We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A Honeymoon We Couldn't Be Happier With”
Review of House of Open Arms

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in St. John
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
House of Open Arms
Certificate of Excellence
Denver, Colorado, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A Honeymoon We Couldn't Be Happier With”
Reviewed 25 January 2012

We stayed at the cottage for one week for our honeymoon and we couldn't be happier with our experience. Catherine was the perfect host. She was very accommodating and we can't say enough good things about her. The cottage had everything we needed with lots of personal touches. There was a.c., but we chose to sleep to the sound of the waves hitting the beach instead. You can sit up in bed and see the sun rising over the Caribbean Sea. We hope to return to the island in a few years and would not even consider staying anywhere else.

Tips: You definitely will want to rent a 4wd jeep on St. John. Bring some cash or plan on using an ATM - many places don't take credit and VISA charges a 2% fee for using it. The taxi, ferry, and Donkey Diner are cash only. Use strong sunscreen if you're in the sun! The second day we noticed many itchy red bumps on our bodies. There are noseeums that you don't even feel biting you and the bites show up hours to days later. Wear bug spray when you go out, it's worse once the sun goes down. Bring some itch cream with you, it's expensive on the island. The bugs were not bad at all at the cottage and Catherine has provided many deterrents. Paying $55/person for the sunset sail on the schooner Heron at Maho Bay Campground was well worth it (they are only there for part of the winter). If you don't have a good underwater camera and will be snorkeling, you should buy an underwater disposable before you leave (expensive to buy on the island). You can rent snorkel gear for $40/wk at Maho Bay Campground.

P.S. - We loved the outdoor shower!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Stephen5280
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

165 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    162
    1
    1
    1
    0
See reviews for
16
129
9
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 January 2012

Our first visit to St John was perfect thanks to the weather, fantastic snorkeling and the House of Open Arms. Catherine was a fantastic host--so helpful when asked about restaurants and activities. As her website promises, she is available to the extent that you would like her to be. It truly felt like our home for (nearly) a week. We stayed at the villa and friends stayed at the cottage. The view was spectacular at both. The evening breezes kept the bugs at bay and meant a very comfortable night's sleep. The highlight of the day was watching the sun rise, feeding the bananaquits and relaxing. Perfect start to every day. The "welcome dinner" was delicious and Catherine provided use with coffee, granola and sugar for the birds. We found that this time of year, the pool was a bit cool once the sun went down, but perfect at about 9am, when the sun starts to get intense. We did not get to enjoy the cottage, but our friends seemed very happy down there. It was very private, had a very cool outdoor shower and spectacular view from their patio. I would feel lucky to stay in either the villa or cottage next time we visit. (There will be a next time!) i highly recommend The House of Open Arms.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank jenll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stony Brook, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2012

A House of Open Arms is beautiful - inside and out. The view is incomparable, so lovely and peaceful, and we have never stayed anywhere with a better one. We stayed in the villa and took full advantage of the full kitchen, the pool, and the porch. We enjoyed watching the bananaquits, the sunrises, and the constantly changing sky there, night and day. The setting is magnificent, and the villa itself is immaculate, well appointed, and comfortable.

The house itself is Catherine's work of art, and the talent, hard work and care she puts into it are so evident. Her artwork gives the villa her creative touch, both in its design and its decoration. Catherine is the perfect host. She is always available but never intrusive, and she has great ideas for spots to eat, snorkel, hike, shop, or relax. Her intuition, kindness, ability to listen to her guests' interests, and knowledge of St. John make her a fantastic guide.

We hope to return soon to a House of Open Arms. It is a place we could only dream about, but Catherine's gifts of faith, trust, and tremendous effort have made that dream come true.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank LizandMikeR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southold, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2012

I recently had the great pleasure to spend two weeks at the House of Open Arms. One week in the Villa and one week in the cottage. This is truly a very special place. From the first moment, you know this a unique and beautiful destination. Spectacular views, immaculately maintained inside and out, impeccably furnished, peaceful and tranquil. Catherine, a working artist who lives on the property, is an incredible woman who has created a masterpiece nestled into the hills of Coral Bay. All the little touches, such as the homemade granola and the welcome dinner, serve to put the House of Open Arms in a class by itself. Sitting on the veranda each morning watching the Bananaquits and humming birds play in the garden is an incredible way to start the day. I am already dreaming of my return to St. John and can’t imagine staying anywhere but the amazing House of Open Arms

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Doug K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hamilton, Michigan, USA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2011

My wife and I were there 12/17 - 12/26/2011 for our second stay (first stay December, 2010). If I could, our third stay there would start next week! The Villa is wonderfully comfortable and the view is one of the best on the East end of St. John. After a day of sailing or snorkeling, my wife and I would spend the next day at the Villa, relaxing, loving the view, loving the hummingbirds, feeling like there's no other place on St. John we needed to be, feeling the sense of urgency from our daily lives just gone!! Getting there off the main road, you understand why a 4-wheel drive is needed on St. John, but once you are there, the journey over the bumpy, long driveway is rewarded with a profound sense of peace. The only negative part of the House of Open Arms that my wife and I found is leaving it to catch the plane back home!!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ken K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2011

The House of Open Arms is an amazing, peaceful place to stay. Catherine is a gracious host and has truly created something special in the hills of Hurricane Hole on St John. My wife and I rented the villa for a week and enjoyed every minute of our stay. We love hiking, kayaking and swimming at the beach, so St John was a perfect place for us.

We awoke every morning to a beautiful sunrise over the water and went to bed each night to the open air and sounds of nature - as other reviewers have said - a tranquil and serene setting. I can't say enough about our host, Catherine, who met us at the ferry dock and went out of her way to pick up our rental car keys for us since our flight had arrived late to St Thomas. As many others have mentioned, she also prepared a delicious welcome meal for us that started a wonderful week.

Coral Bay and the surrounding areas are laid back, fun and a natural paradise. Any beach or hike on the island is worth doing, but we really enjoyed the hike on Rams Head Trail, the Reef Bay Trail and the Lind Point Trail. On beaches - they're all great - visit Francis Bay or Salt Pond Bay though if you're looking for some great snorkeling and something a little off the beaten path.

Overall, our stay at A House of Open Arms was amazing and we will be back.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank gotoadventure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 September 2011

House of Open Arms is the best lodging experience on St. John bar none. The units (Villa and Cottage) offer tranquility, exquisite beauty, and unique amenities that are tough to find in such a perfect, affordable package anywhere else. The house is built into a cliff with breathtaking views overlooking Coral Bay. Catherine's artistic touch and customer focus make any stay here a decadent experience.

You need a healthy sense of adventure to get the most out of a St. John vacation--the House of Open Arms is no exception. The geography makes any outdoor activity (hiking, snorkeling, swimming, sailing, etc) a highly enjoyable experience, but if you are looking for an "all-inclusive" type of experience this is not the place for you. The drive to the house will require a 4x4 and folks who have off-roading experience will get a kick out of the uphill climbs, but you probably won't need to do more than shift into first or second gear to navigate the rugged island roads.

People who lead active lifestyles and have an environmental streak will get the most out of a vacation at House of Open Arms. There are some stairs and you will need to be able to carry your own luggage at least once, but the welcome dinner and a dip in the soaking pool (Villa) or a bathe in the fabulously wonderful outdoor shower (Cottage) will cure whatever ails you. The green energy features of the house make you feel good about your carbon footprint while enjoying an unforgettable vacation. Catherine relented this past year and installed high-speed internet at the behest of some guests. I preferred to remain disconnected on my stay.

I've had the privilege of staying in the Villa and the Cottage. Each unit has its own appeal and I hope to spend more time in both on future vacations. Here is a synopsis of what appealed to me about each unit:
Cottage: is well-suited for couples who enjoy snuggling in a cozy setting... showcases the most amazing outdoor shower with views of the bay and outlying island arms... features a quaint wrap-around porch for breakfast bird-watching, afternoon reading, or evening wine sipping... displays an amazing mermaid mosaic adjacent to the outdoor grill... has an efficiency kitchen perfect for those with measured vacation cooking ambitions... offers comfortable living quarters with the utmost privacy and solitude.
Villa: is well-suited for couples who want a little more space and intend to spend their entire vacation on site... offers luxurious and spacious living quarters including a soaking pool... hosts a full kitchen for the ambitious vacation chef... features a quaint wrap-around porch (including a hammock) for breakfast bird-watching, afternoon reading, or evening wine sipping... has slightly less privacy than the Cottage by virtue of its proximity to the walkway (you may see Catherine or other guests once or twice a day).

For those interested in activities away from the house Catherine is by far your best source of information about anything on the island. I chose to structure my days by hiking in the morning, lunching on the beach (packed sandwiches, water, and fruit), swimming and sunbathing in the afternoon, and dining out most evenings. There is more than enough variety in terms of the island's outdoor activities to keep you occupied for a week. Dining options are not comparable to those in a big city, but they are more than enough to keep you well-fed and happy. My personal favorite is Aqua Bistro. There are several bars on the bay that offer light appetizers and sandwiches if that is more your speed.

Please be sure to pack plenty of 50 SPF sunscreen--Neutrogena Helioplex is a lifesaver. St. John is the closest I've ever been to the Equator and learned that lesson the hard way during my first stay.

I hope you all treasure House of Open Arms as much as I do. Happy vacationing!

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Andrea L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these St. John hotels
6.1 mi away
Sea Shore Allure
Sea Shore Allure
#5 of 5 in Cruz Bay
5.0 of 5 bubbles 121 reviews
5.8 mi away
St. John Inn
St. John Inn
#3 of 5 in Cruz Bay
4.5 of 5 bubbles 464 reviews
5.5 mi away
The Westin St. John Resort Villas
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
6.0 mi away
Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel
Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel
#1 of 5 in Cruz Bay
5.0 of 5 bubbles 457 reviews
6.2 mi away
Gallows Point Resort
Gallows Point Resort
#2 of 5 in Cruz Bay
4.5 of 5 bubbles 837 reviews
5.3 mi away
Caneel Bay Resort
Caneel Bay Resort
#1 of 1 in Caneel Bay
4.5 of 5 bubbles 687 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to House of Open Arms? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about House of Open Arms

Property: House of Open Arms
Address: 15-2 Estate Fortsberg | Coral Bay, 00830, St. John
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. John
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 33 Speciality Lodging in St. John
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A House of Open Arms is a beautiful vacation villa and cottage on the peninsula of Fortsburg in Coral Bay, St. John, USVI. 75% of St. John is Nat'l Park and we are located just outside of it overlooking Nat'l Park waters of Hurricane Hole, East End and beyond to Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands. We have solar water power and we are on the grid so we have air conditioning too! 180 degree white water views wrap around this delightful one bedroom villa and charming one bedroom cottage. The villa is 1000 square feet and has 1 bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, veranda and pool. The cottage is 650 square feet and has a wrap around porch, outdoor cooking area, front entryway, bedroom and an inside bathroom with an outdoor shower. Both areas are separate and very private. The cottage is down the hill from the villa about 40 steps. While the cottage will only hold 2 people, the villa can accomodate small children easily. The property is owned and managed by Catherine Perry a local potter and watercolor artist. She is available for local knowledge, helping plan excursions, restaurant recommendations or any need you may have. House of Open Arms is located on a breathtakingly green, private hillside with constant, cool ocean breezes. Come relax in peaceful elegance and see how well you can live while staying in balance with the world around you! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
a House Of Open Arms Hotel St. John
House Of Open Arms St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing