STT+STJ Trip Report - Part 4

Old Apr 13th, 2006, 07:11 PM
  #1  
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STT+STJ Trip Report - Part 4

Secret Harbour: Boy, was this a disappointment after reading the great reviews on this website. We only stayed 1 nt here due to cost, but I wanted to see it after the reviews. When they say 3pm check in, they mean it. We didn't get checked in until almost 3:30pm + then only cuz the manager helped us take our luggage to the suite. When we got to the suite the cleaning crew was still finishing up. The beachfront suite was huge. The beach was very small by comparison. Second most crowded (Coki most crowded) Water warmer than other beaches. Reef VERY shallow right off shore. Visibility poor. Saw very large stingray + different trunkfish. Problem with snorkeling was that boats come very close. One time I was snorkeling on "my side" of a buoy (looking at the stingray)+ a boat pulled up rt by the buoy. I'm thankful it didn't run me over. Blue Moon restaurant upscale + you need reservations. Adjacent patio bar+grill is where we ate (no other choice unless we took a taxi - had no car at that time) - menu very limited - small portions of food - not very good tasting - this was the slowest service I've received anywhere at anytime in 45 years. So I may shock the dozens of people that gave such good reviews of this place. The only positives were the size of the suite, stingray + trunkfish (which we didn't see anywhere else). Negatives for us: Upscale, crowded, dangerous snorkeling, poor food/service, price. If we return to the islands in the future, I won't stay here.

That's it for STT. Part 5 = STJ.
wisconsin is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2006, 04:13 AM
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I'm surprised to read your trip report about SH after seeing so many positive reviews of this resort. We have reservations there in June for 2 nights in one of their beachfront suites but I'm still torn between SH and Sapphire. The beachfront rooms at Sapphire are out of our budget but I've considered booking one of the Yacht Harbor Suites or Sapphire Village through Antilles. The Yacht Harbor Suites would be about the same price as SH. From what I've read it seems as if the views (at least from the beachfront suites) and the beach at Sapphire are much nicer than SH but I've read so many more negative reviews about Sapphire compared to SH. And from what I've been able to gather the snorkeling is better at SH in part due to the water being more calm. With this being our first trip to STT and STJ it's hard to make a choice not being familiar with any of the STT hotels...if we were talking $100/night hotels I wouldn't care as much but if I'm going to spend $250/night I just assume be satisfied!!
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 05:05 AM
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Just goes to show you how different people are! I too read so many great things about Secret Harbour before going there. Please take a look at my Part 1 through Part 3 trip reports too. Sapphire Yacht Harbour suite was run down (the furniture + bedding were ok though). The view from Yacht H. suite was ok (overlooking marina). We didn't mind the ants at Sapphire + didn't spend much time in the room so the view wasn't important to us. The SH beachfront suite was very large and nice. The view isn't great. When we booked, the beachfront suite at SH was much more expensive than Yacht Harbour suite at Sapphire. The beach at Sapphire is much larger and prettier than at SH (SH beach was 2nd most crowded we encountered.) The water is warmer at SH. We had calm snorkeling days at both beaches but the visibility was much worse at SH. The best snorkeling experiece we had (on both STT+STJ) was actually at Sapphire - there were so many different kinds of fish + so many more than at SH. As you can read in my post above, snorkeling at SH was actually dangerous due to boat traffic coming so close to snorkeling/beach area. SH is more upscale than Sapphire. Poorest food service I ever had at SH. So you are stuck with mixed reviews of both places, just like I was before I made reservations. It's going to be a personal choice for you - decide what's most important to you - then your decision still comes with risk cuz everyone has different experiences. Good luck.
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 06:39 AM
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Thanks for your honest appraisal. I do think, on balance, that SH presents a good combo of a medium-sized resort, a nice crescent of sand, and a decent value in the off-season. At least among the options on STT. But people should be aware that the pic of the beach on the SH website is the *whole* beach. It's not a long walking beach. I found the burger and fries at lunch at Blue Moon to be a pretty good value.
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 04:09 AM
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Your opinion of Secret Harbor is also mine but it has its devotees here so I've kept my mouth shut.

I love the beach at Sapphire & they would make money hand over fist if they could ever get their financial situation sorted out & get the units fixed. Even with their problems I'd pick Sapphire over Secret Harbor but that's just me.
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 04:36 AM
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We stayed at Crystal Cove on Sapphire Beach last year for three nights. We went to SH to snorkel, and in our opinion, SB is far superior for snorkeling and beach. Owa
 
Old Apr 16th, 2006, 05:19 AM
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I found some SB units for rent on stthomasescape.com - they've been recently renovated and appear to be very nice. Part of the reason I chose SH over SBR is because of all the negative reviews about the units being run down at SBR and the beachfront suites are cheaper at SH. If I go through stthomasescape we can get a second floor Yacht Harbor Suite for the same price as a beachfront suite at SH...at the same price am I nuts to give up our beachfront suite at SH? I've wondered how great the view is from the beachfront suites at SH anyway and from what Wisconsin said it sounds like it's really not that great. I'm sure the views from a yacht harbor suite aren't all that great either but at least we're just steps from Sapphire Beach.

We're only spending 2 nights there before going to St John so I'm sure I'm getting way too worked up about it!!


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