Cooper Island Beach Club 1992 

Cooper Island Beach Club 2023

1600s & 1700s

No one is certain how Cooper Island got its name, however, there are two main theories. It was either named after a Dutch family called ‘Koop” who settled here, or it was named after the barrel-makers or “coopers” who used the white cedar wood to make barrels for transporting goods. 

1800s & 1959

The Abbott, White & Smith families owned Cooper Island. Samuel Joseph White farmed Cisterns Point from 1910, selling his produce in Road Town. Samuel’s grandson, John Leonard still owns Cooper Island today. 

Dick Elbert built his house on the hill in the 1950s and sold the beachfront land to a Texan called McCord who had a large property on St.Thomas. He built a private house (which is now part of the Beach Club kitchen) but allegedly only ever spent one night on the island because his wife didn’t like sailing. 

In the late 1970’s the McCord and Eckhert properties were sold to the Showering family (famed in Britain for their Babycham’ perry drink launched in 1953). They also owned the Treasure Isle Hotel in Road Town and wanted somewhere to bring their guests for beach trips 


Construction of the house – turned in to the yacht club 


The palm trees started growing


The new jetty was put in for guetst


Cooper started becoming famous with first postcard / ad


Toby Holmes and Steve Pardoe acquired the property and opened a brand new restaurant (picture on the top left) to cater to the growing number of yachts. Chris Tiling joined as General Manager in 1989 and the guest rooms were added in 1992 (Picture on the right) on the north beach and the south beach rooms were finished in 1996. A wooden boutique and dive shop soon followed. 


The Harris family were very familiar with the British Virgin Islands, having enjoyed charter holidays in the territory with their daughters, Sarah & Louise, for over 20 years. 

They were looking for a holiday home in the BVI and happened to be moored at Cooper Island when the real estate agent called to say it was for sale. Cooper Island Beach Club has always been one of their preferred stops – so they jumped at the chance. 

On the 07th of January 2009 Cooper Island Beach Club became their ‘home away from home’ where everyone is welcome. 

The Harris family has spent the last 16 years steadily upgrading every aspect of the resort to improve its functionality, style, and environmental sustainability.

Harris Phase #1

In July 2009 the restaurant was completely renovated, adding a traditional Caribbean hipped-roof and a modern commercial kitchen within the original footprint. 

ES Construction Ltd and Smith Arneborg Architects from Tortola worked with a team of craftsmen to complete the project in record time. The restaurant was re-opened on the 20th December 2009. 

In January 2010 a state-of-the-art Solar Power system was installed by Alternative Energy Systems in Tortola, the first bank of 90 solar panels was mounted on the Kitchen roof – generating 75% of the resort’s electricity requirements and reducing the kitchen temperature by a few degrees as a bonus. 

Harris Phase #2

The same team of local companies were contracted to renovate the resorts guests cottages in 2010. The rooms were re-designed in line with the companys’ eco-friendly ethos, using recycled materials wherever possible. 

The first four rooms were completed by February 2011 featuring spacious beach front balconies, luxurious ‘wet room’ showers and furniture made from recycled timber in driftwood tones. 

ES construction started the South beach rooms in May and all six were completed ready for the new 2011-12 winter season including a new boardwalk and Pavilion Deck

Harris Phase #3

A ‘Submerged Membrane Bio-Reactor’ was installed in November 2013. This custom-built system coverts the grey/black waste water into “EU bathing standards” water, suitable for irrigation and washing down boats. 

The old wooden boutique building and existing dive shop was replaced by a new joint-retail building on the far end of the north beach. Completed in November 2013, it features a coffee shop, a fantastic new boutique in the middle and a Rum Bar. All connected by a spacious deck overlooking the beach with free Wi-Fi for our guests. 

Harris Phase #4

64 Solar Panels were installed on the retail building roof in June 2014 and added to the resort grid. 36 photos of voltaic panels were added to the public bathrooms in April 2015 and a further in 2015, bringing the total to 276.

The beach pavilion was renovated in the summer of 2015. The old shingle roof was replaced with thatch and the kitchen BBQ worktops were replaced.

Harris Phase #5

‘Willis European’ custom-built our microbrewery equipment to be as power and water efficient as possible. The equipment was installed in December 2015 and the first batch of beer was ‘on-tap’ by 20th March 2016. 

Expanded to keep up with demand, we now have five fermentation vessels which allows us to produce 2000L of beer at a time using solar power.

Phase #6 – Hurricanes Irma & Maria

On the 06th of September 2017, the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean hit the British Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane. With windspeeds of 185-225mph, IRMA was 400 miles wide and only Anegada escaped the eye wall. 80% of the homes, schools, and businesses were damaged, displacing over 6000 residents. Two weeks later, Hurricane MARIA another category storm, passed through the islands, devastating Puerto Rico – which had been our lifeline for evacuations, supplies & building materials.

Here at Cooper Island Beach Club, both our docks were destroyed and the storm surge came right through the restaurant and kitchen. The roof of the power control room as torn off, exposing the solar inverters and back-up generator to saltwater but only 42 of the 288 solar panels were damaged (when debris rolled across the boutique’s array). One staff house was rendered uninhabitable, the kitchen roof failed and the office IT system was saturated. However, all the other buildings escaped serious structural damage and our thanks to our local architects and contractors for their solid design and excellent build quality. 

IRMA removed 4ft of sand from the beach together with most of the seagrape trees and palms. The hillside was left barren with flamboyant, mango and cedar trees uprooted. However, nature has a way of making her own repairs and MARIA’s waves brought all the sand back and the heavy soil, allowing the plants to re-sprout rapidly. 

Our self-sufficiency in regard to power, water, and waste was a huge factor in our speedy recovery, as we did not have to wait for public utilities to be restored. Patrick and Andy were on the island throughout and were able to start the clean-up and reconstruction teams were on-site quickly. Six months later, after the double hurricane, we were able to re-open for business on 01st April 2018.