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“Most Relaxing Vacation Ever!”
Review of House of Open Arms

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House of Open Arms
Certificate of Excellence
Columbus, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Most Relaxing Vacation Ever!”
Reviewed May 19, 2013

My husband and I booked the House of Open Arms 10 months before our visit and we did it based on the pictures alone. I am usually anal about reading all the reviews before making a choice but for some reason I was led to just book it. It wasn’t until about a month and half before our vacation that I read the reviews and felt we had been very blessed to find this location. I couldn’t wait to experience the peace and tranquility of the House and to meet Catherine Perry in person. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. We stayed in the villa and it was beautiful and so relaxing. We enjoyed the pool every morning watching the sun rise, feeding the banana finches and swaying in the hammock in the evenings while staring at the stars. Catherine has missed none of the details while building and stocking this home. We had everything we could possibly need. And Catherine… she is a beautiful person inside and out. She is truly a gracious woman with the gift of hospitality. She not only shared her home with us but a piece of herself. We left the House of Open Arms more relaxed than we had been in years and believing we had found a new and dear friend. We can’t wait to go back!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Angela P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

We were completely satisfied with our recent stay at this property. It is as beautiful as the photos and very clean and spacious. Catherine is much more than a gracious hostess- she is a friend who will do anything she can to make your stay pleasurable. The only downside is the walk up and down to the villa which was hard on my husbands knees so would not recommend if you have moderate to severe arthritis or health problems. Otherwise, we had a wonderful 8 days in glorious nature. We loved that you can book any number of days and not limited to Saturday to Saturday . The pool was perfect and we enjoyed the birds immensely. St. John is a gorgeous island with endless beaches and trails to explore. We hope to return sooner than later!

  • Stayed April 2013
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Helpful?
3 Thank Happygirlkc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Michigan
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

We are return guests, and glad we are. We come to St. John for Spring break, as a couple. House of Open Arms Villa is a refreshment and an enchantment. You will NOT find a more gracious host than Catherine. (May we suggest you ask for a private viewing of her art -- a true talent. If you are fortunate enough to purchase a piece of her art -- consider yourself blessed). We CANNOT say enough regarding how much this place refreshes our souls and rejuvenates us as a couple. House of Open Arms- Villa has it all, view, quite, great accomodations, privacy and your own infinity pool. We challenge you to not wake at 2 a.m., sit on the verada, listen to the Carribean Sea and watch the moon and let nature take your soul to a place that CANNOT be discribed. Truely we believe God blessed this place -- a peice of heaven. Getting there is half the fun, it is an adventure taking your rental jeep up the hill -- so much fun !!! Makes one feel like you are the first explorers to find Forsberg Estates in Coral Bay, St. John since the 1600's . You drive up the hill to House of Open Arms and the view to the Carribean is stunning --- than you realize -- this view is yours for your entire vacation !!!! Seclusion is the key here...love it -- embrace it. If you are like us --your partnership, and your faith in each will be renewed. Thank You -- Catherine for the House of Open Arms !!!!!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank TuscanyHorizon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Like a scope of homemade vanilla ice cream on a slice of hot apple pie, Catherine’s villa is the perfect topping to a stay in St John. If you desire a tranquil atmosphere with an amazing view in a remote setting, than The House of Open Arms is the place for you. It definitely was for us.
Thank you Catherine, we will be back……..

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
3 Thank Vickie-n-Glenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakewood, Ohio
Level Contributor
30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2013

My partner and I just returned from a week stay at the villa. All of the positive reviews are spot-on. There's honestly something so serene about this place and the views are spectacular. I could go on and on, but I don't know if there's much more to add. The cottage probably affords more privacy but the veranda on the villa makes up for that, in my opinion.

I'll say this... I wish there was a pair of scissors in the villa. That's it. That is honestly my only suggestion for improvement. And I'm an extremely picky person. So, trust me that you won't be disappointed.

I'm so thankful that my first visit to St. John was in Coral Bay (great access to beaches and some really chill places to hang out at night) and at AHOOA.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank ouuga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Michigan, USA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2012

My wife Anita and I stayed at the Villa at the House of Open Arms December 9-18 (wish it was December 9-eternity passes away) and this was our third year in a row staying at the Villa. If it wasn't for our children needing college tuition money, December 2013 would be our fourth year in a row (damn them). The Villa is spacious, comfortable, and one of the greatest blessings of its location, is that we were perpetually comforted by the view and the never ending sound of the ocean. The spacious veranda lends itself to that continually. And then there's St. John!!!!! Just go!! Catherine listened to something special that told her, "Build here." And when you're there, you will feel that voice as well. If you don't, from me to you, "Call Dr. Phil!"

Room Tip: I believe the bed in the Villa is between a full-size and a queen. If you need a king size bed, I s...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Ken K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gilbert, Arizona
Level Contributor
120 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2012

If you remember one thing about this review, it should be that A House of Open Arms is the place at which you simply MUST stay if coming to St. John. For me, it completely elevated our St. John honeymoon/vacation beyond my highest expectations - and as you can tell from my other reviews, my expectations are extremely high.

I should caution that clubbers/bar hoppers should probably stop reading and look elsewhere for accommodations. A House of Open Arms is remote and inconvenient to those wanting to spend their evenings at all the bars in Cruz Bay.

Instead, this is a haven, a peaceful, beautiful, glorious retreat for those seeking to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of the island. Located in Coral Bay - about 30 minutes from Cruz Bay - the villa/cottage can be found off a very bumpy and narrow dirt road for which you need a four wheel drive jeep-type vehicle. (You'll want the car rental any way as it is truly the only way to experience the best of the island. Leaving your fate to taxi drivers will limit your ability to explore vs. renting a vehicle).

Choosing to stay here is like choosing the path less traveled. Rugged explorer-types, outdoor enthusiasts, revelers in nature and those seeking beauty and solitude keep reading!

A House of Open Arms features two private rental choices - a one bedroom villa with large, open living space, full kitchen, lanai and dipping pool...or a studio cottage with a tiny "kitchenette," private deck and outdoor shower. We rented the cottage as it was the only one available but Catherine showed us the villa after we arrived. Both were beautifully and thoughtfully appointed with virtually any amenity you might need. The villa is set into a steep hillside directly facing east/Coral Bay. The cottage is below the villa and can be reached by a set of very steep stairs leading down alongside the villa. Due to the thoughtful construction, the villa and cottage are very much private from each other. We never saw nor heard the guests staying in the villa and they could not see/hear us. One thing both rentals share: an unsurpassed and incredibly gorgeous view.

Even though the cottage was smaller than the villa, it was AMAZING and more than fulfilled all our needs. The full/queen size bed was extremely comfortable, there is a small sitting area similar to what you would find in a hotel, a Bose Wave radio w/iPod hookup, a very effective ceiling fan and AC if you need it (we did), and the most spectacular view on the entire island. Seriously. Every morning, you are greeted with a beautiful sunrise that is all yours. The spacious deck w/Adirondack chairs was where I camped out every morning and throughout the day, just in awe of the views. The outdoor shower was gorgeous - each time I used it I found new things to marvel at - from the view of the water itself to the wonderfully artistic tiling of the shower. Even though it is outdoors, it is VERY private so no need to worry.

Read Catherine's list of amenities and you will see there is little you will want for. What I want to impart the most are some of the things you may not get just from reading her website.

1) The privacy of her rentals is phenomenal. I loved feeling so secluded from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy Cruz Bay. I loved feeling like I was the only one staying on that hillside, enjoying the amazing views. Staying at a House of Open Arms, you truly are "away from it all."

2) The comfort and cleanliness beats any hotel/villa rental you could find. Every item in the rental has been chosen in anticipation of your needs and the minute you arrive, you are immediately "at home" instead of merely checking into a hotel room. There is a simple and clean and comfortable air to the rentals combined with beautiful, artistic and thoughtful touches that create an overall sense of comfortable luxury.

3) The views are unparalleled. Yes, the views that will greet you each morning and close out your evenings are among the absolute best on the island.

4) Catherine Perry herself. It is true - she is there if you need her, and completely invisible if you don't. I was a little uncomfortable about staying at a place where the caretaker was onsite but after reading all the TripAdvisor reviews, decided to take a chance. And speaking of all the TripAdvisor reviews, I was a little skeptical that Catherine Perry could be so great. I mean, despite all the gushing from previous guests, who could really be that wonderful? Seriously, that is a LOT of hype to live up to. But Catherine Perry is indeed that rarest gem of a human being. The minute you meet her, you will feel her authenticity - she is a genuinely caring and warm individual with a knack for being intuitive to your needs and preferences. She will leave you alone if you like or share in conversation with you all the tips and tricks to getting the most out of the island. She makes you feel immediately comfortable and at home and that spirit is reflected throughout her villa and cottage rentals as well. Catherine Perry herself is what makes staying at a House of Open Arms an authentic five-star experience.

I could keep going but this should give you a sense of what you might be in store for. My husband and I hope to return next year and stay at the cottage again - now that we know how truly wonderful it is, it is the only place we would stay at when visiting St. John. Skip the touristy hotels and anonymous villa rentals and go straight to A House of Open Arms. You won't regret it.

Room Tip: Be prepared for lots of stairs to access this exclusive, private, beautiful place!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Leah H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about House of Open Arms

Property: House of Open Arms
Address: 15-2 Estate Fortsberg | Coral Bay, 00830, St. John
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. John
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 32 Specialty Lodging in St. John
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A House of Open Arms is a beautiful vacation villa and cottage on the peninsula of Fortsburg in Coral Bay, St. John, USVI. 75% of St. John is Nat'l Park and we are located just outside of it overlooking Nat'l Park waters of Hurricane Hole, East End and beyond to Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands. We have solar water power and we are on the grid so we have air conditioning too! 180 degree white water views wrap around this delightful one bedroom villa and charming one bedroom cottage. The villa is 1000 square feet and has 1 bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, veranda and pool. The cottage is 650 square feet and has a wrap around porch, outdoor cooking area, front entryway, bedroom and an inside bathroom with an outdoor shower. Both areas are separate and very private. The cottage is down the hill from the villa about 40 steps. While the cottage will only hold 2 people, the villa can accomodate small children easily. The property is owned and managed by Catherine Perry a local potter and watercolor artist. She is available for local knowledge, helping plan excursions, restaurant recommendations or any need you may have. House of Open Arms is located on a breathtakingly green, private hillside with constant, cool ocean breezes. Come relax in peaceful elegance and see how well you can live while staying in balance with the world around you! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
a House Of Open Arms Hotel St. John
House Of Open Arms St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

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