Where to stay on St. John with kids?

Old Mar 7th, 2010, 03:53 AM
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Where to stay on St. John with kids?

We'd like to go to St. John next President's week (Feb, 2011). We have 2 kids, ages 6 and 8, and would like to stay somewhere with access to a pool. We were there 5 years ago, and stayed at Harmony at Maho, but I read that that's gone downhill. I'd love to get suggestions on:
-Lodging, either hotels, condos or villas, for less than $2000 for 6 or 7 nights
-Opinions on Concordia Studios
-If air conditioning is recommended/needed in February
-Best snorkeling spots
-Staying near Cruz Bay vs Coral Bay
-Opinions on Grande Bay, Cruz View Condos, VIllaMahr, or Ridgetop.

Any advice much appreciated!!!
cobblehill is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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You asked about 400 questions. Quick answers:
1. Skip hotels. Do villas/condos/apts.
2. Your price point will be tough - but look for discounts/deals. If you can handle fewer rooms in villa, possible.
3. Skip Concoria.
4. A/C is nice but not critical - higher altitude on west or SW will get breeze. Fans do the job OK.
5. Snorkelling is possible on every beach - depends on the swells and tides and season - ask locals - do not use guide books - do not go to Trunk Bay.
6. Cruz Bay is more of a town - better housing options. Coral Bay fun to see but long drive - less shade.
7. There are 5 villa rental outfits worth reviewing - check every listing. Price, location, fixtures, etc are what will guide you. North side of island is green but shady and pricey - skip it. The best known beaches are north side but island has 40-50 places you can park and swim. Get a good map from US Park service (online $10) and see the options.
8. It's been tough season for home owners/villa folks - they all expect Spring Break etc to be good - and expect next year return to normal. And it will not be as planned. Go online with owners (www.vrbo.com) and negotiate - Pres Week smells like cash to many - offer to pay full in advance and insist on your price - you may be surprised.
9. Another option I have seen and done: get big place with another family. Split costs and you can have a blast. Kids can be very settled to have peers on hand instead of idiot old people who keep muttering about the view! Big enough place you have good privacy - get two cars and do separate trips. I went with a couple (plus one kid) who were utterly unsuited for area and sharing space - yet I had a blast.
wiley1827 is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2010, 06:06 AM
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One more thing: snorkelling in St. John is very problematic - the season, tides, and wave history change the shallow underwater clarity by the hour. And more sandy beach usually means less coral/fish etc. The living things like rocks, shade, depth, and some isolation. Good beach does not mean good snorkel. Generally, the less waves (current and long term) the better luck - morning wind can change in PM. Be prepared to test and move on - and as mentioned, skip the guide books - ask the locals (e.g. dive shops.) Also if kids are snorkelling make sure gear is good quality - not drug store junk - it's worth the money (or local rental, which is good gear - make sure fit is good.) Kids (and old people ) may get cold - water on back in sun evaporates. Consider T-shirt (for sun protection also) or rent wet suit tops or 3/4 outfits. And for kids, discuss/learn to spot sea urchins - bad news to step on them!

One more thing: rent 4WD car. It will make the driving 100% easier and you can poke into some isolated areas to explore water/beach without great concern.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 05:00 AM
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We LOVE the Westin!! You could stay on the Villas on the hillside. A bit of a walk to the beach but a lovely resort.
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 10:10 AM
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we stayed at maho over the 2010 presidents day holiday. enjoyed it very much, hasn't gone downhill in my mind. the tent cottages are good for your size family, skip harmony, many family's there for the holiday. Food is great, all 3 of us breakfasted for $10 each morning.
My sister rented a house in coral bay during the same time. Great place, more money than maho, and more driving over the hill each day to go to the best beaches. But the views were stunning. we have already rented a place for next season same week in coral bay. we are splitting the cost with family, so 8 of us staying at a beautiful villa, and the cost is just a bit more than if we stayed at maho. We may spend a few nights at maho leading up to our rental date. next year may be the last year for maho, depending on what happens with the land lease, national park etc. Anyone know the real story about maho's status?
rental jeep is a must in my mind, if not you spend a good part of your day waiting for taxi's, and probably spending nearly as much anyway with 4 of you, unless you park yourself at maho's beach.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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You might check with Serendipity..A very reasonable condo close to town..Also check with St John Properties..They used to have a nice quest house I rented once and also other properties..roomy..very reasonable and close to Cruz bay..Also,Catered To..has nice rentals..I practiced law on St Thomas in 2007/2008..I love St John..Weston is a little pricey..Also,for a lot of insider tips on the Virgin Islands check out my website:
http://www.travelaskthelocals.yolasite.com Have a great trip
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Old Mar 30th, 2010, 07:19 AM
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Also Check out Coconut Coast Villasa www.coconutcoast.com or look them up on trip advisor.
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Old Apr 4th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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The Westin on St. John is perfect for kids. I was there in Feb. 2010 with my 3 grandsons aged 8,6,2. They absolutely loved it! The pool is beautiful, large and has several areas of stairs to walk into/out of the water. There is also a kiddie wading area, a waterfall and an abundance of free rafts. A few nights a week they set up a huge inflatable movie screen right at the edge of the pool so the kids can watch a movie while IN the pool. The kids also loved all the iguanas walking around the property. The Westin Resorts are geared toward children so their Kids Club is excellent. The Westin beach (Great Cruz Bay) has LOTS of water toys: rafts, bicycle water bikes, canoes, kayaks, a water rock climbing raft and a water trampoline. Since it is a large property (42 acres) they have golf carts you can hop on to take you from your room or villa to the pool/restaurant areas or to your car. The island beaches are pristine, the water warm and most days the surf is very, very calm. Our favorite beaches - Hawksnest and Maho. Two-thirds of St. John is a National Park so there are lots of hiking trails. My grandsons actually cried when we had to leave and since being home they have programmed in St. John weather on their iPods! St. John: Idyllic, Pristine, Paradise! Happy travels.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 07:04 AM
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The Westin is very popular with families but it is pricey. Our friends just stayed there for 5 nights and it cost them over $3,000. I would say it is much better for you to rent a villa. BTW, Estate Concordia is a good possibility too. Anything on the Coral Bay side of the island also tends to be less expensive. It's quieter for sure, but with kids those ages, it doesn't sound like you're in for a happening night life anyway. IMO, look on VRBO for villa possibilities.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 08:20 AM
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A few other sites for villa searches I would recommend are:
SSypniewski is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2010, 05:24 AM
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@ wiley .... Why skip Trunk Bay? Albiet, it has been several years since I was there, but it was beautiful and from 8 am till noon we were the ONLY people on the beach .. and that was at noon.

I hope it has not commercialized.
alexislovesspain is offline  
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