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This palace of casual elegance is mighty fine in every way. In fact, with new management freshening up the place and turning to eco-conscious innovations, Little Dix has never been better. To the relief of many long-standing guests, that means more of the same. Endearingly, rooms have not had keys since the resort opened in 1964—Virgin Gorda is notable for its lack of crime—although you can lock yourself in securely at night.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, this former RockResort holds a special place in the heart of many, and one big reason is the warm, insightful service from the best staff in the Virgin Islands. There is a wonderful sense of ownership by the staff, a good number of whom have worked here 20, 30, even 40 years (Little Dix is the island’s second-largest employer, after the government).The setting doesn’t hurt either: Little Dix is comfortably sandwiched between a half-mile of crescent beach and tropical forest. All of the bright, airy rooms face the beach, with private terraces that offer sea views. Trade winds breeze through wooden louvers and screens, and bathrooms are roomy and luxurious. The details matter, little touches like wooden walking sticks and complimentary bottles of rum in your room. Step outside and snorkel right off the beach; we saw hawksbill turtles chomping on seagrass and rays skimming the bottom. It’s a quick boat ride (or 1.5-mile walk along a wooded trail) to the beautiful beach at Savannah Bay. Children are welcomed (kids under 5 eat free), and families generally stay at the Ocean Cottages, four buildings on the south end of the resort, close to the complimentary Rose Buds kids’ activities club. Little Dix is also just a 20-minute stroll from Spanish Town, the island’s main town. The Sense Spa ★★★ is utterly fabulous, with a dreamy setting in a tropical glade on the resort’s western flank. You await your spa treatment around an infinity pool, with spectacular views of the Dog islands below fringed in rustling palms. Nonguests can arrange spa treatments here as well. In the fall, Little Dix partners with Necker Island for the annual Necker Cup, a Pro-Am charity doubles tournament where big-name tennis players compete and run clinics. The Pavilion is one of the most romantic dinner spots on Virgin Gorda, serving themed buffets 6 nights a week.

Note: This hotel will close in May 2016 for a renovation scheduled to last until late 2017.