St. John - Need Help w/Hotel Choices

Aug 21st, 2007, 09:37 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16
St. John - Need Help w/Hotel Choices

Hi all,

I would love your help in picking the perfect hotel choice for my trip with the boyfriend for early October. I have the flights booked already and now just need to decide on either Caneel Bay, Gallows Pointe, or the Westin.

Cost is not an issue but all 3 seem to have their positives and negs. It's our first trip to St. John - actually our first trip to the Caribbean at all and we are so excited! just dont know where to go...we are 30 year olds if that helps. One thing I havent been able to gather is what age groups are at most of the hotels. Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks so much!
wish72star is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 289
Wish-Congrats on your trip choice as you will have a great time. There are lots of postings on this site about all 3 places. Having visited all 3 and having stayed in a villa, I will give you my 2 cents. In October you are probably less likely to see the amounts of families that you would at other times of year, unless its a fall break of some sort. Caneel Bay with its wide array of beaches is primitive-style luxury resort where activities can be arranged. Some people might not even venture off site too often. Westin is lots of action with below average beach, but lots of activities could be arranged. We stayed at Gallows last spring and liked it much more than we exptected. Its at the edge of the town Cruz Bay, so you can walk back and forth. It has a little pool and a nice cove to swim off of (no beach per se). I did like how I easily acclimated to the town surroundings since I was walking more than driving. You would want to rent a car or use transporation to visit all the beautiful beaches during the day. But at GP it was great that you could just walk into town at night for dinner. Hope this helps!
tamryn is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Thanks Tamryn! Which of the 3 did you prefer? Sounds like gallows? If so, what did you do for breakfast? It's included at the other 2 places but no way of getting it at Gallows and we like to relax on vaca not cook all the time. However, cooking just breakfast may not be too bad. Which unit did you stay in? We are looking at 8C if we go that route. Did you have a good time at the Westin and what room type did you stay in? Also at Caneel- room type? thanks again!
wish72star is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 01:24 PM
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wish72star, We just returned from GP last week renting 8B, 8C, and 8D. My daughters were in 8C and 8D. I will give you our impression of both units. We liked the feel of C better than D. Everyone said it, but we couldn't tell you why. The A/C in 8C did not cool the unit very well compared to the other two units. Of course, that won't be so much of an issue in October.

I have not stayed at Westin. Between GP and Caneel, for us, there is not a contest. Caneel is unique. It depends on what you want. If you want to be able to walk to the bars in the evening, etc, GP is where you want to be. You could alway get a taxi from Caneel for the evenings ($5/pp one way).
We have traveled to a few islands, and there is nothing that comes close to Caneel--for us.

I just wrote a trip report if you are interested. Good luck on your choice. Owa
Aug 21st, 2007, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 289
Wish-We stayed in 11D at Gallows just for an evening until our Villa was ready. It was in good condition and was a lively view of the harbour. The kitchen was plenty large for breakfast fixing and the little store had a good supply. At Caneel we used the beach and ate at the restaurant and have friends who have vacationed there. We used the facitilies at the Westin one day as it was near our Villa.
To clarify I would not pick Gallows over Caneel-we were just surprised how much we did like it. Caneel is lovely and remote and very unique. Gallows is fun and gives a sense of being in the heart of things. Personally without price being an option I would not select Westin. It just did not have any unique quality to me. I would probably still select Caneel, but try to make yourself get off property if you can!
tamryn is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Have you considered renting a villa? You'd have a lot of privacy, your own private pool and possibly hot tub and eating in or out would be your choice. There are some fantastic villa choices on St John, we rented one overlooking the Westin last summer and I can't imagine doing anything but. I'm planning our second trip to St John for next summer and we'll be renting a villa again.

jeannetb is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 446
It wasn't our first trip the the caribbean, but our first trip to St John, we chose Gallows, and were very happy. The main reason we chose Gallows is being close to town. It's a 3 minute walk, and it was great not having to worry about driving after a few drinks.

The views at Gallows are great. We had an ocean side lower, and loved it. The beach is pretty much non-existant, but there are huge wrap around decks right on the water, and steps into the ocean for decent snorkeling right there. The pool is small, but usually nobody around.

You absolutely should rent a jeep for the week so you explore all the amazing beaches.

I wouldn't worry about breakfast, just grab some fruit, cereal, bagels, etc. We had our breakfast overlooking the ocean every morning. Then we'd pack up the cooler with drinks & sandwiches, and headed out to 2-3 beaches a day. We are into snorkeling bigtime, so that was the mission everyday....find gorgeous beaches and great snorkeling. This is easy on St John!!

By late afternoon, we'd be back at Gallows for a quick dip in the pool, and then into town every night for dinner & drinks. It was rough, but someone had to do it.

Gallows gets two BIG thumbs up for me.
ScottB is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 04:06 PM
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I agree with Scott-- unless you sense that you'd not be happy unless where you were had a sort of "resort" feeling. The other (quite important) consideration is how much beach and snorkeling matter to you. If they're high priorities, it'd have to be Caneel. But, again, for the reasons that Scott mentions, and especially given the fact that you're 30 and first-timers, I think Gallows would be a good choice. For sure, though, make a visit to Caneel.
poss is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 04:42 PM
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I agree, if beaches and snorkeling are your main focus, then Caneel is the one. That said, there are plenty of places to snorkel other than Caneel. To each his own in this matter, but we like a TV and radio or CD player in our room. It certaily isn't our focus, but we like the option. No TV's or phones at Caneel. I agree that the Westin's man made beach is just so-so.

For proximinity to town, Gallow's Point is perfect and is a seller for us. That said, getting a taxi from Caneel or the Westin to Cruz Bay wouldn't be a problem or if you have a car then that wouldn't be an issue. We like to walk to town for dinner and drinks and not have to brave the roads at night. As the other posters have said, if you want a resort right on a sandy beach, then don't choose Gallow's Point. I agree with ScottB. The pool and beach area at GP are very nice and serene. Very few people use the pool and often you can have it to yourself. Hot tub too. The only negative, and I read alot of trip reports is that some of the units are a little "tired". They vary from unit to unit as they are individually owned. GP is run like a hotel and has daily housekeeping, fresh towels etc. We are going for our fourth stay there this November and agree that some of the furnishings could use an update. Then there is the sofa bed issue . Seems according to a couple of recent TR's, they are very bad, but that shouldn't be a concern for you.

There aren't a lot of great places in Cruz Bay for breakfast to answer that part of your question. We love Paradise Cafe in Wharfside Village for a good, cheap breakfast sandwich. Nothing fancy. Deli Grotto is good for a quick breakfast or lunch to take to the beach. JJ's Texas Coast has breakfast and is in a great location to watch the happenings in town, but I don't care much for the food. Others like it. Another is Chilly Billy's but I haven't had breakfast there, only lunch and it was so-so. I haven't been, but there is a bakery in The Marketplace called Baked in the Sun.

Whereever you stay, I'm sure you will love St John. It is a great island.
brenandg is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 06:19 PM
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Thanks everyone! This is really great info and although I am still slightly torn btwn Caneel and Gallows I think Gallows might be best for this trip and then if we love St. John (which it sounds like we will) we can always go back to check out Caneel.

Again - thanks so much- very informative posts that are really helping me through the thought process.

OWA - first of all - you are the best grandmother ever in my book, wish you were mine! (dont show this to my grandma though.) I divert - we have Gallows Unit 8C on hold right now and wondering if it is really remodeled as they say it is and most importantly, did your daughter tell you if the bed was comfy? Also, I have a huge mosquitos issue and have heard that some of the units at Gallows have doors and windows that do not close properly so tons of mosquitos get in. Did you have this problem? I wear bug repellent to bed, even here in NYC, as I am a fave of those suckers but like to keep them to a minimum if possible when indoors.

Thanks again for all your help.
wish72star is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 06:24 PM
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Oh, and one more thing - any recommendations for units that are Upper Oceanview at Gallows? (not booked through Suite St. John but Gallows directly please.) Thanks again!!!
wish72star is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 03:04 AM
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wish72star, We did not have an issue with mosquitos in any of the three units. My daughter did not complain about the bed in 8C only about the AC. Everything else in 8C was fine. Beautiful view. As I said in my trip report, there is nothing wrong with Gallows, and the little store (Everyting) is top notch. I can't see any reason why you woudn't like it. Good luck. Owa
Aug 22nd, 2007, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,477
Caneel is one of the unique resorts in the world. Paradise on earth begins to describe it. Caneel is in the National Park, so there is no development to be seen, no matter where you go on the 170 acre property. There are no more than 24 rooms on any of the 7 tree shaded white sand beaches with wade-in snorkeling. Most of the time you will be one of a very small number of people on the beach, and beachfront rooms are right on the sand, only a few steps from the water. When you want to go into town, it is only a few minutes away by taxi. Nearly all "negative" reviews of Caneel are from people who didn't do their homework, expecting glitter and glitz, TV, phone, etc. Caneel took a survey a few years ago of past visitors, who overwhelmingly voted to keep it that way. Take a look at the video on their website. As nice as that is, it does not begin to do it justice. Westin or Gallows Point you can find elsewhere. Caneel is the rarest of the rare.
xkenx is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:22 AM
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Posts: 39
Hands down Caneel. The beaches are beautiful.
rxtennis is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 207
I agree with xkenx, Caneel is one of a kind. Being there is like living a 'fantasy' dream.
Dianebridles is offline  
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