You will be glad if you are driving a small 4WD vehicle because the roads are narrow, winding and steep every where on St. John and the access to the cottage is a bit intimidating the first time. That said, the reward upon arrival is worth it. Once one climbs up from the parking area through the lovely garden, the views of John's Folly, LeDuck Island, and beyond to Norman Island are spectacular at any time of day.
The Cottage is small but very comfortable for two people. We loved the firm king bed and the recliners in the living area were perfect for visiting and reading in the evening. We had strong north winds every day which made use of the porch limited. The rains early every morning, the breezes, and the sound of the surf are really all that you hear except for the occasional truck on the road below coming to clear hurricane debris. Evidence of the hurricanes is everywhere, especially in the Coral Bay area. However, the enthusiasm of the people with whom we spoke and the remarkable rate of cleanup were impressive.
Shopping on St. John is limited but who comes here to shop? This National Park is an amazing national treasure of forests and beaches. Many of the trails in the Park need maintenance but all were usable.
We loved our stay at Surf Sound Cottage in the Coral Bay quarter of St John. This was our third time on the island, but this is our favorite place we stayed and cannot wait to return. We loved the cottage, which is perfect for two, and stayed nine nights. The Cottage was very clean and everything was as pictured, actually better than the pictures. We spent most of our time on the covered porch, enjoying the view, the nice cool breezes, and of course sunrise every morning. The bedroom is air conditioned but we only used it 3 nights, the other nights had a nice breeze to keep us cool. We did not cook at the Cottage, but everything is there if we wanted to. We had breakfast on the porch, packed lunches to enjoy at the beach, and had dinner out every evening, mostly in the Coral Bay restaurants. We also loved the outdoor shower and never used the indoor one. Oh, and the washer and dryer was great too, very convenient.
About the driveway, we knew it was going to be steep and bumpy, but it was not a problem to navigate. 4WD is a must and once you drive up most of the way, backing up the last part to a flat parking space was not bad at all. As Denise, the owner says, in daylight the first time is best.
Denise was very helpful throughout the booking process and provided all the information we needed about the Cottage and the island. We spent our days snorkelling and enjoying many of the beaches. Salt Pond Bay and Lamshur are very close, but the 20 to 30 minute drive to the north shore beaches was not too far. We only went to Cruz Bay twice for dinner. The rest of our dinners were in Coral Bay. Our favorite is Indigo Grill and we went there three times. We also really liked Pizza Bar in Paradise and the Thirsty Donkey. In August, some of the restaurants were closed for off season, but there were still plenty of choices.
We plan to return in 2019 and Surf Sound will be our choice. Thank you Denise for providing such a wonderful place to stay on such an amazing island.
We stayed here for a week in July to celebrate an anniversary. It is an amazing deal given all of the amazing amenities that this place has to offer, plus the view, plus the complete privacy. You really cannot find a place that has all of that at this price on the island I don't think.
The island is an amazing place to visit with God's beautiful creation on full display around every corner. It is just gorgeous. This cottage is on the coral bay side of the island which was great for us because it was away from the (sometimes drunk) crowds that can be found on the Cruz Bay side of the island but if the party scene is your thing you're still only a half an hour or so from there and there are plenty of places to enjoy a drink or two on the Coral Bay side. Our only complaint about the Coral Bay side was the Mangrove smell but I think that it was nature doing it's thing so I guess that is okay. The cottage is a short drive to the famous north shore beaches and even closer to the less traveled but wonderful east end beaches as well. The roads are all very windy and steep at points so you learn to take your time driving. The driveway is a beast to get up but as long as you have a four wheel drive and follow the directions Denise gives you it really isn't a big deal and the cottage at the top is worth it.
The cottage itself is a destination. In our week there we never got tired of the view from the patio and the sundeck. Denise is super helpful if you need any advise or help, but also is not all up in your business or living on the property while you are there, as I think some other places could potentially have. The amenities were awesome with all the beach and snorkel stuff you could need and a fully ready to use kitchen. We even were able to use a vacuum to clean out our Jeep to avoid cleaning fees from the car rental place. With us visiting in July the living area did get a little warm at night, but the turning the AC on in the bedroom at night worked perfectly and the room was cool and restful.
We always love visiting new places and Saint John was one of our favorite places we have ever visited. If we never have the opportunity to visit the beautiful island again we will be glad that we chose to stay at Surf Sound Cottage for our one visit there!
The cottage was located near Coral Bay nestled in the hills overlooking the ocean. The location was very private and we felt secure there. The cottage had everything we needed and was clean. The wifi was a nice surprise. My husband and I cooked breakfast at the cottage each morning and ate all other meals at Skinny Legs, Oasis, Aqua Bistro, Joe's Rum Hut, and High Tide.
We loved the uncrowded, beautiful beaches and fantastic snorkeling. The water is so calm and clear. People are friendly and laid back. The vacation was relaxing. We would highly recommend Surf Sound Cottage and hope to return someday.
Our recent stay at Surf Sound Cottage was the first time on St. John for my wife and I, and we could not have been happier with our decision to stay there. Everything other reviewers have said about the cottage is true; well-appointed - check, extremely private - check, great location - check, friendly and informative owner - double check.
We never used the indoor shower because the outdoor shower was so...delightful! The mattress on the bed was wonderfully comfortable. We had our own snorkeling gear, but the backpack chairs and soft cooler were great to take to the beach. The location was perfect for us. Having Salt Pond Bay so close was a big bonus. We both loved visiting the jumbies on Drunk Bay and the hike to Ram Head is spectacular - WAY under-publicized in my opinion. Skinny Legs was our go-to dinner hangout, but we had some excellent calimari at Aqua Bistro, terrific waffles at Pickles in Paradise and some apres-snorkel drinks while taking in the view of Salt Pond Bay from Concordia Cafe's dining deck. We ate out almost exclusively, but Dolphin Market had a surprisingly good selection. We picked up some pasta and sauce for an easy meal because some days, after snorkeling at three different, beautiful beaches we just didn't have the energy to go out to dinner!
All-in-all it was a wonderful vacation. Thank you, Denise!
Surf Sound Cottage will forever linger in our minds as an exceptional place away. We felt we had escaped the world in the mountain villa, it was that private! Our senses were certainly tickled there...The views of the water and islands and sky were ever-changing and delighting. Flowering bushes abounded around the property; having the orchids in the tree beside the outside shower was a treat. The highlight of each of our 14 days there was waking up as the sunrise peeked through the bedroom window. Having coffee on the amazing porch, we felt that the sunrise was introduced everyday for an audience of two! Only one rooster politely crowed at sunrise, then rested for the day. There was a barking dog a few nights but the fan's white noise lulled us to sleep. We used the AC only the first night there since the villa had been closed up. The underlying sound was the surf below...it was very soothing to hear all day and night long.
The villa itself was perched up the hill alone without nearby neighbors. Driving up the driveway the first time...in the dark...(our plane was delayed) was so pathetic a nearby neighbor came to see if she could assist us. Our best hint is that you read the Jeep's manual BEFORE needing the 4-wheel drive. We did that the next morning and by putting the engine in neutral first before shifting into 4WD, the driveway and island roads were very manageable. Surf Song Cottage was spotlessly clean with polished Spanish tile floors and full equipped kitchen. The bed was gloriously comfortable and perfect for afternoon naps as well. Lots of fluffy towels were provided, beach towels, too. Under the house in the lower level we were delighted to find the washer and dryer, lots of beach toys, snorkel equipment, even backpackable beach chairs! The owner had thought of everything we could possibly want or need!
And speaking of the owner, Denise...her initial contact regarding the booking was prompt and informative and made the booking fun. Her tons of information BEFORE we arrived certainly made our planning go more smoothly. She provided so many suggestions and hints in her binder in the villa, we easily planned which sites to visit each day. We even took the Annaburg Ruins pamphlet with us which proved invaluable in describing that amazing site. She provided Roku for the TV which proved very entertaining each evening when it got dark. There was a cell phone there for our use, too.
From the steaks we cooked on the grill to the famous burgers at Skinny Legs, we ate very well. The Dolphin Market in Coral Bay provided most of our groceries, and the Starfish Market in Cruz Bay was a fun shopping experience as well.
We enjoyed the Bat Hike experience at V.I.E.R.S. (Virgin Island Experimental Research Station,) snorkeled at various bays around the island, and challenged ourselves by trying to hike to the Petroglyphs. Oh, and one of the BEST experiences was swimming with sea turtles in Maho Bay an hour after sunrise. It was truly heavenly to experience (and on my Bucket List!)
All in all, staying at Surf Sound Cottage was one of the BEST experiences we've ever had! Don't hesitate to book it for yourself!
Surf Sound Cottage was everything we could ask for and more. My wife and I stayed here for our Honeymoon and had the time of our lives! We are already planning our next trip.
The cottage is perfect for two people and comes equipped with all essential kitchen, bathroom, and beach necessities. The bedroom is the only air conditioned room, but there are plenty of fans throughout the house to keep it cool. Although there is a shower in the bathroom area, we recommend using the outdoor shower only due to the fact that the inside shower creates steam and adds additional heat to the house. What's better than showering outside anyway?? Wild orchids, lizards, and breeze in all the right places. Everything about the driveway is true: It is intimidating at first, but easily doable. Ensure you have the vehicle in four wheel drive and go for it!
We cannot say enough nice things about Denise! She is absolutely wonderful to work with! Due to flight changes, we had to adjust our dates. Denise was perfectly willing to accommodate us and do everything in her power to ensure we had a wonderful time. She even checked in on us via email while there to ensure that we had everything we needed. Denise really went above and beyond, and her effort did not go un-noticed.
If you are looking for a private, perfect, and beautiful retreat in paradise look no further! Surf Sound Cottage has it all!