We just returned from our first trip. We stayed on Gifft Hill. Loved the location - about 15 min to Cruz Bay (town, shops, restaurants) and also not too far from beaches. View from the hill was spectacular. We stayed at Coconuts and there is a second villa next door named Plumeria - look it up on www.vrbo.com. If you are two families maybe you could each do one villa ....
Welcome to the St. John Forum. Best thing is to visit www.vrbo.com or www.Flipkey.com For us, we like the south side, Rendezvous Bay area. Close to town and that side of the island has sun all day and gets less rain. Then edit what your needs are...pool, hot tub, # of bedrooms (don't be afraid to go to a larger home because the villa people will lock the the bedrooms you don't need), internet, grill, price, etc. Then you will get a bunch to look at.
VI has a 10% hotel tax on each rental just so you are aware of this when you see.
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Time of year, number of bedrooms and budget drives a lot. Another key point is that many villas are island style and bedrooms open onto a veranda, deck or pool without an interior hallway. If you have youngsters who need to be near Mom & Dad then that's a key search criteria.
Thanks for all the tips so far--I will follow up on your references. What I get confused about is getting to the beach--is it possible to rent something close to a nice beach, or will you be up a hill, or close to a small rocky beach? Are all the beautiful beaches in pictures places you drive to?
Thanks again for your support!
STJ is a pack it up and drive to the beach kind of place. Not a big deal since the island is so small it doesn't take long. Very few "on the beach" villas. They will cost and may not be a good swimming/ snorkeling beach. Trust me, it is worth it. Pack a lunch, most villas have beach chairs and jump in the jeep. We like to go to the beaches early, leave around lunch and eat out, head back to villa to rest/ pool time and cook in watching the sunset/stars. Repeat.
You don't want to be water level, IMHO. You won't get breezes and you will have little view. On a hill is the way to go because you will get both. AC in the summer is soooooo important. If you need it in the living room/kitchen space besides the bedrooms, make sure to ask. We have stayed in villas where the kitchen is like 100 degrees, breezes don't matter then. Get AC if you can afford it. They will be more expensive but well worth it. The north shore area rains more and a bit further from town than I like. the south has the pebble beaches but the snorkeling is great. we snorkel in the am, then drive to the beach, then come back to the house and snorkel and swim in the pool. everything is close for us on the south.Edited: 5:14 pm, January 05, 2015
Hint about searching. Don't punch in your exact dates. Click as if you don't know your dates because you may find the perfect house a week after you think you may travel and you won't know about it IF you type in a specific date. Find your perfect villas and then check out their available for June or whenever you may want to go. If you see a house that hasn't updated their calendar in a while...move on. I found that they aren't managed well. JMHO
What ages are the kids? Many villas don't allow children under 8.
The kids range from 7-11. I appreciate the responses, thanks.