Westin or Caneel Bay?

Feb 10th, 2003, 04:25 PM
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Westin or Caneel Bay?

I'm planning a honeymoon for the last week of shoulder season (Dec 14-Dec 20). St. John sounds like the perfect place since most everyone speaks so highly of it. We're a young couple so our finances are limited. Is Caneel Bay worth the extra money vs Westin or should we just bite the bullet since this is a one time event? Any other suggestions are welcome as well. Thank you in advance.
finfan is offline  
Feb 10th, 2003, 04:30 PM
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MHO is bite the bullet, watch to see if Caneel comes up at luxurylink.com since you are still off season (at least until the 15th) and go for it. The beaches, the accomodations, the atmosphere, the grounds all are delightful for a special trip.
KaribIslander is offline  
Feb 10th, 2003, 06:38 PM
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I have to agree with KaribIslander. My husband and I stayed at the Westin in 1998, coincidentally for our honeymoon. While the Westin is a lovely resort, its beach is nothing to write home about. We took a look at Caneel Bay and I would suggest you just bite the bullet and book there. Its beach was far superior to the Westin's. Having said that, I would suggest no matter where you stay that you rent a car for several days and explore the many other beaches on the island, and not just stay on one beach all the time. Congratulations!
SusanLynne is offline  
Feb 10th, 2003, 09:09 PM
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I have to also agree, we stayed at Caneel Bay for our Honeymoon, and it was well worth it. Quiet...romantic...great beaches...snorkling right outside your door... tell them it is your honeymoon and you may get a complimentary room upgrade...we did right onto the beach!!
When you need a break from the quiet, take their ferry over to St. Thomas for dinning and/or shopping. It goes over everyday.
Good luck with your choice.
LaurieB is offline  
Feb 11th, 2003, 04:24 AM
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Yet another vote for Caneel. The Westin is a nice resort, very nice actually but since this is your honeymoon and you want memories that will last forever, bite the bullet, save your pennies and stay at Caneel Bay. You won't regret it!
I also second Karibislander's recommendation of keeping an eye on LuxuryLink.com. Caneel comes up there occasionally and you can get an excellent value. I would also keep any eye on AA.com (American Airlines) and Travelocity and Expedia. They also have packages available regularly which could save you some money.
Congratulations and have fun no matter what you do!
Mermaid is offline  
Feb 11th, 2003, 04:52 AM
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Thanks for all your posts. I'll keep checking those sites. It seems that the best deals are usually last minute but I not going to risk waiting that long. Can anyone give suggestions on meals, car rentals, trips to Virgin Gorda, St. Thomas, etc.
finfan is offline  
Feb 11th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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Ahhhhh....this is an easy question!
Caneel Bay by a longshot. We splurged on this "little known hotel" for our honeymoon in 1970.
It was worth it - and the best thing is that they haven't changed a bit - it's still great!
EmilyC is offline  
Feb 11th, 2003, 08:41 AM
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My husband and I stayed at Caneel Bay and absolutely loved it. The beaches are incredible for snorkeling. Be prepared to feel truly isolated though b/c while the grounds are beautiful, there is not much going on except to relax and enjoy the scenery.
skim is offline  
Feb 11th, 2003, 10:06 AM
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Caneel, Caneel, Caneel. The ease of snorkeling off of their seven beaches is heaven, but DO RENT A VEHICLE, and get out a explore the many beaches to snorkel and go several times. Wonderful honeymoon, and wonderful memories. Safe Travel.
denette is offline  
Feb 11th, 2003, 10:19 AM
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I have to agree aout Caneel also. We stayed there on our honeymoon as well - had one of the rooms right on the beach. Was absolutely magnificent.

And the shopping of St Thomas is only a ferry ride away!!

Congrats and enjoy!
donnapg is offline  
Feb 11th, 2003, 04:30 PM
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Everyone's Raving for Caneel, so I will give the Westin a plug. Caneels great...no doubt about it. The rooms are clean, comfortable and the beaches on the property are wonderful. That said, you say your on a budget. In December your looking at around $225 a room at the westin if your lucky and probably $500 at Caneel (a night). Frankly, on a budget, I couldnt justify the extra 250+ a night at Caneel. St John itself has Awesome beaches...lots of them.--so Its not like you have to go to Caneel to see the nice beaches. In fact, even if you go there, I'd recommend getting a jeep and getting out to explore the other beaches at least 5 days out of 7. At Caneel your paying for the privacy factor. It's not like your going to the FourSeasons for lavish rooms, etc. Check out the Caneel website and the westins. If you like to get out explore, hit the westin. If your going to park yourself in a chair all day long...you might justify caneel. Depending upon how long you stay..you will probably save in the neighborhood of $1500 staying at Westin. If the cash is buring a hole, go to St. Thomas one day and buy your new bride a nice gift in one of the many fine jewelry stores.

My 2 Cents.

donkeypunch is offline  
Feb 12th, 2003, 07:42 PM
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I couldn't agree more. Everything the above poster said is right on. Caneel is great but the island IS the star. You do not need Caneel to enjoy yourself. Good Luck !!
ezron is offline  
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:16 AM
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I have not tried this, but there were a series of posts on the board about getting the Westin thru Priceline.com. (Put "priceline" in the search box and hit "go".) Apparently it is the only 4 star resort on the island, so there is no risk. Of course, you are stuck with run of the house rooms, but could possibly upgrade on arrival for an additional fee. We have used Priceline for rooms stateside and you can definitely save a lot of money. We are going to Jamaica over Christmas week for our 30th anniversary, so I have been watching the board and gleaning lots of ideas for saving money. Thanks everybody! And have a fabulous honeymoon finfan!
dtsusan is offline  
Feb 14th, 2003, 09:02 AM
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Thanks again everyone. You've been alot of help. Do any of you have suggestions for day trips on and off the island.(St. Thomas, Virgin Gorda, best St. John beaches, best snorkeling or scuba spots, restaurants, etc.)
I'm scuba certified but my fiance is not. Can she get certified quickly at Caneel or anywhere on the island?
finfan is offline  
Feb 15th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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ld suggest that your fiancee do her diving classes at home and be checked - off for everything but her open water dive. On a Florida vacation I did a three day dive course, and found it extremely stressful. Since we practiced only in a four foot deep pool, I did not have sufficient practice or experience to pass my open water test. The following year, I passed that portion of the test at Low Key Watersports, Cruz Bay, St. John. They were terrific and very understanding of a very unsure beginner.
I do not think that you will want to give up your honeymoon time to dive classes and instruction. In addition, your fiancee will be far more comfortable with the equiptment and the water is done at a slower pace at home. If I had to do it over, this is what I would do.

This past November, I did my diving with the group stationed at Caneel. I believe their name is Paradise Watersports. They also were wonderful. Since their boat is smaller, much individual attention is given. (Low Key also gave much individual attention, but they do carry more people.)

I would suggest calling Caneel and ask to speak to someone in the dive shop to see if they can certify. If they are not in, leave a message on their recorder and they will return your call.

A great day trip from Caneel, is the 4 BVI island snorkeling trip with Captain Packo. - Beautiful, gorgeous sites.

Caneel also offers a boat trip to the National Park for their Ree trail trip. I did not do this, but plan to do so the next time. Also recommended is renting a jeep and exploring the island.

You cannot go wrong with Caneel. I'm retuning this November for my fifth stay. They have lots of return visitors. Have a wonderful honeymoon and enjoy planning for it.
Dianebridle is offline  

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