VIRGIN GORDA, British Virgin Islands -- Little Dix Bay's most
effective sales and marketing tool isn't a Web site or a new
package or a slick brochure or even a travel agent promotion.
It's Grace Waters, director of reservations for the luxury
resort, a fixture at Little Dix for 40 years and the first person
many repeat guests look for upon their arrival.
When the resort opened in January 1964, Waters was at the
reservations desk, having given up four years of teaching on the
island where she was born and brought up.
"I started out as a teacher making $20 a month, and when I left
my salary was $52.50. I always thought I would teach forever, but I
knew Little Dix was opening and I knew how to type and take
shorthand, so I applied," Waters said.
In 1964, Little Dix had 36 rooms, and Waters was handwriting
reservations and tracking them on a homemade chart.
Today the Rosewood Hotels' resort has 100 rooms, including two
villas with three more soon to open. Waters supervises a res staff
of four agents, and, of course, "everything is computerized," she
During her tenure, Waters has seen, greeted and met many of the
rich and famous, including Queen Elizabeth II, who visited in 1966
and "had tea in one of our guest rooms," Waters said. "I've met a
few presidents and film stars and known generations of our
These are the guests who stream regularly into her office during
their stay and who communicate with her when they return home. They
include the couple who recently made their 80th visit to Little
Dix, having come twice a year for 40 years.
Waters said that "many of my great friends are travel
"They visit when they are here on cruises or on fam trips," she
said. "I see them when we do sales calls in the U.S."
The management of Little Dix hosted travel agent dinners in New
York recently to honor Waters' years of service.
David Flack, general manager, described Waters as "an ambassador
for Little Dix and the entire Caribbean. She is a valuable member
of our sales team."
She works six days a week and can't imagine retiring. "I'll give
it another five years and see how it goes," she said.
Plenty of Caribbean resorts have high repeat-guest statistics,
so what is it about Little Dix that keeps those guests returning
year after year?
Waters knows. "Our guests know there is something special here.
Little Dix has evolved and adapted to the expectations of today's
She cited the beachside villas, the Cliffside spa, room
amenities such as Bose stereos and wi-fi connections, the air taxi
service between St. Thomas and Virgin Gorda and the room service
feature added last month. Room decor will be redone this
Little Dix also has 25 DVD players and a library of 350 movies
that guests can borrow.
"We always want to keep the tradition and feeling as [founder]
Laurence Rockefeller envisioned it," Waters said, "and that does
not include big TV monitors in the rooms."
The resort also added a small computer center at the request of
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].
• Little Dix daily summer rates to Nov. 13 range from $295 per
room, single or double, in an oceanview room to $900 in a
one-bedroom suite. Villa rates are higher.
• Bed and Breakfast program starts at $325 per night, single or
double, with breakfast.
• Children are welcome. From June 1 to Nov. 13, a second bedroom
for those under age 16 is 50% of the daily rate. The resort's
Children's Grove has supervised activities for children ages 3 to
12 for a nominal charge.
• A five-night package for two is priced from $2,900 and
includes transfers, breakfast, three dinners, two massages and a
• Spa, romance and an Island Hopper combination program with
Little Dix and Caneel Bay on St. John also are offered. For more
details, visit www.littledixbay.com.