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“A week of perfect!”

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Sandy Ground Estates
Reviewed 12 June 2007

We just returned from our trip to Sandy Ground Estates on the East end of Jost Van Dyke. We stayed in House on the Hill located 80 feet above the ocean. This was our first trip to JVD and it was everything we hoped it would be. The house sits half way up the mountain and has amazing views of Sandy Spit/Cay and of Little JVD. The house itself was beautifully designed and we kept all the windows open during our time there. There are several houses on the Estates but we felt as though we had the whole place to ourselves. The beach is a 5 minute walk downhill (and consequently a strenuous walk uphill on the return) and you have your own coral reef beach. If you walk to the leftern most side of the beach there is a small area of the ocean with sandy bottom for relaxing..but it is also the best entry for the reef. It is mostly a reef beach (and beware the spiny sea urchins..I sat on one and it was not fun!) but the fish and reefs are just amazing in color and diversity. This is not a place for everyone (i.e. no AC and you have to walk a rigorus walk to get to the road) but if you want raw beauty and relaxation..This is it! We will definately be back. Tip-you can kayak to Sandy Spit (30-35 minutes each way) This place is best for those who love nature and don't mind roughing it with nature to experience sheer paradise. Be willing to hike up and down many mountainous hills and to have an adventure of a lifetime. If you're looking for pampering and luxery don't bother...but if you want to feel like you've slipped into another time and to embrace this raw and beautiful place then it might be your perfect vacation too.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank SamIamAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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18 - 22 of 22 reviews

Reviewed 29 April 2007

My husband and I spent a blissful week at Diamondview (House on the Hill). It was the most relaxing vacation we ever took. You couldnt ask for a better place to enjoy a completly peaceful relaxing, and totally private vacation. We went week after Easter so just at the cusp of "low season". Only 2 other houses occupied and we had the beautiful beach below to ourselves most of the time. The beach has a reef perfect for snorkeling. Water was warm and crystal clear. Some of the prettiest corals and fish were right there. We ventured by dinghy to see some of the nearby islands too for snorkeling. There are no boat rentals available with the property (had sunfishes and kayaks available) but can be arranged thru Nadine, one of the property caretakers. We rented Diamondview thru the owner directly (vrbo.com) and we thought it was the best house for location (totally private, about 80' above the water), decor (very cozy) and layout. It seems best for 1 or 2 couples as there are 2 bedrooms with king beds, but kids would work too. There is even a pullout futon in the living area for extra sleeping arrangements. We left the house windows and doors open the entire time (shutters on windows). Views from the house were gorgeous. Sunrises were especially beautiful.
Provisions thru Bobbys Marketplace on Tortola are a must on arrival (see website). Other stores on the island are very limited mainly for boater provisions. We sent in our order prior to the trip and they met us at the ferry dock in Tortola as planned. We also brought some of our own provisions from home in a cooler packed in a suitcase (specialty stuff). We ate breakfast and lunched on site and ate out most evenings (ate simple dinners at the house 3 nights). Our favorite place was Abes by the Sea. Best food, service and best painkillers! We walked there our 1st night, then arranged for a taxi the others. The hills are incredibly steep so you need to be in great shape to walk them. Foxy's Taboo was close by but we found it to be stupid expensive with ok food (we ate there our 1st nt). Next time we probably would eat in more. It was so cozy and private, we didnt want to go anywhere.
We flew in to St Thomas, ferried over to Tortola with Native Son and arranged thru Nadine a private water taxi to Sandy Ground ($120.00). Transport worked out smoothly.
Sandy Ground is NOT a place for most people. It is very remote and simple. If you want convenience and resort pampering this isnt the place for you. Dont want the secret to get out anyway!

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Hotyogaval
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2006

We have just returned from an eight day stay at Sandy Ground Estate and are a little fearful of spreading the good news of this little gold mine to the world. That being said, it is a place that some people would not find ideal. This is THE place for those that don't need to be entertained by the bar scene, TV or telephones. The villa had a well equipped kitchen, incredible views from the patios/bedrooms, and was nicely designed in a Tuscan style. The shutters on the windows all had moveable louvres. Most of the windows didn't have screens, which was only a problem in twilight hours when the no-see-ums (some) and the mosquitoes (very few) come out. The rest of the time we wanted to have to windows open wide for the beautiful breezes and great ocean sound. If a lizard poked his head inside, it usually wasn't for long.

Although its a short walk to Foxy's Taboo (bar/restaurant with a great chef), you'll want to bring your own food. We ordered ours online from Bobby's Marketplace (Tortola). Is difficult to know exactly what you are getting from their 17 page shopping list. Next time we'll try to shop for ourselves. There are a couple convenience stores on Jost Van Dyke, but they stock only the basics and are not within an easy walking distance.

Sandy Ground's beach is a beautiful one. They have planted palm trees and sea grape trees for some shade. The hammocks and chairs complete the scene. Their beach is not much of a swimming beach since the reef is right there. However, there are some spots without the reef for a nice dip in the 80 degree crystal clear warm water.

We took an eco-tour with Colin from Jost Van Dyke Scuba. He was an excellent guide for snorkeling and hiking at Sandy Cay. I would recommend his services. He seems to be trying to create more eco-tourism instead of hotel/bar development in the area. Snorkeling off the SGE beach is very good, off of Sandy Cay is even better. Lots of colorful fish, coral and even a few sea turtles.

How we got to Sandy Ground: Delta Airlines to St. Thomas. Then, land taxi to Charlotte Amalie port for $17. Water Ferry from Charlotte Amalie to West End, Tortola ($49 each for round trip ticket). Picked up our food on the dock at West End and took a water taxi to Sandy Ground for $100 each way. Nadine, from Sandy Ground, helped with the ferry and water taxi arrangements. If you've got the money, I'd go for the $225 water taxi directly from St. Thomas to Sandy Ground.

Getting around Jost Van Dyke- Although there is a road within Sandy Ground Estate, there is not a road connecting it to the rest of the island (there is a path to the road). Walking to Foxy's Taboo is maybe 15 minutes with a hill on the return. Walking to Little Harbor involves a big hill and about 30 minutes. Walking to Great Harbor and White Bay would be considered more of an outing at about an hour or more. Land taxis are available and charge $5 to get to the next harbor per person. (From White Bay to SGE, taxi cost us $30). The taxi meets/drops you off at the above mentioned path.

Personally, I have never had such a relaxing vacation. We stayed in Loblolly Tree House (perfect for two couples) and loved it. Its an ideal spot to sit and watch the scenery and wildlife (the pelicans were a trip as well as a colorful little sugar addicted bird called a bananaquit). The outdoor showers have a dream view. The house had a few games, many local guide books and lots of fiction to read. If you are looking to get away from reality but still want a kitchen and a nice bed, this could be your spot.

18  Thank PMTAVL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2006

We have rented a villa at Sandy Ground Estates every February for the past 10 years. Sandy Ground consists of 8 villas spread out among about 15 acres on the eastern tip of Jost Van Dyke. See its website at ----.

All the villas have gorgeous vistas overlooking Little Jost, Green Cay, Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay. Tortola, from Long Bay to Cane Garden Bay to Brewers Bay, is in the background, and beyond there is Guana and Great Camanoe, with Virgin Gorda's peak looming in the distance. In other words, the vista includes "islands that go on forever." And, in among the islands, there is a delightful all-day ballet of sailboats and motor yachts.

The villas are comfortable but simple, with full kitchens and covered terraces. We throw open the windows and doors, and the hummingbirds and bananaquits fly through.

The main beach is idyllic. Great for walking and picking up sea glass and old pottery shards. The reef that surrounds the beach is great for snorkeling. It also makes for privacy, because even dinghies cannot get through the reef (though some try, to their regret). And there is a second, smaller beach by the boat dock facing Diamond Cay, where there is also good snorkeling. At night, dozens, maybe hundreds, of large tarpon hang out under the dock light. During the day most of them go out to deeper water, though we often see one or two while snorkeling (they are big but harmless). Other sealife includes turtles, squid, barracuda, rays and a full range of reef fish.

Sandy Ground is not a "resort," and you're basically on your own. It's perfect for self-sufficient folks who want to swim, snorkel, read on the beach or terrace, walk, nap, bird, and/or star gaze. Kayaks, sunfish, dinghies and the like can be rented, either at Sandy Ground or in Little or Great Harbors. The resident managers, Nadine and Leroy Isaac, are very helpful. For example, if there is enough interest among the guests, Nadine can arrange for a snorkel boat to come over and take guests on trips to places like Monkey Point, the Baths, Cooper Island, The Rhone, Peter Island, the Caves, the Indians, etc.

While the main road does not presently go all the way down into Sandy Ground, there is talk of extending it. However, it is only a short (but rocky) walk up a goat path to the main road. From there it is about a 20 minute walk to Foxy's Taboo restaurant at Diamond Cay, and about a 30 minute walk in the other direction (up and down an impressive hill), to Little Harbor and Sidney's, Harris' and Abe's restaurants. Or you can easily get a taxi to take you to Great Harbor or White Bay or anywhere else on the island. Most guests will walk to Taboo for lunch or dinner several times a week, and to the bubbly pool when the seas are up. Many guests also walk to Little Harbor, and some even to Great Harbor and White Bay

Most guests cook most of their meals in their villas, and so must stop on Tortola or St. Thomas to buy provisions (there are half dozen small groceries on Jost, but most folks will want a greater selection).

One of our favorite things about Sandy Ground is that it faces east. We get glorious multicolored sunrises and the fresh morning sun. Then, at midday, the sun passes over our terrace roof and we have cooling shade for the rest of the day. Our sunsets are "reverse sunsets," where the sun glints brightly on the west facing beaches and cliffs of the other islands. Once night falls, the only lights in view, as we eat on the terrace, are Tortola's subdued streetlights, which are strung like Italian lights along the northern shore and mountaintop roads. The sky is especially dark, which makes for great star gazing or serious astronomy. Watching the moon rise over Tortola is especially memorable.

Obviously Sandy Ground is not for everyone. But for those who want to really get away, and do so in comfort, Sandy Ground is a wonderful choice. Obviously we love it, so are admittedly biased. Nonetheless, we think we have painted a reasonably accurate picture. We have no financial or other interest in Sandy Ground.

  • Stayed: February 2005
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15  Thank tomdunes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2005

We have stayed at several of the villas over the past 15 years. Every villa is unique as they are privately owned, but each one has been wonderful. They all have exactly what is needed for a tropical vacation; very simple houses, open to the breezes, with wonderful views. As there are no roads to the estate, and with a coral reef off of the beach, privacy is perfect. Some of the best snorkeling we have ever done is right in front of the houses.
The caretakers, Nadine and Leroy, are wonderful hosts and help with anything that is needed. If you feel the need to join society, they can make arrangements for you to get to Great Harbour or White Bay.
Each time we return, we are awed by the beauty of this place.

14  Thank Seelie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Sandy Ground Estates

Address: Jost Van Dyke
Region: Caribbean > British Virgin Islands > Jost Van Dyke
Amenities:
Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Jost Van Dyke
Price Range: €1,191 - €1,659 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Sandy Ground Estates, perfectly situated on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, this unique location offers an experience like no other: glorious weather, azure waters, brilliant beaches, fascinating flora and fauna, awe-inspiring coral reefs and activities almost too numerous to mention. Jost Van Dyke is the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands with Sandy Ground Estates, made up of six villas, occupying the eastern end of the island overlooking picturesque Sandy Spit, Sandy and Diamond Cays and only minutes walk from a sandy white beach you can call your own. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sandy Ground Estates Hotel Jost Van Dyke

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