My boyfriend and I traveled to St. Thomas/St. John from August 17, 2012 to August 26, 2012. We are school teachers so we do most of our traveling during our time off in the summer. We were on St. John for the first 5 days of our trip and took the ferry back to St. Thomas for the last portion of our vacation. One of the risks we take when traveling the Caribbean during the summer is encountering a tropical storm or hurricane. Our time on St. John was beautiful and uneventful, however, we left on one of the last ferries before tropical storm Isaac traveled south of the islands.
After we took a taxi to get our rental car (a must-have on St. Thomas) and then drove to Paradise Cove, we had to search the grounds for the caretaker, Danielle. We had to call her cell phone for her to come out and “welcome” us. This was an additional nuisance because every time my boyfriend or I used our cell phones we accrued roaming charges by our cell phone providers. There was no formal check in process or check out process, anyone could have shown up and been checked into a/our room!
Danielle frantically showed us around the grounds and was very panicked about the storm. She was also very condescending to my boyfriend and I and asked us if we even knew a storm was coming. We had been watching the news and weather carefully and knew that while Isaac was classified as a tropical storm, it was a weak one. Being from New England of the United States, we’ve had our fair share of storms and know how to prepare for them. We were told that for our safety instead of staying in the Serenity Cottage (where we originally made reservations to stay) we would be placed in one of their apartments. The “apartments” were nothing more than studio-style rooms in a motel style building. We were understanding of this decision, and were told it would be only for one night. We went out to get storm supplies and spent some more time roaming the grounds. The pool area was not maintained and all the pool furniture had already been submerged in the pool in preparation for the minor storm. There were MAJOR ant/bug issues in the rooms. We travel frequently to tropical areas and realize that bugs are a fact of life in these areas, BUT the accommodations at Paradise Cove had more bugs than I have ever seen. There was no land-line phone and cell phone service was spotty in the studio- this was very concerning should there actually have been an emergency. I was told there was Wi-Fi in the room and what the password was, but it would not work. I sought out Danielle for help and she was of no help in the matter. In addition the key codes for all the doors in the motel building are very predictable and in my opinion not good security.
As predicted, the storm passed to our south and was not severe, we did not even lose power. We were informed by Danielle that we would not be moved to the Serenity Cottage as we originally agreed to. Unfortunately we had to threaten that we would leave and book a room at the Marriott before we were moved. So we repacked and moved to the Serenity Cottage. The entire time we moved Danielle just watched us and was extremely rude and snotty. She even told us “Jesus Christ, the whole island could be blown off the map” (because of the storm that had passed I assume)? Five minutes after we moved into Serenity Cottage, Danielle called my cell phone and asked “Are you finally happy?” To which I replied that yes, we were happy to be in the cottage we paid for and originally made the arrangements for. The way we were treated was unacceptable. With the current economy as it is (and the fact that the establishment wasn’t exactly bustling with patrons) I would definitely think they would treat their guests more respectfully.
Our time in Serenity Cottage wasn’t all we thought it would be. I’ve attached some disturbing photos from our limited stay there. Again, there was no land-line for phone. The shower handles are backwards (HOT should be COLD and vice versa). The bugs were an issue here as well. The windows do not lock in the Serenity Cottage!!! They do have a locking mechanism but the windows still opened when “locked”. This was especially troubling since anyone could get onto the deck of the cottage and enter in through the windows. There was no safe, holes in the walls, ripped and stained (gag!) sheets, dirty dishes in the cabinets, strange pink stains bleeding through the painted walls, a sewage smell by the front door, and dusty artificial plants- can you believe it? Artificial plants in the tropics?!?! The air conditioning had little to no affect because the windows are so poorly sealed. For the two days we were at the Serenity Cottage we endured continuous power surges and “brown-outs”. This became very problematic especially since water was pumped into the cottage using electricity. At one point I stood in the shower for 10 minutes all soaped up waiting for the power to come back again so I could rinse.
Since the utility company doesn’t work on the weekend in St. Thomas, we were again moved back to the motel style rooms. Danielle asked us what room we stayed in the first time (being the property manager, this was something we thought she should have known) because it still hadn’t been cleaned and they were going to put us into a different room. So, needless to say, there is no daily maid service or housekeeping.
Shortly after the storm had passed to the south of us Danielle placed caution tape on the trials leading closer to the water due to a shipwrecked sailboat, yet she herself went down several times and even guided guests down there. My boyfriend and I were specifically warned to not go down there since looters had already begun working on the sailboat.
There were no attempts by anyone to clean up the grounds or remove the pool furniture from the pool after the storm. The grounds were a mess and the furniture submerged the entire time we were there.
We were so displeased with the accommodations (and the entire island of St. Thomas for that matter) that as soon as the ferry was running again we went back to St. John for our last full day.
The one good thing my boyfriend and I have to say about the property is that the southern view from any of the rooms/cottages was gorgeous. On one particularly clear afternoon we could see all the way to St. Croix. However, there was no safe way to get down to the gorgeous water, sadly.
When it was time to leave Paradise Cove we could not find Danielle (and she was not answering her cell phone). We searched the grounds and finally found someone who looked like they worked there. She just told us that we were “all set”, again, no formal check out process. Once we returned home, we e-mailed Danielle requesting reimbursement of some type since my boyfriend and I felt that the studio rooms we were put in were in no way equivalent to an entire cottage. My boyfriend and I were offered 2 free nights at Serenity Cottage for 2 people- needless to say we will never be back there, not even if it were free!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Paradise Cove Vacation Rental Property is located on the East End of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. WE have 6 condos, 2 cottages with adjoining studios, a Cabana, and 6 2 story apartments available for rental. Offering a nature hike straight down to the rock front shore line, a swimming pool with large gas BBQ grill, an Internet Cafe, and a 10 foot Gazebo, and a 50 person multi purpose function room. The property is located walking distance to Secret Harbour Beach, and 2 minutes away by car to Red Hook. Red Hook has over 20 bars and restaurants, shopping, gas station, grocery store, pharmacy, mail room, doctors office, and also is the where the St. John and BVI ferry dock is located. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Paradise Cove Oceanfront Villas & Suites St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands