By Alexander Britell and Guy Britton
GUANA — Jamal is picking through the basil plants waving purply in the breeze.
The first mango just came off the tree, he tells us, the fruit of a year of humbling revivification.
Chickens hop around the edge of the greenhouse, the loudest members of this vibrant orchard.
It may be just a short boat ride from Tortola’s Trellis Bay, but Guana Island is a world away from away.
Once a quaker compound (one whose ruins still dot the landscape), today Guana is the most private of private island destinations, a remarkably secluded, pristine natural wonderland.
There are seven beaches, three reefs, 12 miles of hiking trails and of course the orchard, which today supplies the property’s farm-to-table program, helmed by chef Xavier Gili, whose previous stints include Nobu and Zuma in London.
Everything seems to point back to Guana’s orchard, a scene of rebirth that is a symbol for this whole island chain’s renaissance.
Indeed, just a year later, what was once barren is now bearing every manner of fruit and herb, replanted and reinvigorated, bursting with yellows and reds.
There is a reverence with which Evansley “Jamal” Bradshaw glides around the grounds, looking over the grounds with a sacerdotal gaze.
This is holy ground, a place that has been reborn in the last year, green and brilliant again.
It’s another sign of Guana’s uniqueness; unlike many private destinations where the resort has taken over the land, here, it’s quite the opposite. It’s clear that Mother Nature is still in charge.
Because Guana isn’t like other private islands, or any other islands, period.
It’s its own truly self-contained ecosystem, with myriad lora and fauna both on the ground and beneath the water.
When you stay here, you’re a guest of the island itself, granted the privilege of blending into the landscape for a week.
“It’s the peace and quiet,” says Guana’s Vernon Daniel. “The guests get all of this island to themselves.”
And that means all 850 acres— from the aforementioned hikes to films under the stars in the cliffside amphitheater to tortoise and flamingo-watching.
And then there are the beaches, led by the truly marvelous sand of White Bay, which comes with its own private beach bar.
If you do decide to spend some time in your room, you’ll find 18 charming stone cottages, some with detached solaria, others with private pools.
Guana is renewing itself, upgrading and improving as it plans for its grand Oct. 1 relaunch.
But after a year of change, Guana has become more than just a cherished, pristine hideaway.
It’s become the best hotel in the British Virgin Islands.
Guana is available for stays beginning Oct. 1.
For more, visit Guana.