We recently stayed at the Westin St. John for Thanksgiving. We are well-traveled in the Caribbean, having previously visited Grenada, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico over the past two years.
The Westin St. John met our high expectations for the Westin brand, as well as providing value and convenient access for visiting the island of St. John.
If you want to stay on St. John, you have a few options. You can rent a vacation home/condo, stay at a small boutique bed & breakfast, or you can stay at one of the two resort properties on the island. The Westin is one of these resorts, and it is the less expensive, family-friendly option.
The resort grounds are lush and well manicured. It is a large resort, and some buildings are on a hill. We rented a 1-bedroom villa on the hillside, and it was approximately a 7-10 minute walk from our villa to the main pool and beach complex, on the other side of the resort. It was approximately a 5-minute walk to the lobby. We always walked down the hill to the resort, and never had a single issue finding one of the many shuttles to take us back up the hill to our room. On the handful of times a shuttle wasn't in sight, we would ask the nearest employee to call one for us, and never waited more than five minutes for a pick-up.
Our room on the hillside was also a five minute walk to the local grocery store, where we spent about $100 for the week in breakfast and lunch foods, as well as some splurge foods we cooked on our own for Thanksgiving. There is also a good selection of beer, wine, and alcohol.
The villa was spacious, bright and clean, equipped with Westin's Heavenly beds and showers. Our balcony overlooked the resort and Grand Cruz Bay. The bathrooms were average in space and design, and could benefit from renovation. The full kitchen and washer/dryer were wonderful to have, and completely made our trip. I have a food allergy, and we were traveling with our 10-year old, so it was worth the extra money on the room to cook our own breakfast every morning, pack our lunches every day, and cook our own Thanksgiving meal. Having the villa on a resort property really hit a nice balance for us between having our own house-like space, but still retaining access to resort amenities (pool, watersports, taxis, etc.).
The pool complex is large, well-maintained, and beautiful. We spent two separate days there, and my 10-year old always found other kids to play with, while my husband and I relaxed on floating loungers. The pool is so large that we rarely felt bothered by the children playing in the various parts of the pool; though we did know they were there.
The beach is also clean and well-kept, but small and abutting a marina. It is a good First Day beach, that is, if you have just arrived at the Westin, and are looking to spend the rest of your afternoon or early evening at the beach, use the Westin beach. Otherwise, spend your time in St. John exploring one of the famous St. John beaches, such as Hawksnest, Cinnamon, or Trunk, all an $8 cab fare one-way, and about a 15 minute ride.
Cruz Bay Watersports maintains a presence on the resort, and does an excellent job both with providing complimentary pool and beach floats and non-motorized activities, as well as coordinating off-site fee-based activities, such as snorkel trips to British Virgin Islands, parasailing, and the like. There is also a small shop selling beach and watersport essentials.
Dining is average hotel fare - not horrible, but in no way special. A premium restaurant we didn't bother with (too much good food 10 minutes away in Cruz Bay...), a standard restaurant with cheeseburgers and pizza (okay food, terrible service), a pool bar and lunch shack (great frozen drinks!), and a deli/convenience market. You will do better on all counts to either take a cab into Cruz Bay (or points farther if you're adventurous) and dine at one of the many outstanding restaurants there, or to find the grocery store and stock up on your own.
Service is this resort's weakest point. Restaurant/food service was some of the most apathetic and slow I've experienced in the Caribbean. Housekeeping kept our room clean, but we had issues with disappearing towels/bathmats without replacements, leaving us with a dwindling supply over the week. Requests for items and assistance from housekeeping were met, but could be slow in coming (we waited over an hour for one item, and for another, gave up waiting and walked down to the front desk).
Overall, my family had a wonderful experience at this resort. In our previous Caribbean travels, we've done both pre-packaged all-inclusives and boutique inns, and without a doubt, the Westin St. John hit our happy medium. We've already booked again for next year, and can't wait to return!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on 1,200 feet of private beach, The Westin St. John Resort makes for the perfect island retreat. Stay in spacious rooms with ocean views from private balconies or patios. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi available in all rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Westin St. John Resort & Villas Hotel Cruz Bay
- Westin St. John Resort And Villas
- Westin Cruz Bay
- Cruz Bay Westin
- St John Westin
- The Westin St. John Resort Cruz Bay