The master planned resort was designed by international architecture firm OBM International USA for Mainsail Development International.
Scrub Island is fringed by three pristine beaches that shelve gently into the Caribbean Sea. It features protected coves, nature trails and stunning scenery. Extreme care has been taken into every aspect of development to ensure protection of the island’s natural ecosystem. In fact, the island is virtually vehicle-free with resort shuttles serving as the primary form of transportation.
Scrub Island Resort accommodations consist of 26 guest rooms; 26, one- and two-bedroom suites; and a collection of hillside villas. All offer dramatic views of the Caribbean Sea. Interiors evoke a West Indies feel, furnished in tropical woods with white accents and island touches. Ocean view guest rooms – each 357-sq.-ft. room has its own private balcony or terrace offering marina and ocean views. One-bedroom ocean view suites – measuring approximately 960 sq. ft. and featuring covered verandas, the suites offer one-and-a-half baths and separate living spaces.
Two-bedroom ocean view suites – similar to one-bedroom suites, except measuring 1,614 sq. ft. and offering two bedrooms, each with a king-size bed, full bathroom and its own balcony/patio.
Hillside villas – offering 3,000 to 6,000 sq. ft of space, villas range from two to four bedrooms and offer expansive views of the Caribbean Sea. They feature large balconies and terraces as well as SubZero, Wolf and Viking appliances, enclosed rain showers and infinity-edged pools. Can accommodate up to 10 guests. Private chefs and attendants are available upon request.
Scrub Island Resort’s marina offers 55 slips available for lease or transient docking, including five for mega yachts up to 170 feet. Sailing enthusiasts appreciate the area’s fair weather, constant gentle winds, and easy access to more than 60 additional nearby islands.
Scrub Island is the closest destination to the North Drop, known as the “honey spot” for tuna and world-record Blue Marlin fishing. Resort guests can book full or half-day fishing excursions complete with boat, guide and equipment. A variety of watercraft is available for group and private charters.
The shallows surrounding Scrub Island, as well as many nearby coves, bays, reefs and inlets, are ideal for snorkelers and divers. Snorkeling and diving trips may be arranged with the local diver operator located on property. Sightseeing charters may also be set up by resort hosts.
Named for the native tropical shrub, the Ixora Spa is perched on a hillside overlooking the sea around the Resort. The spa features antioxidant rich products crafted with natural botanicals and anti-aging formulations. Services include massage, facials, and hydrotherapy baths. Privai and L’isola are featured product lines.
Restaurants and Dining
The Resort features a number of restaurants.
- Caravela – overlooking the marina and pool, the resort’s fine-dining restaurant specializing in steaks and seafood and serves breakfast and dinner.
- Tierra! Tierra! – an outdoor grille with panoramic views of Tortola and the surrounding area open for lunch and dinner.
- The Gourmet Market & Café – serves coffee, pastries, sandwiches, gourmet snack items and an assortment of wines, beer and other beverages.
- One Shoe Beach Bar & Grill – located on North Beach and offers a private pool. Dining service is available and may be delivered directly to the beach.
On 1 November 2013 the primary lender to the development, FirstBank, sought orders of the Commercial Court in the British Virgin Islands appointing a receiver over the Resort due to the failure by the Resort to make repayments on over US$100 million of loans. The Resort did not comply with the order, but instead sought bankruptcy protection from the U.S. courts, and a Chapter 11 order was made on 20 November 2013. The Resort appeared to have reached an agreement with the bank in relation to the restructuring of the debts, but that agreement collapsed in acrimony in late 2014 with the bank claiming that it had been materially mislead. The resort emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2015.
In December 2015 it was announced that the Resort would sell the larger currently undeveloped side of the island currently referred to by the Resort as Big Scrub.
Scrub Island is located approximately 74 miles (119 km) east of Puerto Rico (eastern Fajardo, Puerto Rico to Scrub Island), 28 miles (45 km) NE of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 1.66 miles (2.67 km) North of Trellis Bay (Trellis Bay dock and Scrub Island Marina).
Travel to Scrub Island
The most convenient international airport to Scrub Island is San Juan, Puerto Rico. From San Juan, guests can take a connecting flight with Liat, Cape Air, Air Sunshine or Island Birds Air Charters to Beef Island/Tortola (airport code: EIS). Scrub Island is just a seven-minute ride from Tortola via the resort’s private launch. Additional options include flights into St. Thomas with a 45-min. ferry ride to Tortola or St. Martin offering convenient connections. Scrub Island also has two heliports available to guests.
Formed by volcanic activity, Scrub Island is 8,520 feet (2,600 m) long (1.6 miles) and made up of a total 230 acres (0.93 km2) which includes Big Scrub (170 acres) and Little Scrub (60 acres). The mountainous island highest eastern peak reaches 438 feet (134 m) and the highest western peak reaches 313 feet (95 m).
Earliest inhabitants that paddled up from South America were recorded about 5000 years ago on Scrub Island. At this time, Scrub was presumably connected to Great Camanoe and Marina Cay Island because sea level was significantly lower. The first record of Territory was claimed by the Arawak Indians who had left traces of Arawak pottery around 200BC, and they were preceded by Ciboney Indians who settled in nearby St. Thomas in 300 BC.
The European discovery of the British Virgin Islands is attributed to Christopher Columbus. During his second voyage on November 2, 1493, small islands now known as the Lesser Antilles were discovered, one of which was Scrub Island. For many years after the discovery, the islands were untouched until privateers, pirates and buccaneers used the island as a haven. Concrete evidence also shows buried pirate treasures. During the early 17th century, the Dutch expressed interest in the copper mines that were discovered, but due to the Dutch’s interest in piracy and a Spanish attack, the settlement was economically unsuccessful. In 1672, the British took control. Presently, Scrub Island is occupied by Scrub Island Resort Marina and Spa which first development in the British Virgin Islands in the last 15 years.
- Virgin Islands Daily News report on the development
- Official Resort website
- Scrub Island Resort Architects, OBM International 
Oldendrop, C.G.A. (1987) . A Caribbean mission: History of the mission of the Evangelical Brethren on the Caribbean islands of St. Tomas, St. Croix, and St. John. Edited and translated by A.R. Highfield and Vladimir Barac. Ann Arbor: Karoma.
Putley, Julian. “A Glimpse of BVI History”. The British Virgin Island Tourism Directory 2007: 9.
"Christopher Columbus," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007
- "Official website". Scrub Island Resort. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- Michael Bathon (21 November 2013). "British Virgin Island Resort Scrub Seeks Bankruptcy". Bloomberg.
- Michael Bathon (21 March 2014). "Luxury Resort’s Bankruptcy Claims Called False by Lender". Bloomberg.
- "Scrub Island Bounces Back With $18M In New Funds". BVI Platinum. 6 November 2015.
- Katy Stech (5 December 2013). "Scrub Island Resort Owner Wants to Keep Fight in Bankruptcy Court". Wall Street Journal.
- "Scrub Island To Sell 170-Acre Island; Assures No Gov't Red Tape". BVI Platinum News. 15 December 2015.