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“Paradise Found” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Caneel Bay Resort

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Caneel Bay Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Caneel Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Queens, New York
Level Contributor
94 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Paradise Found”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 June 2014

Imagine a property with the Old World elegance of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel or the 21 Club nestled in one of the Caribbean’s loveliest landscapes and you arrive at Caneel Bay Resort.

From the moment you enter the resort’s air-conditioned office in the St. Thomas airport (complete with home-baked cookies) you are taken care of. Your bags are loaded on the van that takes you to the resort’s own ferry. On board you are offered refreshments and on arrival are greeted by warm, friendly staff who escort you to your room.

The resort personnel have thought of everything. There is a small cooler in your room that can be filled daily with ice so you can spend the day on the beach with your favorite cold refreshments. (The sun shy should be assured that there is plenty of shade on the beach from the old-growth trees.) There is bug spray provided, in case you decide to hike one of the lovely trails on the property. There are two trails, neither of which is too difficult, and each can be done in under an hour. The views are worth it.

Part of the resort’s charm is the fact that there are no TVs or phones in the room. But, in case you are panicking, there is free wi-fi that worked well during our stay. Phone kiosks are conveniently located around the property and televisions can be watched in the bar and casual dining spot.

The resort has two high-end eateries (reservations strongly suggested) and one casual restaurant. And, the buffet breakfast is bountiful and served in a lovely open air dining area overlooking the harbor. What a way to start the day!

We dined at the Turtle Bay Estate House one evening and had a first-class meal, but, frankly, found the food and ambiance of the casual dining room more to our liking. Meals were at least 30% cheaper than in the Estate House and sitting on the terrace overlooking the harbor was more fun. I highly recommend the BBQ pork ribs. All menus we saw had at least one vegan or vegetarian option, but this could be a problem if you follow such a diet.

Caneel Bay Resort is expensive. No quibble there. But, my husband and I felt we got our money’s worth Staff are sociable and genuinely interested in engaging with guests. All the beach chairs, towels, kayaks, snorkel gear and Sunfish sailboats are provided without extra charge, which should be considered when you are studying the prices. We’ve stayed in some supposedly high-end resorts that ended up being pretty pricey when all the “extras” were added in.

We learned that the resort was transferred to private ownership last year. It is our sincere hope that the new management will not get greedy and expand the number of rooms. The property is magnificent. Every room appears to be situated in a way that takes advantage of the natural landscape and each has a unique feature, such as a view. You feel you are in another world and building more rooms would ruin that.

The ultimate test of any business is customer loyalty. Easily half the guests we encountered were repeat customers, some of them visiting for the 4th, 5th and even 6th time. Caneel Bay must be doing something right. It’s worth the splurge.

Room Tip: We went deluxe and booked a beachfront premium room and found it lovely.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Silasroy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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652 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (245)
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
66 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 2014 via mobile

The view, the grounds, the wildlife and the overall service are awesome at Cameel Bay. What is lacking here is communication. Topics such as a clear explanation of the resort policy on tipping (who and guideline on %) doesn't exist. This could easily be remedied by an FAQ section of the website. Communication on dress code was mixed and incorrect in most stances......again a FAQ could solve this easily.

The MAJOR negative among many positives was the LACK of eating facilities coupled with extremely LIMITED selection of food choices. Most days only one (of only 2) upscale dinner restaurants were open...crowded, overpriced and unless your reserved in advance at the concierge desk (no phone in rooms) you are out of luck. The food selection at each restaurant was severely limited and if you don't like wild boar you may not find an alternative! The Bar and Grill is open each day for lunch and dinner...a limited selection with prices 2x+ mainland prices and it gets boring going there twice a day. Caneel Bay needs both a small store where limited food supplies can be obtained and a beach pavillian serving common beach snack type foods.

Enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable but pack the peanut butter and bread in your suitcase and bring pockets full of cash.

Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Whenintown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 June 2014

Caneel bay resort is absolutely priceless. Truly the best vacation imaginable. Wake up every day to an amazing ocean view breakfast and the most beautiful scenery in St. John.
The staff here is exemplary, genuinely nice and welcoming. The staff handled everything for me, from the ferry rides, to my scheduled day trip to Buck Island in St. Croix & more! It was smooth & seamless. I enjoyed the pristine nature and beauty most of all. Visited all the beaches and enjoyed a serene hammock rest on honeymoon beach. The resident donkey & deer were excellent to watch, the property is huge so you'll never feel crowded, we were always enjoying our private time & very romantic moments at Caneel bay.

We loved walking everywhere soaking in all the nature & all its wonderful beauties. Great rooms, wonderful people, & totally awesome!

What makes Caneel bay so amazing is that its not just a Resort, its an Experience. From the moment you step foot on the ferry holding your rum drink, up until the moment you wave goodbye to the wonderful staff there, i guarantee the best time ever!
I can't tell you how many couples and families we talked to that have been returning to Caneel year after year, i can only tell them "That's gonna be me one day when i grow up!
LOVED IT!!

Room Tip: Choose the Ocean View room, much more private than the Ocean Front room which people constantly walk...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank GreenAce87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
81 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 June 2014

Just returned from a week at Caneel Bay. I was worried when i read some of the negative reviews that I wouldn't be happy with my choice. Thank goodness I didn't let the negatives stop me!

Caneel Bay is an untouched beauty including all that being natural implies. The beaches are gorgeous but have debris like leaves and sticks; the animals (donkeys, deer, mongoose, etc.) are left alone to wander and, like all creatures, leave a little reminder behind after they've gone (watch where you step). The rooms are understated, not glitzy. So, if you want a glitzy resort with 15 restaurants, perfectly white beaches that are combed daily and all evidence of nature removed, then don't go!!! You will hate it. If you prefer a big screen TV in your room and Vegas-style service, then this is not your place!!! But, if you want to unwind, interact with nature, snorkel off shore and see turtles, millions of fish and stingrays in a low key environment, Caneel is the place. One of my favorite memories is of a giant iguana (4 feet long) sauntering down the beach! Unforgettable.

The staff are, for the most part, courteous and helpful. The clientele are unpretentious and the restaurants, while expensive, range from good to great. We especially liked Zozo's! Another great thing about the resort is that it seems remote but you can grab a taxi and be in town in less then 10 minutes.

The only thing I could really find wrong was that the beach chairs were an old fashioned style and that there were a few stains on chairs in public areas. This goes back to the place being a natural and relaxed environment, not one of perfection. I would not let a few flaws keep me away!

Room Tip: We had an Ocean View Room which was set back from the beach. I liked that better than the Ocean Fron...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JMB2U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Corydon, Indiana
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 June 2014

We have been going to Caneel since 1986, which encompasses every managing entity they have had. Caneel hooked us on the very first visit and it’s one of our favorite places on earth. I know some people go to Caneel expecting one kind of resort and if they don’t understand what Caneel is, they can be disappointed. Our expectation on the other hand is that Caneel will be what it has been in the past. So we expect to find the property in great shape and the service to be attentive. Our expectations were more than met.

With the change last year, everything appears to be just rolling along nicely. Service was fabulous. The concierge desk was wonderful. There were two weddings at the resort while we were there and I’m sure services were strained a bit with so much going on, but you couldn’t tell it. I think the rooms are great but they are planning on renovations as soon as they get National Park Service approval. The linens are superb and we love the toiletries.

We had breakfast each morning and it’s just great. Good food and excellent service in the Beach Bar. Sometimes a little slow because of the crowds of day trippers. There was excellent service and excellent food at Turtle Bay. The best meal I’ve had on the island. Ever. We would have eaten there again but because they are only open a few days a week during the off season, it didn’t work out. The gelato at the new shop is really good. We didn’t try the sandwiches or coffee there…maybe next year.

I was pleased to learn that no Caneel employees lost their jobs with the transition to ZoZos. Although this doesn’t apply to Caneel, we had gone to ZoZos in town last year because of all the raves on TA. We were not impressed, but decided to go back again because so many people just love it. Again, not impressed. Many, many people like the restaurant and I’m sure it’s an overall plus for Caneel. I might also add that the changes in the Caneel parking lot are really great and I’m sure appreciated by all who go there. It’s much easier for the taxis.

We visited all seven beaches and snorkeled off them all. The snorkeling was good as usual. We tried some new routes and found a couple we really liked. The coral seems a bit improved. It’s not like it was before Hugo but I probably won’t live to see that. It was a great trip.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank hoosier74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, TX
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 May 2014 via mobile

Stayed here several times but don't think I ever reviewed it. It is a lovely place and and one of my favorite spots. The rooms, the service, the food, the beaches are the best. Looking forward to going back

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Dinah9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maine
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 May 2014

My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary here and wanted to splurge a bit. We typically vacation in Aruba, but we have stayed in St. Thomas at the Wyndham before and have always sailed to St. John to snorkel or dive and visit the beaches for a day, most of the beaches visited were part of this place called "Caneel Bay" I told myself we would return to actually stay one day. St. John is by far the most visually stimulating island I've ever been to, all of the Caribbean is beautiful, but St. John holds a special place in my heart. A fellow traveler that filled the 3rd seat on our plane on the way over said that she's been to Bora Bora and considers that and St. John the most beautiful places on earth. Bora Bora/Fiji/Tahiti is on my bucket list, but I think I may reconsider after the lengthy conversation about St. John's beauty - I hate to think I have to fly for 24hrs to the Pacific, only to find the same beauty 3 1/2 hours away - sounds much more appealing.

Questions I had before I left: Electrical requirements - same as US, yes an iron and a blow dryer in the room, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner supplied (coconut mango to be exact), bug spray in every room and they provide a thermos beach cooler (enough to hold a 12pack). Have the ice guy bring you ice to fill your cooler, and fill your ice bucket every morning. Tip him. Slippers and robes provided. Make reservations a couple of days before you arrive via email for your favorite restaurants if you don't plan to eat on site every night. Beach towels are never a problem, always stocked in your room, don't have to turn them in like other resorts and they're HUGE - 4 a day. Minibar and fridge in each room, a bit pricy. We bought mixers, vodka, rum at the airport to bring back to the room. Didn't think of water. You will use A LOT of water. Buy water. It's hot. It was just turning to summer when we got there, no breeze. I refuse to complain about the heat since we're still burning fuel at home as we speak and its the end of May... that said, I’m glad we missed the week of downpouring rain there the week before. It made mosquitos breed like mad so it was very buggy, locals said they’ve never seen mosquitos like that before, it had to be all the rain…

Was such a nice surprise to wake up and find deer and donkeys at our window in the morning. Very special, only to find out they're everywhere and easily accessible at anytime during our stay. They're very used to the everyday machinations of the resort and its people. Don't touch the baby deer as the mother will abandon them if you do. Mom you can touch, no babies. Do not feed them. They need to learn to survive without begging, I know they look cute. Don't feed them. Poop here and there, it's understandable. Feed the lizards, they like grapes, melons, watermelon, etc. The birds are hungry too, I always fed them scraps well away from anyone who may object to a swarm of birds all at once.
Snorkeling is fantastic. Find the little tiny beach called Paradise Beach right next to Scott Beach. There is a point there that has the best snorkeling, as well as Caneel Beach – you really can’t go wrong anywhere, but we found these had the most fish. It’s always nicer when the sun is shining as you snorkel, the colors are that much more vibrant.
Some reviews mentioned no umbrellas – the U.S. Park Service won’t let Caneel use umbrellas unless they’re on a patio. Just find a tree, there’s plenty of shade. Beach chairs are fine, I’ve heard complaints but it’s nice to drag them into the water if you need to. Can’t do that with fancy beach chairs.

There’s only one downside to staying in the room we were assigned; We had beachfront on Caneel beach and since all beaches on St. John are public beaches, visitors (and Caneel guests) would plop themselves right on our beach chairs in front of our balcony. It was awkward at best, no privacy when that happened so we just put towels on our chairs to keep people from being so close to us. It happened almost every day, and even with the towels on chairs, people insisted on keeping close, don’t know why, the beach is huge and more than enough room to spread out.

Eating – you have to try Zozo’s – excellent food. Book a table at 5:45 with a sunset view. You will take so many pictures! Turtle Bay Estate House also on the property was amazing as well. Turtle Bay has a resident cat, called Miss Kitty. The waitstaff doesn’t mind if you fix a small plate for her and put it on the floor at the open doors. It’s the only way she gets food. The tree frogs are amazing while you eat dinner! There’s lots of great restaurants in Cruz Bay – go to La Tappa , have their mussels, they are killer! Go to the Rhumbline, ask the locals, they’ll tell you where to eat. Can’t go wrong here either. We got the bed & breakfast package at Caneel so breakfast was included each morning. Breakfast was wonderful, great selections. I wish they would have served complimentary mimosas and bloody marys – that would have topped the cake.

We will definitely be back – we love the quiet. That’s one thing you will notice – how quiet it is! Make sure quiet is what you want.

Room Tip: Caneel Beach is the busiest and the birdiest and they can be quite loud in the wee hours of the morn...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank MaineTraveler3
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

Property: 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 Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Caneel Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Caneel Bay Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 166
Reservation Options:
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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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