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- but since this was the off-season the islands were not crowded and prices also reflected the off-season. After we arrived in St. Thomas we were stuffed into a crowded taxi at the airport and taken to the Red Hook Ferry landing (warning: roads are narrow and windy and remember to drive on the left). Our taxi driver also charged us per person NOT by trip only! Our brief initial time on St. Thomas was disappointing. The island is run-down, polluted, and unappealing. We definitely hoped for better surroundings on St. John. After a brief wait at the ferry landing the trip to St. John was uneventful. When we got to Cruz Bay, St. John where the Gallows Point Resort representative was waiting there to greet us and give us a courtesy ride to the resort. We checked into the resort with no problem and had our bags carried to 5D only to find that someone else was given our room a few hours earlier. The front desk was quick to remedy the situation with a comparable room (or so we were told). To further rectify the situation the front desk also sent us a complimentary bottle of wine to enjoy.
Our “room” (more like a condo) had a master bedroom loft with half bath and a spacious living room, kitchen, and full bath down stairs. The room had a balcony with an ocean view partially obscured by palm trees (but who doesn’t love palm trees?) and felt private from the unit on the other side due to lattice and lush vegetation between the units. The balcony furniture was satisfactory and could use updating, yet was functional. Doors swelled due to the humidity, but we understood that this was just the nature of the beast. There were no surprises regarding the room, the Gallows Point website is an accurate representation of the quality. There was plenty of storage in the unit, anything you could need was provided in the kitchen, and the maid service was consistent and thorough. I brought my laptop on vacation to research different locations to visit, and even though there was wi-fi it was weak and inconsistent.
The resort grounds were well maintained every morning. We enjoyed walking the grounds and admiring the many different plants and animals. Large iguanas roam freely (we found one next to our balcony for a few days) and peacocks also make the morning rounds. The pool and hot tub were wonderful although we didn’t spend much time there and opted for the beautiful beaches of St. John instead. The resort itself does not have a sandy beach. It has a small rocky area with some lounge chairs and a larger elevated and covered deck with lounge chairs. If you’re looking for a white sandy beach there are many options on the island, but you won’t find it at Gallows Point. However, there was amazing snorkeling right in front of the resort with a safe walkway to enter/exit the water. There was also a swimming platform that was scrubbed down regularly. Some of the bay-view units were being remodeled while we were there but we weren’t even aware of it until we walked the grounds. The workers kept the noise to a minimum and only during daylight hours.
We were tired upon arrival at Gallows Point, so it was nice to have a restaurant on site that first night. Zozo’s is a little pricey (as are many places on the island), but the food/service/atmosphere was very good. There is an independently owned “general store” on the grounds called “Gallows Gourmet”. David and his wife own the store and were very accommodating and informative about what there is to see and do on the island. I even received e-mails from them prior to our visit with lists of what they carried in the store and even offered to stock our fridge upon our arrival. They can book trips for you and he was honest about where to go and where not to go. While we were on St. John we booked a sunset cruise (on Calypso) and a day trip to the British Virgin Islands (on Bad Kitty) through the store at no inflated rate. “Gallows Gourmet” sold goods from locals, rented videos, snacks, and alcohol. We stopped in for breakfast and coffee every morning, and also rented snorkel gear for our stay.
There were other “extras” that the Gallows Point resort offered that made our vacation there very comfortable. The front desk called us a taxi to take us where ever we wanted to go. We left St. John to spend the second half of our trip on St. Thomas (unfortunately) and spent the last day back on St. John. While we were there Gallows Point was nice enough to let us use their computer to print out our boarding passes and even took the time to search our old room for a cell phone charger that I thought I left behind. In hind sight, we should have spent the whole trip on St. John at Gallows Point resort.
Five minutes walking distance from the resort is Cruz bay. Cruz Bay is the “downtown” of St. John, and while there were some nice restaurants (High Tide, Spy Glass, Lime Tree Inn, Rhumb lines) and shopping areas (Mongoose Junction and Warfside Village) there were also many people loitering around at all times of day and night. Walking around at night alone might not be advised but just be aware of your surroundings. Once out of Cruz Bay, the island is gorgeous. Some of the places we went to and recommend are: Cinnamon Bay, Trunk Bay, Maho Bay, Oppenhiemer’s House, Jumbie Beach, Hawksnest Bay, and Waterlemon Bay/Key. Cinnamon Bay is amazing with great snorkeling and also offers camping and food. The beach was not crowded when we went and the water was clear. Since Trunk Bay is part of the US National Parks system it had a fee to enter and while it too was beautiful it is more of a tourist attraction and will get crowded. Many of the cruise ships/group tours bring passengers here so check with your hotel/resort to see if one is in port. They do have an underwater snokel trail that was neat. Maho Bay was great, even though the water was not completely clear, we saw nurse shakes, sting rays, and swam with many sea turtles. Waterlemon Bay was alright and it was a bit of a walk to get there, but there were sugar plantation ruins on the way. Watch out for all the sea urchins at this beach. We were also told there were wild donkeys here, we didn’t see any until we drove home and pulled over to say hi (which then led to being chased by them, but they were cute from inside the car). If you’re interested in a more private beach that the locals use, try Jumbie beach (on the way to Cinnamon Bay). We heard great things about Caneel Bay but when we made time to go they had closed for the off-season.
Overall, St. John is beautiful and our stay at Gallows Point resort was comfortable and relaxing. We have already added it to our list of “places to go again”.
We stayed in 6D oceanview and it was beautiful. The views of Cruz Bay were also nice, but may be a...
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