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“Caneel Keeps Calling Me Back!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Caneel Bay Resort

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Caneel Bay Resort
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   PO Box 720, Caneel Bay 00831-0720, St. John (Formerly Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Caneel Bay
Arlington, VA
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
136 helpful votes 136 helpful votes
“Caneel Keeps Calling Me Back!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We spent three days (too short!) on St. John after a visit to the BVI's. St. John is still my favorite island in the Caribbean. I think it has the perfect mix of beautiful beaches and mountainous scenery, great snorkeling, friendly people and fun towns. This was my fifth visit and I'll be back again soon. (And the VI's are about the only place where I do repeat vacations!)

Room
We arrived St. John at about 10 am. We were able to check in to the room early which was nice. We had a premium ocean view room. It had the most amazing view! The room had a view of the ocean and of Honeymoon Beach. The balcony was large with an umbrella, table and chairs plus two lounge chairs. The room seemed a bit larger than our room last year on Turtle Bay. The bed and furnishings were comfortable. The air conditioner cooled the room well, but was a bit on the loud side. Housekeeping did a great job of keeping the room clean. We were located near Cottage Point which was a very convenient location. Far enough away from the main area that it was quiet, but just a short walking distance to the lobby area.

Grounds
The grounds are beautiful, although they were less green than our visit last year. I loved walking around looking at the hills, beaches and wildlife. Lots of deer and donkeys (including a cute baby donkey!), along with iguanas, mongoose and one scary looking caterpillar (or maybe it was a centipede).

Dining at the Resort
The breakfast buffet was included in our rate and was very good with a large variety. I always like the made to order stations. We had two lunches at the beach bar and both were good. My husband really enjoyed the lobster salad. We also had gelato one night at Canella. Delicious and reasonably priced. The small seemed quite large to me and cost $4.50-- similar to ice cream shops at home.

Jeep Rental
We rented a jeep from Varlack on the property. Last year we had rented a two door, but they tried to give us a four door and charge us the higher rate. After much back and forth a two door jeep appeared. I was skeptical, but decided to rent from them this year too because of the convenience of their location. Well, they pulled the same thing. My husband was not happy! We ended up having to get the four door jeep (at the higher price) even though I had reserved the two door. The resort had given me an email confirmation, but the car rental employee said that it was only a request and not an actual reservation because we didn't have a confirmation number on the email. The jeep itself was fine, but next time we won't be renting from them. The resort and rental company need to straighten out their reservation process.

Beaches and Snorkeling

We are avid snorkelers and chose Caneel because of the easy access snorkeling from its beaches. This year was amazing because we had our pick of any beach. In the past we visited in October, November and December. During those visits there were always some beaches that were just too rough or stirred up for snorkeling. This year the water at all the beaches we visited were relatively flat and crystal clear. Seems like April may be a better time to visit, even if it's a bit more expensive than fall.

Caneel Bay
Snorkeled here twice, the right side of the beach, around the point to Paradise Beach. Saw a turtle, a grouper (I think it was a grouper!), stingrays, tarpon and many other fish and coral.

Turtle Bay
Our room was on Turtle last year, but the water was so rough that there wasn't much beach and snorkeling was not good. (It was nice going to sleep to the sound of the waves though!) This year the water was calm and there was plenty of beautiful beach. I think this is the prettiest beach at Caneel. And the snorkeling is pretty good.

Scott Beach
I thought this was the best snorkelingat the resort. I did swim pretty far out and saw a wide variety of fish and coral. The beach was pretty busy (by Caneel/St. John standards). I was wondering why there were so many kids on the beach, but I heard they lifted the restriction since it was close to Easter. I hope they notified the guests who were paying a premium to stay on that beach planning on peace and quiet!

Hawksnest Beach
This was my first time snorkeling here because conditions weren't good on my previous visits. We had heard this was the place for turtles. And we saw at least 5 while snorkeling. Seeing turtles is always a highlight for me. Even while we were relaxing on the beach we were entertained by the turtles. By the afternoon they were out there in droves and swimming really close to the shore. It was fun watching their shadows and seeing their heads pop out of the water for air. I had never seen so much of that before.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Mequon, Wisconsin
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Words cannot express the beauty, service and experience you get when visiting Caneel Bay Resort. This place is magic (and we've been to a lot of nice resorts)! The staff is wonderful and the choices of food, beaches and places to hangout are limitless. The local shuttles, that cover the entire resort, run often and quickly whisk you from one place to the other. You never wait more than a couple of minutes. The grounds are expansive and super well maintained. There were always twice as many lounge chairs to people and you felt like the beaches, which are majestic, were yours and yours alone. I am counting the days to when we can return. You will not be sorry.

Room Tip: If you can afford it, select an ocean side room. We stayed at Garden View bit wished we'd spent...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

This was one of the best, if not, best vacations I've ever had. What an amazing property. Staff was friendly, especially Christine @ the concierge.

A few highlights:

Ferry ride over was great replete w/rum punch; easy and nice

Beautiful grounds

Great service but not the kind of place where you have waiters on the beach. There is service but it's a bit catch as catch can. That said, you can walk up to the restaurant and dine.

With no phones or tvs, you really unwind. If you want to get away, this is the place.I love that there were no tvs.

The afternoon tea is great.

Food was good not fantastic but good. View from Zozos is amazing.. there too I thought food was good not fantastic.

Expensive for food but that's what you expect. Good drinks!

Amazing beaches on property - you literally don't have to leave the resort

Suggestions:

Would be nice to have water available. Cold water w/lemon easily accessible would be nice.

The restaurant at Turtle Bay was just ok. Would be nice to have a different menu there and it wasn't open a lot. That was ok because we preferred the restaurant on the water. Seemed like it was more for special events, etc. Still, seems like a bit of a missed opportunity to turn that into something a bit different/fun.

Room Tip: We stayed at Turtle Bay w/Ocean View.. I would definitely splurge for water view if you can. So wort...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Birmingham, Alabama
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful getaway to Caneel Bay and we both have to say it was the best trip we have ever taken as a couple. The grounds were as gorgeous as any beach property we have ever seen. Our room was right on the beach complete with some shade trees when we wanted to get out of the sun. Every meal we had we had was outstanding with Turtle Bay Restaurant being our favorite. Even though we heard the resort was 80% full we never felt crowded or heard any noise. We had all the privacy we needed!
We will definitely be back! We loved it!

Room Tip: Loved the rooms on Scott Beach
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CT
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

My husband and I just returned from our first (but not last) Caneel vacation and can not wait to get back.
I am a former STJ resident and we have been visiting the island for the past 10 years, staying in villas each time.
This was a wonderful departure from our normal STJ vacations and was the perfect spot to just relax in a wonderful location.
Our room, 72, on Scott beach was great. Yes, the furnishing were older but in our case, certainly not worn out and I felt that they had a nice old time Caribbean feel. Walking out of room to a beautiful beach was the highlight of our stay. We swam early morning and by the moonlight!
We chose to walk most of the resort, instead of taking the shuttle and enjoyed the deer and donkey roaming the property.
We enjoyed wonderful meals with great service at Zozo's and the Beach Cafe and the gelato at Canella is amazing!
We ran in the mornings and hiked the trails and I had a great massage in one of the beachside cabanas.
I know that every review needs to be balanced, so I will say that I think that the beach service on Scott should be all or nothing. Having one attendant to man the bar and the beach is not adequate to keep up with demand, Either have great beach service or have folks go to the bar. Having medicore service on the beach does not go with the level of service everywhere else on property.
We are looking forward to our return! Hopefully before the end of 2014!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

My husband and I just spent 3 nights here and loved it. Already thinking of when we can go back. The beaches are stunning and on more than one occasion we were the only couple (or 1 of 2) at the beach - it felt like paradise. Certain beaches seemed more private than others (e.g. Hawks Nest and Turtle) and it's worth exploring all the different ones - especially with a snorkel and mask as there are so many neat things to see from turtles, to sea fans to all sorts of colorful fish. The resort is very large but I'd say everything is a 10-20 minute walk and there are shuttles constantly driving around to help guests get around. The staff is very friendly and always ready to help. This was a splurge on our part but I felt it was well worth it considering how nice and unique the property is. We stayed in the garden view and although it would have been nicer to be right on the water the garden area was very convenient and we weren't in the room all that much. Also the breakfast buffet is so filling we didn't have to eat lunch. I read some reviews of people complaining about no TVs but that didn't matter to us - in fact it made the trip more relaxing because we could just read or chat on the porch. It really felt like we got away from it all and wish we could have stayed longer.

Room Tip: We stayed in the garden view and although it would have been nicer to be right on the water the gard...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Excelsior, Minnesota
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

We just returned from an 8 night stay at Caneel. It was our first time and we cannot wait to go back next year. It IS PRICEY!! What you are paying for is the privacy of the property with 8 beaches to choose from and the natural setting. Yes the rooms need an upgrade. Yes, we got some sand flea/noseum bites. If you like formal landscaping and fancy pools and doting service on the beach this is not your place. This is a quiet, rustic resort with beautiful beaches and flora. We travelled with our two girls ages 10 and 8. They loved the donkeys and the baby donkeys and the deer and the baby deer. All so tame you can touch them. The girls loved High Tea every day at 4 at the Turtle Bay Estate. It is complimentary. We also discovered the lunch buffet at Turtle Bay Estate had the best deal for lunch. Food was delicious though of course expensive. The shuttles were always around to take you around but I enjoyed walking. It is totally walkable especially if you need to burn off breakfast. Snorkeling was fun and our girls tried it for the first time. It's perfect for beginners. We loved exploring all the different beaches. The kids club was great. The staff at kids club and housekeeping as well as many of the wait staff and shuttle drivers are all friendly and sweet. We have travelled all over Hawaiian Islands and Bahamas at 4 and 5 star resorts and we definitely will be back at Caneel next year. We met many people who return here year after year. It is very down to earth.

Room Tip: Ocean view/front is best.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Caneel Bay Resort

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
Address: PO Box 720, Caneel Bay 00831-0720, St. John (Formerly Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort)
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. John > Caneel Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Caneel Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Caneel Bay Resort 4.5*
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