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“Nice Property with a Few Minor Flaws”
Review of Frenchmans

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Frenchmans
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in West End
Certificate of Excellence
Austin, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Nice Property with a Few Minor Flaws”
Reviewed 12 February 2012

My husband and I just returned from a ten day honeymoon around the BVI, and we spent the first three nights of our trip at Frenchmans. We did extensive research when choosing the three hotels we stayed at over the course of ten days, and because of the glowing reviews on Trip Advisor, we jumped at the chance to stay here.

We were certainly not disappointed with the stunning views of the water, the lush tropical landscape, and the cozy bungalow that reminded me a little bit of summer camp (in a good way). The staff was also friendly and helpful when it came to arranging a jeep rental and a catamaran day trip to Norman Island.

The restaurant, however, left something to be desired. On our first night we decided to dine on site and were prepared to splurge on an expensive dinner. I am a vegetarian, so it is often difficult to find anything to eat at fine dining establishments in the Caribbean. Usually the chef will prepare something simple that I specifically request, such as pasta with grilled vegetables or risotto with vegetables. In any case, the only option I was given was the "vegetarian dish," which was not on the menu.

After trying to get a straight answer on what the dish actually consisted of, I eventually gave up and tried to just go with the flow. In hindsight, I should have been more persistent. The dish was essentially rice with tomatoes and olives accompanied by various forms of mashed vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peas-yuk), tomatoes stuffed with olives, and a roll stuffed with... More mashed potatoes. Did I mention I hate olives? On a more positive note, my husband did enjoy his steak, the wine was surprisingly reasonable in price, and the ambiance couldn't be beat. We were also unimpressed with the daily breakfast, other than the mango pancakes, which were delicious. The coffee was great and the service was also pleasant.

Lastly, the air conditioners in the room don't go lower than 79-80 degrees (to prevent the AC from freezing up), and the mosquitoes are relentless, which together made it almost impossible for my husband to sleep comfortably. Be sure to bring bug spray if you decide to stay here.

Although there were many positive aspects of the property, I did not think the $500/night price tag matched the experience.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank lbreneau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (89)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2012

My wife and I spent a week in Frenchmans, we stayed in Mango, the view was perfect and it is centrally located on the property. The beds were comfortable and the a/c worked great. Since there are only 9 villas on the property it is very quite, we ussually had the beach/ cabanas to ourselves, the breakfast was excellent, dinner was also very good. Karen and Lucilla took care of us all week in the restaurant! If you smile big enough you may get a hug from Lucilla. The snorkeling off the point is as good as it gets on the island, but do not try to come ashore or go out via the dock, it is very shallow and sea urchants are just below the surface of the water. Chris and Nadia did a great job scheduling our adventure package, we did a day sail to Norman island on the aristocrat and we went yoste van dyke for the Atv tour, we new we were in for an adventure when we were picked up at at ferry dock on a dingy boat to ride over to yoste van dyke! It was a fast wet ride on rough seas! Also, Nadia chartered a plane for us to go to anagada for the day, cow wreck beach was beautiful and the beach bar was an experience! One suggestion, if you get the picnic basket, ask for it when you check in, it will save you a few $ at the grocery store.

  • Stayed January 2012
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Helpful?
4 Thank Colliervilletntravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2012

My wife and I just got back from Frenchman's, and it was one of the nicest vacations we've ever had. (And we travel a LOT!) It didn't start out that well--they told us to call when we arrived, and they'd send a car--but when we called (at the agreed-upon hour), we got an answering machine, and had to make our own way to the resort. Then, when we got there (by overpriced cab), the person who failed to answer the phone was on his way to pick us up. When he eventually got back, he was less apologetic than one might like, and when we asked if we'd be reimbursed for the cab fare, he said he doubted it. (We were.) Upon checking out, we told the lovely Julisa that they should give out both the front desk # AND someone's cell phone # for new arrivals, and she said she thought that was a great idea, and that she'd let management know. Let's hope they do.

Anyway--after that inauspicious start, things turned around in a hurry. The place is gorgeous, immaculate, and convenient. We loved our villa (Starfruit), loved the beach, loved the restaurant (and Lucilla!), loved the little thatch-roofed beach platforms, and loved the snorkeling right off the point. We did the Adventure Package, and I highly recommend it. The ATV tour was a blast, the catamaran day trip was lovely, and the snack basket was terrific. The package includes a rental car--waiting for you at the resort! And at the end of your stay, you just leave it at the ferry terminal! We never had an easier rental car experience in our lives. And you really do need the car--if only for zipping into town every day to buy snacks or do some shopping.

Breakfast (included!) was amazing--chef Paul whipped up a delicious and unique dish every morning! We just loved it--especially the mango pancakes and the breakfast burritos. Lucilla (the omnipresent server) couldn't have been nicer--saying bye to her was sad.

At the front desk, the incredibly cheerful Julisa and the amazingly helpful Nadia made our lives easier every time we needed something. We loved them both.

A few (minor) things that could make the place even better:

--The bugs (no-see-ums and mosquitos) were pretty annoying in our room. We were constantly being bitten. At the last place we stayed that was this buggy, management left a battery powered bug zapping racquet in each room, and it made all the difference in the world. Frenchman's knows what these are--we saw one in the little office behind the front desk. They should invest the $8 per villa and equip every room with one. It would help a lot.

--The DVDs were mostly pirated copies, and they all had technical issues (missing video, un-sync'd audio...one DVD actually had the wrong movie on it!). Having complimentary DVDs is a great little perk (there's a DVD player in every cottage), but having them be of lousy quality was a bit of a bummer. Management should spend a few bucks on 20-30 nice (original) movies--it wouldn't be that hard.

--Buy a roll of duct tape, Frenchman's! You know the old expression--you can repair anything with duct tape. Well, one of the two kayaks' oars was broken, and we asked if it could be fixed our first day there. I even volunteered to fix it myself--all I needed was (you guessed it) a piece of duct tape (or any similar heavy tape). They didn't have any, though, and the oar remained broken throughout our entire stay.

The above small things aside, this was a near-perfect vacation. I'd recommend the place to anyone I know, and it's one of the few resorts I'd like to return to one day. It's really delightful. Go there yourself--and if they have the zappers, non-pirated DVDs, and a roll of duct tape, you'll be in for a vacation that couldn't be better!

Room Tip: I get the feeling they're all extremely nice, but you can't go wrong with Starfruit.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank bigvolley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
170 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2012

We arrived at Frenchmans wet and bedraggled after spending a few days sailing the waters of the BVI (also highly recommended). From the moment we arrived the staff could not have been more welcoming and helpful. The room we were offered was named Starfruit and was both comfortable and commodious. The deck and upstairs bedroom were both particularly nice and we spent many happy hours in each! We had modest expectations of the food, but were absolutely delighted by the quality of the produce and it's preparation. The staff, as per the remainder of the hotel were excellent. Even a dramatic tropical storm could not dampen their enthusiasm. The snorkelling around the point was some of the best we had seen and the small beach pool is a nice touch.

Room Tip: I liked the two storey layout
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank rr1042
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2012

We stayed at Frenchmans for 9 nights in November to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday, after much debate about where to stay on the island. It was an absolutely wonderful experience. We thought about staying at Sugar Mill, which has lovely grounds but a small beach, and are very glad we choose Frenchmans as the views on the south side are gorgeous, and the staff is every bit as accommodating as previous reviews indicate. Chris, Nadia, and Julisa were terrific in answering all our questions, making recommendations, and ultimately arranging dinner reservations, day sails, scuba diving, car rental, transfers from the ferry dock, and even a charter flight to Anegada for a day trip.

The 9 villas overlooking the lagoon and sea are breathtaking. We were initially a bit disappointed when we first arrived to find that our villa (Guava) overlooked the lagoon and not the more open part of the bay which the website implies can be seen from all of the villas. We soon realized the lagoon view had gorgeous water and mountain views, was quieter, and we had a prime seat for the daily pelican fish feeding dive! Our one negative was the lack of air conditioning on the first floor in the villa. It was pretty steamy some days when we were there and the breeze did not make much of a dent in the humidity. This put a crimp in our plans to use the lovely kitchen, which has everything you need to cook. A screen on the front door, more fans, or putting A/C in the first floor would make the villas perfect.

We disagree with some of the other reviews about Frenchmans beach. We found it lovely and secluded with a built in breakwater to provide some relaxing time just floating, snorkeling or using the beach toys. We spent time on the cabana just relaxing under the warm tropical sun. Since we were there in November and rain squalls came up frequently we had the chance to witness some of the most spectacular rainbows we had ever seen. One occasion we witnessed two distinct rainbows next to each on the lagoon. As for the more famous north shore beaches, our favorite was Smuggler’s Cove, a short 10 minute drive away. Ask the staff if you can’t find the dirt road – well worth the bumpy ride for the beach, views, and the best beach drinks on the island.

Some other recommendations of things to enjoy on or around Tortola: dinner at Sugar Mill (high end), Jolly Roger’s (relaxing and fun), or Sebastian’s (true beach side dining); catamaran snorkel day sail with BVI Excursions to Norman Island or Jost Van Dyke; take the ferry to Virgin Gorda to snorkel at the Baths; hike on Sage Mountain (chat with the restaurant owner and grab a drink, or see if his son is available as a tour guide – a fun, personal way to learn about the flora and fauna); and test your diving abilities on the unbelievably steep roads with gorgeous views but hairpin switchbacks (you will need an AWD jeep to really enjoy the island).

If you’re looking for a Caribbean island that hasn’t been overrun by large resorts, Tortola and BVIs are the place to go, and Frenchmans is the place to stay on Tortola. It was a great experience and we’re already trying to figure out when we can go back!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank TNCCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2011

I have been fortunate enough to have stayed at Frenchmans on more than one occasion since its reopening. Staying at Frenchmans is not an experience that can be easily replicated or easily forgotten!

From the moment you begin contact with the hotel they are beyond accommodating helping you understand travel options, car rentals, restaurants, day trips, the list goes on and on. They are happy to help you in any way to ensure your trip down to the BVI is as easy as possible. On arrival the staff is always there to greet you and are genuinely excited to meet the people they have been back and forth with during the lead up to the trip. The welcome back on subsequent visits really makes you feel as if your business is appreciated and that they want to make this visit better than your previous one.

The reason I have decided to write a review now is that I have seen that the comments from previous reviews have all been addressed in a very timely manner. The beach has shown amazing improvement from previous trips as they have enclosed a swimming area further and added a small cabana. By no means is this a long sprawling beach, but it is usually pretty empty as only guests use it, very clean, and it has some of the best snorkeling we have done in the BVI. One morning we were down early and even saw dolphins! The pool is small, but clean and serves its purpose but the BVI is definitely a beach destination regardless of the hotel you stay at. If you are looking for a long sandy beach the hotel staff are more than happy to help you find what you are looking for.

All in all Frenchmans seems to continue getting better with age! From the front desk staff, to the management, to the chef and the cleaning staff everyone is very welcoming and their main goal is to ensure that you have the best experience possible so don't hesitate to ask if you need anything.

In all I wouldn't hesitate to suggest this hotel and I can't wait until the next time I can go for a visit.

  • Stayed November 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank ashgToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYC
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2011

Pros: very good staff, location in the west end is great, great little lagoon with very good snorkelling right at hotel, perfect accomodations in houses where you don't overlook your nieghbors even though you are attached. Only con: Star Fruit (name of the house we stayed in) is right outside the area where the laundry and workers congregate. So tough to take an afternoon nap because of noise, conversation, cell phones. But that is a very small consideration for such a great property.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank IveBeenAroundNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Frenchmans

Property: Frenchmans
Address: Frenchman's Cay, VG100, Tortola
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > British Virgin Islands > Tortola > West End
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in West End
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Frenchmans 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Frenchmans is a hidden jewel located on Frenchman's Cay on the southwest coast of the island of Tortola. Set on a dramatic point, we capture the welcoming turquoise waters of the Caribbean and its trade winds. Each of our nine private villas embodies an exquisite elegance, set amidst flourishing gardens with our own private pool, beach and tennis court. Our palette of luxury services including massage, secretarial and concierge ensures your stay will be as care free and indulgent as possible. Private villas include fully-equipped kitchens, ample living spaces, air-conditioned bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and two or more balconies. Stunning panoramic views, soothing interior design and cool breezes set your body and soul at ease. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Frenchmans Hotel West End
Frenchmans Tortola/West End

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