The Distillery

Greenbank Estate, Tortola, northwest - 5 bedroom villa

The eight lush acres of tropical paradise on which The Distillery stands are steeped in over two colorful centuries of West Indian history. Formerly an indigo plantation, a sugar cane plantation, then a rum distillery until the 1950s, this magnificent estate is now welcoming privileged guests. The Distillery is built as two modern pavilions set among original stonework ruins, now converted into whimsical areas and incorporated into the fantastic gardens. The main house is a classic Caribbean Great House with hip roofs, wood-louver shuttered windows and a shaded wraparound verandah with hardwood flooring, affording sitting areas for relaxation, conversation and cocktails, and alfresco dining with cool tradewinds and a sea view on the horizon.

The Great Room is the heart of this villa, a comfortable central gathering place with 20-foot ceilings, sitting areas, a wet bar, the kitchen and powder room - and just outside, an elegant alcove for dining, with a large glass-topped Florentine "Palm" dining table and colonial-styled chairs from the Philippines, and huge tropical hardwood and glass doors which can be open or closed to the tradewinds as you desire. This dining alcove is embraced by a stand of tropical greenery just outside, providing an exotic, yet intimate area for dining. The Great Room is open, cool and full of light, with views of the gardens, sea and sky framed by large windows and french doors. If you prefer to dine casually indoors, there's an upholstered corner settee with a table right off the kitchen and two other dining areas, one inside the Great Room and the other on the front verandah nearer the pool.

The Great Room is furnished with fascinating pieces gathered from many world travels: objets d'art and original paintings complementing a gracious mix of antiques, classic wicker and cushioned sofas and chairs. A beautifully-done bar is conveniently at hand in one corner of the Great Room, offering a wet bar, mini-fridge and a collection of barware. On the main villa's upper level, accessed by a staircase outside the Great Room, is the "Burd's Nest" Suite, with a king bed (or two twins) and a full bath. This suite boasts its own private sitting room, actually a gallery which looks down into the Great Room - a quiet spot for reading. Just outside, a pair of hand carved wood gryphons guard the entry to the main villa. A few stairs lead from the main villa down to the pool and pavilion, where a large pool (heated, if you wish) with a fountain is set into a green lawn bordered by vivid island flora and tall trees. The pool pavilion is equipped with a wet bar, gas grill and mini-fridge, and furnished for poolside dining.

Cottage Pool by Night

Below the pool and sun deck are acres of meadow where the two house donkeys graze; William and Nelly roam this pastureland with three sheep and a handful of chickens. On the garden level of the main villa, below the Great Room, is the Blue and White Suite, a spacious bedroom with two full beds and a sitting area, well-furnished in fine wicker and antique pieces. This suite offers early risers a coffeemaker and a mini-fridge, and a wet bar for nightcaps; just outside is a covered verandah. A stonework walkway threaded through the gardens leads to The Distillery's nearby cottage, which comprises the secluded master suite on the upper level, and the study on the garden level. The master suite is a charming and private space, with a four-poster king bed and a private wraparound balcony under the trees. Below this suite is the very private study, which is equipped with media, an office space, a full bath and a living room with a single daybed, all showcased by a colorful handpainted mural.

Great Room

Above the main villa and cottage is a walkway lined with mahogany trees which leads to The Distillery's tennis court, a gazebo for spectators, and to The Studio. The Studio is a romantic and secluded studio cottage which doubles as an artist's studio; it's washed in beautiful light coming through floor-to-ceiling glass on two walls, yet there's complete privacy, as The Studio overlooks only the hillside dotted with mango and mahogany trees down to the sands of Brewers Bay. An Indonesian queen-sized four-poster bed is swathed in netting and dressed in fine cotton linens, and there's a kitchenette with a fridge and tableware, should you wish to breakfast alone alfresco on the wraparound porch. The Studio boasts neither TV nor phone to intrude on the island serenade of birds and tree frogs.

Pig Eye's Pub Master Bedroom

Adjacent to the main villa and cottage are native stone ruins which date back to 1620; a large garden wall bisects the magnificent landscaping, and is festooned in a riot of colorful bougainvillea flowers, climbing vines, ferns and a stately traveler palm tree. The adjacent old stone building, which housed a former rum barrel warehouse, has been converted into a whimsical English-type pub, the "Pig's Eye Pub," where a snooker table, jukebox and fancy bar promise some entertaining hours. Above is an exotic garden bower where Caribbean plants grow lushly within the old stone and brick walls, a wonderful spot furnished for quiet conversation or cocktails, distinguished by a floor paved with ships' ballast bricks and old coppers which boiled down sugar cane in bygone days and today serve as planters and a fountain. Behind is an exercise alcove with a treadmill and satellite TV, if you must work out while on vacation.

The Distillery's old furnaces and grinding presses are still on the property, recalling the old West Indies of centuries past. The Distillery is 800 feet above the sea. Due to the slope of the hillside which funnels fairly constant cool breezes onto the property, there is simply no need for air-conditioning (and in winter, you should bring something long sleeved for evenings). Every detail of this historical landmark maximizes luxury and comfort while respecting the former plantation's ancient heritage. The exquisite grounds, graced with mature shade trees, palms and glorious island landscaping add unparalleled beauty, and inspire quiet reflection everywhere.

Great Room Upstairs Guestroom

The Distillery possesses that unique and ineffable combination of luxury, romance, privacy, sophistication, tradition and stunning natural beauty, which sets it well apart from any other vacation villa we've visited. Although just a short drive to Road Town, and to the white sand of scenic Brewers Bay Beach just below the estate, we found it very difficult to leave this Eden...don't miss a chance to spend some sunny days and starry nights at this one-of-a-kind villa property.

RECENT GUEST FEEDBACK: "We are currently sitting at your living room table at The Distillery and it is sunset. The breeze is blowing and we are soaking in God's glorious creation and the majesty of this place. We are about to enjoy a delicious meal on the porch prepared by Lydia. It just doesn't get better than this. We love all the touches of this home. The things that make it special are knowing that a family has enjoyed making many memories here (just as we have). Thank you for your recommendations. This has truly been a trip like no other."

Kitchen Pig Eye's Bar Cottage Master Bedroom

 Weekly Rates (excl. 7% tax):
           # of persons:     1-4      5-6       7       8-9
   January 5 - March 15:   $ 9,000  $10,000  $11,000  $11,000
   Christmas/New Year's:   $13,000  $13,000  $13,000  $13,000

    7th person on single bed in study.  8-9th person rate: plus The Studio

    Unfortunately this villa has been sold and we cannot accept rentals after March 15, 2008.
Specifications:
Maximum number of guests: 9
Bedrooms: 5 [Main House: 1 king in upper level "Burd's Nest" suite (OR 2 twins, your choice), + 2 full beds in garden level suite. Cottage: 1 king (master suite), + 1 single daybed in garden-level study. The Studio: 1 queen, + single daybed]
Baths:
Pool: 30' x 30' x 2.5' - 6' deep, with fountain, pool pavilion with wet bar + mini-fridge (pool may be heated for a $350 per week additional charge, with advance notice)
Nearest Beach: Brewers Bay + Cane Garden Bay beaches
Kids welcome: Over 10 years only
Entertainment and Amenities: 3 satellite TVs (in king master suite, study + exercise area), DVD player (in study), CD players, including 2 portable CD players, iPod dock in Great Room, radio, books, games, movie collection, DSL line + Wi-Fi (throughout property) for your laptop, answering machine; wet bar in Great Room; mini-fridge, coffeemaker + wet bar in main villa's Blue and White garden-level suite, wet bar + mini-fridge in pool pavilion, kitchenette in The Studio; hair dryers, safe for valuables, gas grill, hammock, dishwasher, laundry. English-style Pig's Eye Pub with outfitted dry bar, jukebox with CDs + 1910 snooker table; exercise area with Image Treadmill, free weights + satellite TV; tennis court (special synthetic grass surface) with gazebo (tennis balls available at villa); beach chairs, cooler + beach umbrella; UV water purification system, automatic generator, dishwasher, laundry. Housekeeper will do personal laundry as requested.
Square Footage: Interiors + covered verandahs: 6500 sq. ft.
Maid service included: Mondays through Fridays (except holidays)
Smoking: Outside only.
Miscellaneous: Lydia, The Distillery's housekeeper and cook, will prepare and serve for you 7 meals per rental week (5 lunches and 2 evening dinners, or 7 lunches). Her talents are included in The Distillery's rental rates; you pay for all your groceries and beverages, and Lydia will work her kitchen magic for you (except on Sundays). Dinners must be served no later than 8 p.m., please. In addition, a complimentary breakfast buffet will be set out for you every morning (except Sundays) from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m, and includes mixed fruit, breads, jams and other spreads, dry cereal, milk, orange juice, eggs, ground coffee and teas. You prepare your own breakfasts and dine at the pre-set table. This buffet, including all breakfast provisions, is also included in The Distillery's rental rates.
Lydia will also provision The Distillery with your groceries and drinks for your arrival day (please send us your shopping list at least 10 days in advance!) She will also shop for your groceries once daily, which is also included in your rental (you pay the cost of the groceries purchased). Her hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. until 12 noon on Saturdays - please note that Lydia is not available from noon onwards on Saturdays, or on Sundays. However, on weekdays when she is preparing and serving an evening's dinner, her hours are then 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and approximately 5:45 pm to 10 p.m., in order to accommodate your dinner service. View a sample of menu's.
The Estate's property managers live in a separate private gatehouse at the entry to The Distillery property with their three well-mannered dogs, but your privacy is, of course, assured at The Distillery.
Photography by Don Hebert

The Studio

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