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“Vacation - expensive nightmare ” 2 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
2 reviews
“Vacation - expensive nightmare ”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Beautiful sea. Wild animals. magnificent location.
All spoilt by the lack of service the lack of customer care and the gasoline golf cars.

Induction
Nobody explains anything about the island when you arrive. There is no welcome.

Food
The two restaurants :the Italian one "zozo" had nothing of Italian with the exception of the name of the dishes". the grill restaurant service was so slow that could take one hour only to eat a salad.
The breakfast bar is overloaded with flies and there is not plastic container where to store fruits or cheese. Gross!!

Great ice cream store!

Beaches
3 days before the resort was closing the staff removed the chairs from the beaches... They really wanted us to go...

Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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178 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 (75)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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  • Russian first
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  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

We returned on Saturday from a wonderful week at Caneel Bay. We visited for the first time last year, with a plan of a few days at Caneel Bay and then a few days in St. Thomas. While at Caneel Bay that first time we immediately fell in love and extended our stay by a day while on site. This year we booked a full week at Caneel Bay.

We were originally attracted to Caneel Bay because of the descriptions of the beautiful beaches and grounds, and the location on St. John. My wife is an all-day beach person, while I'm normally content with a couple of hours a day on the beach. The location in St. John would allow her to stay at the beach all day, while I go off and hike and enjoy other activities on the island.

Turns out I barely ever left the grounds, either this year or last. This property is one of a kind. The green grass and white sand against the turquoise waters are exhilarating. It's on a peninsula so most days we could choose if we wanted to be on a beach with a breeze, or take the :90 second walk across the peninsula to be on the still beach. Snorkeling right off the beach is spectacular. I was never in the water for more than about two minutes before seeing a turtle, with many more to follow. The reefs on the side of each beach were always full of a great variety and quantity of fish.

The breakfast is wonderful, the sushi was great, and meals at Zozo's were all fantastic. The prices, to be honest, weren't much different from big city prices. I've paid far more for food that was not as good at lesser hotels. A couple of short trips into Cruz bay provided a wide variety of other options, from upscale to street food. All good, all keying on fresh ingredients.

I sailed on a sunfish (thanks to the water sports people for the refresher course!), we kayaked, and stand-up paddled. These activities are so convenient, and always available without a wait. It doesn't take hours to participate in an activity. Walk over to the main beach, paddle out on a kayak, and come back when you're ready. The relaxed atmosphere, the convenience, and the fact that this is all included, makes this hotel more of value than you might think. I hear the organized excursions are wonderful but frankly, we didn't find them necessary. There's plenty to do right there at your fingertips.

We found the staff wonderful. Everyone said hello and had a friendly smile. It was a low-key approach that my wife and I both appreciate. If, as part of your vacation, you expect to be fawned over and glad-handled, perhaps this isn't the right place for you - and there's nothing wrong with that - it's just a matter of personal preference. The staff here is friendly, but maintains a self-respect...if that makes any sense. It's just the way we like it; we're uncomfortable at hotels where the staff is all over us, "yes sir, no sir, right away sir." The few times we had a request (most things you need you'll find you already have), they were courteous and quick.

The rooms are comfortable and solid. Depending on your usual travel experiences, you may not consider them the height of luxury, but it's more about what you see when you look out your window. Comfortable beds, stone floors, quality tile and marble in bathrooms, solid furniture, and most importantly, big, wide windows.

This is a place where you can breathe and relax, and do as much or as little as you want.

I don't have any actual complaints, but with all of this gushing, I feel I should mention one thing. Caneel Bay does have an undying love of the internal combustion engine. We were never actually bothered by it, but it's something we noticed. It's a big property and they have to get around with supplies, I was thinking that they could gradually acquire more electric carts and phase out the gas-powered carts. Those of you who golf know the noise difference at golf courses that have electric cars as compared to gas. There are lots of gas carts driving around. You can't hear them on the beach, and we were never awakened by them, but you can hear them in your room.

Room Tip: We've stayed at Turtle Bay and Hawksnest. Both beautiful beaches. Two levels, we've stayed o...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW via mobile

This is probably the one place I'd like to return to in the world. Visited 1st in 1981 and the place was paradise on earth. Prices have of course gone up, and modern conveniences may not be up to par with other resorts, but the natural beauty is the reason to go. Hope to return soon.

Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This was a spontaneous vacation planned in less than a week. Yes, I had to escape reality and find some quality R&R. I found exactly what I was looking for at Caneel Bay. What a beautiful location and resort. My companion and I felt like we owned the resort. Everyone treated us with a warm, friendly, and welcoming attitude. The grounds are gorgeous with so much open space to enjoy the views of the aqua blue bays and white sandy beaches. I especially enjoyed the wildlife....Donkey's deer, birds, mongoose, and iguanas. Our room on the beachfront was steps to an almost private bay. Heaven! Food at the restaurants were superb. No more expensive than you would find at any resort and quality as good or better than the best out there. be sure to make reservations in advance f your trip at Zozo's. Food, view, and service was outstanding.

There are so many activities - snorkeling, sailing, para-sailing, scuba diving, hiking, croquet, kayaking and more. We did it all!

Caneel Bay and St John are an unspoiled natural paradise. I am so happy I decided to stay here and not a resort on St Thomas. Be aware there are no phones or TV's in the room. They weren't missed at all.Too much outdoor activities to do to worry about phones and TV's. Or just sit on the patio and enjoy the scenery and sunsets. Spectacular!

Room Tip: After seeing all of the spacious grounds and variety of room options available I would say there are...
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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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tyler, Texas, USA
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

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
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Tennessee
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, CA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

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...
See more room tips
  • 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 2
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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