St. John/Westin Trip Report 3 of 3

Feb 21st, 2004, 04:13 PM
  #1  
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St. John/Westin Trip Report 3 of 3

BEACHES: They?re ridiculously beautiful places. And we only explored a tiny piece of the island (with 2 kids we end up sticking to the tried and true). Trunks Bay, world-class beautiful, but it does get crowded with cruise ship and tour crowds. We suffered happily; I love people watching any way. The coral reef is mere yards away from the shore, which was great for my kids who just learned to snorkel. With lifeguards floating about, it felt like a very safe and very amazing first experience. We found it cleared out late afternoon, so next time, I?d make it my 2:00 p.m.-on beach. Cinnamon Beach was also lovely and Francis Beach, which we stumbled upon as we were looking for the sugar plantation ruins (which we never did, because, well, the beach beckoned!), was also lovely and empty. Hawk?s Nest was ok (by STJ standards. I?d die and go to heaven if it were home) and Maho Beach too close to the road to even stop.

JEEP: Despite the fact that more than half the island went unseen by us, the jeep was invaluable. We rented from the place at the Westin, which probably wasn?t the cheapest, but could not have been any easier. With a family of 4, $16 a taxi trip adds up. When we go back, we?ll explore even more, and maybe even take in a hike or two ? great choices from what I understand.

SUPERMARKET: Starfish in The Marketplace Mall, 2 minutes by car from the Westin as you?re heading to town was a fully stocked supermarket with a deli counter, etc. Every morning, we?d fill our invaluable collapsible cooler with ice at the hotel and stock up on deli sandwiches, snacks, water and soda for the day?s beaching (and more sunscreen!). Convenient and cut down on expenses.

BEACH CHAIRS, SNORKELING EQUIPMENT, OTHER GEAR: We rented from the place at the Westin ? Cruz Bay Water Sports ? and it was $8/day/person for all the gear. We packed our beach chairs ? just taped them up and checked them on as luggage, but we didn?t luck out. American Airlines banged them up and both were unusable from the damage. We ended renting from Cruz Bay Water Sports 2 really nice chairs for only $5/chair/day. The shop at Westin didn?t have the chairs, but the shop?s location at the Lumberyard (right below Chilly Billy?s) did. Next time, day one will include bfast at Chilly Billy?s and all the rentals conveniently right there! We also went through so much more sunscreen then we brought?nearly a biggish bottle a day. It?s easy enough to find from the hotel or the supermarket, but I?d try to stock up on some cheaper, economy bottles Stateside next time.

Oh, and the biggest lesson learned!!!! Two out of our suitcases never made it on our plane. Got delayed from the screening process in NYC. Of course, they were the 2 with all our clothes. They showed up at our hotel several hours after our arrival. We were lucky they showed up that night, I know, but after hours of travelling, we ended up spending too much money on bathing suits for everyone so we could jump into the pool upon our immediate arrival. Next time, I?d definitely pack a change of clothing and a bathing suit, so nothing can get in the way of immediate gratification!

WESTIN FERRY: I know there are cheaper options, but we thought it worth the money to have our luggage totally handled by Westin. They take it from the baggage claim area and voila it shows up in your room a bit after you do! You can use it to go back and forth to STT if you want, too. But we didn?t want. At night, you could see STT?s blazing lights and we get enough of that kind of magic at home. Once we hit STJ, we never wanted to leave. Trip #2, I?d consider a day trip to the BVI.


kflodin is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 06:43 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Excellent, detailed report, Kflodin.
Sounds like your research paid off and things (pretty much) turned out as you'd hoped.
I stayed at the Westin a few years ago and my impressions were the same as yours. I'd go back to STJ more often if there were only a better resort there. Caneel is too basic since I, too, like a nice resort and nice rooms on vacation. Some of the villas look to be excellent, but just not my style.
Glad you had a great time.
In the future also consider St. Bart's, Anguilla, Barbados and Bermuda. Among my favorites.
TedTurner is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 07:05 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions, TedTurner. If and When we plan those future trips, I'll be asking for tips here, too! I stumbled upon this forum in looking for the "right" island and it was such a find and so invaluable in figuring out where and what that I keep babbling about it to anyone planning a trip anywhere. Thanks, everybody!
kflodin is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 04:15 AM
  #4  
 
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I like the way you've divided your report kflodin. When you ended up at Francis you made a left at the 'T'. The sugar plantation is to the right. Good mistake, Francis is a nice beach. Maho, even though close to the road is another good beach. And the beaches are ridiculousy beautiful.

Agree on Starfish, a nicley stocked supermarket for an island. In the same complex ( 3rd floor ) is a great sandwich shop/bakery called Baked In The Sun.
RobertoB is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 07:31 AM
  #5  
caribtraveler
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that was a really good trip report. like the previous poster mentioned, love the way you divided it...and you obviously did your research well...i believe that is key for enjoying one's vacation.
we came back from st. john with the same overall impression.
we'd also go back to st. john despite our belief: too many places to see, too little time to do so, therefore we can't go back to the same place.
 
Feb 26th, 2004, 07:35 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 149
Thank you so much so your trip report. I am going on my honeymooon to StJ and Virgin Gorda in Oct and love to hear the scoop on the to do's and not to do's.
I had posted about beach chairs in the past and I will make note of your suggestion. I am a jersey shore girl and we need our beach chairs. I love mine too much to check it and risk it being damaged.

YOu also confirmed my 2 other tips I found, 1 taking a collapsable cooler, and 2 making sure to have swimsuits and 1 change of clothes in our carry on. Just in case.

I am also going to make sure we have reservations somehwere for the night we arrive. Just so we know we can have a special meal on our first night, and 3 night as a Mr. and Mrs. I might try Asolare.

I cant wait to go and your trip report was just what I needed to read on a cold day like today.
Thanks again
jkurtiak is offline  
Feb 27th, 2004, 09:25 AM
  #7  
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you'll have a great time, jkurtiak! And I've heard great things about Virgin Gorda, too. I would absolutely make reservations at Asolare -- and if you're looking for another special place, the Westin has their own fancy restaurant -- chloe and bernard, I think. Don't know much about it, but you might want to check it out. It looked dressier than Asolare, though the food could not possibly be better, nor the cliff-side view. and i'm so with you about the chairs!!! Good luck!
kflodin is offline  

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