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“Beautiful Resort; Service lacking in areas” 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
Tyler, Texas, USA
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Beautiful Resort; Service lacking in areas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Let me begin as annoying as it may be when reading these reviews to state my descripition as a guest at this resort. We are a famly of three (one eight yr old child) who travels extensively to warm tropical places and have visited many wonderful properties throughout Mexico,United States, Europe and the Caribbean including Ritz Carltons, Montage, One and Only, Capella Pedegral, among others. Having a wife that worked many years in the hotel business, we also expect top level service and hospitality at such resorts. Let me also say that we did a lot of research on Caneel Bay Resort before choosing it and were aware of the "understated elegance" of the property as well as the lack of some amenities in guest rooms (phones, tv, etc),and the "primitiveness" was a welcome change.
Arriving in St. Thomas, the transfer to Caneel Bay ferry was flawless. Boat attendants very nice and quick to serve rum punches. Upon reaching the resort, we were told our room was not quite ready but would be in next 15 minutes. We ended up waitng an hour and half after check-in time for our particular room and found the front desk to be less than apologetic about our lenghty wait time.
The room was exactly what we expected. We chose a garden view deluxe room with a small extra bedroom for my child. It was immaculately clean with comfy bedding and great towels and two A/Cs which worked wonderfully throughout our stay. We were prepared for the fact that the rooms are dated and referred to in some reviews as "tired", but we had no complaints with this and were quite comfortable during our stay.
As for the resort property, it is a truly unique place that one must experience rather than describe. With our seven night stay, we visited all the beaches and found each one distinctively different. Spent the most time at Caneel Beach due to the fact that our 8 yr old enjoys swimming in calm water with other children around and snorkeling the area between Caneel and Paradise Beach. Overall, the natural beauty of the resort is unparalled to any that we have visited in the Caribbean. Snorkeling all over the property is great with an abundance of sea life to be easily found any time of the day. The physical beauty of the property is truly amazing and the reason that so many guests return year after year.
The service component of Caneel Bay is definitely the weak link of this resort. We were often astonished throughout our stay with certain employees and their apathetic effect. The shuttle drivers would often go out of their way to not pick up guests. Employees seemed to rarely converse with guests even when spoken to. A beach server even complained to us about the distance that they had to cover with drink service. We were floored by the lack of simple gestures by employees (ie smiles, saying good morning etc) that make the difference in a resort of this quality. We did, however; come across some stand out employees. The main lady in Turtle Town is wonderful. Our child spent an evening with her while we dined at ZoZo's and he had a blast with her. Mugsy also gave us great service for an afternoon or two at Scott Beach. The ladies in the gift shop were also warm and welcoming. Sadly, most of the employees seemed rather put out with the guests, but I can say we got used to this attitude. Strangely, it became easier to tolerate as our week progressed because we came to expect it..
Breakfast at Caneel Bay is fabulous with many choices of fresh fruit, omelette/egg station, as well as breakfast meats, yogurt cereal etc. We ate multiple lunches at the grill and enjoyed the sushi, pizza and other sandwiches. Dinners consisted of some at CBR and others in town. We found ZoZo's to be far superior to any of the other restaurants that we dined at in Cruz Bay and is a must if visiting St. John.
Overall, Caneel Bay is a unique, wonderfully special resort rich in tradition and history. We plan on returning as a couple in the Spring (look forward to staying on Scott Beach) and as a family in June. To us, the plethora of outdoor activities and natural beauty overshadows many of the service problems that we encountered, and we hope that with proper managment these will be resolved.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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171 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
Date | Rating
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English first
Nashville, Tennessee
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

First, let me say you must know what you are looking for in a vacation. This is not a classic 5 star...it is a Beach resort on an island known for its natural beauty (tiny pool...older but clean rooms). If you're looking for a getaway that will make you one with the island this is perfect. Private beaches, friendly but not pushy staff (unlike other islands I've been too), wide open and not crowded. You're in a state park so it's really about the beauty of the island. We LOVED it! One of the coolest places we've been including Hawaii and many other Caribbean islands. Snorkel, Hike and lay on the beach. Great restaurant on site called ZoZo's. The Breakfast buffet is amazing. The rest of the food at resort was just ok. We wen't into Cruz bay for most dinners instead.

Bring $$$...not a cheap vacation but WORTH IT!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, CA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

When I visited 15 years ago I knew it was a place I wanted to come back to. It took longer than I would've liked, but I'm just finishing up a weeklong trip with my husband and 16 month old daughter. Caneel Bay is exactly as I remembered it. For me, it's paradise.

If you love high-rise hotels with twenty-million bars, a floaty river, two water-slides and a casino - please don't come to Caneel Bay because you'll hate it. Caneel Bay feels like you're vacationing at a very wealthy friend's compound. It's quiet. If you're into mid-century architecture and amazing beaches, it's perfect.

The hotel is the epitome of classic understated elegance with beaches that will blow your mind. The staff are extraordinary. Every single person we came in contact with, whether a gardener, bartender or manager was courteous, warm and sincere. They also LOVE kids - which is a bonus since we're traveling with a toddler.

Caneel Bay is one of the few hotels where the pictures on their website actually don't do it justice - in reality, it is much better (and I've been to Manele Bay, Canouan Island, etc). I hope that we can make this a yearly thing. We leave tomorrow and I miss Caneel already.

Room Tip: Get a beach room. We stayed at Little Caneel, which was glorious, but I think next time we'll do...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Poughkeepsie, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

My daughter and I just returned last night from spending 4 nights at Caneel. I just wanted a laid back place on a beautiful beach on which to spend my 50th birthday gift from my husband. We found it in Caneel!! I was a bit concerned at first from just a couple of the negative reviews about rudeness of staff. I have to say, we did not find this at all and I really believe you be treated as a reflection of how you treat others and maybe the people doing the reviewing were quite rude themselves??? Our staff were all friendly and warm... went out of their way to serve and make the most of our stay. We stayed beachfront at Hawksnest Beach and really wouldn't have had to have left! With the hotel-provided snorkeling gear, we swam in crystal clear water and saw all sorts of tropical fish on the reefs, stingray and sea turtles everyday! Deer would just walk by as you were sitting there, pelicans, seagull(of course)... you had to watch out for them at breakfast. Speaking of breakfast... the buffet was amazing. I had the lemon ricotta pancakes, eggs benedict, omelets, fresh tropical fruit and juices. But they had an assortment of pastries, croissants, and cereals as well as bacon, home fries, sausage... you name it and more! We filled up on breakfast and didn't need anything else until dinner. Which we did get in town most days. Although we did eat at the grill at Caneel twice. We had the harvest vegetable sushi roll. YUM!!! and their garden burger, fries and onion rings. Also very good. A bit pricey, but when you figure the taxi one way into Cruz Bay (21/2 miles away) was $10 for 2 people, it was worth it to get the bar food if you weren't going into town for another reason (which we did on a daily basis anyway). One day we went in early morning to take a 3 hour cruise(I know) on a Catamaran to Lovango Bay and snorkel there. That was fun with open bar and breakfast food but, honestly, the snorkeling was better right at Caneel. One other thing, Caneel has their own ferry and taxi service, for which you will pay dearly if you don't know better or you don't mind a tiny bit of adventure. We took a taxi into "town" (downtown Charlotte Amalie) for $6 each and on the advice of a local bartender, took the Safari(locals' taxi) to Red Hook for $2 each. From there, we took the Red Hook Ferry to Cruz Bay, St. John for $7 each and paid $5 each to take a taxi to the resort. On the way back, we just took the taxi from the resort for $5 each to the local ferry from Cruz Bay right to downtown Charlotte Amalie and paid $13 each and then took a taxi to the airport for $6each. To pay the transportation fee and take the cushy Caneel Ferry right to their resort dock would have cost $120 each. I would say we saved a good $70 each to do it ourselves. That is not made very clear when you book. Anyway, the resort is clean, friendly, has full use of snorkeling gear, paddle boards, wind sails, kayaks. We had a bottle of rum waiting for us in the room, beds made each morning and turned down each night with shells on your pillow... I could just go on and on.... Highly recommend... though I don't want too many others to discover how wonderful it is here!!! Oh and we loved Eddie our shuttle driver most days... shout out to Eddie!! :) Thanks to all of the staff who made our stay so wonderful!!!

Room Tip: Definitely get a beachfront if the beach is your thing. We stayed on Hawksnest and loved it!
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Providence, Rhode Island
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

This private Island resort is just short of Gilligans Island . You must take a ferry to get here. You have your own private beach which is a mile long and you'll be alone. We bumped into 5 people in a week. A true couples getaway. The accommodations are Awesome. No phone no light no motorcar. Primitive and cozy as can be. 2 thumbs up

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Just got back from Caneel Bay yesterday for our 25th anniversary; and this place is wonderful! Clean, immaculate rooms with twice daily service, great food, friendly staff. The rooms have plenty of windows and shutters to let the light and views in. Yoga with Elizabeth was great, the studio has screened sides and is on a hill overlooking the bay, just gorgeous. Did my first wheel pose there. My husband and I did the ecotour with Patrick and it was great! He was knowledgable and patient and took great pictures. I called it the "tropical triathalon" because we kayaked, hiked, and snorkeled. Make sure you get the picture CD, worth the money. The donkeys and deer were fun to watch and photograph. And of course the island is breathtaking! Crystal water and white sand with beautiful forest covered hills. The pictures don't do the island justice, it is incredible. Usually when we were out I could count the number of people I saw who were not staff with one hand. Only when we were out for meals did we see people gather.
Can't wait to go back for a longer stay!

Room Tip: Ocean view is the best but you really cant go wrong with any selection. All are either near the bea...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, TX
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Gotta take a sec to give Caneel Bay major props on their facility and service :) Both were unreal!! Loveddddd Debbie and Mugsy!!! Both went out of their way the entire time to give us top notch service.... As did all other staff but one particular bartender who did nothing but take away from our experience every single time she worked. Won't let her affect my review though. ;)
Scott Beach is breathtaking!!!! I can't imagine a beach more perfect and romantic!! Room was really nice.. Daily breakfast buffet was wonderful!! I had waitstaff refuse a tip and go on to give the most refreshingly, genuinely fabulous service I think I have ever had... And that was the case the entire time!! Just an amazing stay overall.. I could go on and on with all the tiny details that made it so impressive... Highly recommended!!!!

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Caneel Bay Resort

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 ) Free Parking 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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Also Known As:
Caneel Bay, a Rosewood Hotel Caneel Bay
Caneel Bay a Rosewood Resort
Caneel Bay Resort St John
Caneel Bay St John

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