Surrounded by ultimate privacy and tropical surroundings, Frenchmans offers a unique Caribbean experience through genuine and warm hospitality
Everything about Frenchmans is a true escape from daily life. On the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, this private estate overlooks the crystal clear Caribbean in a luxurious style we’ve never quite seen before. While maintaining a fun and bright tropical feel, Frenchmans meditates on the true fundamentals of island paradise: exclusivity, pristine surroundings and barefoot luxury. Frenchmans is a tropical getaway that does more than make you feel special — it is special. And when we left we basked in the undeniable feeling that something extraordinary had just happened.
Frenchmans is privately owned by a wonderful couple that has been calling the island of Tortola home for an enviably long time. On the eastside of Frenchmans Cay, the property is nestled into a pocket of total privacy, surrounded by the water and rolling green mountains . It is comprised of nine detached villas, each with one or two bedrooms, a full service kitchen and plenty of living space. Anything we needed during our stay, the team was happy to make happen. But the concept at Frenchmans is somewhat self serve, so you won’t have people bothering you every few minutes, offering overly sweet, overpriced piña colada.
Tortola - Capital Island of the B.V.I
The island of Tortola is the biggest in the British Virgin Islands. In addition to the idyllic scenery of immaculate shores and nourishing, green mountains, Tortola offers a dynamic blend of West Indies history and modern day culture. Although Tortola is updated and luxurious, remnants of its history are scattered through this capital island, most of it relating to the sugar and slave trade that once dominated the territory. Now, in addition to luxury resorts, Tortola has a bit of everything: port shops, water sports, snorkeling, museums, yachts to ogle, world class restaurants, fishing, and surfing. It’s a great island to visit, especially if you appreciate tropical ambiances!
Once glance at Frenchmans and it’s pretty obvious that the owners’ have a strong passion for the islands and design. Art from local artisans hang on the walls and although the style was undoubtedly tropical, it was done elegantly and modern. A bright color palette of greens and crisp whites fit the leisurely mood, and matched the stunning scenery.
Beyond the villas, all of the public spaces at Frenchmans are open air, inviting in the salty sea breeze. The restaurant, bar, and lobby are right by the beach — we were constantly breathing in the fresh air! My favorite part was the private, little areas set up around the property for taking in the views in total isolation. On one private side of the property, there were two little cabanas overlooking a small dock and the Caribbean. Talk about romantic!
Passing Time at Frenchmans
Aside from absorbing the heavenly hospitality and tropical bliss, Frenchmans offers tons of activities that take full advantage of the island. On this side of Tortola, the water is pretty calm and water traffic is minimal, so snorkeling and water activities are perfect here. You can try out fishing, surfing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, or even swim with the dolphins at a nearby facility.
During our stay, we spent our mornings waking up to the waves crashing. We started our mornings slowly, sipping cappuccinos and nibbling on a simple breakfast spread at the restaurant. Our days were filled with refreshing swims or nature walks, followed by relaxation ocean-side — what else would we do in paradise?! In the late afternoon, we wandered to the bar area, where a few local expats mingled and dreamt up tasty craft cocktail concoctions with the bartender. Sitting at the bar just chatting and sampling became one of our favorite things to do. It was a lovely opportunity to socialize with locals and get a taste of some really great drinks!
Our Own Private Villa
Perched perfectly on a hill that overlooked crashing waves, our 2 bedroom villa was surrounded by lush trees and bright flowers, using the natural landscape as part of the decor. Since there are only nine villas and the property is huge, most of the time it felt like we had the whole estate to ourselves.
Each bedroom had an air conditioning unit and a private bathroom. The common area consisted of a spacious living room, dining room, and kitchen, without air conditioning but did have a fan and plenty of fresh breezes. When I asked the owner why not make the entire space air conditioned (since it can get very hot) his answer was a simple variation of… No! According to him, people need to feel the Caribbean breeze and experience how calming it is. We have to say we agree, as we took to enjoying the breeze from our villa’s two balconies.
The owner oversees all the interior design in the villa, and it’s obvious that she is passionate about her property. Her enthusiasm is apparent in every detail from the linens to the bathroom amenities. The fantastic and colorful bed pillows feel fresh and comfortable (not shabby and used like some hotel throw pillows). The art on the walls is carefully selected and true to local style.
Although it will probably rain during your stay, the storms never last long and there is enough to do in the villas to stay busy. Our room had some games, plenty of books, and although the wifi was not very fast, it was occasionally possible to stream Netflix while we waited the rain out. Since the villa is roomy, it’s ideal for a family or two couples traveling together. You’ll find that you have everything you need in the villa, even a fully stocked kitchen upon your arrival if you want!
Dining at Frenchamans
The dining experience at Frenchmans will blow your mind. Although we had a fabulous, full sized kitchen, we were only staying for a few nights so we nixed the grocery store and kept fed in their restaurant — great decision on our part! For starters, the team was awesome. They are sweet, hospitable, and genuinely love having you as a guest. The restaurant has a reputation on the island for its ambiance, and it’s easy to see why. We enjoyed diverse and locally sourced meals in the open air, with the ocean just steps away.
The cuisine at the restaurant offers plenty of variety, and is completely delicious! I don’t know how the chefs did it, but we had some of the best jerk chicken wraps for lunch and the best carbonara served with freshly baked bread for dinner. There might be a theme one night, like “all things Caribbean” but for the most part, it’s whatever is fresh an in season. We ate our meals beside locals every evening, and that’s always a great sign!
Getting Around the Island
Unless you have your own private boat, getting around the Virgin Islands requires a ton of patience and time. Although Tortola has an airport, we were coming from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands so we took a ferry. The ferry took an hour, clearing customs took a half hour, and then we were finally on our way. From the ferry terminal, the hotel is about 20 minutes away by car.
If you are arriving at the airport, be prepared that it’s on the opposite side the island, about an hour away by car. Figuring out how to get to and from the islands can be confusing if it’s your first time visiting, so definitely reach out to the hotel to help you navigate. They were incredibly helpful in giving me options and directions to the property.
A Unique Oasis for Every Occasion
The best part about Frenchmans is that it’s not just another tropical escape. It’s a dreamlike, romantic getaway with a feel that is so authentic it’s tough to express in words. You have to see the paradise at Frenchman's to believe it, and we hope you do! The team at Frenchmans made all the difference, with some of the best and most genuine service we’ve had. Overall, the estate is fantastic for couples, honeymooners, and families alike, and will create unforgettable memories for any occasion.
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