Caneel Bay is NOT "Upscale Luxury"

Nov 22nd, 2002, 04:28 PM
  #1  
Frank
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Caneel Bay is NOT "Upscale Luxury"

I am so tired of people who attempt to mislead others unfamiliar with St. John when questions come up about Caneel Bay.

Come on people, take off the blinders!

Caneel Bay is not, as several people (probably just the same person posting over and over again) have suggested, a resort with "upscale luxury accommodations".

I've stayed at "upscale luxury" resorts on 4 continents and many in the Caribbean. Caneel Bay has mediocre rooms at best.
And this is NOT a rant against Caneel Bay.
CB has some truly wonderful attributes. The grounds and beaches are worth the trip and worth the money when you need a de-stress vacation.
But many people are reading this board looking for a luxury hotel in a tropical setting.
Caneel Bay does NOT fit that bill.


Curiously, if you read the Conde Nast Gold List for 2002 there are 58 reader-reviewed properties ranked as the best in the Caribbean and Mexico.
Where does Caneel Bay place in the room rankings?
Anyone care to guess?
54th out of 58.
Luxury rooms are usually 75-80 out of 100 at a minimum, and high end luxury rates 90.
Caneel's rooms? 55!


In the year 2001 Gold List: there were 54 places rated. Caneel came in 50th.
Do you know which places rate lower?
Atlantis, Sandals, Beaches.
To be able to claim you beat thjose places is nothing to stake a reputation on.


Stop touting Caneel Bay as this mecca of luxury. It's not.
And that's not even the mission of the owners.
 
Nov 22nd, 2002, 08:39 PM
  #2  
xxx
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Caneel's rooms don't have the jacuzzis, the marble baths, the gold facuets and what many consider luxury that's true. Other people find them much more than adequate, quite pleasant and comfortable.
I find it hard to trust any survey that rates a timeshare, a Marriott timeshare no less that isn't up to par with the other properties they manage, near the top.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and luxury depends on one's definition and which accomodations you were in. There is a very big difference in the different accomodations at Caneel.
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 12:08 AM
  #3  
Tim
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Well, Frank, I've been saying the exact same thing for years on this board, only to get slammed by people who DON'T know what they're talking about! And no, I don't think it's the same person posting over and over again, although that may be true in some cases. The majority of people on this board think it's the be-all, end-all of top resorts, which it quite clearly is not. I still maintain that it is quite a DUMP and shall always remain so. And, in MY opinion, the grounds are NOT that impressive either!! The Ritz-Carlton on St. Thomas is far superior, but in that case, the island is the DUMP instead!!!
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 01:34 AM
  #4  
Diane
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It is unfortunate, and appears to be an exhibition of somehat juvenile behavior to resort to name calling, when someone differs from another's opinion.

In deed, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. On my most recent trip, I had spent four days at the Ritz, St. Thomas, and went from there to Caneel.

My Ritz room was larger and more luxurious; however, since I do not spend much time in my room, using it primarily for sleeping, a room is of much less priority for me than the totality of a resort's other facilities.

This is not to say that others do not have a right to rank its importance.

What I loved about my room at Caneel was having the sea just a few steps from my balcony, and not having to share a beach with the masses. It made me feel almost as if I had my own special island.

The Ritz, while very lovely, has only one beach with lots of lounge chairs lined up together and requires a walk of a distance to use it. Caneel's rooms are spread-out over more that three times the acreage of the Ritz and as a result, affords more individual privacy.
This may seem unimportant to some, but it is a prority for me. To say that one place is better or worse than another is subjective. Everyone needs to decide what is best to fulfill their own dreams, and common courtesy only demands that this right be RESPECTED. Name calling only demeans the viewpoint of the giver.
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 04:48 AM
  #5  
Pete
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This is an informative thread for me. I recently posted (before I read about the controversy)asking about the most luxurious resort on St John.

This post is a perfect example of how the there are definitions of "luxury"

After reading this I am able to determine that my idea of luxury is more Ritz than Caneel Bay. Before I read this thread (and a couple others) I had a completely different image of Caneel bay in my mind
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 04:51 AM
  #6  
Pete
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"This post is a perfect example of how the there are definitions of "luxury" "

this should have said own there are DIFFERNT definitions of luxury

Sorry Not quite awake yet

--Pete
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 08:06 AM
  #7  
Frank
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Diane, you and many others seem to be very defensive about your affection for Caneel Bay.

You're entirely missing my point.

Caneel Bay is a popular resort and has been for decades. I'm not implying that Caneel Bay is a subpar resort as a vaction destination.
I'm simply stating that the ROOMS aren't luxurious. Nothing more, nothing less.

The reason I am bothering to make this point is 1) many people researching for vacations here might go there with improper expectations for the rooms and be disappointed, and 2) some people at this board are stating things that simply aren't true. And that runs counter to the purpose of this forum.

All of us realize that people value different things in a resort. Some couldn't care less about the rooms. And that's just fine.
But many people do care.
So let's try to be objective about the pros and cons of each place.
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 09:46 AM
  #8  
lcv
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True, the rooms are not "Ritz-Carlton" luxury, but ours had the most comfortable, luxurious bed that I've ever experienced at any hotel. Our ocean front room was FAR from dumpy. To us, gold faucets, wide screen tvs, etc. aren't what we wish to pay for at a resort. At CB, the entire laid-back intimate resort environment, great dining and especially the attentive service are the luxuries we experienced at Caneel. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 11:35 AM
  #9  
tiredof this
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This is a stupid argument. Caneel has a web-site. If you want to know what Caneel's rooms are like and how luxurious or not luxurious they are, then look at the pictures and decide for yourself.

http://www.caneelbay.com/en_pop1.cfm?myimg=11

http://www.caneelbay.com/en_pop1.cfm?myimg=12

http://www.caneelbay.com/en_pop1.cfm?myimg=13
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 12:11 PM
  #10  
TomTravel
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When someone states their opinion that Caneel or anyother place is upscale or luxurious, you can agree or disagree. There is no absolute truth since it's all based on opinion and experiences and preferences vary.
Lots of information here is far from the "truth" not only about Caneel but about the Caribbean. When one makes claims that someplace is a dump it would be good to back it up with when you stayed there and what made it a dump. Which rooms did you see? The spacious ones with four poster beds? the ones with the openair showers? the ones within feet of the water? The comfortable spacious suites? Or did you just see the Caneel Bay rooms when you visited the property for a ten second view?
Don't forget that it can be the same nay sayer over and over again. Right, Tim? Frank? Mike? Or whoever you choose to be.
 
Nov 23rd, 2002, 07:49 PM
  #11  
barone
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The only other Caribbean resort that seems to generate so much controversy and disagreement about room quality is Atlantis.
Why is this so?
Is one group of people entirely wrong?
If so, which group is wrong?
 
Nov 24th, 2002, 02:04 AM
  #12  
Anon
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One bit of advice: do NOT listen to Tim!! (or whoever is calling himself Tim). He is a very annoying and obnoxious poster who has been slamming most places in the Caribbean (without ever giving a good argument), and the whole tone of his posts is opinionated and aggressive. I think he is quite a young kid with nothing to do during the school holidays, who has maybe been to Hawaii once (he is always pushing Hawaii). I and others has asked him time and again to go away, but I guess he is just too bored. Anyway - don't listen to anything he says about the Caribbean!
 
Nov 24th, 2002, 03:46 AM
  #13  
Agree
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Perhaps we can compromise:
Upscale? Yes.
Luxury? No.
 
Nov 24th, 2002, 06:25 AM
  #14  
karen
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to: Frank

I can see where you're coming from. Whenever I ask if a certain place is a luxury resort, I am always wondering (which you can never know) if that person has the same standards that I do. I am very picky when it comes to staying at a hotel or resort. For me to stay in another bed and room during my entire vacation, I want that place to be perfect and clean and beautiful and better than I hoped. So, since you seem like you know quite a bit about luxury resorts, I'd like to ask you, what places in the Caribbean are considered luxury to you? Also, I'd like to know if you had ever been to Cap Juluca? I was looking into this place, and everyone thinks that this place is the ultimate luxury resort. It looks like a beautiful place, and the rooms look okay to me, but it's hard to tell if the rooms are actually better than the picture or worse.

thanks
 
Nov 24th, 2002, 07:57 AM
  #15  
cdt
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My opinion:

Caneel Bay is definitely not a 5-star resort.

The surroundings (beaches on the property; the island in general)definitely are 5-star. That's what you're paying for.

Plus, it's easy to get top dollar when you've got the only hotel with a decent beach on one of the region's most desirable islands.


 
Nov 24th, 2002, 09:54 AM
  #16  
wondering
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Opinions can vary. Agreed that Caneel doesn't feed the marble bath fetish but am unclear why such hostility. Maybe it's the villa stayers on St. John who find self-catering a luxurious vacation? How about those that rank the commercial corportate hotels (hyatt, westin, hilton) as luxury? Agreed it doesn't top out the list with the Cap Juluca's but few places do. What would be your criteria for a luxury resort?
Seems that the ambience, the grounds, the rooms (ours had a wonderful four poster bed in a very spacious room, comfortable for sitting and lounging), the service and the food. St. John can't compete with some of the other famous dining islands (but it is still good) but I don't care for buffet style meals that Caneel does so well so that's a stike against it for me.
How many 5 star resorts have you visited that were below par and way over rated and overpriced? I can think of several that make my list.
 
Nov 24th, 2002, 12:15 PM
  #17  
Frank
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In response to wondering and Karen, first off, I think "agree" offers a very nice summary of my take on Caneel Bay's rooms: upscale but not luxury.

As for my definition of luxury, I usually have to find the following things in order to be impressed:
**level of service and professionalism (or at least sincere hospitality in smaller places) must make an obvious impression. If I'm paying top dollar, the people at the resort should demonstrate a committment to excellence. And BTW, I virtually never demand anything of the staff. But on the occasion when something comes up, I like to know that it will be taken care of without hassle or headache (part of the atmosphere of relaxation is not having to worry about things and compensate for resort shortcomings).
**Quality of towels, sheets and mattresses is something that almost always distinguishes the corporate/generic resorts (Marriott, etc) from the luxury resorts which attend to detail.
**Stonework in the bathroom is also rarely absent in the high end resorts I enjoy. Granite, marble, limestone...they can create different atmosphere from classy luxury to relaxed luxury. Makes no difference to me as long as it all fits with the theme of the resort and location.
**Quality of furnishings, such as lamps, desks, tables, flooring, etc can make or break a great resort. This is one place where resorts trying to cut corners will scrimp. Most people probably don't care. But I notice when the furnishings aren't even on a par with the ones I used to have in my apartment in college.
**Good restaurant(s) are rarely missing from my favorite resorts.
**Attention to grounds maintenance is also a clue as to which resorts are trying to go all out and which are trying to scrimp. I can forgive this one, but it's a nice enhancement when done well.

I will also admit that TomTravel makes an important point. Most resorts have suites which are higher quality than their standard rooms, and people's opinions are certainly influenced differently as a result. One of my favorite hotels in the US (until MGM purchased it and started mediocritizing it) is Bellagio in Las Vegas. But I've never stayed in a standard room there, and many people tell me that the std rooms aren't overwhelmingly nice. Their Penthouse Suites are truly among the 5 best rooms I've ever stayed in worldwide.

I'm very partial to Four Seasons resorts for the reasons I noted above. FS is just so dependable and their style fits mine, I guess. When I spend money to travel I often don't want to risk a trip to a very small resort with a great many unknowns.

My favorite tropical Western Hemisphere resorts are: FS Big Island, FS Maui, Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Cabo, Cap Juluca, Ocean Club Bahamas, Sandy Lane Barbados, Grace Bay T&C. Not including coastal resorts in the continental US.

As for wondering's comment about being disappointed, there's nothing I hate more than wasting my time and money on a vacation which is a bust. I've learned the hard way how to read between the lines in ads and see past the obvious in PR photos for hotels/resorts. I love planning vacations and having them turn out to be satisfying each time. Plenty of mistakes over the years, though.
 
Nov 24th, 2002, 04:28 PM
  #18  
wondering
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Now I am not all that thrilled with Caneel now and not promoting it either but still stuck pondering your criteria.
**level of service and professionalism
Found staff very accomodating, polite and receptive to any special requests or needs.
**Quality of towels, sheets and mattresses is something that almost always distinguishes the corporate/generic resorts
Can't remember if the count was 400 or 500. Turn down service, room made up promptly, water replaced without requesting it. Complimentary bar set up very nice. Check in at airport and directly to your accomodations is unique to a few resorts. Cell phones available for your use.
**Stonework in the bathroom is also rarely absent in the high end resorts I enjoy. Granite, marble, limestone
All of Caneel's accomodations are a combination of native stone and wood and some rooms have hand made furnishing from local wood. Some baths and rooms do have stone walls and some have outdoor stone grotto showers
**Quality of furnishings, such as lamps, desks, tables, flooring, etc can make or break a great resort.
Woodart patio furniture comfortable and interior amenities comfortable and tastefully done in bright colors. Do not like the drapery. Solid Brass fixtures by Baldwin are not inexpensive. Want to bet the next time they redo, they'll lose the blue terra cotta tile. But they are limited by what they can use by the original deed by Rockefeller. Rosewood is merely the managing company and I'm not impressed with Rosewood in the Carib. Will have to see how they do at Jumby Bay and if they can come close to Banfi's quality.
**Good restaurant(s) are rarely missing from my favorite resorts.
Turtle Bay Estate House is excellent and the buffets are lavious and well done. Seldom do the hotels have the best restaurants on site but there are exceptions.
**Attention to grounds maintenance is also a clue as to which resorts are trying to go all out and which are trying to scrimp.
Absolutely wonderful at Caneel within the limitiations imposed by the National Park. A natural setting not manicured and groomed in an artificial way. And those beaches only steps from some of the rooms!
So what am I missing?
I do agree with you on many of the resorts that you mention. Won't do FS on Nevis because of the emphasis on golf and just an okay beach but it is a magnificant property since they've rebuilt the entire resort. I think Rosewood would be surprised to learn that it is not their mission to have a high quality luxury resort. I also think that it would benefit by having a new manager.
With the competition that has sprung up, both Little Dix and Caneel have taken a back seat to places like Cap Juluca and other places are rushing to compete and improve.
And it is by no means a shabby destination!
Interesting that one of the top resorts is the Marriott timeshare on Aruba. Maybe someday Aruba will get a luxury hotel, maybe not. But since it is a readers poll, the results are merely popularity contests and not indicitive of anything but that.
No blinders and I will stick with my opinion that Caneel is not at the top of the pyramid but certainly belongs there among those special places *and I always preferred Little Dix, anyway!
 
Nov 25th, 2002, 09:37 AM
  #19  
Worked
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Damn Frank! You must have had one nice apartment in college. Certainly better than the milk crates and hand me down sofas in mine.
 
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