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St. John - going for first time over Thanksgiving

St. John - going for first time over Thanksgiving

Oct 5th, 2010, 12:56 PM
  #1  
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St. John - going for first time over Thanksgiving

We are going to St. John for the first time and had originally booked the Westin. After reading some bad reviews I am thinking of switching to Caneel Bay. Very pricey though!
It is just my husband and I going, and I read that the Westin has more kids then adults, and also doesn't have a nice beach.
I was interested in anyones thoughts on Caneel. Is it nice and worth the money? I am hoping to at least get an oceanview room.
Also, should I book the ferry through Caneel?
Any other thoughts on St. John or Caneel would be appreciated. I did read some of the other posts on t;he forum as well.
pegpaz is offline  
Oct 6th, 2010, 07:32 AM
  #2  
 
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If you like great off the beach snorkeling, natural beauty, uncrowded soft snow white sand beaches,(7), buildings/rooms spread out throughout expansive manicured garden grounds, and are not expecting glitzy rooms, ( although they are comfy, clean and well attended), it is definitely worth the money.

Their ferry service is well worth the money. Your luggage is checked at Caneel's airport area, and upon arrival, you will find it waiting in your room. You are taxied from there to their private boat and enjoy a rum punch en route. It is a great,relaxing,luxurious way to begin your vacation. In addition you have unlimited no charge trips to St. Thomas, if you wish. My first trip there, (this November will be my thirteenth), I tried saving $$ and went there on my own. Paid and tipped the taxi from the airport to public ferry, (no tips are expected on Caneel's transportation), wrestled my luggage onto the ferry, arriving at Cruz Bay, wrestled it off the ferry to the taxi, (seats on the back of a pick-up) upon arrival at Caneel's parking lot, paid/ tipped the driver and had a very long walk to the main lobby. It was a wretched experience, and an unpleasant way to begin an otherwise lovely stay.
Ocean view rooms are very nice, and very close to the beach. If your room is at Caneel Beach, you might want to request upstairs, (all buildings are only one/two stories high), for a great ocean view.
Dianebridles is offline  
Oct 6th, 2010, 07:52 AM
  #3  
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Thank you so much for your reply. I will make the ferry arrangements with Caneel then. I did cancel our Westin reservation last night, and went with Caneel Bay.
WOW, you have been to St. John 13 times! I guess you love it then. My favorite place had been the Cuisinart on Anguilla.
Have a nice trip!
pegpaz is offline  
Oct 6th, 2010, 11:00 AM
  #4  
 
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I would highly recommend caribbeanvilla.com and look at renting a villa. We have done this four times now. Couple of times with kids but now empty nest and been twice just wife and I. If you enjoy privacy and going at your own pace this is the way to go. They handle jeep rental for you and you explore on your own. Lots of diversity around the island for snorkeling, dining, hiking etc.
bobrathbun is offline  
Oct 8th, 2010, 11:14 AM
  #5  
 
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We just booked a villa on St. John for April. I'm looking forward to the total privacy that affords. Our own pool, our own hot tub, our own deck...
wliwl is offline  
Oct 8th, 2010, 12:42 PM
  #6  
 
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you will totally love Caneel! It is like nowhere else I have ever been. Ferry starts the vacation off perfectly. Worth every cent! We booked one of the cheaper rooms....courtside?? and had water problems and so they upgraded us to beachfront. If you can afford it ...totally worth the money! I'm jealous! We will probably go back with kids in next few yrs and have starwood points so will stay at Westin. I know I will realllly miss Caneel tho!
mamamia66 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:54 AM
  #7  
 
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Pegpaz, if you're still out there... I think you may have posted asking about the Westin a while ago, no? I can't remember. I have stayed at both Caneel Bay and the Westin, and I'll agree that Caneel is much, much nicer for my purposes, which include snorkeling, relaxing, walking on the beach, etc. It's not luxurious in the usual sense there, but there's a peaceful, simple beauty that's really nice. You'll be happy there. The Westin might be preferable for people who have kids, and need a lot of high-energy structured activities that will keep them occupied.

I agree that the Caneel ferry will be a much nicer experience than the public options, though more expensive.

I stayed right on Caneel Beach, which is the first one you get to when you enter. That one has the advantage that the rooms are truly right on the beach, with sand coming right up to your door. The other beachfront rooms are separated from the beach a little bit. Another advantage of the Caneel Beach rooms is that they're right near the entrance to the property, so it's less of a walk to get to your room when you get back from traveling off-campus. The disadvantage is that non-guests are allowed to come and use Caneel Beach, so it's more crowded. I had families with kids camped out on my "front yard" every day, making some noise, and using the beach chairs and stuff that are supposed to be for guests only. That didn't bother me, because they cleared out at night, and I spent my days in other places, but it might bother you if you don't want to move more than a few yards from your room. Also, the Caneel dock is on one side of Caneel Beach, and there's a bit of commotion on that side that lessens the tranquility of the scene. My room was all the way on the other side of Caneel Beach, and I was happy about that.

I saved the Caneel property map that I got when I stayed there, but I can't seem to find it now, so I can't refer to it. I know that the building that I stayed in on Caneel Beach was one-story. Dianebridles, I think it was the ones on Honeymoon Beach and Hawksnest Beach that were two-story, no?

One thought: you might want to bring a clock. I like that the rooms have no TVs or phones, but I do wish they had clocks.

You may want to rent a jeep so that you can explore the island. You can rent one through Caneel, and it will be delivered right to the Caneel parking lot. You could probably get one more cheaply by renting it in town, but it sure is convenient to have it delivered right to you! Caneel has six fantastic beaches and a few restaurants, and you could easily just stay there for your whole trip. But St. John is fun to explore, and you may want to try heading out in search of better snorkeling, hiking, or restaurants (the food at Caneel, in my recollection, wasn't so great).
hawksbill is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 09:27 AM
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Turtlebay and Hawksnests beachfronts are two story. pegpaz was planning on oceanview. Caneel Oceanview are just behind where you stayed and are very close to the beach Adjoining Turtlebay restaurant is oceanview and are one story, on a hill with a stunning oceanview. It has a small footpath to a small private beach below and is just a short walk to Turtlebay Beach and a slightly longer walk to Hawksnest Beach, I am not sure if it is still clasified a s regular Oceanview or has been reclassified to Premium Oceanview),(more expensive). Guests also have usage of the restaurant's
outdoor patio, which, is private at night also is removed from, but close to the bar for late night cocktails. I have talked with guests who staye there and loved it.

There are no rooms on Honeymoon Beach, but up the stairs on the way to that beach are rooms on Little caneel Beach and they are classified as Beachfront Suites.

Hope that clarifies somewhat and am glad you enjoyed the beauty of Caneel
Dianebridles is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 10:03 AM
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BTW The Westin has some nasty storm damage at the moment. Here's their story:

Limited Services Due to Flooding

Due to heavy rainfall, the area around the Westin St. John Resort & Villas has experienced flood related damage. The resort is open but under limited operations. The resort operations team is working quickly to return to normal operations and to restore our pristine resort landscaping esthetics. The following limitations are currently in effect:

a.. Our pool will not be available until it can be drained and cleaned. It is scheduled to reopen by October 28, 2010.
b.. Snorkel's Bar & Grill and Beach Café are closed. Cruz Bay Prime is being used as the main restaurant until further notice.
c.. All beaches on St. John are closed until the necessary water safety tests can be performed. For the most up to date information please visit www.dpnr.gov.vi/notices.htm.

Due to the above limitations, the hotel is not accepting any new
reservations from October 6 to 10, 2010. The hotel is waiving any
cancellation fees for customers who would like to cancel their reservations from October 6 to October 28, 2010. If you would like to reschedule your upcoming reservation to a later date please contact our Reservations Team at 888-627-7206
wliwl is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 10:04 AM
  #10  
 
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And here some pics:

http://seestjohn.com/st_john_life/li...and-more-rain/
wliwl is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 05:35 AM
  #11  
 
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The Westin and the island have already begun major clean up.

http://www.on-stjohn.com/2010/10/11/...anup/#comments
brenandg is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 07:28 AM
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Thanks, wliwl and brenandg, for the links. I heard they got 20 inches of rain last week. I guess this is why people don't put their boats in the water until Thanksgiving!

I'm sure that everything will be cleaned up before pegpaz arrives, but it must be a real bummer for everyone down there now.
hawksbill is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 08:48 AM
  #13  
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Hi everyone and thanks so much for all the great info!
Hawksbill - I think it might have been your informative comment on a previous forum that made me think of switching from the Westin. We are doing an ocean view at Caneel Bay. Would have liked the beachfront, but just too expensive.
I'm hoping the rain is finished by Thanksgiving, being we REALLY need a vacation and sunshine would be nice.
pegpaz is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 09:50 AM
  #14  
 
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Have fun pegpaz!
wliwl is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 12:29 PM
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Ah, now I see that I had confounded "beachfront" and "oceanview" in my memory. Sorry, all. I will attempt to atone for that mistake by supplying this link to a detailed map of the Caneel property, which I just found online. This should be helpful to anyone booking a stay there, and it means that I can stop tearing up the house looking for the old paper map that I saved: http://www.caneelbay.com/i/pdf/caneel_bay_map.pdf

I think by Thanksgiving, the weather will have reverted to its usual winter pattern: mostly sunny, with passing clouds and the occasional squall. I can't wait to get back myself...
hawksbill is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 04:31 PM
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pegpaz,
We are leaving for St John on Thanksgiving for 10 nights. We are hoping for good weather too. Hopefully the odds of STJ getting hit yet again are slim. I'm glad we are not going for a bit yet because the mosquitos are going to be just plain terrible. They hatch about 10 days after big rains. Our last two trips (one May, one November) they were bad. Some beaches were not even doable. If you read that it is rainy down there before you go, be sure to bring some good bug spray. Have a fun trip!
brenandg is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 01:39 PM
  #17  
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Hi Brenandg,
Thanks for the mosquito info. I won't forget the bug spray!
Hope you have a great trip too!
pegpaz is offline  
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