Car Rental St. John

Old May 8th, 2002, 01:45 PM
  #1  
Chris
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Car Rental St. John

I'm going to St. John in a week. I'd like to rent a car for 2-3 days. Is it cheaper to rent in St. Thomas and take the car ferry or take the car ferry and rent in st john. I guess there's 2 options 2 people ferry + 2-3 days car rental or car ferry + 5 day rental. Can someone give me advice?
 
Old May 8th, 2002, 02:05 PM
  #2  
Joan
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Hi Chris,
Just my personal experience. First trip we rented on St Thomas at the airport and took the car ferry across to St John. All was well till the third day, the car overheated out at Cinnamon Bay. We called the car rental company and it was 6 HOURS before we got service. They had to send someone from St Thomas and they were busy and it just took time.
Second trip, we rented on St John. We ran over a nail in the parking lot all the way out at Skinny Legs in coral Bay. We had service from the company in less than 45 minutes.
The availability of service was not something that occured to us before the first trip. It's a production to get a St Thomas car rental company to rescue you when you're on St John. Also the rentals on St John are almost exclusively jeep type vehicles with 4WD which will make your life infinitely easier when you're negotiating the roads on St John.
Good luck and have fun!
 
Old May 8th, 2002, 08:42 PM
  #3  
e
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We like to rent a jeep from Budget on Stt and ferry it across. We've done it numerous times without any problems. Personally we wouldn't do it any other way.
 
Old May 8th, 2002, 10:08 PM
  #4  
Jana
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Just came back from ST. John a few days ago.
We had car reservation at Budget on St. Thomas. Upon arriving there, we were told they were overbook and did not have a car for us !!!!!!! I couldn't believe it ! They offered to make reservations for us with another rental company. However, they were not able for find similar rates ! The clerk at Budget phoned her boss to see if Budget would cover the difference bet. our rate and the rates the other companies were charging, but the "boss" said "no"
We were really disappointed with Budget.
 
Old May 9th, 2002, 09:43 AM
  #5  
Glen
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Jana,

Under the circumstances, I would be more than just "disappointed". If you rented from another company I would write a letter to the CEO of Budget and send him a copy. I workd for a large multinational company and my experience is that such letters get a reaction.

I did a quick search on Yahoo for Budget and found their address and a listing of execs. Take a look at this..

http://biz.yahoo.com/p/b/bd.html

Unfortunately these days you sometimes have to remember the old adage "smile and the whole world smiles with you -- snarl and you get better service"
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 01:34 AM
  #6  
Jana
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Thanks Glen. I actally though of writing to someone about this and I will. Thanks for the names and addresses. Now if I could get the names of people in charge of the Westin on St. John I would really be greatful.
The "Budget" situation was only the begining. You won't believe what happened to us once we got to the Westin. I'm planing to share my story with this board in a few days. We absolutely loved the island !!! but the people (or rather a specific person) we had the misfortune of meeting at the Westin left us with a very bitter aftertaste....
 
Old May 10th, 2002, 09:12 AM
  #7  
Glen
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Jana,

I will be interested in reading your posting regarding the Westin as I am going there in July.

Regarding the manager of the Westin, again why not go to the top...? http://biz.yahoo.com/p/h/hot.htm

The Westin is part of Starwood.

 
Old May 11th, 2002, 01:40 AM
  #8  
Jana
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Here it goes and I’d like to apologize for the length in advance. After the above mentioned horrible incident at BUDGET, we decided to tour St. Thomas a little. We had purchased the $65.00 per person tickets from Westin entitling us (supposedly) to unlimited ferry rides between our hotel and Charlotte Amalie. The last Westin ferry was supposed to pick up passengers at 7:30 p.m. from Crown Bay (which is a +/- 10 minutes away from downtown via taxi).

We have arrived at the ferry stop at about 7:10 p.m. or so. Waited until 7:30 p.m. and no ferry in sight. Then, lucky us it stared to rain and got very, very dark !!! And the ferry stop was in the middle of nowhere – no place to hide. (It rained a couple of times earlier in the day, but when it did we were downtown and were able to hide – we also tried to buy umbrellas, but had no luck since it was the Carnival and most of the stores were closed and the ones that were open did not have umbrellas…..)
 
Old May 11th, 2002, 01:42 AM
  #9  
Jana
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Since it was only the three of us at the ferry stop, around 7:45 p.m. we stared to wonder and I have decided to call Westin. A receptionist who I happened to talk with confirmed the existence of a 7:30 p.m. ferry from Crown Bay and was surprised they did not pick us up. Then she put me on hold and told me that she will radio the ferry and tell them to come and get us since she knew they were at the airport picking up new guests. After a few minutes, she came back on and told me to return to the stop and that the ferry is coming, but she was not able to give me the exact time when….

It was 8:10 p.m. (and still raining) when a man suddenly appeared from the dark and asked if we were waiting for the Westin ferry, then he introduced himself as the owner/manager of a nearby bar and said the Westin called and asked him to find us and tell us to take the public ferry back to the hotel since the ferry is NOT coming and that the hotel will reimburse us for the trip. We could not believe it ! But what else could we do. The Westin ferry stop was at Crown Bay. The public ferry was in Red Hook, which is about 30 minutes and $30.00 away by taxi. When we went to the taxi stop, there were three taxi drivers engaged in a conversation – must have been interesting. When we told them we wanted to go to Red Hook, they briefly stopped, looked at us and then, without a word in our direction, continued the conversation !!!! Words cannot describe how I felt at that moment. I wanted to leave at that point, but my uncle decided to ask them again and one driver finally responded; however upon finding out exactly where we wanted to go he was not happy because it was “so far” !!! In the end, he did take us to Red Hook – but while driving through Charlotte Amalie’s downtown, he would slow down each time he would see people who looked like tourists and asked if they wanted to go to Red Hook……When we left the downtown area, he then started to have a conversation with us and seemed actually pleasant. Upon arrival in Red Hook at 9:10 p.m. we found out that the St. John ferry leaves on the hour ! Fifty minutes of waiting were ahead of us !
Lucky us (if “lucky” is the word) – there was a bar a few blocks from the ferry.


 
Old May 11th, 2002, 01:43 AM
  #10  
Jana
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Upon finally arriving at the hotel, the front desk person, Amy something – who also claimed to be the manager on duty -- told us that the hotel will, of course, reimburse us for the taxi fare from Crown Bay to Red Hook, for the public ferry to St. John and for the taxi from Cruz Bay to the Westin. She did not bother to volunteer with an explanation as to what happened and why the ferry did not come. I was pretty upset at that point and decided to ask her. When pressed, she said they had a MECHANICAL PROBLEM and could not come….Funny, because the person we called from Crown Bay said the ferry was at the airport
picking up people…. She then credited our account and considered the problem solved.

Not once did she say that she was sorry nor did she apologize on behalf of the ferry or hotel or whoever. When I continued to express my dissatisfaction with the whole incident, she asked me to take a look at my Westin ferry ticket. Then, in anger, she pulled one out from her drawer and showed me a small-print note, stating that Westin was not responsible for “MOTHER NATURE” and told me that if I read that I would know. I was speechless for a moment. Couldn’t believe what she was saying and couldn’t believe her arrogant, bitchy attitude under the circumstances. I told her to bring a dictionary and we both will read the definition of “mother nature”. Either Amy--the manager on duty-- was an idiot or she thought we were.
Besides some on and off typical tropical rain there was nothing going on. What “mother nature” ????? What I was waiting for was a simple “I’m sorry / I apologize” of some sort to make us feel better. She clearly did not think it was necessary. I reminded her again about our long wait (in the rain at times) for the ferry which never arrived (but which managed to pick up guests from the airport), about our long trip to Red Hook, about another long wait for the public ferry, about getting from the ferry to the hotel and then, at the end of our “adventurous” day having an unsympathetic manager on duty handle our situation the way she did. I told her that our time means a lot to us (it’s our vacation !!!!) and that a simple reimbursement for the taxis and ferry will not make me happy. Then, without a word, she pulled out TWO complimentary breakfast buffet tickets (there were THREE of us….) and without a word of apology gave them to us. At that point, we pretty much “had it” and decided to finish our business with Amy Widdel – Westin’s front desk’s manger on duty.


 
Old May 11th, 2002, 01:49 AM
  #11  
Jana
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I wanted to post everything under one post but it would not "take it" -- it's clearly too long. For those interested, this was not our only "happy" encounter with Amy. There was more at check-out.....I will try to post that report in a couple of days.
 
Old May 11th, 2002, 02:22 AM
  #12  
Jana
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If anyone has questions for me, to make things easy, please post them under my "trip report". Thanks.
 
Old May 12th, 2002, 08:32 AM
  #13  
Glen
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Now I can see why you were intersted in following up on the poor service provided by the Westin.

Even before reading the Eposide II (that you hopefully will post some day), I would say that I can't blame you trying to make the people in charge aware of the kind of employees they have working for them.

It is unfortunate that some of workers in the vacation industry do not realize how quickly they can turn people off to coming to their island or resort. What they do not seem to understand is that without tourists, they don't have a job.


With the advent of the Internet, it is now quite easy for all of us to collect advice on a location or an accomodation. I remember early last year one lady was posting complaints (unjustified) about a fishing charter company on Paradise Island. Until someone told the owner of the fishing charter company what had happened, he did not realize why his business had dropped off. The point I am trying to make, is that with the Internet the world is now a lot smaller. Ten years ago or so, if you wanted to find out about a hotel on St. John about all you could do was buy one of a couple of travel books. Now, you can get feedback from real users of a vacility. In general good news travels slowly, whereas bad news travel quickly. Afterall, who wants to take a chance that their hard earned money will be wasted on a vacation that is less than pleasurable?

 
Old May 12th, 2002, 08:44 AM
  #14  
Fred
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but each story has two sides and we are hearing only one. Not that there wasn't problems but wonder if the hotel might give a very different version of the exchanges. no place should be judged by one incident or one report - reading this forum, no one would go anywhere with all the nasty things said - but weighted with other reports as well.
 
Old May 12th, 2002, 12:20 PM
  #15  
Jana
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Glen and others who might be interested: I have posted part of my EPISODE II under my St. John trip report. Please read it there -- I don't want to repeat myself under several different posts.
 
Old May 16th, 2002, 06:30 AM
  #16  
MIke
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How do we find your trip report?
 
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