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Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

New York, NY
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37 posts
16 reviews
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Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

What is the situation on the beaches regarding umbrellas/chairs. All of the photos clearly indicate the beaches are breathtaking, but how does one relax on them? I don't seem to see any umbrellas or chairs. Is it au natural (i.e. lie on a towel)? Or does the resort provide umbrellas/chairs upon request? Also, if one would like to enjoy a beverage at the beach, how far off would we have to wander to get to a bar?

Also, do the rooms have mini-fridges so guests can keep drinks and snacks cold?

Finally, while all of the reviews are unwavering in their positivity regarding the grounds and beaches, there is a lot of volatility regarding service (e.g. housekeeping, etc.) I understand the concept of "right now" is different in the islands, but at 500+ per night, one rightfully can expect requests to be completed. Has anyone have any insight or recommendations that resulted in a more enjoyable experience?

Edited: 12 February 2010, 03:44
new york
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1,001 posts
21 reviews
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1. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

There are no umbrellas allowed on any of the beaches in the national park including caneel bay resort. There is shade under the sea grape trees and there are chaise lounges and small sand chairs on all of the beaches with the exception of honeymoon beach. As far as beach bar service there is a bar on the main caneel beach and we have also had servers deliver to us on scott and turtle bay. There is no such thing as getting things when you want them if your needs are for speedy service you may be a bit dissappointed. We always have pleasant interactions with the bar staff and the beach servers but this is not the four seasons with staff hovering over you anticipating your every need. You can request an extra fridge in the room. There are also small coolers in each room,we go to the market and pick up most of our soft drinks and water and don't spend any time being concerned about the service. At caneel you are paying the $$ to be so close to so many wonderful beaches,if you are looking for ultra luxury this is not the place.Enjoy.

New York, NY
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37 posts
16 reviews
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2. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

Thanks - this is very good to know - I appreciate your response. We weren't hoping for Four Seasons-like service, just that our requests would be completed. Some visitors have complained that the staff would completely ignore requests for add'l towels, to make reservations at outside restaurants, etc but it seems like most have felt their requests have been met. We were just hoping to be able to pack a cooler with our own drinks and relax on the beaches in the shade. Seems like that won't be an issue. However, I have some additional questions:

Regarding transportation, how difficultis it to get a cab going into town from the resort? I don't think we will be eating at the resort most of the time, so getting around to other restaurants is of interest. Is the main area of cafes, etc. a walkable distance from Caneel? We're from NY and walk everywhere so a walk of 15-20 mins really isnt an issue unless its super hilly.

Really think we're going to book. If there's anything else that you feel is good to know before we go, your help is greatly appreciated!

CT
Destination Expert
for St. John
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5,638 posts
23 reviews
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3. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

You will have to take a cab to get to and from the resort. The North shore road is narrow, curvy, and hilly and not made for walking. It is a very quick ride and you will have no problems at all getting a carb.

Caneel is a wonderful property and things are slower. The whole island is slower, I think that is where some people get frustrated. Just relax and enjoy!

Pennsylvania
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16 reviews
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4. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

The walk to and from town is super hilly! My mom thought nothing of doing it but she is a hardcore fitness nut.

We have stayed at Caneel 4x. I always remember several cabs waiting in the parking lot.

Portsmouth, New...
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1,190 posts
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5. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

During the day, up until maybe 5:30pm these days I would guess, you can walk the trail (20 minutes maybe) from Caneel's Honeymoon Beach to town and hang out there, grab dinner and catch a ride home.

If you're going to St. John for the hotel itself and service of the staff, you are missing what St. John is all about. Though I am sure the staff at this world renowned resort will take good care of you.

St. John, to me, is about its' dramatically beautiful natural setting and the opportunities for hiking, sailing, scuba, snorkling and relaxing on "island time". What a great alternative it is to the daily work day world back home.

There is a Ritz on St. John that is only a few minutes from the Red Hook ferry terminal for easy day trips to St. John that you may want to consider as an alternative?

Edited: 12 February 2010, 18:16
Roslyn, New York
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273 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

The ongoing posts on service are always interesting to me. My wife and I have been to Caneel many times over the last 21 years. It is a special place for us because of its beauty, serenity and the sense of timelessness that overcomes one. Those who seek luxury and pampering are best served elsewhere. We have never had a major problem with service. I have found that taking a little time to get to know the staff works wonders. Give a greeting and exchange a little chat before presenting your problem or request.

And, to be realistic, a small gratuity for both the day and night room attendants at the start of your stay will be beneficial. Hope you enjoy.

NY metro
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565 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

We returned from a stay sbout 1.5 weeks ago. Palmhill is spot on re beach lounges and chairs. There is a staffed outdoor bar on Scott towards the cottage 7 end of the beach. My wife and I also enjoyed drink service on Hawksnest beach from an attendent with a mobile bar parked on a path on the roadside in front of the Hawksnest complex of buildings.

NY metro
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565 posts
3 reviews
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8. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

Getting to town via taxi is very easy. The stand is opposite the Equator Restaurant entrance and is serviced by the Caneel mini bus. The taxi fare is $5.00 pp each way for an instant $20.00 surcharge (for two) added onto your in town dining.

The Hike into town for this mid 50s quasi active guy was an easy 30 minutes on the lower trail with the hike beginning from the steps near the Caneel Bay dock. The trail is easy and wide with the exception of a small narrow and rocky portion ascending from the Park Directors driveway to the main trail. I would not attempt the trail in darkness or in rainy weather.

As stated elswhere hiking in and taxiing back to the resort is the way to go.

I've been to Caneel twice, though I've been to St John several times in the past almost 40 years. I would compare the service to that of a high end private club rather than that of a luxury chain hotel. I prefer the former. I find the staff at Caneel responsive and eager to please. I was very surprised at the number of staff that remembered me from a years prior visit. So in certain ways, its not so different from a Ritz after all. Its just not as overwhelmingly deferential, stiff and formal.

9. Re: Caneel Bay - Beaches + Room and Service Concerns

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