My work systems were done, so here it is!
I am not even sure where to begin. For those of you reading this that don’t know, I lived on STJ for 5 years in the 90’s. We travel back at least once a year and have always stayed in villas. This trip was supposed to be a bucket list resort vacation to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Note that I was it was SUPPOSED to be!
I will not break this down in crazy detail, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask them here or send me a PM.
Arrival day: This was not the exact arrival experience I was looking for but..
Our room was not ready and we sat at the beach café and had a drink and split a quesadilla. It was a good 90 minutes with no update so I went to the front desk to ask. Housekeeping had neglected to tell the front desk that our room was ready. I was a little ticked off but when we got to our room and I looked out at the view, my annoyance was gone. We stayed in room 72 on Scott Beach. We quickly unpacked and a friend arrived to drop off some provisions for the week (booze and snacks) and we hit the water!
After a bit of relaxing and cleaning up, we went to the Beach café for sushi and turned in very early. We had been up since 3:45 and we were exhausted.
Sunday: We were up with the sun and went for a run. I am a flat road runner so the hills were a little tough for me but we got in 2 miles and heading to the breakfast buffet. It was included in our room and was a great way to start the day. Back to the room and we were on the beach for the day. We did order lunch and a drink from the beach attendant but had to go to the Scott Bay bar to do so. With only one person manning the bar and the beach, service was very spotty all week. It was not a huge deal for us but I know that others on the beach were not happy about it.
Chip napped while I headed up to Turtle Bay for afternoon tea. It was busy and filled with kids, so I didn’t stay long.
Dinner that night was at Zozo’s. I will first say that the owner is a good friend, but I promise that I am not over embellishing because of that. We had an exceptional meal. Great wine and large entrees followed by delicious dessert. We went to the beach café for an afterdinner drink and turned in early. Again
Monday: I had a massage scheduled for 9:00am so we had an early breakfast and I headed to the beach cabana for an amazing massage. If you can add this to your trip, do it! The crash of the waves and the breeze through the palms was incredible.
We spent some more time on the beach with a bottle of champagne and then headed into town for a full day of visiting. Lunch at Gecko Gazebo was delicious, happy hour at Joe’s Rum Hut was great and dinner at the Banana Deck was great as well. Back to Caneel for Gelato and an evening swim and we were in bed early
Tuesday: Mary Point Hike followed by a quick dip and breakfast. I think we relaxed on the beach, had lunch at the beach café and then went back to the beach. It’s hard to remember. We had dinner at the bar at Zozo’s. Another wonderful meal
Wednesday: Hawksnest trail hike and breakfast followed by beach time for a bit. We headed into town about 12:45 to drop off some supplies we had brought down to the Animal Care Center and to visit with the dogs. We shared a sandwich at Sam and Jacks and then we went up to STJ Guest Suites for a tour. Disclaimer: Our friends own the property. Review: This is a great property. The finishes are high end and the amenities are great. Yes, it is a shared property with other rentals but if you are looking for a reasonably priced space with all the touches of a high end villa, this is the place for you.This is our new spot for a villa trip.
After the tour, we went out to Coral Bay for a villa dinner with friends.
Thursday: We slept in a little and had breakfast delivered to the room. Then we had friends come visit us on Scott Beach. We did have to get permission from the concierge for this and our guests needed to be with us at all times. We lounged on the beach, had drinks and lunch in the sand (service was better today) and were generally lazy. This is the day that they opened Scott to children due to the Easter holiday, or at least we were told that after asking why there were so many kids on the Quiet beach. I was a little miffed, but the kids were all very well behaved, I just wish I had been told. We have friends that live on STT so we met them for dinner in Red Hook and then headed back for Gelato and another moonlight swim
Friday: Our last full day. We went to breakfast and spent the entire day on the beach. This was the day that we had very slow service on the beach and waited forever for our lunch. Again, there is only one person working and they can not possible keep up with taking orders and making all the drinks. I felt bad for her.
We had some friends meet us for drinks as it was their first time on island and then had another meal at Zozo’s. it was a great experience again.
Departure Day: Breakfast in the room again and then we packed up and took the 10:30 ferry. We met Rachel for lunch and then headed to the airport for the long trip home
This turned out longer than I thought :)
We LOVED Caneel, we are already looking to go back in November. It was so different than any other STJ trip. It really focused on rest and relaxation. I never felt rushed; I didn’t need to pack up the jeep(we didn’t rent one) and decide what beach to go to or find a place to park in town. The service from the vast majority of the staff was great. Yes, there were hiccups but they are to be expected anywhere. None of the issues lessened the experience for me.
There are a few suggestions that I did give; better beach service, small tables on the beach where there is beach service, and if you are opening a quiet beach to children that the guests staying on that beach should be notified.
What this trip did, besides allow my husband to actually relax and unwind, is discover that Caneel is a very different STJ experience. No better or worse than a STJ villa experience, just different. I know that STJ is quiet and mellow, but Caneel takes it to a new level. We did not take the shuttles opting to walk instead and it was just peaceful. Many evenings we did not see another person on our walk back to the room. There may be multiple beaches but we never went to them. We walked out of our room to one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been on and never ventured further. We never even saw the pool. Our vacation was all about us; from a resort service perspective and our personal perspective. We had more time to talk and more time to just enjoy each other’s company.
The burning question I know that many of you are thinking? Will we ever go back to renting villas? The answer is Yes! We will likely split our time between STJ Guest Suites and Caneel, I think that will give us the perfect balance on the island that we all love.
Thanks to all the Caneel Experts that answered my never ending questions :)
Thanks for reading and feel free to ask any questions!