Above: the Cooper Island Beach Club (All photos by CJ)
By Alexander Britell
COOPER ISLAND — It’s just before twilight and the sea is silver. There are barrels in the sand and a table in the water.
On Cooper Island, this is when many of the charterers have had their fill and begun dinghying back to their boats, and the rum bar is just beginning to hum.
We’ve just gotten in on our Moorings catamaran and taken the dinghy to shore.
And we’ve found something quite special.
The Cooper Island Beach Club is a very small hotel — just 10 rooms, although it feels far larger, in a good way.
That’s because for a very boutique hotel there are seemingly dozens of little worlds — a brand-new, 100-rum rum bar; a cafe; a paddleboarding station; a top-level restaurant (one of the best in the whole BVI); a breakfast alcove under the palms.
The staff is young and energetic, the food is locally-sourced and creatively prepared.
What it all means is one gets the trappings of a large resort – the feeling of never getting bored, even on a secluded private island.
But that’s not the big story.
The big story is this is not just the coolest hotel in an archipelago full of great hotels; it’s that it’s the greenest, too.
If you climb the hill behind the property, you see that it’s not just the sea that has a silvery glow this time of day — it’s the solar panels.
For now, 80 percent of the property’s energy comes from solar panels like these — part of a major push at the property that isn’t just environmentally conscious but practical, too, when you’re running a hotel on a private island.
The hotel also makes its own water and recycles black and grey water, and doesn’t use air conditioning (something that seems an issue but quickly disappears when you sleep cradled by ocean breezes).
And you won’t find any bottled water here — anywhere. That’s because recycling is, to say the least, an issue in the BVI.
Thankfully, the water they make is the best tap water I’ve ever had in the Caribbean. It’s really that good.
Plainly, Cooper Island is the coolest hotel in the British Virgin Islands — it’s small, it’s fresh, it’s hip. It’s the coolness that comes when a lot of effort is made to look effortless.
There’s a different energy here than the kind you find in the rest of this archipelago — a kind of dynamism, as if inspired ideas from the world’s boutique hotels are being funneled right here onto the beach.
Right next to the barrels.