CANEEL BAY: Luxe or Lax?


Jun 2nd, 2002, 05:09 PM
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CANEEL BAY: Luxe or Lax?

So what's the real truth about Caneel Bay?

I keep reading and hearing what a great place it is, but the readers of Conde Nast Traveller magazine rated its rooms 55 out of 100 possible points.

That's nothing to rave about.
Or to charge top dollar for.

For those who have stayed there, what's the real deal?
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Jun 3rd, 2002, 03:33 AM
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It all depends what you are looking for!
I find the Conde Nast poll interesting, as some hotels are rated too high and others not high enough! Expectation is everything.

Caneel is very low key. It is spread out over beautiful beaches. It is very tranquill! Nice rooms, West Indian fabrics, wicker, and tile showers etc.
The beach can be at your doorstep! Some describe it as a glorified camp. I like its ambience. If you are looking for marble baths, and service at every beach this is not it.

It has its good and not so good. Service can be sporadic, and the dining is incosistant! It has wonderful snorkeling, and some of the best beaches.

I have been there several times, and I will go again, but ....
Sometimes there are too many kids, the hotel does not do a good job in enforcing its no kids policy on Scott beach, but its not a real problem.
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Jun 3rd, 2002, 03:40 AM
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I will be returning this November for my fourth stay, and my sister and her husband for their second. This shouls say something about are feelings for Caneel.

Best features are the beautiful, spacious, manicured grounds with its rich aray of flowering tropical plants, and the seven gorgeous beaches, none which ever have more than a few people sunbathing and/or snorkeling.

It gives me the feeling that I am at my own special, private partadise. The food is great also.

On my first visit, my initial reaction to my room was of minor dissapointment, but after a day, its charm grew on me. The term 'understated luxury' is the best description. It is like something out of a gone-by era. The roorms are large and comfy, and I enjoy the charm of turn-down service withe beautirul seashells left on my pillow.

The following year, I plan to explore Anguilla, but will combine it with a Caneel trip, - I'm araid that I would be disappointed if I Left it out of my itinary.

The island of St. John with its uncrowded, unspoiled naturalness cannot be beat, I sometimes sit on the beach and imaging this is what Columbus found when he first discovered the island. Hope this helps.
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Jun 5th, 2002, 11:17 AM
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Bottom line - Caneel Bay is worth it. Did my honeymoon there with a very particular wife and we look forward to going back. I used my Carribbean Fodor's to plan the honeymoon and got hooked on Fodor's. It was right on the money from start to finish.
Don't go with the meal plan if you stay, the restaurants on and off the property were very good - as noted by Fodor's.
Sign up right away for the activities you want while you check in, they fill up.
If I had to pick on something it might be the rooms, but I've never seen a resort or hotel yet, that matched my own bedroom. They are older but very clean with good housekeeping staff. Besides, if your in the room that much then you don't need to go to an outgoing island like St. John.

Highlights for me:
Wide open spaces - the resort.
The town just over the hill - good shopping for the wife.
Steering the Caneel Bay Schooner at night under the stars.
The Rum Jumbies and Pina Colada's.
Having my own beech and coral reef just outside my room with no neighbors - I had the best of the ocean front rooms of which they have 7.
Renting a car and driving the island, very safe and a blast.
Renting a boat in town and going to BVI.
Caneel picking/dropping us at the airport.
The shuttle to St. Thomas for shopping.

Last word: Caneel Bay and one other place, which I currently forget, were the only two places to show up on every list of the "best this" or the "best that", from travel magazines to books on the most romantic get-a-ways.
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