Cane Garden Bay can be dubbed the ‘Dining Mecca’ of the Virgin Islands with a string of bars and restaurants along the beach from the western end to the east and a few others along the roadside and inland.
This duo has been in the hotel and restaurant business for over 30 years as owners of Myett’s. To remain active but not overburdened, they found it necessary to scale back a bit, but not at all on class or quality.
“Some people would say that Indigo house is a scale down from Myett’s, and indeed it is. We did that; the big parties and huge regattas etc., but because of our age, we decided to dial it back a little bit and do something that’s a little simpler, easier to manage, and more intimate. We can do big parties if we use the beach, but we are not planning to have live bands like we use to do.” Valerie explained.
Intimate indeed! This writer describes Indigo Beach House as the perfect family-friendly, romantic, boutique water-front bistro.
Indigo Beach House, located near the western end of Cane Garden Bay beach, has a history that begins with James Havard—an American artist who is one of the Abstract Illusionism movement pioneers. In the book James Havard, Julie Sasse refers to the artist escaping his cold New York studio “by paying visits to the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands…eventually purchasing a piece of land and building a home there.” The book then mentions paintings’ titles from that period, which “allude to the islands, such as BVI (1973) and Tortola (1973).” The artist had the house built in 1977 by BVI architect Alan Smith.
With its cobalt blue shutters and doors and red tin roof, Indigo House fits right in with the firm’s aesthetic. The architect, Alan Smith, says that his firm tries “to reflect the Caribbean rather than Tuscany or sunny Spain.” He pointed out Indigo House’s walled courtyard area, something he cited as a signature of Caribbean urban living, which allows guests to “retire and escape the fact that it’s in a very public place.” He added that the internal floor being two feet above road level and even higher above beach level ensured additional privacy.
The house was purchased by Kareem & Valerie Rhymer in 2005. They resided there with their young children. “It was such a joy to live in a beautiful beach house on a beautiful beach,” says Valerie, “it was a dream come true”. Eventually, the Rhymers grew out of the little house as the children got older, and they needed more space. They converted the house back into a beach villa and rented it out to visitors. It is known as “everyone’s favourite beach house”.
The hurricanes of 2017 caused extensive damage to the house, and insurance was insufficient to cover repairs. The house sat in disrepair until last 2020. The Rhymers decided to convert it into a quaint little bar to entertain guests and invite people to enjoy their home. They used recycled wood, galvanize, crates, and furniture to ‘recycle’ it. They asked Vishaal Mohabir, a long-time employee and friend, to be a business partner. Vishaal is known as “everyone’s favourite bartender.” He was very instrumental from the start in helping to refurbish and get the business open.
Aside from the structure itself, Indigo House boasts one thing that most other VI properties cannot—it sits directly on the beach at Cane Garden Bay. Not “steps to the beach” or “a short walk to the beach” or “beach access.” You couldn’t get any closer to the sea unless you were on a boat.
The partners are keeping with the original art theme. Local artists are welcome to display their creations on consignment there. There will soon be a local gift shop selling locally made products. There have already been special group parties, including birthdays and a baby gender reveal (It’s a boy!). The establishment can cater to special events. And, that is what the Rhymer’s are notable for!
Parking is tight. It is best to park along the road east of the location or in the lot next to Myett’s.
As for food, special tapas bites are soon to come, and upstairs will have a guest suite.