There’s nothing pesky about Moskito Island: this private Caribbean escape, a neighbour to Necker, is home to three modern, ultra-luxe manses exclusively tailored to you, your nearest and dearest. And while you’ll certainly want for nothing here, the focus, mindfully, is on the small stuff: rum is savoured in the shade of palm trees, and days on (or in) the ocean are followed by sandy-toed sunset barbeques. There’s almost a home-from-home feel to it – we say this loosely because of the no-expenses-spared infinity pools, private coves, sunset-facing dining pavilions and personal chefs – but, really, this is more than your archetypal island stay. Each estate takes its design cues from the elements (light, shadow, wind, water), and all exude the spirit of luxury and adventure in equal measure.
Three private estates (Branson, Oasis and Point), each with enough room for 18-22 guests.
12 noon; check-in is 4pm.
Double rooms from £17350.03 ($18,750). Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of 3% per booking on check-out.
Rates include all food, drinks and non-motorised watersports.
Sailing enthusiasts take note: every April the spring regatta and sailing festival takes to the BVI seas. The three-day race sweeps through the Sir Francis Drake channel, the Atlantic ocean and the Caribbean. Each day concludes with a beach festival, food vendors and plenty of rum, natch.
At the hotel
Watersports centre with paddle boards, kayaks, surfboards, snorkelling gear and Hobie Cats, sugar-white beach, two tennis courts, peloton-packed gym, mountain bikes to borrow, central beach house with pizza oven, flexible dining options across the island. In estates: exact features vary but you can expect at least one pool, private dining areas, gaming and cinema rooms, golf buggies, fire pits and a dedicated estate team including a private chef.
Our favourite rooms
A truly impossible ask, but we’ve given it our best shot. The master bedroom of the Point estate takes the palm-woven crown for us – given its open-plan design and mirage-like views of island, ocean and sky. The Branson estate is the best bet for multi-generational family groups: the stand-alone villas are private, but connected by a labyrinth of elevated wooden walkways. There’s a kitchen, living area and pool in each of the three clusters: Headland house, the Mangrove villas and the Beach villas. Groups wanting to reconnect should bed down in the playful Point estate – the striking central abode is ideal for entertaining with a pool table, movie-night-ready daybed, and table tennis.
The wraparound pool is the epicentre of the Oasis estate: each of the abodes (including three pool-side pods) are essentially swim-up-able. The Branson estate has three pools: one that spans the perimeter of Headland house, a lagoon-style number hugging the rocks outside the Mangrove villa and a teardrop-shaped plunger at the Beach villa. But pool-over-beach types will fall hardest for the cliff-hugging, sunset facing infinity piscina of the Point estate: you have to swim it to believe it.
You’ll need US dollars in the BVIs, despite it being a British overseas territory (and thankfully there’s little chance of British weather).
In search of the spa? Fear not – you needn’t leave your estate for a blissful, away-from-it-all massage or facial. Ambient spa music step aside: the real-deal of the crashing ocean is the record of choice if you opt for an alfresco treatment.
Children are very welcome. The most suitable estate is probably Point – it has an eight-person bunk-bed room, ideal for little ones. The island is private, safe and very family-friendly.
Any and all ages are welcome at Moskito Island.
The Point estate’s eight-person bunk-bed room is just the ticket for groups with lots of kids. Older children will love the estate’s entertainment room which has a pool table, table tennis table and foosball table.
Your dedicated team will be on hand to arrange all manner of kid-friendly activities including SUP boarding, wakeboarding, snorkelling and surfing on the water; tennis, beach volleyball, treasure hunts and picnics on land.
Each estate has at least one private pool, all with plenty of space for kids to splash about in (and for adults to remain at a splash-safe distance).
There’s no need to adapt the menu when it’s already tailored specifically to your group: the chef will work with you in advance to make sure there are meals for your little ones.
Babysitting is available on request (with advance notice) for an additional charge, starting at $25 an hour.
No need to pack
Inflatables or games: everything is provided at the estates.
At a hotel like this, architects are able to strip back their thinking by adhering to the elements of light, shadow, wind and water in shaping each of the homes. Thus, photovoltaic and solar hot water panels cocoon the estates, and planted green roofs provide an insulative layer. Strategically placed overhangs and sunshades reduce heat gain (a must, given the BVI’s rather tropical climate), in harmony with sliding panels that encourage passive breeze to cool the villa interiors. Much of the island's terrain has been left untouched, part of the owner’s aim to be kind to the land. 90 per cent of staff are local, and the island is actively involved in supporting the community through BVI Unite, including in Hurricane Irma recovery efforts. Staff uniforms are made from recycled ocean plastic, and there's an eco-waste system and glass recycling system on the island. The sun cream in your room is reef-friendly and plant-based, and provided in refillable bottles rather than miniatures. Food is prepared with the environment in mind too: sustainable and low impact products are chosen, as are local suppliers including fishermen and farmers, supporting the local economy.
There’s nothing so formal as a restaurant on the island; this is a trip tailored to you and your desires (and that includes the dining). Instead, make any manner of request to the chef and team, be that lunch on the boat pavilion, pizza by the flamingo lake or a barbeque on the sand. As soon as your booking is confirmed you’ll be asked for your preferences – make sure to ask for that holiday-only merlot and those nostalgia-inducing chocolates. At night, you might choose to dine at your estates' sunset-saluting crows nest, or a seafood pizza on the beach – either way, the menu can be tailored to a tee to allow for dietary requirements or off-the-wall cravings.
Personally, we prefer our bars poolside, well-stocked with rum and shared with our 18 closest friends. If that’s your bag too, then you’ll do just fine at Moskito Island.
Got the midnight munchies? Fear not: your estate team is available 24 hours a day.
Moskito Island is just across the way from Necker, Virgin Gorda and Tortola in the British Virgin Isles.
International flights usually land in Antigua or San Juan, followed by an internal flight to Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island, right at the eastern tip of Tortola. From here, the Moskito island team take over – sit back to witness the atoll views during the 45-minute boat transfer to Moskito island (included in the cost of your booking).
A suitably Bond-like helicopter arrival is on the cards (fly from Tortola, Virgin Gorda, St. Thomas, San Juan or further afield), if 18° 30’ 40.68’ N, 64° 23’ 42 W means anything to you.
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s almost too much to do on the island (once you’ve satisfied your sunbathe-swim-cocktail-swim-sunbathe cycle). Rates include use of all non-motorised watersports, which will keep you busy for a while: SUP boarding, wakeboarding, snorkelling and surfing on the water; hiking, tennis, yoga and beach volleyball on land. You can also try your hand at scuba diving, sailing, water skiing and kite boarding, or set sail for another island for an afternoon. We’d suggest a trip to the baths on Virgin Gorda, a collection of natural granite boulders with tidal pools, grottos and tunnels ripe for exploring. Or to take a Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar bar on Jost Van Dyke island: a concoction of dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple, orange juice and freshly grated nutmeg.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from their private estate in the Caribbean and unpacked as many bottles of vintage rum as their suitcase allows, a full account of their private-island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Moskito Island in the British Virgin Islands…
There are over 60 islands, islets and cays in the BVIs, but if we could pick one – and despite its rather less than welcoming name – it would likely be Moskito. This 125-acre island of rugged cliffs, rocky outcrops, turquoise lagoons and glossy woods is laid out along a camel-hump spine, with ocean vistas from every peak. Its summit, in fact, affords views of Necker island – which appears to be within swimming distance (it’s not) – and Virgin Gorda, one of the better known BVI islands. Moskito’s main beach – a perfect curve of white sand dotted with palm trees – is home to a watersports centre where you’ll find kayaks patiently waiting to hit the waves. Speaking of, anything and everything can be arranged for you on the island – you’ll have your own dedicated team including a private chef. And the service starts before you even flip-flop your way onto the island: chefs will be rustling up your favourite dishes without you even needing to utter ‘lobster mac and cheese, please’.
Now, on to the estates. The architecture of each is entirely unique – some spaces are Balinese-style, others take their inspiration from Malibu or Miami. The Branson estate is a seafront oasis on the northeast tip of the island, with standalone abodes connected by walkways, a private cove-like beach and an idyllic dining area. The Oasis estate is at the highest point of the island (views are guaranteed from every room). There’s an abundance of natural light, a curved wrap-around pool with swim-up bar and a state-of-the-art alfresco fire pit. The Point estate, on the southwest corner of the island, overlooks Manchioneel beach and neighbouring Virgin Gorda. Its biophilic design, thatched roofs and open-air dining pavilion are striking, but the interiors happily concede that the curaçao-coloured waters take centre stage in the BVIs.