Caneel Bay Debrief

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Jan 29th, 2005, 01:47 PM
  #1
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Caneel Bay Debrief

Just returned from visit #12 to Caneel, being a confirmed Caneeliac and thus not an unbiased observer, but an observer, nonetheless. The food has improved several orders of magnitude in quality in the past two years, though the selections are approximately the same on the menu. The service, often a sore spot with visitors writing on this website, remains island-based, and thus not of the immediate sort one might expect at, say, La Cote Basque or Spago, but certainly acceptable for a Caribbean resort. We have noticed that going beyond the usual perfunctory greeting to those working at Caneel will pay huge dividends in getting what you want, and everyone seems a little happier when this occurs. The rooms on Scott Beach are still primitive by Ritz Carlton standards, and will no doubt always be so, but once you get into it, they make up some of the charm of the place. Scott is of course the choice beach to visit and to occupy a room if possible. It is not always available, particularly in Feb-Mar time period, and costs more than Turtle and Caneel Beach, but may prove to be worth the money. I would echo others' musings on the amazing size of the resort and the relatively few guests per acre. The sense of quiet and tranquility is one of the more potent attractions for some of us. As others have also noted, Caneel may be unique among Caribbean resorts(Cap Juluca and Curtain Bluff,among others, come to mind) for the proximity of snorkeling areas right off the beaches, although the numbers and varieties of sea life may be inferior to other areas requiring a boat ride to reach them.
One often overlooked asset Caneel possesses which I've not found duplicated anywhere else (including Cap Juluca) is the spectacular views of St Thomas to the west, with some achingly beautiful sunsets and an unending parade of charter boats passing on their way to the BVI.
On the down side, the entertainment may have actually declined in quantity and quality. The live steel bands that played to sparse crowds in past years have been replace on weeknights by recorded music played to an empty dance area near the bar at Caneel Beach.
As the man said, it's not for everybody, but if you are looking for wonderful beaches without a million people crowded around doing jello tequila shots while playing volleyball, this is still the one to beat.
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Jan 29th, 2005, 05:55 PM
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Traveldoc, We were at Caneel for the second time in November. Before we went we wondered if we would like it as much as the first time. We loved it even more especially for the reasons you mentioned. The beach snorkeling, the open spaces, the sunsets, and the views have made Caneel our favorite place. We are going to Bonaire this November, but I'm sure we'll be back to Caneel.

Thanks for sharing your views of Caneel. Owa
 
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Jan 29th, 2005, 07:07 PM
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Thanks for your report traveldoc. Wow, I'm in awe, visit #12...

We'll be on St. John for the FIRST time in May. Is Scott Beach only accessible for those staying in Caneel Bay? We're staying at a villa, but I'd like to check out Caneel for future possibilities.

Maggi
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Jan 30th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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At Caneel the rooms on Hawksnest Beach are not as $$$ as on Scott. There are only 12 up and 12 down. The upper level rooms are very private (more so than Scott) with rear porches overlooking the garden and front balc. over the beach. Also, Hawksnest faces east, so you have afternoon shade on the beach.
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Apr 18th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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thanks for the review, i just booked caneel for eleven days and i am bringing my two teens with me. naturally i am worried slightly after reading some of the remarks...we are seeking just what you said, and i dont want crowded bars and the like either. we are snorkle maniacs and that was the draw....but i must say i am confused about the rooms, on the website they look beautiful..not understanding..i appreciate the laid back caribbean luxery and prefer a nicer room..as far as services will i be able to plan day trips and restaurants outside the hotel with someone....if not i need to prepare beforehand as we plan on venturing out at night, i already knew the food wasnt great and my kids enjoy dining out with us, we never take a meal plan because we like to bounce around and sample the different food offered on any island. and i guess the most important thing is will my two teens be happy? thanks very much, im driving my travel agent crazy...
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Apr 18th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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To Albee622, Not to worry; the rooms at Caneel are very nice, but in a casual West Indian way--no glitter and glitz, no marble baths or gold faucets. If your thing is wade-in snorkeling from any of 7 tree-shaded white sand beaches, and a peaceful island paradise, you will not want to leave!!
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Apr 18th, 2005, 05:50 PM
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traveldoc, thanks for the report.

separating thoughts by paragraph would be great also.

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Apr 19th, 2005, 07:50 PM
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Hi Albee,
I answered your questin, but on another forum There you asked if Caneel was rustic? As long as you know there are no TV's or phones in the rooms you are well prepared.
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Apr 20th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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Thanks for the update on Caneel. We have stayed there several times on Scott, and cottage 7. I really do enjoy the ambiance, plus you cannot beat the snorkeling from the beach.

We stopped going a few years ago we found our favorite luncheon spot was
too busy, they stopped serving on the upper patio/ terrace by Caneel Beach. What is the situation like now?

I know they serve at The Turtle Bay House (lunch-breakfast) during high season--but we still enjoy the beach bar not the pavillion. Anything new?
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