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Uninhabited Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands archipelago has a new selling point. It used to be that daytrippers could arrive via boat for an onshore meal, or yachties could score a mooring for their pleasure craft. Things are about to change, with Norman Island undergoing an eco-responsible development that will enable it to host visitors overnight in luxury properties.
In addition to between 75 to 100 residences, the project will also include up to three boutique hotels, boat slips, a spa and an observatory. The project will be overseen by Audubon Holdings and will ensure that more than half of the island’s some 600 acres will be protected green space.
“This agreement marks an exciting time for the BVI and its resurgence in the tourism industry,” said Orlando Smith, former premier and minister of finance. “As we reintroduce and reinvent our tourism products and services, it is imperative that we take the necessary steps to ensure that we create products that are environmentally sustainable and attractive to our residents and visitors alike.”
Even though uninhabited, Norman Island has a colorful history. In the 18th century, Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe dropped anchor, and a mutinous crew buried 55 treasure chests filled with silver coins at various hiding places on the island. Much of this treasure has been recovered; although, according to islanders, more remains to be unearthed. Norman Island and the story of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe is said to be the inspiration for the classic tale “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson, which brought the iconic pirate Long John Silver to the world.
Norman Island is located east of Peter Island and south of Tortola. Most visitors will arrive via the Norman Island Ferry, which departs from Hannah Bay in Tortola. The major sites of interest on Norman Island are the caves at Treasure Point, which offer excellent opportunities for scuba diving. From the island’s main anchorage, there’s a trail leading up the hillside that rewards hikers with awesome views over Sir Francis Drake Channel. In fact, hikers will have plenty of options to stay active, since there are 12 miles of trails on the compact island.
The island’s natural anchorage is called The Bight. The anchorage has 100 moorings for guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Norman Island presently has two beachfront restaurants: The Club, which offers fine dining, and the popular Pirates Bight. It is expected that in the months to come, Pirates Bight will be expanded to include a second restaurant, a beach bar, a watersports center and a floating pool.
“This project offers an exciting opportunity to create hundreds of business opportunities and good jobs, and establish a model for environmentally sustainable development,” said Henry Jarecki, owner of Audubon Holdings.
Norman Island is a solid recommendation for luxury clients who are familiar with the Caribbean, and who are enthusiastic about being the first on the scene when something new is offered.
The DetailsBritish Virgin Islands Tourist Boardwww.bvitoruism.com