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.
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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