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“The ONLY place you should stay on St. John...”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of House of Open Arms

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House of Open Arms
Certificate of Excellence
Currently California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The ONLY place you should stay on St. John...”
Reviewed July 17, 2008

I don't want to spoil anything, so you will have to see for yourself how utterly amazing this place is. Without saying too much, I have traveled the world over and this place is in my top 3 of best places to stay....in the world! I can't believe that I was originally so hesitant to stay here. Once we got there we realized that we really really lucked out. Don't think twice, just hurry up and book before your spot is taken. I will come back over, and over, and over again. Thank you Catherine, for sharing the most beautiful spot on St. John, your attention to detail, and your generous hospitality.

  • Liked — it was just so beautiful and Catherine was so accomodating.
  • Disliked — nothing at all
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Squissel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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161 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
St. Paul, MN
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2008

This review is long overdue: My husband and I had the best vacation either of us had ever taken when we stayed at A House of Open Arms. Neither of us had ever experienced such hospitality before, and certainly not in a such a beautiful setting. The proprietor, Katherine, was warm and engaging, gave us great tips on what to do on the island, and made our trip the absolute gem that it was. We stayed in the Villa, which was beautifully furnished, immaculately kept and comfortable. We slept each night with the windows and doors open - and really missed the sound of the ocean at night when we came home. We had dinner four of our six nights at "home," just because we loved being there so much. We hiked and snorkeled during the days and relaxed at A House of Open Arms during the evenings...it was the perfect way to spend a week, and we absolutely will go back.

  • Liked — The beautiful setting and the friendly owner
  • Disliked — Nothing - it was idyllic
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank julie2576
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
158 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2008

We chose to stay on the quiet side of the Island during our visit to St. John and could not have been more pleased. We arrived to find shockingly beatiful views from the property. It is on a hill, close enough to hear the waves and walk down to the water but up enough to have a great view of mountains, bays, sailboats, and distant islands. The cottage was extremely comfortable, well furnished with ample shaded outdoor space and lots of windows with good screens. I enjoyed sitting on the patio reading, watching the birds and the ever changing view, feeling the pleasant breezes, and listen to the sounds of nature. I was impressed with the attention to detail of the owner and the concern she displayed for her guests comfort. The environmental design of the property with solar electric and hot water among other things was impressive as well. I think the location near Coral bay could not have been better, there was no traffic or road noise and every night was enjoyed listening to the waves and the noise of the jungle. The property is very close the many beaches, restraunts, hiking trails and other fun things to do. I had read other reviews of the property here on Tripadvisor but I was still pleasantly surprised by how nice the place was and how comfortable and relaxing my stay was there. I would gladly return and have reccomended it to several friends.

  • Liked — the quiet and the view
  • Disliked — Honestly everything about it was better than I could have hoped.
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank diverguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puznik11
Level Contributor
43 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2008

For this, our first stay on St John, I did roughly 30 hours or so of research to find the perfect place, and I am glad to know I didn't waste my time! I chose A House Of Open Arms (AHOOA), and I definately chose the best of the best!

Location on St John is pretty important, depending on where you plan to spend most of your time, and the decision to stay in the Coral Bay area worked well. AHOOA is located about a mile & change past the famous "Skinny Legs", and is about as private and pristine a place as I've seen.

Catherine Perry keeps her place spotless, and has excellent taste in furnishings, decor, architecture, etc. She is a world-class artist and would have a masters' degree in hospitality, should a school offer one! We were fortunate to stay in both the cottage and the villa during our week long stay, and can only rave about AHOOA!

The cottage is cute, and very private. It's outdoor shower is awesome and the cottage's windows & wraparound deck afford you serenity and views that are ethereal! Add to it that Catherine greets guests with a home-cooked dinner the night you arrive, and that first hour after we arrived at the cottage is so memorable, it's crystal clear in my mind…the views, the accomodations/location, and a GREAT baked tilapia/roasted vegetable meal for both of us! YES! We (my wife & I) knew then, in the first few minutes, that this would be then property we returned to for future visits.

The rest of our week, we moved into AHOOA's villa, which is larger, with a pool, a large tiled patio, and a great kitchen, where we prepared breakfast daily, thanks to the granola, coffee and sugars provided! The bed in the villa is ultra-comfortable, and I believe it may be a pillow-top (sleigh bed). It was the perfect place to get a few hours of sleep after dozing off while reading a good book on the patio by moon & candlelight.

The gardens/landscaping are meticulously maintained by Catherine, and probably go underappreciated because of the overabundance of natural beauty on St John, but I have to say that her landscaping is the nicest we saw on the entire island!

Add to it that AHOOA is zero-carbon, and you have to wonder why would you stay anywhere else? And FYI to those who worry that a solar powered place won't have hot water, will have dim lights, etc. - nothing could be further from the truth - the water is plenty hot, the lights are bright as ever, and by the time we left, I never once was impacted negatively by the solar thing - in fact, I'd like to outfit my house with solar panels back in NJ!

Please check out the pictures we took, and if there's one thing that I can say that will leave a lasting impact, it's this…
Next time we go to STJ (hopefully as soon as this winter), I will not spend any time looking for a place to stay, because we already know where we want to stay (again)…AHOOA!

  • Liked — Views, cleanliness, decor, design, architecture, comfort, colors, etc. - everything!
  • Disliked — Nothing…save for the occassional mosquito there wasn't a thing that wasn't perfect!
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Puznik11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston121
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2008

What an amazing place! We stayed at The House of Open Arms for a week in January and loved it. The property is beautiful and Catherine has done a wonderful job decorating it with her art work. We would highly recomend this place for couples who are looking to get away from it all. The beaches are beautiful and the snorkeling is out of this world. Catherine who owns this property and lives in the artist studio was an amazing host and offered great suggestions about this islands. This is a great place for people who are adventorous and are looking for a memorable trip to St. John. We know we will never forget The House of Open Arms.

Stayed January 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank Boston121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2008

My husband and I stayed at A House of Open Arms for our 10th wedding anniversary. We had never been to the Carribean before and found the property online. We were very happy with our choice. The views from the villa are amazing - you literally feel like you are surrounded by water. The villa was very nice - on par with what you would have at a 5 star hotel. We loved listening to the waves and the birds outside our windows. Having never been to the carribean, I was suprised at how hot and muggy (and buggy) it was once you hiked inland, but there was always a cool breeze at the villa. We were very comfortable without a/c. Our hostess was wonderful and always had great ideas for us when we asked her. We especially liked Sweet Plaintains restaurant, sailing with Cloud 9 and kayaking with Arawak Expeditions. We loved being on the quiet side of the island and would choose it again hands down. The twenty to thirty minute drive to the other side is really beautiful, so we didn't mind it. If I could do it over, I would spend more time in the water - sailing and at the beaches and skip the hikes. There are a few downsides to staying here - we had cool showers for the first few days because it was unusually cloudy when we arrived, and the road to the villa became a little scary after it rained. We felt like these few inconveniances were really small compared to the beauty and quiet we found. As long as you are adventurous and healthy enough to traverse the steep driveway, I would highly recommend it.

  • Liked — The View!
  • Disliked — Steep road/ driveway
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
3 Thank bgibler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2007

A house of Open Arms is truly a beautiful place, and, as the name suggests owned by one of the most welcoming people you will ever meet. Catherine is the owner and hostess of this amazing property - she has truly built a gem on the quiet side of the island in Coral Bay. You will no doubt arrive late in the day and hungry. So, Catherine will have a meal and bottle of wine ready for you.

There are 2 rooms available: the Cottage and the Villa. We stayed in the Villa for 1 week. The living areas are gorgeous and clean with pieces of art by Catherine and some artists friends of hers (I say this because she is a friend to everyone she meets) dotting the walls.

Words can only begin to describe how beautiful this property really is. The view is absolutely stunning (See Pics). The garden makes one feel as though you have entered a tropical paradise. Each morning we were awakened by the sunrise directly into our window over the porch (no need for an alarm clock here). Then, as we munched on the yummy granola that Catherine lovingly prepared, we sat on the porch and watched the banaquits (sugarbirds) in their playful breakfast. This is also the time where we were deciding what to do for the day's activities. (Before the trip, read through the St. John guide book that Catherine will no doubt send to you in the mail).

The first day, on Catherine's recommendation, we went into Coral Bay to rent a kayak in order to get to Hurricane Hole (It takes about 40 minutes). What a great time! Hurricane Hole is made up of a few bays where ships anchor in stormy weather due to the protection it offers. Here you will almost surely have your own small secluded beaches. And, be sure to take your snorkel gear as the mangroves offer the perfect environment for many types of fish.

Other activities we found worthwhile: Leinster bay and Waterlemon Cay for snorkeling. Maho bay for an easy access beach that is beautiful and relaxing. There is also excellent snorkeling here as well. You can also snorkel around to Little Maho and walk Francis bay beach to find even more snorkeling. Vie's beach and Snack Shack are worth the trip. Its all the way on the East End, a beautiful drive. You'll have to pay 2.50 pp, but she has beach chairs and the beach is beautiful. She also has some pretty good local food at her snack shack. The other couple that stayed in the Cottage mentioned that Saltpond had very good snorkeling. You'll find that there are places that are not easy to get to (eg. you have to walk 10 minutes to get to Leinster) but you will be rewarded. By the end of the day we were tired!

Food was decent to great: La Tapa for pretty good spanish fare. Morgans Mango is a happening place with good seafood and drinks. Lime Inn was ok. I would recommend Miss Lucy's even though the paella was not good. The Kalaloo (okra and spinach) soup was tasty and my wife's seafood entree was good too. You can sit right on the water on their outdoor patio. Shiprweck was a good place for lunch but our friends from the cottage did not like for dinner. ZoZo's was the best meal we had by far. I think I would recommend it for the lobster over other places as they grill it instead of boiling. They also remove from the shell. Call ahead and get a reservation for 5:30 and ask for a table with a view of the sunset.

A House of Open Arms is perfect for those looking for a beautiful place to relax and recharge from a day filled with adventure in the sun. It is an outstanding value compared to other places on the island. Catherine will do everything she can to make your stay pleasant and fun.

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank nieluhpw
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: 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 #3 of 34 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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