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Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

Midwest, USA
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Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

Hello,

My husband and I are celebrating our anniversary in June and are starting to look more seriously at St. John because of all of the good feedback on Trip Advisor.

I've read many of the reviews of Gallows Point, Caneel Bay and the Westin. Caneel Bay is very attractive because of all the beaches however the price tag is a bit steep. Are there any secrets to getting a great rate here? I've tried all the usual trip search engines (expedia, orbitz, travelocity etc) but they all show the same. Would I have better luck going through a travel agent or through the hotel itself?

Also, I've heard villas are very popular here. As a first timer to the island, is that a good idea? We've always gone the resort route in the past so I have no experience with this. Where would I find the best villas for the best prices? Are there any secrets or tricks that would be helpful?

Finally, I keep hearing about the bugs on St. John. By bugs, do you all mean ocean fleas/mosquitoes etc or do you mean cockroaches and beatles? I can do the mites/fleas but the roaches are a different story!

Thanks!

New Orleans
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1. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

I haven't been, but I have been reseraching Caneel. I got the rates from them today, I know you are going for an anniversary, but if you wait a little the rates drop on July 5th, like $100 night for each category, maybe a little more on some if I remember.

We went to peter last year & loved it, now I'm trying to decide between Caneel. Guana, Jumby, Petit St Vincent, or Curtain Bluff.

Harrisburg
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2. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

Concerning the resort versus villa element of a St. John trip -

The best choice for you (or any traveller) depends on your vacation style.

Many people like the privacy of a villa and the ability to cook at home. Pools are also a big draw to a private home, if you like that sort of thing. The general thinking is one must rent a vehicle if renting a house.

We have stayed an equal number of times at Caneel and at different villas - six trips.

At the tail end of our recent trip, hubby and I discussed the pros and cons of a resort versus renting a villa.

For us, the biggest downside of renting a villa is driving to the beach each day. Depending on where of the island the villa is located, you could be driving 20 or so minutes each way to the beach. We drive a LOT in our real lives so spending time driving a lot on vacation is not relaxing or enjoyable, no matter how good the scenery.

The second is, for me, a villa is a little too much like home in terms of cooking, cleaning up after ourselves, emptying the trash, etc. Don't get me wrong, a day on St. John playing house beats "real life" any day but it occured to me this trip that I was tired by the end of the week.

St. John is a great island and June is a terrific weather period of visit.

Kentucky
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3. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

Sid9,

I have not been to St. John yet, either, but I have been doing LOTS of research. My husband and I are going in May for our first time, and after exploring all of the options, we decided to go the villa route (which is not our usual choice either). I agree with you on Caneel Bay being very attractive, but we really want to do and see alot of the entire island of St. John, plus a day trip to the BVI's, so I had a hard time justifying the price of Caneel. If we wanted to stay put though, Caneel Bay would be my first choice.

If you decide you might want to look at villas, send me a message. Like I said, I haven't been yet, but I have done some research and have some info. on areas and rental companies. There are other people on this forum that have been very helpful to me too. Good luck with your decision!!

Harrisburg
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4. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

One more thought - the area on the island in which you stay will is important. Some villas are very remote, perched up in the hills, and others are in more developed areas. Each has its pros and cons.

Holland, MI
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5. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

I suggest you rent a villa. I think that you will be very happy you did. Once you've done a villa vacation you'll not want to go back to a resort setting. It's so great to have a whole house to yourself. Most villas have laundry facilities too so you won't have to pack as many clothes. Try it. I'm pretty sure you'll LOVE IT.

Monterey, California
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6. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

....regarding BUGS............

the tropics, st.john included, have cockroaches, tarantulas and scorpions besides all the no-see-ums, mosquitoes, ants etc. in all shapes and sizes.

the number one thing to do is don't leave any food or edibles (for a bug) laying around and never eat in bed.

even when desparate the rats will nibble on bars of soap due to the fat in it...................so other than that .....don't worry and enjoy.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

In 25+ years I have never been bothered by the bugs. I guess they like some people and don't care for others. Also, we tend to leave the beach around 3 or 4 in the afternoon -- perhaps before the critters come out. Also, they can come out in greater numbers after a rain.

Caneel Bay is very expensive, but you are paying for the gorgeous property, 7 beautiful beaches, the views, great snorkeling. The Westin's beach is manmade, so if you stay there, you should rent a car or taxi to other beaches around the island. Gallows Point doesn't really have a beach, but it is convenient to town.

Bottom line: if you stay at Caneel, you will have stunning scenery and all the amenities without ever leaving the property; if you stay elsewhere (the other two places or a villa), you will need to drive each day to get to those pretty places. If you have the money, go to Caneel. If you don't, you will love St. John in any case if you get out and explore.

Batavia, IL
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8. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

Our first trip to St. John is coming up in 10 days. We've decided to rent a villa for a couple of reasons...

1. We've rented houses (via vrbo.com) in a couple of other locations (Florida, Padre island) and we've had great experiences

2. For us, the villa was cheaper than either the Westin or Caneel, and Gallows was booked. For this trip it is my wife, me, our 18 year old daughter and her 18 year old friend. We didn't feel comfortable sharing one room with a non-family member (especially a young woman) so we would have needed two rooms. At this time of the year that would have been well outside of our budget.We found a nice two bedroom villa (Moonsong) for the price of a single room.

new york
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9. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

Caneel Can be pricier than a villa rental,but You will not have the same amount of easy beach access unless you find a reasonable beachfront villa.We have yet to find a place on stj with the amenities of Caneel.If this is a special anniversary maybe you could split your time between a less expensive option and spend the last half at caneel.We always rent a car for at least a couple of days to do our usual exploring.I love the entire Island but the beaches at Caneel are wonderful.The least expensive rooms are still less then a 5-10 minute walk to any of the 7 beaches at caneel.The extra $75.00 for a car could be saved,and you still have a chaise lounge,snorkels and complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea.

Virginia
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10. Re: Thinking about St John in June....need lots of help!

If you strictly like the resort/hotel route, then that's the best for you. However, we do not, especially after trying a villa. It's a great experience, and infinitely more "island-like". There are villas 2 bedrooms that are more affordable--it depends on what you can spend. The resorts are pretty pricey, so you can probably do a villa.

You'd love the privacy.

The bugs are not bad. Once we had a villa in a bay, right on the water, and that's the only time we've had any serious problems with mosquitos. Most villas have at least the bedrooms air conditioned, which helps with any potential problems. We don't use the a/c and still don't have problems. I've never dealt with sand fleas, although I have heard some say they have. I've seen no beatles or cockroaches.

You can do a search for St. John villa rentas and it will bring up the the agencies and villa listings.

Terry