St. John via the forum!

Old Feb 16th, 2007, 10:08 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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St. John via the forum!

Just back from two weeks of beaches and sun... Planned out second week for St. John using the information from all the forum contributors here- THANK YOU ALL!! We had a wonderful truely exceptional holiday and have to agree that if you want a beautiful and relaxing holiday St John is the palce to go. We started our holiday meeting extended family for a cruise (St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Martin, St. Lucia, Barbados, San Juan) but the highlight was St. John.

What we picked up from your comments:
1. We began out first day on the island with Sumday brunch at Miss Lucys. Left -40 below weather to find ourselves in the sun, sipping excellent coffee, munching on lobster omelets, basking in th sun about 15 feet from the ocean listening to a good jazz trio.... need we say more.
2. explored the snorkle spots most frequenlty talked about, ensuring we were at Trunk Bay early on in the day to avoid most cuise ship passangers (good plan for both days we returned). Wonderful snorkeling especially past the underwater trail and on the other side of the island by the underwater trail. We also loved Mahoe Bay just for sunning, wading, and chasing away the fish that kept swimming between our feet. Checked out Cinammon Bay for future refernce (think I am too old and spoiled to camp it now) and also cheked out the eco resorts near by. really neat if you are a good walker and like lots of stairs. Bugs were a problem for some (but we are used to mosquitos and noseeums)
3. Snorkeled lots at Honeymoon Beach (wonderful coral and fish at the far left side of the beech (facing the water). Hiked into Leister Bay (I think this is how you spell it), with lots of fish and a nurse shark sighting.
4. We stayed at a time share villa at the Westin and loved it- was very affordable. Had dinner at Lime Inn (thanks for the recommendation it was really good seafood the night we were there) and then had dinner at Zoras at Gallows Point (dinner OK but appetizers and salads were really good and view was lovely at night). Could barbeque at the time share by the units pool, and having access to a full kitchen plus laundry would make trips back really easy (could actually do 1 suitcase per family).
5. Had planned to rent a car from St. Thomas, load up on groceries etc before heading over to St. John but found the direct Westin shuttle from the airport was just too darn easy. No worries about bags, ferry schedules, and we arrived to get in the sunset and at least 2 hours of beach time as a bonus.
6. rented a car from St. John car rental and found the service quite good. Could see why access to a Jeep is such a good idea. Rented a boat (and skipper) for a big blow out the last day and went to Jost Van Dyke to see all the famous bars you have mentioned, snorkled again, and get a good look at yet another neat spot. My husband would like to go back there for a longer stay. Went alos to Smiths Cay then on to the Indians for another wonderful snorkle- was really interesting as we were snorkeling on top of two scuba divers who were about 25 - 30 feet below us... the water is so clear you could see each of their airbubbles as well as all the coral and fish. Stopped for lunch at an uninteresting beach in the BVI folloiwng a nice tour through one of the harbours on Tortoall. Have not seen yachts like that for a very long time. The boat trip was very expensive but if you shared it with several other couples was a great way to scout out new places for the next trip. I am think Tortola for few days, my husband Jost Van Dyke, followed by at least another week back in St. Johns. We would head back to the Westin Villas again as we found some very good rates from time share owners who were renting out their space for the week. Service was variable in terms of the staff, but the villas were really well appointed and very quiet. Wonderful beds for after a hard day floating on the ocean. The Friday night Westin buffet was good (had prawns and snow crab legs on the menu with lots of carribean favorites and entertainment particualry for the kids.

Again thanks to all who post- it really made it easy to plan a trip to a place we had never been before with all the practical information provided.
Karenp28 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Thanks Karen for the great report.

I assume people not staying at the Westin can eat at the Friday night buffet and see the entertainment?

Thanks.

Carole
cawhite is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2007, 08:32 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 205
so, your hubby has been bitten by the JVD bug!!!
We just spent 3 nights on Tortola and 2 nights at JVD...just love it there

enjoyed the TR
soggydollar is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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Hi Karen, just wondering how you found the time share owners at the Westin? We've looked at the hotel several times, but their rates always seemed very high for what I understand is an "average" (but nice) hotel.

Thanks!

Mary

marymarra is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2007, 02:19 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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thanks for reporting back

it makes me want to go back
(at this very moment)
bluefan is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Anyone can eat at the Westin. I think the Carribean buffet was actually Saturday night- $37 pp and we enjoyed the evening... especially watching all the children with the fire eater, stilt dancer etc.
Soggydollar know I know where your log-in comes from! Yes- we would both like to go back there (as would several of our adult children as we described JVD).

For the Westin time shares I just did an online search and came up with a 1 bedroom apartment for appx. $ 1800. It would eaisly have slept 4 (bedroom loft upstairs and sofa bed in living room). There seems to be lots to rent depending on when you are going I would not stay in the hotel part itself, but if you have younger children (under 10), the resort has lots to offer (though is not 5* as you think of one in north america). Had tennis courts, kids center, fittness programs etc. We looked at one of the 3 bedroom time share condo units (sleeps 10)- it would be a lot of fun if you have 10 people who would like to go together- you would still need a rental to do the island any justice at all though.
Hey soggydollar- where in Tortolla did you stay? I would like to do an extended version of your 5 day trip next year. I am wondering if Tortolla is a slighlty more afforable version of St. John.
Karenp28 is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2007, 08:11 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 244
Karen,
We've been to Tortola and St. John (Westin)and found Tortola is more affordable with respect to food and lodging. We stayed at Long Bay Beach Resort and you can probably get a good deal on skyauction.com. It has a beautiful beach but has rocks in many parts which makes it difficult to swim (although we did see people in the water). Smugglers Cove is a beach nearby that is quiet, beautiful and great for swimming. We liked Long Bay and would go back but read the reviews as it really is a 3-3.5 star hotel. As in St. John, you need to rent a car to fully enjoy the island. Driving is even scarier on Tortola. It's also easy to island hop from Tortola (Jost, Virign Gorda, Marina Cay).

lovethecape is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2007, 05:28 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Karenp28: $1800 is a fantastic rate for a 1 bedroom with such amenities. I only know of www.rentalstjohn.com as a site featuring the Westin timeshares, but you seemed to have found a more direct route. Please tell us what agency/internet site you went through. It would be a great resource for me since I'm always asked by friends for options. Thanks.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2007, 01:53 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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Yes, that is an amazing rate--do share!

thanks,

Mary

P.S. Assume you can use all the Westin facilities when you stay in the Villas?
marymarra is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2007, 06:43 PM
  #10  
ghh
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Karen; You stated the following in your post; good rates from time share owners who were renting out their space for the week. How did you obtain this info We are interested for the future Thanks
ghh is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2007, 02:11 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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just sending this back up to see if Karen is around. . .
marymarra is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 02:55 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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karen-if you are still checking in,
Tortola is a cheaper alternative to STJ. Though I prefer STJ for the number of beaches and the fact that so many have snorkeling from the shore.
I just got my pictures back form our 5 day trip and brought back great memories, the much higher hills, the scenic vistas, sunset at Cane Garden Bay...
While STJ does not offer much for inexpensive hotels, there are many on Tortola for under $100 a night. They are very basic, not luxurious, but provide a place to sleep. Others have posted about Long BAy, a nicer place. Lots of dining options on Tortola. Also a great base from which to islandhop.
soggydollar is offline  
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