One of our best stays ever! The massive changes rumored to have taken place are wildly exaggerated. But boy is there an air of competent service and follow-up permeating the old girl. Yes, a sense of re-invigoration permeates the place. So changes? Yes. Massive? I don’t think so. More like a bunch of small improvements.
All is calm and friendly once we retrieve our luggage and check-in at the Caneel airport desk. Waters, sodas, and fresh-baked cookies with miles of smiles. The usual cool towels and friendly welcome awaited us as we disembarked and guest assignments were made to various management staff for hotel briefings and cart rides to the assigned rooms. We had a couple of very minor room issues which were addressed immediately by Caneel. No worries. Our Garden View room had a small water and St Thomas view from the rear deck. Otherwise it was a room pod we have stayed in twice before, though this end of the pod has rooms that are a little smaller than the other end. We got over it quickly. A quick dinner at the beach bar and off to bed.
Beaches--Our days were spent mostly on Scott Beach. Though we spent one morning on Hawksnest until the wind kicked up and another day on Turtle where I watched a sailing yacht race. We usually set up near the Scott Beach Bar. This way we were set for our 11:30 AM Bloody Marys. Scott was also a daily destination for hikers, snorkelers and kayaks from VI Eco-tours. They were non-obtrusive. This was the second year that I didn’t bother snorkeling. Just laid out on a chaise and counted sails.
Food—the Caneel breakfast buffet is as good as always. Geraldine manning the omelet station and a couple of daily specials to boot. Lemon Ricotta Pancakes anyone.? Belgian style waffles, an occasional corned beef hash, very good Danish. Smoked Salmon and a decent bagel remain problematic, but this is the Caribbean after all. I also would grab a piece or two of hand fruit (apples, pears) for the beach daily. These usually needed a day or two to ripen up, but would sweeten up nicely.
Lunch was invariably at the Caneel Beach Bar. The new array of Chopped Salads (BBQ Chicken my fave) are a welcome addition. On more than one occasion we split one for lunch. The Sushi Rolls are large filling and tasty. Very shareable. We split one of these also for lunch one day.
Cannela the new gelateria and sandwich shop make some smokin’ good gelatos along with an array of gluten-free selections, though I can only speak to the Salt Caramel and Chocolate Gelatos. I thought they were as good as GROM. They also make a slew of different coffees, espressos, cappuccinos and lattes and smoothies and protein shakes. The space in the gift shop has been cut down to make way for Cannela. Some may miss this.
The vastly improved Estate House has become an island dining destination in its own right. ZoZo's is as excellent as always.
The Monday Managers Cocktail Party was as usual. Well attended by key staff and the daily 4 PM Tea remains unchanged.
The fitness facilities are clean and well stocked. Fresh fruit and ice water and clean towels on each piece of equipment along with an attendant on premise.
Caneel Service—Nikolay, Nathan, Vannesta, JT, Frank and a host of others on the management and line team really go out of their way to make sure everything is up to snuff. A member of the Caneel staff “touched” us each and every day. They wanted to make sure there were no room issues or if there was anything they could do or if we had any suggestion to improve upon our stay. This is in no way intrusive. In fact I found it reassuring. This is a service oriented team and it shows. Cheerful ‘Good Mornings/Afternoon/Evenings from all members of staff. If there is room on a cart, you are always offered a ride to wherever you may be headed. Oftentimes directly to your room or right to the beach that you are headed to.
The bottom line? No worries, mate.
- Also Known As:
- Caneel Bay, a Rosewood Hotel Caneel Bay
- Caneel Bay, a Rosewood Hotel
- Caneel Bay
- Caneel Bay a Rosewood Hotel
- Caneel Bay a Rosewood Resort
- Caneel Bay Resort St John
- Caneel Bay St John
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