My husband and I stayed at The Retreat for 5 nights on our honeymoon in October 2012. It is a place that cannot be understood through a description; you really just have to experience it. The Retreat is the most relaxing, tranquil place I can imagine where one can truly escape the world.
Upon arrival on St. John, the island house manager met us at the ferry dock. She drove us to the grocery store, and would have taken us to rent a car had that been our plan. She then took us to the house, gave us a tour, and showed us all the amenities. She was VERY helpful in terms of recommending places to go on the island and transportation tips and readily available via phone the entire duration of our stay.
Upon seeing the house, it at first seemed more “rustic” than we would be comfortable with. However, we very quickly fell in love with it and can’t wait to go back.
The Retreat is located on the east end of St. John and very private. When I say private, I mean:
a) When you walk outside in the morning, you hear nothing but absolute silence -- and the sound of the waves crashing below. I can’t emphasize how QUIET it was there. So wonderful!
b) You may see 5 vehicles drive by the house on any given day
c) If you wanted to strip down naked and walk about the premises, you could do so without a care in the world (not saying we did that ;) )
That is not to say you are nowhere near civilization – but the immediate area surrounding the house is incredibly private, in a small neighborhood (off one of the main island roads) with very little street traffic.
The view from the back of the house (including living room, kitchen, and bedrooms) is breathtaking. You have a clear view of Tortola across Dreekets Bay. The view on a sunny day really does look just like the pictures. The water is so incredibly blue and clear.
You will feel “one with nature” at The Retreat. There is nature all around you. Pelicans, lizards, hermit crabs, even bats! The landscaping is lovely, with palm trees and beautiful flowers. Not to mention the incredible view of the water, and the surrounding woods/trees and picturesque sunsets!
The layout of the property is nicely spread out, with 2 separate bedroom/bathroom houses, and a 3rd, larger building including the kitchen & living room area. The kitchen is fully stocked with dishware and cookware. We cooked most of our meals at the house.
The Retreat has many wonderfully unique amenities:
1. The 40-foot LAP POOL. We spent lots of time in the pool. It was quite hot & humid while we were there, so the pool was always a welcome relief from morning till night.
2. The shower is an OUTDOOR SHOWER – spectacular! Even when you take a shower, you will feel one with nature. The shower has an open view of trees directly above you, and a view of Dreekets Bay right in front of you. What a great idea!!
3. Each building has glass garage doors that function as huge windows, with an optional screen that you can have up or down at any time. The screens were helpful in late afternoon when the mosquitos were the worst. During the day for the most part, we kept the living room totally open air. At night we would put just the screens down and blast the Sirius radio. No need to worry about waking up the neighbors, you don’t have any nearby!
4. The best snorkeling you will find is just below the house, in Dreekets Bay. Snorkling gear is provided at the house. It’s just a short trek from the house, down through the woods to the water. We saw beautiful coral, fish, and sea turtles. Some of the coral looked as though it had been there for hundreds of years. AMAZING!!
One note about cell phone usage: Reception is limited at The Retreat. Making it that much more enjoyable! :-) A landline phone was available to use at the house.
We did not rent a car on the island, and took taxis everywhere. (We chose to do this as we were not comfortable with the idea of driving on the left side of the road.) There were a couple of taxi drivers we met who we came to use on a regular basis as they were more than willing to drive out to get us. It is about a 35 minute drive from The Retreat to Cruz Bay. Taxi rides were about $40 for a one-way trip. In a way, taking taxi’s was more fun than driving ourselves, as it was more like a safari ride in the back of the taxi truck!
We highly recommend The Retreat for a vacation getaway. We thoroughly enjoyed our honeymoon here, and look forward to returning one day soon!
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