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“Sea Grape was Sea GREAT”

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Battery Hill Condominiums
Reviewed 31 July 2013

We booked our condo through VRBO and Sea Grape was great. The condo was very clean and updated. It had AC units in bedrooms and one in kitchen so we stayed cool when needed. The condo has been updated and the owners were great to deal with. It was a short walk to town (couple hills but not too bad) and the area is very nice. Pleasant walk to town. I would definitely come back to this condo again and would recommend it to others. The views overlooking Cruz bay was very good.


It does overlook the wharfside village area where there are bands playing on weekend, It was loud on the patio so be aware of that. when we were inside with windows closed we were not disturbed by it (and I enjoy music so it was good for me). If you were wanting a quiet evening on the patio it would not be ideal.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Sam E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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17 - 23 of 38 reviews

Reviewed 15 June 2013

we stayed in cruz bay for our first time in st. john and really wish we had stayed on the other side of the island. our condominium was clean but the furnishings and bedding are in need of updating. the pillows were stained and the couch was old and needed to be cleaned or replaced. the condo was fully stocked with everything you would need for the kitchen and we did end up cooking a bit during our stay. mosquitoes are a problem in st. john but seemed even worse in our unit. we got bit more in there than while we were out. the screen needed to be replaced as it was torn so you couldn't leave the sliding door open or the mosquitoes would come in. another thing, the air conditioning didn't seem to adequately cool off the kitchen and living room areas. if we ever did return to st. john we would definitely try staying on coral bay. the noise/music from cruz bay at night can be heard from battery hill and some people may not mind that- and it wasn't actually too bad if a good band was playing. but one thing we could not stand were the roosters crowing, not even with the sunrise but at 4 in the morning!!. it is in close vicinity to the local stores so if you wouldn't have to worry about parking if you just walked.

on the positive side, the staff was excellent. our flight got in really late and our greeter arranged to get our rental car keys from the agency so we at least could have our car when we arrived. our greeter also was very friendly and gave us some great information on where to go and how to get around. there is also an binder provided by the cimarron with a lot of helpful information. there is one washer and dryer on the premises and there is no charge to use it.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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Thank stephanie s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2012

We stayed in Palm Breezes, the top floor of one of the Battery Hill buildings in October. I would recommend it to any of my friends.
It is a well kept, but not spotless unit with a great view over Cruz Bay. If you are looking for the Ritz, keep looking. The place is clean enough forums and we are fairly particular.
We were not bothered by the nighttime music from town as we slept with the A/C units on. It was still pretty hot and humid when we visited.
The kitchen was well equipped with all typical home appliances in good repair. The unit's one full bathroom was average. The master was private. The loft sold our family of 5 due to there being two twin beds and a double up there. We thought the A/C worked fine. The balcony space and view were great.
The location is very nice for the view, but the walk back from town is a 15 minute workout. You can take Hill St. down into town and be at Woody's in 5 min. But coming back you'd think it's mountain climbing. With little kids it is a push. The 'long way' around Bay St. is more gentle and a good way to walk off dinner, but not easy either.
The owners and on-site management were very friendly and helpful. I would think this is the best unit in the place. The parking lot there is nice. And having the pool to cool off in after a day at the beach is actually really nice! Major bonus for our kids.
It is easy to get a taxi up to the condo and get around the island.
If I were going to find a different place next time, I would try 'Grand Bay'? Right down the hill from us. The view would be OK but the walk home would be much easier.

  • Stayed: October 2011
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2  Thank IowaTraveler76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2011

We stayed here with our kids. The unit was a two bedroom with huge terrace overlooking the bay and Cruz Bay town. While the unit was a bit worn, it was clean and well stocked. The mgt company was very helpful and there was a lovely welcome pkg in the unit when we arrived. We found the unit a little dark which seemed odd. There should be more light. We loved walking to town although the hike up the hill coming home might be hard for some. There is a small, cold pool. Our biggest complaint was the noise. Yikes. Music out of Cruz Bay all night, and the idling ferries took away from what we want in an idyllic setting. It was satifactory but I would look elsewhere next time to escape the racket.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank Luv2TravelNJ15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2011

We've been visiting St. John for 15 years and last year stayed at Sand Dollar twice - once in November, once in February. Battery Hill is not a high-class resort, but Sand Dollar was a very comfortable two-bedroom, one-bath condo with a living room/dining area and covered patio overlooking Cruz Bay, ideal for one couple, two singles, or a family with two young kids (the second bedroom is small). Tropical breezes, sun deck with pool, but the big bonus was the ability to leave the Jeep at the condo and walk into town, since parking is virtually non-existent there. Condo galley kitchen is adequate for cooking, dozens of restaurants are a 5-min walk away. Evenings you can hear the music downtown or retreat to the bedroom where the AC drowns it out. On both visits we only saw a few other guests in the complex, making our stays private and relaxing. The owner and the property manager were great. For the price, it's a great value!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank JanC106
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2009

We have been to St John many times and we have always loved it. We even like the funky & wild aspects, although the traffic & congestion can get a little overwhelming sometimes. This year we decided to try to save a little money and so booked "The Cottage" at Battery Hill. Not a good decision. The word is dingy. I could also say grimy, or shabby or soiled. The bedding was old, torn and worn out. I didn't even sit down on the cushions on the two chairs because they looked awfully dirty and yucky. The curtains were inadequate and so the room was lit up all night by exterior lighting. The Cottage was billed as a studio, but it was truly tiny. The bathroom wasn't clean, the fixtures were old and worn out. The floor was dirty, the corners had residue in them which might be remedied by a good cleaning, but it was disconcerting to live in. The towels were shabby and were not changed on the day they were supposed to be refreshed. The landscaping was lovely, the pool was very nice, and the walk up a steep hill from Cruz Bay was tough but invigorating. However, this place is a great advertisement for Gallows Point. Next time we will stay there and spend the extra money. It'll be worth it!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cinviv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2008

Overall, our experience was good at Suite St. John. We stayed in the Sea Breeze unit for a few days in May 2008. While the units imply a luxury experience, we wouldn't put it that way. While the staff was helpful and very friendly, there were problems with our experience in terms of cleanliness and furnishings that would make us unlikely to stay there again.

As I said, the staff were great and for the most part tried hard to make things nice. Several times a week a grounds keeper swept the grounds and took care of things and the unit manger, Tommy, was always available if we needed any help.

The Sea Breeze unit has a great deck overlooking Cruz Bay. We spent many evenings and mornings there just gazing at the spectacular view of the town below.

When we were there, only some of the units were full, so we had a very peaceful and refreshing experience at the property. The pool was always kept spotless and inviting both day and night.

The pictures that you see on the Suite St. John web site make the units look wider than they are. I think this is because they put two separate pictures next to each other making the unit look wider. The living room is acceptable size, but much smaller in person.

I've read many glowing accounts of people's time there, so I'm thinking some of the issues I will bring up won't concern some visitors. Be that as it may, when we're paying the prices they charge and their claiming that it is a "luxury" experience, I thought it better I describe what we saw and see if that's your definition of luxury.

The unit was basically clean, but lacked that very clean feeling you get in a good hotel room. It's like the corners aren't clean, if you know what I mean. Like someone did a fast cleaning after the last guest left but not the real thing. You could see some crumbs here and there and spots where there shouldn't be spots, like in the bathroom. One of the main faults I would say is that the units don't get a good "spring cleaning" where all the corners are swept and mopped.

Another disappointing thing was the feeling of "second hand" or a "garage sale" feeling to some of the items in the unit. At these prices, I would think they could afford to go to a department store and buy a proper matching knife collection or a pair of kitchen scissors. The knives were just a random collection of knives from different sets, almost like someone scooped up a whole set at a garage sale. "15 Knives for $1.00" Other things like pots, plates and glasses were a lot better, but it was like no one thought about an overall complete approach to the kitchen collection. Again, not exactly our idea of luxury. More like your Uncle Ralph's fishing cabin collection.

In this same vein, the toaster, while it worked, was missing the slider to indicate darkness. Again, a visit to Target would fix this for less than $30, but someone doesn't care about that kind of thing.

I thought about safety when I saw a lamp or two with some exposed electric pieces. I was at first relieved when I saw a smoke alarm (especially since you're perched on a hill in a tinder-dry environment in a wooden structure), but I was shocked when I noticed there were no batteries in the smoke alarm at all.

Even though the unit was billed as air conditioned, that was only partially true. There were window-air-conditioning units, of vary ages, in the bedrooms, but none in the living room. I know some people don't care because they would prefer to just keep the windows open for the breeze, but know lots of folks want air conditioning throughout. So in this unit you could have cool bedrooms but the living room wouldn't get cool really.

The internet was painfully slow. There was a wireless connection, and we could barely get a streaming connection for music like iTunes. Forget about streaming video or video chat and things like that. If you want email you’re OK, but you have to wait even to see the CNN page get loaded. It's always on, but acted more like dial up speed.

The decorations are from the unit owner, so it's a mixed bag there. The only problem I have is that things like cushions and rugs have seen better days. If you are moving 4 - 6 people though your unit, every week, all year long, go ahead a visit Target, say, every 3 years or so, and just replace the rugs, cushions, lamps and things that are fraying around the edges. Again, this depends on your definition of luxury, but it would be nice if they had a checklist of highly utilized items that they would just replace on a regular schedule.

There is a convenience store (called a "gourmet store" for some reason) about a 10 minute walk down a small hill. You can get things like coffee, milk, water, cheese, beer and liquor there. If you wanted to really cook, as we did, you will need to either take a 20-minute walk to one of the real grocery stores down at the bottom of the hill (Starfish or Dolphin markets). The incline is very steep, so unless you are in good shape, I wouldn't do it on foot and definitely not try to get back up with groceries unless you want a real workout. So if you don't walk, you can either drive your rental car, or walk down and take a taxi back up for about $5.00 per person one way.

The tap water is apparently rain water collected in cisterns. I'm sure that would put some folks off. We are more particular than most, and were always wondering about things like, should we cook spaghetti in collected rain water? Never totally figured that out, but we survived. There was a faucet in the kitchen labeled, "pure" which appeared to be filtered water. Given the relaxed attitude towards cleaning, fire safety etc, I figured the water filter hadn’t been replaced on schedule and wasn't truly filtering, so I didn’t trust that the water was actually pure. We bought 2 gallon containers of water every day to make coffee, soup, etc. This made our daily walks to the store quite a workout but we actually enjoyed it.

There are cockroach traps scattered around the kitchen. We only saw one live cockroach in a whole week, so they appear to have that fairly under control. Still, I associate seeing cockroach traps in the kitchen with my $300/month college apartment and not a "luxury" condo on vacation.

If mosquitoes like you, then bring some repellent. Even inside the unit we had a hard time keeping all of them out. We got more bites inside during dinner and hanging out than out on the deck for some reason. We kept killing the ones we found inside, but somehow one or two more always got in for a feast on our feet and legs in the evening. We ended up just spraying our legs with repellent when we got home in the evening.

We were lucky to be able to see some of the other units during our visit. I would say, as disappointed as we were with the Sea Breeze kitchen etc, some of the other units looked worse. In one unit there was a handle missing from the fridge and there was some yellow "schmutz" on the outside of the fridge. We counted ourselves lucky to have gotten as much "luxury" as we did in the Sea Breeze.

I think the casual attitude towards cleanliness could be fixed if they hired a maid with some kind of a work ethic. She seemed a bit over the top relaxed. I know this is the Caribbean, but I would think they could find someone on St. John who doesn't want to be a chicken farmer and needs the money and was willing to actually scrub all the corners to keep her job.

We walked by many houses with signs of "Villa xxxx" in the front on our strolls. Many of these places looked like cheap efficiency apartments to us: tangled weeds around the grounds, in need of repairs and basic painting. We even passed one with a plastic "Heineken Beer" table and plastic chairs plopped on a run-down deck amidst the tangled woods next to the house. That looked pathetic. At least at Suite St. John grounds are kept very nice and clean and it doesn't look like an abandoned Motel 6. It appears you can go pretty far wrong renting a "villa" sight unseen on St. John.

We did visit Gallows Point just to check out the rooms. Now that place looked like someone kept up with the maintenance and cleaning! Of course, it depends on the unit as those are individually owned too. I saw some bad reviews on that as well. There are very different levels of professionalism in places that are quite close by, so it would best to match the place to your specific needs. There are some luxury condos now under construction at the bottom of Battery Hill. I hope these will spur the Suite St. John staff to new heights of cleanliness or staff changes so they can compete.

After everything, we came here for the beaches, and only partially for a "luxury" experience. We were 1000% happy with Honeymoon beach and Trunk Bay beach which made us forget all our concerns noted above. Every day we walked 10 minutes down to Cruz Bay and took a taxi for about $5.00 each person to a beach with our picnic lunch and just enjoyed every minute till 5:30 when we returned back to the condo. I had no idea beaches could be that perfect, but it's for real.

In terms of a rental car, if you're just going to the national park beaches (out as far as Cinnamon Bay), you can skip the car rental and catch taxis. We were afraid we would spend all our time waiting for taxis but they were almost always around. You will most likely need them to go to beaches and shopping. Write down the Taxi Dispatch number from the condo info book and you can call them any time to get picked up.

My only hope is that next time we can find another place in St. John that has the peaceful feeling of Suite St. John but with less of the negatives noted above.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled with family
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7  Thank IslandLuxe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Battery Hill Condominiums

Address: Frangipani Lane | Of Route 105, Cruz Bay 00831, St. John
Region: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. John > Cruz Bay
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 17 Speciality Lodging in Cruz Bay
Price Range: £114 - £299 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Battery Hill Condominiums Hotel Cruz Bay
Battery Hill Condominiums St. John/Cruz Bay

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