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Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

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Dallas, Texas
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263 posts
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Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

My wife/I are going to St. John in 2011 and can't decide between Caneel Bay Resort or a North Shore Villa. We would love to be right there at the Norht Shore beaches and have easy access to excursions, bar, restaurant, etc. On the other hand, the privacy, space, & luxury accomodations are attractive. Can you guys help me get off the fence?

Washington DC...
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for St. Thomas
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168 reviews
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1. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

It all depends on your individual priorities. We've been going to Caneel Bay for more than 30 years and it's still one of my favorite places. There are seven beautiful beaches, good snorkeling right off the beach, and you will find times when you are alone or with only a hand full of other people on the beach. There are a number of hiking trails with pretty vistas, lovely gardens, and excellent food. The transfer fee from the airport via taxi and private ferry to the resort also includes the daily ferries back and forth to St. Thomas if you want to go over and shop or sightsee one day. And there are always taxis on property to take you into Cruz Bay for shopping or dinner (a 5 minute ride). On several visits we never left the resort. No need to. But, if this is your first time, you should tour the island and see the other beaches along the north shore, though I don't think any are prettier than some of the ones right at Caneel.

You do need to understand, however, that Caneel is not a "Ritz sort of place." By that I mean don't expect chandeliers and marble and all the bells and whistles of a traditional luxury resort. The luxury here is the natural beauty of the place, which in many ways is unsurpassed, the privacy, and the convenience of a 5 or 15 minute walk (depending where you're staying) to dinner. Some rooms are only a few steps to the water and the water is generally calm and clear. Check out the website, do the research, make sure this is the sort of vacation you're looking for.

I'm not a villa person, for the most part, as part of the "luxury" for me is not having to cook, clean, or do anything remotely related to chores. But there are some gorgeous properties on St. John. Most, however, require a drive to the beach.

Northern NH
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320 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

It's a matter of preference - but the reason I prefer to rent a villa is the privacy- and therre are plenty of villas that have luxury - I don't mind cooking so it works wel for us.

Holland, MI
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3 reviews
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3. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

Caneel is fabulous and we ended our villa vacation this year with 4 days and nights at Caneel and thought that was the absolutely perfect vacation. I'm really not a resort person and I wouldn't want to spend 2 weeks there but we loved it Caneel. Next year we are doing 2 weeks at a villa followed by 4 days and nights at Caneel and we'll take Caneel's ferry back to STT at the end of our trip. Perfect!!

In a perfect world (were my budget was unlimited) I'd spend 2 weeks at a villa in upper Peter Bay followed by a 4 night stay at Caneel.

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
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6 reviews
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4. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

My question to you is: Do you plan to rent a jeep and explore the many other beaches and everything else the island has to offer or are you happy staying is one place (though Caneel is very beautiful) ?

If you enjoy exploring then I have to vote for a villa. There are so many villas to choose from with fabulous views, privacy and space.

Driving around the island is easy (stay left) and it is impossible to get lost.

Northeast
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153 posts
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5. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

Honestly, I could be perfectly happy at both. I find that villas tend to sap a bit more of my energy, though, with lots of driving, etc. We choose Caneel when we really need to relax. It is great to stroll to the beach (and now that they have service on the beach, it is even better!) and still be able to return to your room to quickly freshen up. The food is adequate enough to eat there every day and night, although it could get boring, but town is a short taxi ride away.

We spent 10 nights there last May, as well as another week back in 05, and both times I didn't miss a thing about a villa. It was a pretty nice splurge for us. My husband said he did miss driving around. I guess it depends on what you are looking for in a vacation Some trips we ferry straight to Caneel, spend a few days, head to a villa, and then spend a few more days at the end of the trip. Caneel helps us transition in a really nice way!

I think either way you'll be happy, but if either of you are super stressed, or tired, choose Caneel.

Hollis, New...
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4,669 posts
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6. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

Just so there's no misinterpretation, staying at Caneel doesn't preclude renting a jeep and exploring. I've rented a vehicle for all or part of each of my stays at Caneel.

CT
Destination Expert
for St. John
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5,676 posts
24 reviews
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7. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

I am not a resort person. When I am on vacation I like to relax on my terms.

I like to drink coffee on my deck in my pajamas, swim at 5am while the sun is rising, have restaurant take out (or leftovers) on the deck after a long day at the beach.

Caneel is a beautiful resort and if you are hotel vacationers, you will have a wonderful time.

Randolph NJ
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398 posts
58 reviews
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8. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

I think you have to make the call.

If you really value your privacy and like to hang out at a villa with your own pool and don'tmind cooking in every once in a while the villa is the way to go.

If you don't want to do a darn thing and be catered to, then go to Caneel.

Texas
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287 posts
28 reviews
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9. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

I'm contemplating this exact question. We've been to St John a few times always in a villa. I'm thinking of switching it up and doing Caneel next year, however I'm going to wait and see how prices compare. I won't spend a whole bunch more for Caneel. Best value will probably win.

Dallas, Texas
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263 posts
1 review
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10. Re: Caneel Bay resort vs. North Shore Villa

Thanks to everyone for all of the great insight. At the end of the day, the villa may win out for us, primarily because my wife and i don't sleep well in the same room. I will definitely do at least 1 day pass to Caneel to see their beaches.