St John SW beaches and villa assistance

Jul 9th, 2006, 09:24 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 972
St John SW beaches and villa assistance

My family and I are taking our first trip to St John in May 2007. There will 6 adults and 1 toddler. We are trying to determine the location and villa with the best fit, and value, for our $$$. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on these southwest beaches/areas:

Great Cruz Bay
Hart Bay
Chocolate Hole Harbor

Are these areas "less desirable" hence why villas seem to be less expensive? Our budget is a max of $2700 for a week. We would like a 3 or 4 bed villa and would prefer a pool. We do not want to be very high up on a hill because my mother-in-law uses a cane, or a walker sometimes.

Here are the villas on my list:
Viridian Garden (on the beach in Great Cruz)
Rara Avis (Hart Bay)
Chez Shell (Great Cruz/Chocolate Hole)
Dolphin Run (Hart Bay)

Any other villa suggestions are welcomed!
kcapuani is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Hi kc,

Have you read the villa reviews on USVI-online? There are some for the villas you mentioned and many others.

iamq is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 289
My family and I stayed on Devers Bay right next to Chocolate Hole and really loved the location (we stayed at teh lovely Vida De Mar). We appreciated that is was close to restaurants and shopping while still feeling "out of town". We would drive to the beaches in the am and then come back and enjoy our pool in the pm. Hope this helps!
tamryn is offline  
Jul 10th, 2006, 03:37 AM
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I think someone on this board stayed at Chez Shell recently and found it to be wonderful. Great Cruz Bay and Chocolate Hole Harbor are great, easily accessible areas, Hart Bay slightly less so but also a lovely area. I would scrutinize each property for the elements you want and contact the rental agent for any particular questions. They will also have plenty of suggestions for you.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jul 10th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Thanks everyone! The villa reviews at USVI-online will be very helpful.

Basically, I just wanted to get a feel for the beach conditions at Great Cruz, Chocolate Hole and Hart's Bay. I had read that the beach at the Westin is not particularly nice because it is manmade. Does this apply to the rest of the Cruz Bay harbor area? Also, does Hart Bay actually have a beach, or is it rocky? I realize that we will be only a few miles from the North shore beaches, but some days we may want to lounge around the villa and visit the closest beach.
kcapuani is offline  
Jul 10th, 2006, 08:17 AM
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I believe most of these beaches are rocky in this area. The North Shore beaches are really not a far drive or cab ride however. So if you have a pool for lounging and like the closeness of dining and shopping you will be happy if it is the right villa for you.
tamryn is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Thanks Tamryn - perhaps I should select a place that is close to Great Cruz, and plan on driving to the North Shore beaches each day. It sounds like the South side beaches are all rocky.

My top choice is Viridian Garden if anyone has any comments on it (no one did on USVI-online).
kcapuani is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 06:17 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 899
I would be less concerned with location and more concerned with selecting the right villa to meet your needs. STJ is a very small island and you'll be close to the north shore beaches from most villa locations including Chocolate Hole or Hart Bay....15-20 minutes, tops.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 04:39 AM
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Posts: 289
I just checked and there is an extensive new review for this villa in their Cruz Bay forum that you might want to check out. Best of luck!
tamryn is offline  
Aug 12th, 2006, 04:51 AM
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Was there in June with my family, and stayed at the Westin, my second visit to St. John. I have not been to Hart Bay or Chocolate Hole, but I do know that they are not regarded among the great beaches on St John, and there are many great ones. I'd suggest, like some of the other posters, that you pick a villa that suits your needs and anticipate driving to the great beaches around the island on different days. My favorites-

Francis Bay - stunningly beautiful, good snorkeling

Trunk Bay - don't listen to those who say to keep away because it's too touristy - Trunk has the best combination of beach and snorkeling - just time your visit to avoid the cruise ships. Go on a day when there are no ships in, or go early am or late pm.

Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay, Hawksnest Beach, Caneel Bay, Honeymoon Beach, Oppenheimer Beach. Not as good as the above, but still wonderful.

Salt Pond Bay (actually southeast side) Really nice hiking, nice beach, good snorkeling.

Lienster Bay/Watermelon Key - Great snorkeling, beach not so good, long walk to snorkeling site around Watermelon, but worth it.

Round Bay - A long drive, but beautiful and likely to be deserted.
smetz is offline  
Aug 14th, 2006, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 16
Agree w/ the recommendation to find a villa you like and drive to the beaches. Great Cruz Bay has a beach at the Westin. Pros - it has lots of water toys / activities available for rent, there is a restaurant right there for lunch (part of the Westin), if you want a massage on this beach - this can be booked thru the Westin. Cons - this cove holds a lot of boats and will get traffic, the water and beach are definitely not the best on the island. The list noted in the above reply are my favs as well. Don't know the other beaches. Have fun.
Hols is offline  
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