Caneel Bay Resort
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Historical Traveler Reviews Caneel Bay Resort
Want to Feel like a King ?
Best stay ever. I have travelled quite a bit in my life but never felt so special, so relaxed and so provided for than at the Caneel bay Resort in St. John. The property is on nearly 200 acres and has several restaurants and 7 private beaches. Many of the rooms are beachfront. The decor is sophisticated but casual. The service is impeccable. This is a place to completely relax and feel like royalty. There are no phones or tv's in the room so one can really be at peace. Great Tennis, water sports (everything from scuba to sunset sailings) and massage. The restaurants are fantastic including the buffet Brunches. The prices are on the high side but worth every penny and very deserving of its "leading Hotels of the World" status.
Amazing!!! We spent a week in August of 2002 at this incredible resort. Well worth the expense. When we arrived we felt as if we were entering a tropical jungle, the resort is breathtaking. The beaches are equisite, theres many to chose from. Very small pool, but we weren't interested, the water is very warm.Try the breakfast buffet, super. But, at $50 for two we only went twice. The food was good but pricey, there are a wide variety of restauraunts in town. We prefered to eat in town. We never had a bad meal. Rent a jeep for atleast a day. For you couples looking for a private beach, little lameshur bay is a must on the other side of the island. We took a trip to virgin gorda to see the baths, spectacular. Also a trip to st. thomas, fun, but no comparison to the beauty of st. john. Can't wait to go back. Nice spa services at the resort too, very few children.
Quality doesn't matter; they've got location
Caneel Bay is a tough place to review. The accomodations are not great (got stung by a wasp my first hour in the room). The restaurant staff is rude. The food is sub-par and very expensive. Housekeeping leaves much to be desired. You get hit with about $50 in resort fees and taxes for each day that you stay in addition to your room rate, which starts at about $300. That said, none of this matters a bit when you see their property--probably the most spectacular property I've ever seen for a resort. They have seven private beaches (we didn't even get to them all in a five-night stay). And St. John is one of the most wonderful places in the Carribean. So...go to Caneel. Don't eat there. Bring bug spray. Enjoy the beaches and Cruz Bay. I'd go back in a second.
Caneel Bay was Delightful and Charming.
Caneel Bay was delightful and charming.
During our stay on St. John, we stayed at two resorts: the Westin Resort and Caneel Bay. We could not decide which resort to pick and compromised on going to both.
Charming setting, large open spaces, and beautiful beaches.
Arrival and Check-In:
There is no airport on St. John and most people fly into St. Thomas and take the Resort's 40-minute ferry and arrive right at the Caneel Bay Resort's dock. The registration counter is located just off the dock. The setup is great. Because we were already staying on the island prior to our arrival at Caneel Bay, we arrived by rental car (4 wheel drive Suzuki Side Kick). We had problems finding the driveway to the resort. There is no entrance sign saying Caneel Bay. There was however an entrance gate that had the Caneel Bay symbol. There was no one around to take our luggage or direct us where to go from the parking lot to the registration desk. Since we were not familiar with the resort, we did not know where the registration desk was located. We ran into one of the guests along the main path and got directions. The desk was about a 200-yard walk down different paths from the parking area. Do not let this discourage you since almost everyone arrives by the ferry. The dock is really the main entrance to the resort.
The Beaches at Caneel Bay:
What we liked most about Caneel Bay is the quiet beaches. They have 5 separate crescent shaped beaches. One day we took a nature trail around the resort and explored the other 4 beaches and accommodations that comprise this resort. Hawks Nest Beach, Turtle bay Beach, Scott's Beach Caneel Bay Beach and Little Caneel Bay.
There is nothing like lounging under a tree on a beautiful beach with crystal turquoise waters and a soft breeze flowing over my body. Caneel Bay delivered. The little Caneel Beach had a perfect tree in front of our cottage. Most other beaches had trees too. The prettiest beach of the resort was Turtle bay. If we go back we will probably try to stay on that beach. If snorkeling is what you want to do, there is good snorkeling at other beaches on St. John. Reefs for snorkeling were located right at Little Caneel Beach and Turtle Bay. The fish were great, and I even took chase to a 3 to 4 foot barracuda. We did explore the underwater trail at Trunk bay. If, for any reason, you do not like any of the beaches at Caneel Bay, then you're still in luck. St. John has some of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean. All water sports were included, except scuba excursions. You can sign out snorkeling gear when you arrive, and return it when you leave.
We stayed in cottage 5 which was the last cottage situated on Little Caneel beach. The cottage had it's own patio and was about 40 feet from the water.
The rooms are simple. Cottage 5 was one large open room with bed and living area. The room had a mini bar refrigerator with a complimentary bottle of rum. The main room had granite floors, wood ceilings, and large windows facing the beach. Below and above the windows are sets of louvers that let the tropical breezes pass through the room and bath. The bath and closet area had adequate storage. It was stocked with bug repellant, two robes with slippers and other items that one might need. The shower/bath was lined with tropical tiles of fish, and contained a double sink. Best of all the cottages on Little Caneel beach are single story. Rooms on other beaches are no more that two levels. I asked a couple staying on Hawks nest beach if they had any problems with the noise from other rooms. And they indicated that although people were staying above them, they could not hear them at all. Our room had a ceiling fan and a remote control air conditioner. No TV or radio. Maybe this explains the quite setting.
The Restaurants and Bar:
We enjoyed eating at the Equator restaurant. This open-air restaurant provided excellent views of the Sunset and the twinkling lights of St. Thomas at night. The Equator sits on top of an old Sugar Mill and overlooks the resort. The food was above average. The service was average, but very friendly. The average cost of dinner for two at the Equator with one mixed drink each and tip was about $110.00
We are late to rise and did not take advantage of the free continental breakfast. The food at the breakfast buffet was excellent. It had a very large selection of fresh fruits. If you do not like the selection of pancakes, sausage, etc. at the buffet, then someone is waiting at the grill to make your omelets or eggs. I consider it expensive at $25 per person.
Swimming Pool and Tennis:
The resort has both Tennis courts and swimming pool. We did not check out the swimming pool because the beach in front of our room was just like a swimming pool, with 4-inch breakers. It was delightful.
Going into town (Cruz Bay):
The taxis from Caneel Bay to Cruz Bay are $3.00 per person each way. If you have a rental vehicle, you may have problems finding parking in town. This is especially true in late June and early July when they are preparing for the annual Carnival. Many car rental places are located in town. We did not make arrangements a head of time and bartered with the owner of Hospitality Rental on our vehicle. The town has many shops and paces to eat. The town also has the Headquarters to the National Park.
There are lots of other things to see on the island during your stay at Caneel Bay.
Westin Vs. Caneel Bay:
When comparing the Westin to Caneel Bay on St. John, We enjoyed Caneel Bay better. Both are expensive. We had excellent rooms at each resort. The ocean front room at the Westin did have a great view. You can not snorkel at the Westin. The water is too cloudy. The beaches are more beautiful and intimate at Caneel Bay. The grounds at the Westin are prettier. The pool at the Westin was nice. We did like the service at the Chloe & Bernards Restaurant at teh Westin. The service at the Westin breakfast buffet was below average. Westin was more family and kids oriented.
One thing I must say about St. John: Rum is cheaper than water.
Caneel Bay- A Huge Dissapointment
We stayed at Caneel Bay in April 2002 after one night on St. Thomas.Our hotel there was awful, so we decided to move to Caneel Bay to salvage our vacation.
Caneel Bay has some of the prettiest beaches and water. However, the rest of it is "tired". Our $400 room was tiny, and our shower flooded the bathroom everytime we turned it on. Also, the staff was plain nasty. We were treated like we were inconveniencing them if we asked them to fill our water glasses. We would have been treated better at any old Holiday Inn here in the U.S. The staff has attitude and obviously a chip on there shoulder.
And the breakfast situation was even worse. Here's the deal, complimentary bread and coffee, but before 8 AM. Don't even get there at 7:45 or the rude staff may have to walk back to the kitchen to replenish some supplies for YOU! Oh, and after the magic # of 8 AM, you'll have to get the $25 Buffet (per person). No menu ordering. So, if you just want cereal, you have to pay $25 for your bowl of cheerios. No Thanks!
After rude concierges, desk help, waiters, and drivers, we did what we have never done before- we left 2 days early.
I live for the beach and ocean, and even I was ready to leave.
My advice, go to St. John, just don't waste your time or money on Caneel Bay. By the way, this was the impression that most of the people we talked to had also!!
I'd go back only if I had a nice villa rental.
May 23, 2002. I just returned from a vacation at Caneel Bay in St. John USVI. WOW! I have been lucky to travel the world for several years now, and this my first visit to Caneel Bay proved to be the best trip ever. The rooms were delightful and spotless eventhough we were located just a few steps form a sandy beach. The food was exciting and delicious. The service was the best I have ever experienced. The staff of the restort was warm and very accommodating. They were sincerely there to make ones holiday absolutely perfect. I would visit again just to be around such friendly and interesting people. The property was a dream come true. I love the Caribbean, and this has to be the most beautiful spot among many lovely destinations. It was a true paradise....just what I would hope heaven might be. I have already taken the calendar down to pencil in next year's vacation. WOW!
Third Visit - Best Yet
My wife and I just returned from our third visit to Caneel Bay and it was our best vacation ever. What a wonderful place. This year we spent ten nights which was still not long enough!
I was more struck by the overall beauty of Caneel Bay this year. Caneel Bay is known for it's beaches. They are beautiful. But, the grounds of the resort are equally beautiful. My wife especially enjoyed walking to and from our room on Cottage Point in the evening. The lighting around the resort is subduded and indirect. Torches are light at sunset around the public areas. It is beautiful and romantic.
My wife and I really like the rooms at Caneel Bay. They are not as luxurious as some might desire, but they are very comfortable. The twice a day housekeeping was excellent. The towels and linnens are excellent and the bed was very very comfortable.
This year, for the first time, we took a couple of the offered day trips. The snorkeling trip with "Cathy" to the Brittish Virgin Islands was excellent as was the day trip to The Baths on Virgin Gorda. I would highly recommend both.
Our only disappointment was the level of service in the Beach Bar. We were at Caneel Bay during the NBA playoffs and spent a lot of time in the bar watching the games. Service could have been better. Every other aspect of service was excellent.
Like last year, the best recommendation that I can offer is that we are planning on going back for the 4th year in a row next June.
My best Caribbean experience to date!
It *is* possible to vacation at a great resort with your kids! Caneel Bay takes the other vacationers into consideration by putting the kids nearer to the main reception area away from the more "tucked away" accomodations on the property.
My wife and I took our kids ages 10,8 and 4 and stayed in adjoining oceanfront rooms on Caneel Beach. It was everything we could want. Adults can swim on the "adult only" Scott Beach or any of the other six beaches each with their own distinct characteristics and all beautiful.
There is a restaurant on the opposite end of the property from the entrance which was closed for renovations when we were there. The "Equator" was open but we traveled into town or the mountains for better views. We did dine several times in the bar area where we thought the food was quite good for a "bar menu". Beware ot the mosquitoes and the deafening tree frogs at night however. Prices will seem normal for those who are from metro areas.
I believe the resort was full but the nice thing about being on 170 acres is that we never saw anyone except at meals and even then there were no crowds.
We found service to be ample for our needs which were nil except bed making which happened twice per day.
The rooms were large and appointed well. We were too hot without the A/C and didn't enjoy the noise when they were on. It had rained quite a bit prior to our arrival in mid November and the humidity was high.
Overall the resort was outstanding but we were glad we found one other beach in particular elsewhere as it was large, had a gradual entry and great snorkeling. More kid friendly. We had a rental Jeep but we could have done as well with an arranged taxi. I don't know when we'll return only because we won't settle for less than 1st class and here that ain't cheap!
A resort past its prime
My wife and I stayed at Caneel Bay for 10 days in March, 2001. We were in a premium oceanfront room. The room was nice but not posh. Beaches were spectacular. Grounds were poorly manicured and maintained for a five star resort. Broken sprinkler heads abounded, and everything looks as though it needed a thorough watering. Food at all of the restaurants was mediocre at best. There are many better restaurants around the island. Service was slow but not unexpected in the Carribean. The most disappointing aspect of the resort was the attitude of the staff. Most were indifferent and many were overtly surly. Our overall impression was that Caneel Bay was resting comfortably on past laurels and was certainly past its prime. We intend to return to St. John in 2002, but will not return to Caneel Bay.
Caneel Bay - a beautiful, unique, relaxing luxury resort
My wife and I found Caneel Bay to be truly wonderful. Wonderful enough to have reservations to return a third straight year in May of 2002.
For us, the best of Caneel Bay is the beauty of the beaches and the tranquility of the resort. It is a place that seems far removed from everyday life where you can realy relax.
Caneel Bay's beautiful beaches are probably the main reason the resort exists. We have been told that there are seven beaches, but we discovered Scott Beach on the first day of our first visit and have not had any reason to try the others! Scott Beach is perfect. Even though the resort was sold-out during our last visit, there were never more than about 30 people on the beach wich is about a quarter mile long.
My wife and I also enjoyed our rooms at Caneel Bay. We stayed in Cottage Point rooms on our previous visits which are classified as "Ocean View." The rooms are somewhat rustic, but are very comfortable. The beds, linens, and towels are first class. Our room was air conditioned, but we much preferred to open the louvers on all sides of our room and let the wind blow through.
Food at the restaurants at Caneel Bay can be expensive, but it is very good. We enjoyed having dinner in the bar where there was live entertainment. We also did not feel out of place playing backgammon during dinner. We ordered breakfast baskets brought to our room each day and never tried the complimentary continental breakfast that is offered somewhere on the property.
My wife and I felt service at Caneel Bay was poor when we visited in 2000, but very good the next year. If you are impatient, you may be disappointed by the service. We went to relax and did not mind waiting a few minutes for what we had ordered.
Our first visit to Caneel Bay was four nights. In 2001, we stayed seven nights. We have eleven nights reserved next year. How about that for a recommendation!
TripAdvisor Reviews Caneel Bay Resort
Travel Blogs from Caneel Bay
... Coki Beach, a local hot-spot known for amazing snorkeling and it's laid-back watering hole. We started at one end of the small stretch of beach and snorkeled around the corner. Immediately after diving in the tropical waves I was greeted with a school of fish who clearly are no stranger to visiting humans as they swam right up to me expecting a treat and found themselves quite disappointed. Gliding through the water I glimpsed for the first time ever squid swimming around and the ...
We are headed to the Indians - which are a group of uninhabited rock formations that jut out of the Caribbean. According to Charles, this is the highlight of the trip.
It took 3 tries to hook up to the mooring ball, but once we got moored close to the rocks, Charles and I got in and snorkled all the way around the formation. Chris and Kathy got in and snorkled too. This was the highlight and probably the most fish that we had seen on the trip. The water ...
We had an early morning -- seems that on this trip we go to bed when the sun sets and get up when it rises.
Ate a great breakfast cooked by Letty and Bonnie - - we are going to need the fuel today - - we have another long sail.
Before we sail we need ...
Headed to Soper's Hole Marina this morning to do some shopping. It's quite a view coming into the Marina - - there are houses on the edge of the Mountains as you come through the pass.
Once done at Soper's Hole we are going to head to Norman ...
... some of his antics. Then we were led into their small rum distillery. We listened to another brief presentation on their rum making methods. When that was done we were led into the gift shop. We each sampled three different types of rum. We tried Blackbeard's Castle Aged Rum, Bones Rum (complete with a skull and crossbones), and Virgin Islands Blend with peach flavoring. I suspect the last time I had rum at 09:00 I was probably ...