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“Stairmaster ?Heaven, NOT!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Harmony Studios

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Harmony Studios
P.O. Box 310, Cruz Bay 00830, St. John   |  
Hotel amenities
Holland, Michigan
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Stairmaster ?Heaven, NOT!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2008

This was our first stay on St John. We had heard about Maho Bay and thought that would be an interesting place to stay with the kids and liked the idea that Harmony studios have their own bathrooms. St John is beautiful, truely a special place, worthy of the national park designation. The view from our studio was spectacular, we could see all the way to St Thomas. Little Maho beach is below and is nice, but unfortunately is more than 500 steps from top to bottom, and back up is another 500 plus steps! Maho bay is a great idea and those who are environmentally conscious will appreciate the emphasis on recycling. The restaurant is actually quite good with a spectacular view and reasonable prices. The glass blowing demonstrations were interesting and our kids enjoyed their glassblowing lessons, which were reasonably priced. The snorkeling is incredible with sea turtles next door at Francis Bay. There is better snorkeling elsewhere and the restaurants in Coral Bay (Shipwreck Landing and Skinny Legs Bar) and Cruz Bay (Morgans Mango and Cafe Roma) are worth trying and therein lies Maho/ Harmony's biggest drawback - the road. We wisely rented a Jeep, but the bumpy road in and out of the Maho Bay campgound gets tiresome, truely.

An excursion worth mentioning was a trip to the BVI on the "Bad Kitty", a recentlly launched motor cataraman. There was room to move around which was a huge advantage over the other charter options we saw. Our itinerary was a ride to Virgin Gorda to tour the Baths, lunch at Cooper Island, snorkeling the caves at Norman Island and finishing up with a Painkiller at Jost VanDyke's Soggy Dollar Bar and some beach time. A great trip worth the money.

St John is an American paradise in the Caribbean and Maho Bay is worth a visit. Harmony studios are expensive for what you get and we got tired of all the stairs and especially the washboard road.

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — The road the 500+ stairs to the beach, the hot afternoon sun without airconditioning
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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23 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2007

What a wonder place. Truly paradise. Not a place for pampering however. The studios advertise "hot water" but it just aint so. The solar water heaters give you a tepid shower at best. And there ARE bugs - mostly roaches in the room, but hey - it's the tropics.

The food was well prepared and quite tasty, if a bit pricey. Expect $20 each for dinner, plus beer or wine. Iced Tea is free.

Mostly a middle age 40's - 50's crowd the week I was there (Dec 8-15). Everyone is so friendly, and the place is so unpretentious, I would even consider traveling there alone. There were a good number of single travelers when we were there.

You really dont need to rent a car. Hamilton's taxi takes small groups on outings each day - at reasonable prices. Plus it's a nice way to meet other people staying at Maho. Mr. Hamilton really knows St. John.

My 52 Year old knees still ache thinking about all the stairs I climbed. Hundred and hundreds and hundreds. And I am in good shape. It was especially a gut buster to go from the beach to our studio. Yowsa.

My wife, who is a bit of a priss, and was more than a little aprehensive about "camping", can't wait to go back to Harmony.

If you dont like camping, but want the experience of Maho, AND you are in good physical shape, the Studios are a winner.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Shower not Hot
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2006

My husband & I spent 4 nights at Harmony Studios after years of looking at Maho Bay brochures since before there were websites to look at. Friends of ours had stayed at Maho and complained about the many steps from their tent to the bathroom, so since we were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary, we decided to splurge on Harmony Suites. The room was large studio with king size bed, kitchenette, private bath, closet, and a deck with a fantastic view. No complaints at all there.
However, it is about 180 steps down to dining pavillion, and again that much further DOWN to the beach. You really don't want to back and forth too many times in a day. (unless you are one of those people who runs up and down stairs to keep in shape)
We hope to go back to Maho, but next time we will stay in a tent-cottage, preferably between the dining pavillion and the beach, not TOO far from the bathroom.

  • Liked — Maho Bay
  • Disliked — distance from beach
  • Stayed May 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2006

My family of 4 just returned from a week at Harmony. We got two units (my children are teenagers), and that worked well. The units would be very crowded for four. As other reviews note, the accomodations are pretty basic. We found them adequate in terms of comfort. We did not have trouble with insects, and were comfortable sleeping at night. We did not mind the stairs, but all of us are in pretty good shape.

We had a jeep and spent most of the each day exploring the Island, and that worked extremely well. While Maho Bay is nice, we found it important to get out every day and explore this extraordinary island. We went into Cruz Bay and Coral Bay for dinner, and, while expensive, it was fun. We had breakfast each morning at Maho and found the food adequate and the view stunning. You eat your food while you look out at the water and watch the iquanas in the trees. Harmony is not for everyone. It is not luxurious and it presents some challenges (like the stairs). But the setting is beautiful and we came to appreciate how close to nature we were.

Stayed February 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
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Albany, Georgia
1 review
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2005

We are 63 and 64 years old, and we have travelled to St. John on several occasions. This year it was "my turn" to select where we stayed. I really wanted to stay in the Tent-Cottages, but my husband, not quite so adventurous as I, said "no"...he wanted a private bathroom...imagine!

So, we stayed in Harmony 6-A. Let me tell you about Harmony.

We were there off season, so things were nice and peaceful. In Harmony, choose either 6-A or 5-A...they are the two upper level suites that have the best view...Harmony 1 through 4 have NO VIEW, so remember that.

We took way too much stuff and hauling the suitcases up the fifty steps from the Jeep (Highly recommended) to the room was angina-producing, according to my husband. The room is large with king sized bed (comfortable), sofa bed and two rollaways. Refrigerator, microwave, sink. Good fans. No air-conditioning, but great breeze at night, and in the day time, we were under water snorkeling. Water pressure is weak but certainly adequate. Regular American toilet (hey, remember that this indoor bathroom was high priority for us!).

The staff was great at supplying fresh towels and sheets...things sour fast in that humidity. The dinner meals at the Pavilion were extremely good...not expensive in comparison with the other Cruz Bay restaurants of St. John, and what a view. Two nights we ate in our room just because we wanted to.

The bays around Maho are excellent...we did a bay a day. I'd advise taking your own snorkel gear, a beach towel, bug spray. Harmony supplies you with a nice little cooler for beach jaunts.

We stayed eight days, and it was fabulous, and we had many tales to tell when we came home. I am taking our 23 year old daughter down in January, and she and I ARE going to stay in a tent-cottage...I'll write a comparison afterwards.

Maho is not made for the staid, luxury requiring traveler...we've stayed in plenty of 5 Stars, but this was the perfect way to feel at peace with nature and to relax totally...ladies, no makeup...just shorts, slacks, the less you take, the better. By the way, take a hair dryer if you need one...there is plenty of electricity generated by the solar panels.

A long review, but I just had to tell you what a truly memorable week we had. If you feel at all in-tune with the environment, go for it and stay in Harmony Suites at Maho Bay. It is different, but what an experience!

By the way, my husband is somewhat physically handicapped and the steps from the Pavilion or from the beach to our cottage were really hard on him, but we found a way to drive right down to the beach (adjacent Francis Bay), and we could drive right to the Pavilion. The steps from the Jeep to the room were not bad except when we were hauling suitcases.

Go and have fun! I am a physician and this was just what this doctor ordered!

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2005

Each of the Harmony Studios is a two unit. One on top of the other. We stayed on the lower unit (a few bucks cheaper) and my folks were in the upper. From day one we had bugs. Not little water bugs, mind you, I mean giant "Fear Factor" cockroaches every night. On the third night I awoke to a roach running across my face and then under the sheets. We bought a mosquito net, hung it from the ceiling, and tucked it under the mattress to keep them off us at night. We called the management and they came and sprayed. From then on, we would wake up to five to ten roaches writhing half dead on the floor surrounding our bed. My folks upstairs had no roaches- just bees, ants, and unbearable heat. It was so hot that they had to avoid the room during daylight hours and would go down to the restaurant to sit and read. The bottom units had no view. The water went out twice for about 8 hours. The stairs are brutal. The roads are treacherous. On the last day our neighbor was robbed. She had left her door unlocked while she slept, and she woke up around dawn to a guy standing right in front of her, holding her purse.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
menlo park
17 reviews 17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
173 helpful votes 173 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2005

We stayed at Harmony several years ago, so it has probably changed in that time. But I'm sure the views are as fabulous as ever. True, it requires about 500 steps to reach the beach, so make sure you have everything with you when you go. At the time the Park Service presented fequent evening programs about the natural splendors of the island. The food wasn't that great, but it was filling. The unit was large enough with excellent cross ventilation. I recall that the sheets smelled rather sour. What most impressed me was the view from our porch. We were out there for every sunset, watching the incredible colors fade and the lights come on over the water on St Thomas and Tortola, while St John stayed pitch dark. Their beach on Little Maho Bay is a bit crowded, but you can walk or better yet swim around the point to Big Maho Bay, with some excellent snorkeling along the way.

  • Stayed February 2002
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Harmony Studios

Address: P.O. Box 310, Cruz Bay 00830, St. John
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. John > Cruz Bay
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 19 Specialty Lodging in Cruz Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Harmony Studios Hotel Cruz Bay
Harmony Studios St. John/Cruz Bay

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