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“Fabulous, with a few caveats” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Caneel Bay Resort

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Caneel Bay Resort
5.0 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
Certificate of Excellence
Keller, Texas, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Fabulous, with a few caveats”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Absolutely beautiful location, of course! How can you beat a resort with seven beaches, two hiking trails, and huge guest rooms that feel like a private villa? Just wonderful. Food was fairly good - we're not picky and don't travel for food, and this was fine. My only caveats: others have mentioned beach service for food/drinks; We never saw any sign of that in our four days. So don't expect it :-) VERY humid climate (of course) so realize that all the outdoor dining may leave you longing for your room's AC :-) Part of the tropical experience, and what saved me was lots of baby powder -ha. Don't leave home without it :-) Water shoes would have been handy - we spent most of our beach time at Scott Beach, my favorite, and it's all sand - just walk on in to the water. Got to Cancel Beach, and was stuck on the beach - entry to the water was very rocky. Couldn't navigate it barefoot. Not enough trash cans along any beach, so take a plastic bag with you to pack out whatever you bring to the beach. My caveats are few. My overall recommendation is, come here if you can! It's the most beautiful place we've ever stayed, huge rooms, easy resort to enjoy, and exceedingly uncrowded on any of the beaches at this time of year. Fabulous way to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Five stars!

Stayed May 2015, traveled as a couple
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318 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (138)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I stayed in one of the top categories of rooms, and the interiors didn’t look anything like the brochures on-line, and in fact are very similar to the Best Western rooms on St. Thomas. Our safe was “locked open” with the previous guest’s code when we arrived, and couldn’t be used. We had to call twice to get our luggage delivered to our room. Neither the air conditioner nor the toilets worked properly. There were two sets of nails protruding from the wall above the nightstands on either side of the bed (picture attached).
Meals used to be one of the highlights at Caneel: lavish buffets, creative fare. The dining experience has deteriorated to the point where usually only one venue is open at a time for meals (and sometimes this is only the bar.) Service was apathetic and inept. Servers actually suggested to us that we try restaurants off-site. (Now THAT is an unusual marketing scheme!) The beautiful lunch buffets have been replaced with a terribly inefficient al a carte option. Perhaps Caneel is trying to get out of the restaurant business altogether, which actually might not be such a bad idea, considering the current lack of quality.
I know that the General Manager typically replies to negative reviews with “we strive to maintain the vision of our founder Laurence Rockefeller who build this place back in 1959.” I can assure you that today’s Caneel is NOT what Laurence Rockefeller would create if he were building it today.
In summary: YES, this is the most beautiful setting in the world, and you won’t find a more peaceful atmosphere in the Caribbean. If you don’t need 5 star accommodations, and you don’t mind spending over a $1000 a night for standard service (at best), look no further than Caneel Bay. However, the food is sub-par, so I suggest doing what almost everyone else does these days, and book the “Bed and Breakfast” package, and eat dinner off campus. You should come here for the beaches, and staying at Caneel Bay buys you exclusive use of the most fabulous beaches in the world. It’s just a shame that you can’t have Four Season’s service/accommodations AND a lovely peaceful setting together.

  • Stayed December 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

A five day getaway with my husband-this was the perfect place. I have never seen water as clear and as blue as this resort. Better than Turks and Caicos, Peters Island, Bahamas, Mexico, Martinique, I can keep going. Six beaches to choose from and total peace at each beach. The service was wonderful, rooms wonderful (beds super comfy) and gorgeous views at every turn. I ran every morning on the property and got 4 miles from our room to Honeymoon Beach and back. Fitness center was decent- my husband was happy there. Breakfast was impressive - omelets to order. Dinner options were limited- we went to a few restaurants in town (ten min taxi ride) but dinners were best at the resort. The most gorgeous most relaxing getaway ever. We will return. This is a secret gem.

Room Tip: We enjoyed our Ocean view room at the end of the resort - quiet and private away from the beaches.
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  • Stayed May 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Northern Virginia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

Perfect setting; great amenities; very nice/dependable staff. Could not recommend a more perfect location. Grounds are impeccable--location is breathtaking and entire experience was remarkable. Add to your bucket list!!

Room Tip: Any room excellent
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Placitas, New Mexico
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

Spent six wonderful nights there this month! There will be haters, but we thought it was the best vacation ever. The resort is lovely. We were in room 21 on Caneel Beach. It was a perfect location -- close to the main area and steps into the ocean. The room was clean and well-kept, the bathroom was just right. Spend the $20 per day and get a frig -- it is worth it! All of the service staff we interacted with were friendly and helpful.

We loved room service breakfast. Would highly recommend. A glass of juice and a pot of coffee or tea are included with each entree. The buffet is terrific, but a little pricey. Loved the made-to-order Eggs Benedict. Great variety. The staff was everywhere refilling drinks and removing dirty plates.

Hubby loved the sushi at the Grill. Hannah took great care of us!

ZoZo's and the Estate House were both excellent. Again, pricey; but, considering prices all over the island, in line with the the level of service and food quality. Truly wonderful dining experiences.

Afternoon tea consisted of hot tea, coffee and iced tea and as assortment of cookies, scones and breads/mini muffins. We took a few cookies back to our room (we always pack ziplocs!) for snacks later.

The snorkeling off of Caneel Beach was great. We saw turtles, squid, tons of fish and coral. You pick up the equipment, included in your room rate, and keep it all week. Easy.

We walked everywhere, but there are plenty of shuttles to take you around the entire property. By walking, we experienced all of the flora and fauna. There are donkeys, deer, mongoose, iguanas...

Our only complaint would be the bugs. There is bug spray (Off!) in each room and we took lots of our own. But, they are relentless. We had bites pretty much all over our ankles and feet!

We plan to save our pennies and try to go back in the future.

  • Stayed May 2015, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.
NY, NY
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

I'd always wanted to go to Caneel Bay and neither the negative reviews nor the superhigh pricetag could deter me. My family spent eight days there over spring break in late March. We purchased the Simply Caneel plan which includes all meals, and we did this because we have special diets and believed the resort could accommodate us better if they knew in advance they had to provide for us for a whole week. Also, I had never been to St. John before and I thought there wouldn't be much in the way of eateries on the island, or at least those that would meet our needs.

Caneel Bay has a loyal guestbase. We me many older adults who told us they started going there when they were children.

The grounds are stunning and walking around the property at night on the gently lit pathways, past the fragrant trees, is a lovely sensory experience.

There are seven beaches but only two that are really good for swimming and children are not allowed at one of those. So most of the kids wind up at Caneel Beach, which is fine, but it isn't a gigantic beach. It is also the beach where the ferries and other boats come in to dock.

The snorkelling is fantastic and you do see turtles and spotted eagle rays and squid. The resort has a lot of snorkelling equipment to lend out, and conveniently guests can keep them for the duration of their stay.

Unless you are staying in the middle of the resort near the swimming pool, there is no reason to go there as it is very small.

If you feed the donkeys cut up apples from breakfast (which you are not supposed to do), they will follow you like the Walking Dead.

The Kids Club occupies a small, pleasant building with an outside play area. My 9 year old wanted to go there one day but there were only three preschoolers signed up, so we left. I can't imagine children older than 5 or 6 sitting in those little chairs at those little tables. There weren't any other organized activities for children offered by the resort. They show movies at night near Turtle Bay but we were the only ones there.

We had two connecting ocean view rooms on Caneel Beach. I highly recommend the ocean view rooms as they are set back from the beach a bit (giving sandy feet a little more time to shake off the sand), plus there is more privacy and breathing space. The Beachfront rooms are right on the beach, and as mentioned before the beach is not very wide. There are rooms by the tennis courts--they were half the price and if we were to ever go there again I would definitely stay in those. We had a triple room connecting to our double room and were quite comfortable.

For the most part, the staff are an older crowd. Very dignified and we found them to be lovely. Meals in restaurants can take a very long time.

However, management is dreadful. Either passive and unresponsive, or just plain hostile. Completely shocking for a resort of this caliber.

If you get the Simplly Caneel plan, be sure to get in writing what the plan includes.

Also, the pizza sold at Grill really is just like a frozen pizza and it does cost $24.

Each day there are quite a lot of visitors who get resort passes. This didn't bother me but I did feel bad for them because the beach staff vigorously enforced rules against sitting on beach chairs.

From the resort, one can hike along the hiking trail through the woods into town but there are no sidewalks to walk along the road. Taxi trolleys appear frequently to take passengers into town. Nevertheless, the resort feels isolated.

Eight days at Caneel Bay was a little too long for my family. The mom of the family next door to us was ready to get going by day six.

To sum it up, if the chef and the front desk manager had been less hostile, I would have given it four stars. But only four stars because it just didn't leave me with that wow, can't wait to come back five-star feeling.

Room Tip: ocean-view rooms on Caneel Beach were convenient and comfotable with interior connecting doors.
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  • Stayed March 2015, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Looking for a place to snorkel right off the beach? Caneel Bay has 5 beaches! New place to snorkel every day. We saw too many fish to count! Turtles, eel, barracuda and even a nurse shark! The coral is beautiful and water is clear. The resort is beautiful and so large often times you feel like you are the only people there. Lots of hiking, delicious food, terrific service. Book a cabin with an ocean view and watch the boats go by from your balcony. A splurge for our 20th Anniversary and it was everything we wanted!

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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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:5 star — Caneel Bay Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 166
Reservation Options:
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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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