Sustainability is at the heart of the newest resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one that is located on an off-the-grid island within the island chain.
The Lovango Resort and Beach Club, one mile northwest of St. John, is the first newbuild in the USVI in more than 30 years. The property is fully powered by wind and solar energy, employs a desalination system to convert seawater to potable water and has partnered with the University of the Virgin Islands to study and restore the surrounding coral reefs.
And it comes with the first full-service luxury beach club in the USVI open to guests, day visitors and residents of the islands.
Reached by a 10-minute ferry ride from Cruz Bay, St. John, and 30 minutes from Red Hook, St. Thomas or by private boats or charters, the Lovango Resort is a private-island getaway that quietly opened in December 2020 with a three-bedroom, luxury villa starting at $3,500 per night.
Included in the overnight rates are roundtrip ferry transfers, daily homemade breakfasts, concierge services, WiFi, a private villa pool in addition to the resort's infinity pool, priority reservations for lunch and dinner at the Beach Club restaurant and access to Lovango's north and south beaches.
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The 5,400-square-foot villa includes three king bedrooms with private baths, outdoor shower and private patios plus a pullout sofa and rollaway twin for space to sleep six adults and three children.
The bedrooms surround a center pavilion with a living and dining room, a state-of-the-art kitchen and a fire pit with sea views all around. Concierge services will plan activities on and off the island and coordinate reservations and arrangements for guests.
The resort works with travel advisors and pays 10% commission.
Until July 15, the villa at the Lovango resort (the name comes from the island name of Lovango Cay) will be the only overnight accommodations available, according to owners Mark and Gwen Snider. There's lot more to come, however.
"Gwen and I fell in love with Lovango the minute we arrived," Mark Snider said. "There's nothing like it in the Caribbean. We love sharing our island experience with our guests."
The resort is the third property in the Little Gem Resorts collection of boutique island hotels that include the Nantucket Hotel & Resort and the Winnetu Oceanside Resort on Martha's Vineyard.
Lovango will close in mid-July when staff moves to the two Massachusetts properties and will reopen in December at the start of the high season in the Caribbean.
Amenities at the Lovango Beach Club are available for resort guests, day trippers and USVI residents.
Construction at Lovango continues this year on a collection of eight oceanview, luxury glamping tents and luxury tree houses with rates starting at $1,000 per night.
Several cottages and bungalows are planned for Lovango's next phase so that when completed the resort's inventory will include a variety of accommodations at different price points.
Lovango also has 14 private home lots overlooking ocean that are available for purchase.
The arrival of the resort already has brought changes to the 118-acre island, whose resident population topped 49 people in 1917 and is not much higher than that now.
The Beach Club at Lovango has proven a magnet for the marine community in the territory with boat charters and private yachts pulling up to its ferry dock daily.
An aerial view of Lovango Cay near St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ten moorings, tender service and overnight mooring options are available.
"The local boating community is a good market for us. It's active and offers a great option for visitors who want to get out on the water, especially now that the cruise market is not open to them," said Joseph Boschulte, USVI commissioner of tourism.
Once at the resort, daytrippers and villa guests have the use of a 70-by-16-foot infinity pool surrounded by shaded daybeds, chaise lounges and cabanas with towel and attendant service available.
For kids, there are games of corn hole, ping pong and life-size chess.
Woven into the island's tropical landscape are dozens of accessible hiking and walking trails leading to Lovango's highest peak at 255 feet or to Lovango's North Beach for snorkeling (gear is included).
Near the ferry dock is a retail village that includes a dive shop, a local artisans' collective chock full of Caribbean artwork and crafts and a beach read hut which offers current books, including author Elin Hildebrand's new "Troubles in Paradise," based on Lovango.
The Beach Club restaurant is open daily for waterfront dining with views of Pillsbury Sound, which lies between St. Thomas and St. John. Lunch and dinner are available throughout the week as is a daily Apres Sea cocktail hour starting at 3 p.m. featuring a small-bite menu and themed drinks.
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Membership at the Beach Club is available on a daily basis and is open to any visitor or USVI resident.
The rate for a full-day membership, which is good from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., is $125 per person ($95 for residents). The afternoon rate, 12:45 p.m to 5:30 p.m, is $95 for visitors and residents, and a full day plus dinner membership, 11 a.m. to 8:15 p.m., $159 and $129, respectively (this membership does not include dinner; the higher fee is due to the longer hours than the full-day membership).
The resort offers a thee or four-night Stay and Sail package that combines a stay at Lovango before or after a three- or four-night luxury catamaran cruise through the neighboring waters.
Rates depend upon the length of the charter and the number of guests, but Lovango will handle the arrangements based on the guests' requests.
To ensure everyone's health and safety, the owners have not overlooked any of the Covid-19 protocols for staff or guests.
"We follow the national and local guidelines with regard to wearing masks at all times unless eating. Hand sanitizing stations are readily accessible, and appropriate social distancing protocols are enforced," said Mark Snider.
The resort's event planning team can handle details for special occasions such as weddings, anniversary celebrations and family reunions.
For details, visit www.lovangovi.com.