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“what a relaxing thanksgiving week”
Review of Caneel Bay Resort

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Caneel Bay Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Caneel Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 December 2013

My husband and I were turned on to this resort by melissa harmon at Beach Bum Vacations...We have used their service many times and have been happy with the results, but not as happy as we were when we went to Caneel Bay on their recommendation! This is a great resort, beautiful island, and an overall great place to relax over thanksgiving week! We never go to the same place twice, but Caneel Bay may make us change our minds on that!

the resort is easy to get around and offers great restaurants. Cruz Bay is also a short taxi ride away...it offers other restaurant choices, shopping, and access to excursions. english is the prevailing language, the US dollar is the currency, and I always felt safe - even off the resort.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Donna N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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726 - 732 of 764 reviews

Reviewed 4 December 2013

Spent Thanksgiving weekend in Caneel Bay, a first for both of us, and discovered that this is one of those rare places that exceed your hopes, the promise of the brochures, and the ravings on these travel sites. Well, believe me, it was even better. This place is one of those "bucket list" locations that you have to get to.
Arrived at the airport and found our way to the Caneel office, and were whisked off to the ferry in short order. The ferry was delayed a bit, but a Caneel employee stayed with us, giving us all a history of the island governance and other fascinating stories. The boat arrived and we zoomed off to the resort.
We were met at the dock by an employee who took us on a golf cart to our second floor room in Turtle Bay. It was dark by then, so no real "tour" of the property at this time, but she did give us a room orientation and answered any questions we had. The room was clean, spacious, well stocked with towels, etc, and a bottle or rum and a few sodas. We asked for an additional fridge (instead of removing things from the mini-bar and putting our stuff in there) and it was delivered before we got back from dinner. Nightly turn down service and room refreshing was a treat.
Restaurants were all great. Dinner first night in the bar area was good with lots of options (didn't try the sushi...apparently everyone else who goes there does!) Breakfast was included in our room rate, and it was a plentiful buffet with hot options, fruits, breads, cereals, something for everyone. We ate at Zozo's one night in a torrential downpour (they fit us in without reservations at the bar) and it was so good we went back the next night and sat at a table with a great view of the bay and St Thomas beyond. Afternoon Tea at the Estate House was a delightful break in the afternoon, surprisingly well attended.
The grounds were immaculate, with wildlife everywhere, reminding you that this is a National Park. The beaches were all incredible, seven total, and each had a different feel to it. Ours at Turtle Bay was a bit rough with strong waves that soothed us to sleep each night, and gently woke us in the morning. We snorkeled at Caneel Beach, Scotts Beach and Paradise, and saw an amazing assortment of fish, rays, turtles and coral. The watersports booth was well stocked with anything you might need, and floats are available there as well.
We rented a Jeep at the on-site rental office, and it was a blast seeing the entire island in a day. We taxied to Cruz Bay one night for dinner and shopping and it was the exact opposite of Caneel's peaceful vibe...it was busy, loud, and a bar every eight or ten feet it seemed. Couldn't wait to get back to the tranquility of the desert Island of Caneel.
The staff at Caneel was top notch, ranging from quiet to super friendly. Miss Stephanie at the restaurants stood out as excellent, remembering our names. Water Sports staff, including Desmond, Wednesday and Chico were all super accommodating, and Beryl who took care of our room was like a doting aunt, fussing over our every need. Even the shuttle drivers all had a quick smile and greeting.The guests were great too. It was fun to meet people who had been there many times over the years (one lovely woman we met had been coming for 46 years!) They were all happy to take us under their wing and offer us suggestions and tips on making our stay exceptional. Gelato was great in the little coffee shop, and even the gift shop had something for everyone.
Any complaints? Sure, if you let the little stuff bother you....like the guy downstairs smoking his two dollar cigars and polluting the air in our room, or the slobs that sat in the shuttle in wet bathing suits, soaking the seats and covering them with sand. But that has nothing to do with the resort itself. Go here for that special occasion, or for no reason at all, other than to get away from it all. It is even better than you can imagine. We will be back.

Room Tip: Spend the little extra for a beachfront room. The sound of the ocean, plus the proximity, makes it p...
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Chiefy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2013

Our family of 5, including two teenagers, had a wonderful time at caneel bay.
The 5 beaches are exquisite. Use of the paddle boards, kayaks, flippers. . .were just what our active family loved access to. We loved that this property had beautiful beaches to play on . . .snorkeling from one beach to another, hiking trails into the national forest, and tennis.

We have to give special kudos to the tennis pros at Caneel. Their attention and professionalism is fantastic. Donald found players on our teenage sons level to play with, and helped him schedule time on the courts.

We were pleasantly surprised that we were able to find vegan menu options for dinner. The ROTI with tofu was fabulous, the veggie burger and veg sushi yummy. I was even able to get soy milk for my coffee in the mornings.

One afternoon we walked the trail from honeymoon beach to cruz bay. Lovely walk and great to have dinner one night in "town"

I read many reviews regarding room placement etc. We were in room 1/2 and really enjoyed that location for our family as it was close to all of the activities, yet not on top of everything.

The only negative I would say is that I was disappointed that there was an extra charge for yoga/zumba/pilates.

We have stayed at properties on Virgin Gorda, Turks, and Belize. We would definitely consider this property again.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank ncabrams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2013

This was our second trip back to Caneel. Although the resort is still Beautiful, their focus on service seems to have changed. There is a huge focus on weddings and the wedding guests. It might be wise to separate the accommodations for wedding guests and everyone else. I heard this from all the "regular" guests who come to Caneel each year. On our second night there we were awoken by loud LIVE music in the room next to us(guitar, harmonica, drunken singing). It took three calls to security until it was broken up. At first they tried to tell me it was the reception. I would not advise staying near Turtle Bay as it is close to the Turtle Bay House where receptions are held.

Aside from this disturbance we still had a wonderful time. The breakfast was great, desserts at Zozo's were fabulous and of course the gelato was phenomenal! I hope Caneel doesn't loose their focus on all their regular guests. This is a wonderful resort with some of the most beautiful beaches and friendliest staff on St John.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Chris N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2013

We were absolutely thrilled with our 4-night stay at Caneel Bay Resort. What a beautiful property and what fantastic service! We couldn't ask for more during our vacation and we can't wait to return. We stayed in the Hawksnest Bay part of the resort with a room that walked right out onto the beach. Perfect! The room itself was better than I expected based on the photos I had seen and the bed was very comfy. The breakfast buffet had all sorts of goodies, even for a limited/picky eater like myself. The grounds were so walkable, the beauty from each beach was just stunning, the staff were so friendly, I just couldn't ask for more!! We will be back!!!!!!

Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Fallseur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2013

This was my second stay there and my husband’s first. It had been 4 years since my last visit and I was very excited to return. We had a great time and will probably stay here on our next visit.

Room

We had a beachfront room on Turtle Bay on the bottom floor. We were at the end of the building and never heard our neighbors when we were in the room. The water was really rough, especially the first few days of our stay. Our room was very close to the water and it was relaxing to hear the waves crashing, even with the windows closed and air conditioning running. The negative to this was that there was not much beach and no snorkeling because of the waves. We may save the money and stay in one of the less expensive rooms next time since we did not spend any time on “our” beach. It’s easy to walk or take the shuttle to visit all the beaches on the property. The room was spacious and the bed was very comfortable. They gave us champagne to celebrate our anniversary and we also had the usual complimentary rum, cokes and water. The bathroom had a beautiful stone wall in the shower. The large plush bath and beach towels were great. We had some problems with the air conditioner—on our first day it wasn’t working very well (wouldn’t get under 78 degrees). They came and fixed it, but then it was making banging noises the day after that so we had to call them again. It was fine after that. I also had to get a new hairdryer because it would only blow cool air.

Beaches and Snorkeling at the Resort

I really love the easy access to beaches and snorkeling and that was the main reason we chose to stay here. The beaches are serene and sometimes we were the only ones on them. We did not spend much time on Turtle or Hawksnest because the water was rough during our stay. Our favorite in terms of beauty was Scott Beach. We found the best snorkeling near Paradise, Caneel and Little Caneel- although Scott and Honeymoon had good snorkeling too. Honeymoon is a beautiful beach, but was a bit crowded in comparison—even when the tourist boats left.Here are more details on what we saw while snorkeling:

Because we were on a short trip, we spent most of our time exploring the beaches at Caneel Bay, but did visit a couple other spots. Here’s my pick list and some of the snorkeling highlights at Caneel-

Scott Beach- the most beautiful beach we visited on St. John. Enjoyed the snorkeling here, but it was not the best of our visit. Saw stingrays and trunk fish.

Little Caneel- saw lots of small fish- probably saw the largest quantity of fish here. The beach here is small, but there was only one other family on it when we were there.

Caneel Bay- was the best snorkeling we experienced this trip on St. John. We saw at least three turtles, a good sized shark (he swam away fast, so I’m not sure if it was a nurse or a reef shark), stingrays, a scrawled cowfish (I had never seen one of those before), and lots of other fish. I swam all the way around the point to Paradise Beach. Caneel was the second crowded beach we visited (after Honeymoon). But a crowded beach in St. John is an uncrowded one anywhere else, so it’s all relative!

Hawsknest Beach (at Caneel)- it’s quite beautiful but we didn’t spend time here because the water was rough.

Turtle Beach- Did not spend much time here-- the beach was smaller than what I remember from my previous trip because of the rough water. But one day I spotted a rainbow over the beach after a short shower- gorgeous!

Honeymoon Beach- I think this is a gorgeous beach, but it was a bit crowded when we were there. Great snorkeling between Honeymoon and Salomon. I saw a baby peacock flounder and lots of other fish.

Hiking

We hiked Mary’s Trail—I am not much of a hiker, but I wanted to take in the views. The views were beautiful, but I did not consider this an “easy” hike. My husband enjoys hiking and he said he’d consider it to be “moderate”. Including stops to enjoy the views, it took us about an hour. Most people would probably do it faster, but we moved slowly. I’m glad I did it, but I wouldn’t do it again! My husband also hiked the Caneel Hill Trail which he would consider to be a moderate hike. He enjoyed it and from his pictures the views are great. I was happy to enjoy the beach while he hiked this one!

Restaurants at the Resort

We had the breakfast buffet at the Terrace included in our rate. It was very good and included made to order stations which we took advantage of. We would not have gotten the buffet if it hadn’t been included since it was $30 something per person. We had a couple meals at the Beach Bar and Grill—food was good, but nothing special (burgers, salads, wings, pizzas etc). Although my husband really enjoyed his sushi. We enjoyed our meal at Zozo’s. We had an appetizer of prosciutto wrapped cheese. I had the shrimp and risotto (biggest shrimp I have ever seen!) and my husband had the osso buco for entrees. Everything was delicious and the restaurant had a wonderful ambience. We also enjoyed the afternoon tea at the Estate House a couple of times. Delicious cookies and scones (we are not really tea drinkers).

Staff at the Resort

We found the staff to be delightful. We especially enjoyed talking with the shuttle drivers who gave us some great tips!

Caneel Ferry

We took the ferry service to and from the resort and it was seamless. I thought it was worth the extra cost to have them handle our luggage from the airport to our room. And it was nice that the ferry went directly to the resort. We ended up with a private ferry on our trip back to the airport since there were no other guests on the boat.

Jeep Rental

We rented a two door jeep from Varlack Ventures at the resort. We had booked the least expensive jeep, but when we arrived they tried to give us the four door, more expensive jeep because they didn’t have the two door available. But they did not want to give it to us for the two door rate that we had booked. After some back and forth she called her manager and all of the sudden a two door jeep appeared. We had the jeep for two days and it worked out fine.

Sunset Cruise

A sunset cruise was complimentary with our package. The cruise started late and the sun was almost set by the time we got on the boat! If I had paid for the cruise I would not have been happy about that. The cruise included drinks and light appetizers. We had some beautiful views and enjoyed the trip. We went by the south side of the island and we got a view of the villa where we stayed on our honeymoon 8 years ago.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank laurenj31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2013

Great resort. Excellent beaches - seven of them, nice variety of restaurants, clean and attractive rooms, beautiful grounds, wonderful help. Book an oceanfront room or better. Full service resort. From the time they meet you at the airport until you return, the service staff couldn't be more accommodating.

Room Tip: Book an oceanfront room.
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank 418billn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Caneel Bay Resort

Address: PO Box 720, Caneel Bay 00831-0720, St. John (Formerly Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. John > Caneel Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Caneel Bay
Price Range: £421 - £931 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Caneel Bay Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 166
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on a 170-acre peninsula amid the lush beauty of the Virgin Islands National Park and seven picturesque beaches, Caneel Bay is one of the most breathtaking vacation destinations in the Caribbean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Caneel Bay, a Rosewood Hotel Caneel Bay
Caneel Bay a Rosewood Resort
Caneel Bay Resort St John
Caneel Bay St John

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