The extraordinary Oil Nut Bay – 300 sublime acres of Caribbean resort accessible only by boat or plane on the island of Virgin Gorda – was already a stalwart on the luxury travel scene until Irma struck her deadly blow in early September, 2017.
And now 18 months on, its owners Pamela and David V Johnson are set to reopen their beloved resort at the end of March – and they’ve taken the opportunity during the rebuild to make some serious upgrades.
There are the newly added Marina Villas, gorgeous two bedroom private retreats with suspended private pools, and the one bedroom Bay Suites with direct access to the beach club. The Marina Village is home to a new communal deck pool with private over-water hammocks. There’s also a new restaurant, boutiques, spa and much more.
Elsewhere, things feel remarkably back to normal – or as normal as life can be in such a setting. The grounds and beaches are groomed and glowing, the seas as azure as ever, the amenities top notch. And all of course, carried out with Oil Nut Bay’s trademark sustainability and attention to the details of nature all around.
But undoubtedly the most important facet of all this has been the role alongside the renovation of the North South Foundation, created to support and enhance the Virgin Gorda community and help in relief efforts for events just like Irma. A non-profit set up by owners David and Pamela, the North South Foundation is assisting in rebuilding efforts across the wider community and offering relief and help with clean-ups and long-term planning.
It has adopted the Robinson O’Neal Elementary School and spearheaded its rebuild and resupply to not only get the school open again, but also improve the design to withstand future hurricanes, such as concrete roofs and hurricane rated glass windows. It’s increased the overall square footage and increased the number of classrooms, added air-conditioning and WiFi and included a solar array and storage battery to offset its energy consumption. The goal was to improve the school not only for today’s children, but for future generations.
“Oil Nut Bay and the British Virgin Islands are blessed with sensational physical beauty. That beauty and the well-being of the greater community was temporarily altered by Hurricane Irma,” explains founder David Johnson. “My role was to lead and energize our phenomenal team to face the herculean task of identifying and taking immediate action to provide relief and a way forward… Our goal was to take care of the people and the community first with basics. Then we had to look at jobs and schools so that families could move forward. Next, we focussed on reestablishing the physical beauty of Oil Nut Bay and the territory, as well as leading the BVIs to a whole new level for the future of tourism.”