Good Morning Everyone!
I mentioned last week that I had been taking a few fun “field trips” to check out some new things happening around St. John. Well, I got the opportunity to tour the entire grounds of the newly re-opening Lovango Resort and Beach Club just after Thanksgiving. And I’m here to tell you that there is some truly exciting stuff happening out there!
Lovango Cay, St. John’s little sister island to the east, has been home to Love City residents for generations. But, until recently, the tiny island has been only that. A failed housing development, complete with infrastructure, sat vacant on the 42 acre lot occupying the East side of Lovango. In November of 2019, Little Gem Resorts purchased the failed development with the intent of creating an upscale and relaxed space for diners, boaters, locals and vacationers to spend the day, a meal, a week or a lifetime on the semi-deserted island.
They briefly opened the property for dining and shopping last season before COVID-19 and a territory wide shut down forced them to close their doors. The Snider family, owners of Lovango Resort and Beach Club, have been busy on the property, and in the community, since then and I was so excited about everything I saw and heard while I was visiting.
The Snider’s own Little Gem Resorts currently has resorts operating in the similarly small island communities of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Matt Snider, Lovango’s Operating Manager, met with a few of us from St. John late last month to show us both immediate and future plans for the property which is scheduled to open in phases beginning on December 23, 2020.
In the first opening phase, a beach club consisting of a man made beach area just beyond the rocky shoreline with cabanas, chase lounges, an infinity pool, spectacular snorkeling, beach games, food and beverage service and live music will be open and available for your enjoyment. The daily package price starts at $125 (or $95 for USVI residents!) and includes access to all of the above with a private place to relax on the south shore beach teeming with amenities and the opportunity to explore the hiking trails and the northern, more secluded beach, situated adjacent to Congo Cay.
The restaurant and retail village will also be open 7 days a week beginning just before the holiday. A little retail therapy treatment on the beach is a great way to round out the day and here you’ll find quaint little huts with beach reads, Lovango Resort branded apparel, higher end beach attire and local art and jewelry.
The restaurant will offer full lunch and dinner service with a “sea to table” concept behind it with Sushi Sundays and Apres Sea accentuating the regular menu offerings.
Apres Sea will be, essentially, their version of happy hour at the end of a boat day. Beginning at 3PM and wrapping up at 4:30 Monday-Saturday the restaurant will feature live music and a prie fixe menu that includes two glasses of signature wine, beer, or cocktail and chef-inspired artisan bites for $50 per person.
We also got the opportunity to tour the whole property in a very off-road style. Just the getting there was quite the adventure! But, my goodness…the view from the top was breath taking. Just below where I snapped this photo are the plots of land where glamorous “eco-tents” on permanent platforms will be constructed beginning in early 2021. Can you IMAGINE waking up to this???
Currently, there is just one lodging option on Lovango. I mentioned that this was a housing development, right? Well, ONE home was built in the style that was determined “non-intrusive” to the landscaping of this beautiful little island. The home and the plot of land it rests upon were purchased from the owners by Little Gem Resorts and is currently available for you to rent for a week, or a few nights, on Lovango Cay. The view from this place wasn’t too shabby either 😉
Oh, I did mention spending a lifetime here too, right? Well, 14 lots on Lovango are available for purchase from the developer. In addition to rapidly expanding accommodation options that will possibly include a hotel, additional eco-tents or villas for rent, you can build your own home here on Lovango…with a lot of pre-designated specifications.
One of the things I most loved about our visit to Lovango was the focus Matt and the entire Lovango team seems to have on the community of St. John and St. Thomas. He has asked a lot of questions of Lovango residents and is working closely with some of them. He not only seems to be actually listening to what community members have to say, but is taking an active interest in them. For starters, the developer DOES NOT want any eye sores or extravagant expansions on the hills sides of Lovango, but instead is focused on keeping it green and clean and creating beautifully simple homes and accommodations that blend into the scenery.
I mentioned in my previous article about Lovango the partnership the resort has formed with University of the Virgin Islands with coral restoration, education and preservation in mind. An additional service Matt has offered to our youth in the community is also through UVI. Last year, Matt and Lovango partnered with the University of the Virgin Island Hospitality program to teach a class and offered students the opportunity to “intern” at their properties in the states and then work on Lovango the following season. This model provides the students with valuable insight into the hospitality industry and entrepreneurship AND year round employment with benefits!
There are so many more things to mention, but I’ll save that for a later date when I can update you with full pictures instead of just sneak peeks! In the meantime, check out their website for transportation and beach club membership options so you can pay them a visit when you are here next!