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Help choosing where to stay in St. John

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Missouri
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47 posts
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Help choosing where to stay in St. John

Already spent months researching, figured I would ask for expert, experienced opinions now...We want clean, newer, or updated accommodations. NOT into old dusty wicker, golden girls 80's pastels, mold, bug havens, etc. Really on the fence about Caneel if its worth the $$. Thinking of Gallows Point-one of the newer updated condos there. Open to more suggestions... is there anything nicer that we are missing? Like the idea of snorkeling right outside our room. We would like a mini kitchen or at least mini fridge, which does not seem to be a standard in most Caneel rooms. Five star in the islands is a big difference than 5* in other locations, so I get that, we are adventurous, but I do not want to feel like I am camping while on vaca. We would like dinner/drink options within walking distance. Do not want to deal with car rental. Ability to walk to beaches or places to hike from the resort/hotel would be nice. Love to snorkel. Don't mind cooking breakfast/grabbing lunch out, or packing sandwiches from market/grocery store etc. I just don't want to feel like what I get is not worth the money...dont mind paying higher $ but it should be worth it! SO many mixed reviews on Caneel about how "dated" things are and really spread out, and the big draw there seems to be the beaches on property. Could we walk from Gallows to other beaches? Also would like to take a few day trips or day sails from St. John. (We are considering leaving Cruz for VG, maybe Little Dix (also on the fence about LDB) then for sure on to Scrub Island.--with post those related ?'s in BVI forum). Thanks!

Miami Beach, Florida
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1. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

Sounds like Grande Bay may work for you. All the pictures I've seen look fantastic. Within walking distance to many places in town. You can check VRBO for good prices or check on the forum (use the search feature) as there are some owners of units you may contact for prices.

Billings, MT
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264 posts
56 reviews
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2. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

We stay at Grande Bay and love it there. ( only steps from Gallows ). I know some consider it to be an eyesore, but the rates are reasonable ( from VRBO.com ) and the location can't be beat. The units are very clean and nicely furnished. You are within a 5 minute walk to resturants/shopping. No snorkeling right outside your room, however. The harbor is right across the street, making for beautiful views, but the water...not -so-much. Full kitchens in the 1+ bedroom units....small fridge, blender etc..in studio units. They also supply beach chairs/coolers/beach towels. You are a reasonable, walk/hike to beautiful Soloman Beach. The other beaches, you will need to take a taxi. We have rented a jeep for 2 days before and not rented a jeep at all another time. There are several great places to pick up sandwiches to pack to the beach ( Deli Grotto, Sam and Jacks Deli come to mind ) The beauty of St. John is, there are many options available. To each his own, as they say.

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
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5,898 posts
6 reviews
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3. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

I'm going to play devil's advocate, because "I do think Grande Bay is an eyesore". I have been going to St John since 1991 when there was almost nothing in Cruz Bay. Gallows Point was there, a few locals/islander's houses, and a little store where we could pick up some beers/sodas/snacks directly across from the old ferry dock before heading to the beach.

Grande Bay is a concrete monster that is too big & does not blend into....anything. It is convenient to walking anywhere in Cruz Bay & easy to get a taxi at the dock to go to beaches. You have a view of Cruz Bay, which is across the road. About a 3-5 minute walk to Gallows Point. 1 minute walk next door to Banana Deck or across the street to the Beach Bar. You can find deals on VRBO because there are SO many units. Understand that all units are individually owned. So read carefully what is available for each unit you are looking at. These are not timeshare units that are all decorated the same with all the same extras (ie: coolers, beach chairs, etc). They are furnished by each owner.

Gallows Points is a beautiful property, no sandy beach, but decent snorkeling. The units with views of St Thomas get my vote over the Cruz Bay views, but I have to have a sunset view. You can walk to dinner and bars. You can hike to Salomon Bay from both Grande Bay and Gallows Point. It's about 25-30 minutes.

Caneel is "over the top, natural, beautiful resort" IMHO. We have never stayed there. (we need more room & privacy). It sits on 7 gorgeous beaches. It is laid back, low-key, not many frills. No Tv's or phones in the rooms. You can expect a very comfortable bed with fine linens and you can ask for a mini frig. You can walk out of your room (depending on your wallet) and snorkel. They have a couple of restaurants or you can easily catch a taxi to Cruz Bay for dinner which is 5 minutes (ride) away.

Since you are only staying a few days, I'd pick Caneel.

TX
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279 posts
8 reviews
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4. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

Also be aware that there is "new" construction next to Grande Bay. Many VRBO owners have pictures or youtube videos of their units taken PRIOR to the construction. The unit we were in was a corner unit, great youtube video, and booked just a month in advance of our arrival last week. I asked if the pictures were accurate, and was told yes (I asked because I had read about some having highline wires not being shown in pics, etc). Still had a great stay, but beware there IS construction going on that may block your view when looking towards the ferry dock or town depending on your unit's location. Or have tractor noise of construction. We were just there this week, and the youtube video clearly showed the ferry dock and National Park visitor center, which we could not see from our balcony at all this week.

NH
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848 posts
1 review
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5. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

Everyone feels different about how much something is worth. With Caneel your money buys you 7 wonderful beach's within walking distance. It's not a typical 5 star Ritz kind of hotel.

IMHO you aren't paying for the room itself but the location. St John is a do it yourself kind of island, very few beach's have facilities and getting to many of the beach's require a car. If you stay in town at Grande Bay or Gallows you can walk to Soloman and Honeymoon beach I would say it's about a 15 minute walk on a trail. Caneel would be worth it to me but we go to STJ to snorkel and relax.

Cleveland, Ohio
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24 posts
1 review
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6. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

We have stayed for the last three years at Grande Bay...StjohnEscape.com and love it. We are going next year for 2 weeks and love the location and the unit is fabulous..great view, walking distance to everything in Cruz Bay..it is in the back building on a third floor corner unit. Very clean and quiet...you have washer dryer and full kitchen with stainless fridge..stove..dishwasher etc.No need to rent a car but if you do you have your own indoor parking place at Grande Bay. You can walk there from the ferry dock in about 10 minutes max. You will love it!!!!!

Missouri
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47 posts
12 reviews
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7. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

Thanks to all for great information!!

New Jersey
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49 posts
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8. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

Having stayed at Gallows Point, Grande Bay and Caneel, here are my thoughts. We prefer to stay in Cruz Bay so we can walk to the restaurants. Grande Bay is good and their rooms are nice with laundry rooms in most rooms. Gallows Point for the Upper Ocean View is perfect. We normally take the hike to Solomon or Honeymoon and then have lunch at Caneel from walking the trail or end up in our favorite - the Beach Bar for a more relaxed lunch. Caneel is wonderfeul if you don't want the hassle of going into town. Caneel beaches are beautiful(we loved Hawksnest), but felt constrained by having to take taxi's into town. So all are great choices, it is just the little details to decide. Good luck

Princeton, New...
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1,411 posts
22 reviews
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9. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

I have never stayed at Caneel, but I have been to all their beaches and they are great. Gallows is overpriced and older, but some units have been updated. I have stayed At Grande Bay and would not pay more than $225/night for a 1BR unit. Grande Bay is a good home base in Cruz Bay, but its not the type of place to hang out and enjoy the view.

Chicago, Illinois
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324 posts
67 reviews
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10. Re: Help choosing where to stay in St. John

I have stayed at Caneel, Gallows Point and Estate Lindolhm. All are excellent choices and offer something a little different. This year we are wanting to keep it simple and are staying at Caneel Bay.We will taxi most nights into town for dinner and night life . If you have any questions....let me know . I have been there MANY times !