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“Very highly recommended”
Review of The Old Gin House

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The Old Gin House
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in St. Eustatius
Reviewed 18 December 2010

We arrived at OGH with no reservation after leaving Kings Well (see review) looking for 10 nights' accommodation. Dominique was very friendly and efficient and whisked us off to look at a couple of rooms. We were very impressed with the ocean view suite and although a bit of a budget buster decided to take it. The 4 room suite is very spacious with colonial style furnishings, comfy sofa and chairs in the sitting room and a very comfortable huge sleigh bed in the airy bedroom. There is separate very effective aircon in both main rooms that open onto a balcony which could only be nearer the sea if it was in it! The only let down is the bathroom which is a bit jaded and occasionally had a bad drain smell. The management did all they could to get rid of this and they are aware of the problem which they know only a refit will eliminate. Apparantly this will be done in the near future but if this bothers you the room is 301 - you could ask if the work has been done yet.
Breakfast (good choice, all a la carte and prepared to order) and drinks are taken on the very pleasant sea side terrace and I will long remember my massive Myers's rum sundowners there!
It is a pity that the restaurant is non functional at present as the room in the original gin house has a great atmosphere. It is closed because it was not making a profit which is probably as good a reason as any and the excellent Blue Bead restaurant is only 5 minutes walk away.
The real stars of the show are Dominique and Wouter, the joint general managers. They are a really friendly, smiley, outgoing young couple who just cant do enough for you and while very busy are always prepared to sit and chat. Their laid back appearance belies some serious efficiency and their attitude is wonderful especially when they seem to work 24/7. I hope they are valued by the owner of OGH and we are sure they have a great future in the hotel industry.
We had a great stay at OGH and on Statia and were very sorry to leave especially considering the 28 degree temperature difference between there and home! We would recommend this hotel in a flash and if we ever return we would not consider staying anywhere else- a great place.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank teepees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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78 - 84 of 128 reviews

Reviewed 4 July 2010

My wife & I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to the Caribbean island of St. Eustatius, locally known as Statia. I had previously visited the island in 1981 and 1982, spending 6 weeks of each summer with the first and second archeological field schools conducted by the College of William & Mary. I had many great memories of Statia from that time, when as a young man (21), I enjoyed the islanders, hiking all over the island and the Caribbean life in general. The fruits of our labors can be seen today in the many historical informational signs scattered throughout the island. I wanted to take my wife back with me to an island I love.
I chose the Old Gin House to stay as that was always the "best" hotel on the island. The OGH was founded in the early 70's by Marty & John who now, unfortunately are both passed on. I have fond memories of their hospitality and good nature while on Statia years ago when I would visit the bar and hang out after a hard day's dig or survey. Today, a group of Dutch inventors own the OGH and it has a sister hotel, the Holland House on St. Maarten. I also stayed two nights at the Holland House in 1982 and liked it as well. Wouter Koeneman and Dominque Koeneman now manage the OGH and do a great job of it. They are young and their field is hospitality management. One can see them everywhere, at check-in, breakfast and during the day, as they rarely get a day off. We had an issue with a very slow shower drain that threatened to overflow onto the bathroom floor. I told Wouter the first day and he fixed the problem so we could enjoy great showers after snorkeling and walking. We were in one of the ocean front rooms which had a tile floor, king bed, fridge (for bottled water) and a great balcony right on the bay.
Each morning we started the day with breakfast off the menu, typically eggs and bacon, toast, a muffin, tea/coffee and juice. The breakfast was included in the price and a great way to start one's daily adventures. Hilma served our breakfast and she is a very hard worker who is there from am to at least 9 pm. I tipped her well. For other dining I cannot emphasize that outside of hotel restaurants nobody takes credit cards. Bring cash as the dollar is accepted everywhere. You can also get cash at one of 2 Windward Island Bank ATMS on the island (airport and downtown), when they are working (down twice while there) and with a fee. There is little shopping and the "big" gift/souvenir store Mazinga also is all cash. Super Burger (located in Upper Town uphill from the Fort) is great, operated by my friend "Skell" whom I met in 1981 when it was just a plywood burger shack. It has AC which is essential and the fish burgers are awesome, the bread is made there. We met as young men but today both sport grey hair. Other good eats include The King's Well where Win & Laura will cook you a lobster or great German dishes plus Bananas Foster to die for; all on a deck high above the Caribbean Sea. For Dutch food go to the Fruit Tree Restaurant located in Upper Town, it is run by Dutch who have been there less than a year. The Dutch fried treats are interesting and the fish was fantastic.
I rented a car from Rosie Lopes (Rainbow) who came down to the OGH and picked me up. Be warned the damage deductible is $2000!! Drive carefully. Roads on Statia are mainly concrete in fair to really poor shape and very narrow, especially in Oranjestadt. The Statias also drive pretty fast so watch the intersections and curves. However, having a vehicle allowed us to easily visit other spots such as Zeelandia Beach on the Atlantic and the De Windt Battery on the islands eastern side which has a great view of St. Kitts and Nevis as well as Brimstone Hill. The car also had AC which was a BIG plus. I did get a small paint scuff on it and fretted about it but Mr. Lopes had no issues with it when I turned the vehicle in at the airport saying it was "no problem."
We snorkeled the reef (old warehouse ruins) of Gallows Bay from the small beach at Dive Statia next to the OGH and from the larger beach by Smoke Alley Restaurant. By the week's end we had snorkeled the entire area which lies in about 15 to 25 feet of water and features colorful tropical fish and an old canon and anchor. The water was warm and clear but bring a bottle of tap water (empty drinking water) to wash the black sand off your feet. The best snorkeling is in the am due to the sunlight which is needed for good viewing and pictures. We also took a snorkeling trip (along with the scuba divers) with Golden Rock Divers to Jenkin's Bay where we saw a Moray Eel among other fish. The boat ride gave us great views of the island and the Statia Terminals oil storage facility.
We visited the historical museum, library, and park's office (STENAPA) as well. The museum is interesting but no AC so very hot. My wife is a librarian so that is why we visited the library. The park's office, located near the dock in lower town, does have AC and great books on Statia's parks and wildlife and T-shirts and bags. We also used their public internet service at a minimal cost to print out out return United boarding passes on their laser printer ( the OGH public computer is free but has no printer attached). Other local sites of interest were the Dutch Reformed church and Synagogue ruins as well as the restored Fort Oranje which houses the Tourist Office (also with AC and where one of Skell's daughters works). If you want a Statia flag they sell them there.
So, if you are looking for TRUE laid back Caribbean style than the OGH is for you. Starting with the Winair flight in the De Havilland Otter you will know you have left the main line behind. BTW, the plane has no AC so it will be a bit stuffy and hot but does get somewhat better when airborne. Statia could not be more different than bustling and hustling St. Maarten just 40 miles away. It is a bit rough around the edges, take cash and be sure to slow down, peel off our "American" fast and rushed pace and be in the moment as the rooster crows in the morning and the sail boats slowly rise from the slumber. It is an island full of roaming goats, cows, donkeys and friendly people. Smile at them, take the time to talk awhile and Statia suddenly becomes a unique experience.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank FarKnight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2010

My wife and I stayed at the Old Gin House Hotel(OGH) from June 19 to June 25. The OGH has buildings on either side of a narrow road that runs along the ocean. On the ocean side, a nice open air breakfast area and bar overlook the ocean. The Inn office/dining room is in a wonderful old building across the road, and our accommodations were in a separate, newer building behind the office and overlooked a small, clean deck and swimming pool. About 3/8 mile past the inn, the road dead-ends at a ‘harbor office’ and there was a good deal of activity (loading/unloading barges) and more traffic on the small road than I would have expected…enough to make you look very carefully when crossing from room to breakfast area.

The room was spacious, with tile floor, comfortable king bed and large shower stall. As a light sleeper, the many birds (and roosters) in the area tended to wake me about 5:00 a.m. every morning. The grounds were well kept and clean and the hotel staff very friendly…either Donimique or Walter seemed to always be around and willing to answer any question or help when asked. Unfortunately, the on-site restaurant had closed, except for breakfast. There is one small area of beach near the hotel, a couple of minute’s walk from the hotel, a black sand beach. While strolling the road along the shoreline in front of the OGH, you can see remains/ruins of several of the old warehouses used centuries ago. Quite a historical area, but without any apparent attention to preservation.

A few other thoughts on Statia:
The “town” sits on a hill above the OGH. It is a relatively short walk (maybe 200 yards?), but very steep, partially on a old, uneven, cobblestone roadbed.
Food: The Blue Bead restaurant was closed. Smoke Alley was open and is about ¼ mile along the oceanfront from the OGH (opposite direction from Harbor office) and it was good…enjoyed their 2 for price of 1 dinner on Tuesday evening. We had lunches and dinner at Golden Era hotel which is oceanside, next to the OGH breakfast area; they had good lobster, crab dishes, and was reasonably priced. Up in town, SuperBurger had good burgers and one of the few places we found that had an enclosed air conditioned area! Note that most of the eating places we went to did not take any form of credit card…so take plenty of cash. Also, many places seem to observe ‘island time’ so just expect to enjoy a longer than normal meal.
The Simon Doncker museum was interesting, lots of artifacts and historical information, however the afternoon we were there, it was incredibly hot inside - no air conditioning and most of the doors & windows were closed.
For landside activities, we took a hike up to The Quill (National Park with old volcano and crater)…can take minimum of 2 hours up to much longer depending on how many ‘side’ trails you want to take. If hiking, look for the crabs rolling down the hill as you go up…they may quickly go into their shell as you approach and sometimes start rolling!
My wife was disappointed, in that she wanted to visit the Botanical Garden, but we did not have a car and were told the road is so bad, none of the taxi drivers would take her there.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank grizfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2010

My husband and I spent three nights at The Old Gin House. This is such a sweet place. It is full of history and local flavor. We had an ocean front room with spectacular views.
The rooms are spacious and immaculate. The furniture is antiquish in keeping with the overall feeling of the place. There is great snorkeling right in front of the hotel. Breakfast is included, and it is great! No skimpy continental, this is a real breakfast! There is a pool in a lovely courtyard for cooling off.
Last, but most importantly, the managers. Dominique and Wouter. They made our stay wonderful. They are very hands on, and involved in the daily activities of the resort. Their professional, yet friendly demeanor was evident thorugh our stay. We hope to return soon!

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jklingen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2010

First off must mention that our WinAir flights were on time and our luggage arrived intact. As befits a 20-seater plane we didn't have to check in till about 40 minutes before departure. The good old days. The Old Gin House had a comfortable lobby with free Internet terminal, excellent choice of breakfasts included at the seafront dining area, and a small pool with a few too many fallen leaves in it. Rooms smelled a bit musty and the towels were thin, but they were clean and there was a generous supply of bottled water and toiletries. For $100 a night I really do not complain. Choice of air con or opening the louvered windows and listening to the surf. The restaurant is not/not operating for dinner any more. Lovely food down the road at the Blue Bead.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank FrancesOttawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2010

A group of 14 Gypsy DIvers from Raleigh, NC stayed at The Old Gin House for a week of diving, exploring, and relaxing. We all had a great time.

The Hotel: The Old Gin House is a very laid-back and well run hotel with well kept grounds and clean and sizable rooms. The couple that runs the place 'walt and Dominique could not be more accomodating and generous. They make you feel welcome and they appear genuinely glad you are there. The rooms have plenty of hot water, large bathrooms/showers and well maintained furnishings. Our breakfast was served to-order across the street on the water...a wonderful and relaxing place to welcome the day.

We used Golden Rock Dive Center owned/run by Glen and Michelle. We were all very impressed with the level of serve and professionalism from this dive operation. All dives were conducted by experienced divemasters Matt & Stephon...both are eager to show off the underwater sites.

The island is small and feels very safe. This is a great place to explore the volcanos and eat/drink at many of the small resturants. The people are welcoming and friendly but not overly so. The island has a feel of a time and place from the past with its slow pace and non-commerical surroundings.

I strongly recommend this island for people who want to get off of the beaten path and experience a relaxaing and down to earth caribbean location with beatufiul tropical views of the ocean.

  • Stayed: February 2010
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2  Thank Mark_Thorne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 October 2009

This is a review only of the restaurant, not the hotel. Visiting Statia, we decided to go to the much suggested Wednesday night barbeque at the OGH restaurant. Before we could exit our rental automobile to enter the restaurant, we were already overcome by how loud the DJ music was. There were less than a dozen people at the restaurant but the DJ had the music loud enough to entertain that whole end of the island. Unable to carry on a conversation, we left without eating and went down the street to the quiet, reasonably priced Smoke Alley for delicious grilled food and a romantic dinner. We also saved our hearing!

  • Stayed: October 2009
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1  Thank Alan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Old Gin House

Address: Oranjebaai 1, St. Eustatius
Region: Caribbean > St. Eustatius
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in St. Eustatius
Price Range: £164 - £209 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Old Gin House 3*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautifully located on Orange Bay, Lower Town, Oranjestad and a hike away from the Quill Volcano, the highest point on Statia with panoramic views over the entire island and neighboring islands, the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The intimate hotel convinces with its charming, elegant and cozy ambiance, where guests can find peace and pure relaxation without any unnecessary additions. The restaurant offers a diversified gastronomic experience accompanied by stunning ocean views. The Old Gin House is conveniently located on Orange Bay, right next to Scubaqua Dive Center in a quiet and historical area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Old Gin House Hotel St. Eustatius
The Old Gin Hotel
The Old Gin House St. Eustatius, Caribbean

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