A little bit frustrated...

Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 177
A little bit frustrated...

I hope I am not bothering anyone AGAIN.

Okay, here I am thinking that St. John is the island for me, but then I read some reviews on Trip Advisor and was a little disappointed about Caneel Bay Resort. See link if you are interested about hearing how the maid ate his fruit plate right in front of him:


After many continuous late night searches (my husband is getting irritated), it seems to me that in order to get very shallow snorkeling right from the beach I have narrowed it down to four islands:

St John - Caneel Bay (Scott Beach)
Virgin Gorda (Little Dix or Biras Creek)
Turks and Caicos (Coral Gardens)
Grand Cayman (Ritz??? It seemd that RUm Point has shallow snorkeling from my searches here, but the hotel is not luxurious)

After looking at the Ritz's website and reading reviews on Trip Advisor, I wasn't convinced it was 5 star luxury either.

The reason I am still indecisive is that I am afraid the that the resorts on STJ, VG, and T&C don't seem all that luxurious for the price they are charging (over $600/night before taxes?).

I guess what I am asking is:

Am I missing any other "very shallow snorkel right from your room on the beach resorts?" Which island would they be on?

How luxurious would you rate the above resorts?

I don't care about nightlife...privacy is nice, but I'm finding it difficult to find privacy that has luxurious accommodations. Is a bathtub all that much to ask for?

I really loved the accommodations at Four Seasons in Maui (I just didn't like Maui's water...too deep, too many waves). I also loved the accommodations at Pearl Beach Resort in Bora Bora (and loved everything about Bora Bora).

Thank you, thank you, thank you in advance. I just want to book already since my 30th brithday is the end of May.
jackiehammond is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 08:53 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 71
If you are looking for a absolute luxury in Caribbean comparable to Four Seasons and Ritz in Hawaii you will be dissapointed. Anything comes close may be in Anguilla and may be Ritz in St Tomas. General rule of thumb for the star rating in Caribbean is if it rated 5 stars there it is only something like 3-4 stars in US and Hawaii.
Snubes is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 09:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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I think what floats your boat in a hotel is a personal thing. I personally love the rustic touches of Caneel Bay and find the gorgeous grounds and pristine beaches more than compensation for the lack of marble baths and fancy furnishings. I don't think anyone has ever complained about the comfort of the mattresses or the spa amenities there. As for the occasional slips of the staff, well, it's one of those things. Alan Alda has been going to Caneel Bay every year with his family for 30+ years and he seems to think the facilities are just fine. But I agree that the Ritz Carlton on St. Thomas may be a good choice as the amenities there are more conventionally 5 star.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 04:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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if you end up at ritz st. thomas. just down the street is a resort called secret harbour. they are located in a smaller, very calm, protected bay. they have excellent snorkeling from their beach which is pretty, clean and uncrowded. enter the water as far to the right (looking out to sea) as you can and snorkel further in that direction. there is another nice area maybe 100' out and to the left of the swim float. (sh is not luxurious but they do have tub/showers in all their bathrooms.)
also some decent snorkeling at the wyndham sugar bay (10-15 from ritz).
again off to the right of the beach.

all this begs the question of why ppl say hawaii is so expensive to travel to compared with the carib? for example the new amanyara on provo is asking $1650/nt in season.(pics clearly reveal a soaking tub here jackie - really i am not being mean just saying...lol)
virginia is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 05:43 AM
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I'm going to defend the staff at Caneel again here, lol. Honestly, I found them to be very friendly and accomodating. For us, Caneel was perfect because it was so low key. I didn't want drink service on the beach. I wanted privacy and beautiful scenery, and Caneel really delivers with both. (At least it was quite private in September, right after a hurricane. Don't know what it's like in high season!) I don't remember if there was a bath tub or not - but the room was just fine.

You can snorkel off the beach on Provo. We stayed at Turks & Caicos Club, which we enjoyed. If we return, I'd definitely consider Coral Gardens, which gets great reviews here.
IRabbit is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 05:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 352
I think you are just like me. We were trying to go to St. John this year and were worried about the same things you are. I think you can have a bad experience anywhere - no matter how good of a resort. But I've found if the majority of reviews are good, your experience will probably good also.

We went to The Breakers in Palm Beach last year for my husband's 40th. Some people were complaining about how dirty and "motel 6" it was. Some people said the staff was rude and mean to their chilren. I was a little worried but we booked. It was the cleanest place we ever stayed, the staff was constantly asking us if we drinks, set up our chairs without being asked and everyone went out of their way speaking to my child! I am not sure where those other people stayed!

I don't want to offend anyone but I wonder sometimes how people get such bad service. Is it the place or are they acting in a way that causes the staff to be rude - and not even realize that they are bringing the bad service upon themselves?

If you are still unsure after reading this, check out Peter Island - www.peterisland.com. We are going to go there next year. It looks like everything you are interested in.

Hope this helps.
Tango is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 207
It is difficult for me to believe that any maid at Caneel would eat a guest's fruit plate in or out of sight. They are too well trained. In my many stays there, I have found staff members to be friendly and considerate. I would suspect that an 'attitde problem' would be a mere reflection of the guest's poor behavior. It is amazing to see how suome people disrespect workers, who are doing their jobs in the service sector, and treat them as insubordinates.
Individual reviews should be read with a grain of salt and not be taken as gospel. Reading through many leads to a common thread to help one determine if that is the right place for them.
All beaches at Caneel have great off the beach snorkeling.
Dianebridles is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 07:38 AM
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hi snubes,

thanks for the tip about the star ratings...that would definitely make some sense as to why i'm not seeing 4 1/2 star luxury in a 4 1/2 star resort.


i agree that what floats your boat is a personal thing. i checked out the ritz at st thomas, and it definitely loks more luxurious. however, i realize that i would sacrifice privacy for luxury. in addition, the grounds at caneel do seem breathtaking.

hi again virginia,

thanks for your post, and for the info on secret harbour and the wyndham. the pics of the water at secret harbour look very pretty. to me, hawaii is actually cheaper than the caribbean, but that is because i live in arizona. if i lived on the east coast, airfare would be more resonable. last year i paid $365/night for the four seasons in wailea, maui in february. it was an excellent deal for the service, amenities, and room quality. the beach on the the other hand, wasn't my cup of tea.


thanks for your opinoin of caneel and for defending it. it makes me feel better that there are a few people out there who are maybe being too critical of caneel, and maybe i am seeing that negativity?

hi tango,

thanks for sharing your opinions and experience. i, too, believe in treating people with kindness at resorts. "treat people how you want to be treated"...that's what i teach my second graders! it does sound like we have very similar taste. thanks so much for the recommendation of peter island. the rooms look nice. do you know if the water is shallow and clear for off the beach snorkeling?

hello again Dianebridles,

i was glad to read your post and how you doubted that maid's actions. people can be very rude to hotel staff, i agree. i also think that you hit the nail on the head when you said that "individual reviews should be read with a grain of salt and not be taken as gospel." i will try to not let a couple reviews bother me, and will look at the big picture.

i really do appreciate all of your comments. i guess i was a little shocked to see how much i would be spending for 4 nights in st john at caneel - premium beachfront, because scott beach seems the best fit for me(well over $7000 for two with airfare) and was expecting five star luxury. my husband said, for that money, we can just go back to bora bora. but i wanted to try something new (there is so much to explore in teh world!), even though i absolutely loved bora bora.

please keep your posts coming, and thank you all very much!!! i learn so much from you all.
jackiehammond is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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I echo everything Dianebridles stated! We are going back to Caneel for the third time in November. It is still our favorite in the Caribbean. On day one of our first visit, we met a couple that had been there 40 times (they were in their 70's). I said to my husband "why the same place"? I'm not young enough to equal that many visits, but I would if I could. We are lucky that we are able to take more than one Caribbean trip a year, and Caneel will be one of them as many times as possible.

We went to Peter Island last year in September. Sixteen guests was the high count in one day. Basically had the whole resort to ourselves. Spa is absolutely beautiful. Not as many beaches to snorkel as Caneel, but we really enjoyed them.

I think problems can happen at any resort--Atlantis was the worst--one bed for four people.

Caneel certainly isn't for everyone. Just lack of a TV keeps some away. The rooms aren't what one would expect for the money. We had a room in Barbados for one third the price that I would like to have at Caneel. It will be interesting to see the "updated" rooms this fall.

Caneel, for me, has set the bar high for picking a resort where I can be in the water snorkeling in two minutes from my room. I'll keep looking, but will go back to Caneel to keep it fresh in my memory. Good luck. Owa
Mar 4th, 2006, 11:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 177
hi owa,

thank you so much for your opinion about caneel. it is great to hear the positives again from everyone. i didn't know they were updating their rooms in the fall. i thought that the premium beachfront rooms on scott beach were already "renovated." i've read so much on this board though, that i could be mixing up the resorts.
jackiehammond is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 12:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 110
Ritz in Cayman is on the nicest stretch of 7mb. A big eyesore! Hotel rooms are across the streetfrom the sea. At the price they charge I would opt out and stay at the Sunshine Suites for about 25% of a Ritz room. All the rooms on the sea at the Ritz are private.
conch is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 01:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 134
Plus, if you left the Ritz, you'd have to deal with traffic. That's become a REAL problem - who wants to sit in traffic for 20-30 minutes to get someplace while you're on holiday.
joanie433 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 04:38 PM
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conch and joanie433,

thanks for your posts. i didn't realize that about the ritz. i also wasn't sure about the different rooms...i thought they were all ocean view, or at lest i thought for the money you pay, they would be ocean view.
jackiehammond is offline  
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