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“A great place to stay in Coral Bay”
Review of House of Open Arms

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House of Open Arms
Certificate of Excellence
Kansas City
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A great place to stay in Coral Bay”
Reviewed July 8, 2009

A House of Open Arms was the perfect place for us to stay during our anniversary. We stayed in the Cottage (the Villa was already booked) and loved every bit of our time there. If you like privacy, and don't feel the need to cook every night of your vacation, the Cottage is perfect. Great views, sound of the surf, privacy, romance. I would stay in the Cottage again in a heartbeat. Catherine is a wonderful hostess and makes an awesome meal your first night there. I highly recommend this place if you are going to St. John!

Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank mireneb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Boulder, CO
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2009

Wow!! What a place. The House of Open Arms is truly an amazing destination. Unlike anywhere my Wife and I have ever stayed before. It was a home away from home.

We could not have picked a better place to stay on the island. The views are breathtaking. If you are looking to get away from the chaos of the world this is the place to be. Most vacationers to St John stay in Cruz Bay which is the epicenter of the island, so it is the most crowded (nothing like St Thomas). The House of Open Arms is located on the east and less populated side of the island in Coral Bay where there are fewer vacation rentals and I would have a hard time believing any of them could compare. Especially, when you have a host like Catherine, she is just as wonderful as all the other reviewers say she is and so is the homemade granola. Coming from Boulder, CO we also loved the place was completely Green including solar powered electricity, solar hot water heater and water collection systems. How cool is that.

My Recommendations:

* A 4x4 Jeep is a must – we rented ours in St Thomas and put it on the barge for $30
*Wine is expensive so bring some with you on the plane.
*Check out the ruins of Fort Frederick located above and below the house *Snorkeling is a no-brainer

Please feel free to contact me for a reference. This is also a link to the House of Open Arms <a href="http://www.houseofopenarms.com">St John Vacation Rental</a> Website

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jdemery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 3, 2009

After extensive research, I surprised my wife for our 10th Anniversary with a stay at the VIlla of A House of Open Arms. She and I were both absolutely delighted with our stay. We hope to come back and recommend A House of Open Arms wholeheartedly.

Here is what we liked the best about A House of Open Arms:

1. Catherine is a perfect hostess. I was initially concerned about what it would be like to stay below the owner of the property, but I discovered that my concerns were needless. Catherine is available if you need her, but she is very careful not to invade your privacy. She is a extremely hospitable, respectful, honest, and joyful woman. Both the cottage and the villa are very private. In fact, Catherine went out of her way to meet a special request that we had. Catherine radiates the love of God.

2. The views from the Villa (and the Cottage) are spectacular. We woke up every morning amazed that we were so blessed to see such a beautiful panoramic view every day. I know that some places selectively show you pictures, making you think that you are staying at a beautiful place; this is not the case wtih a House of Open Arms. You actually can't understand how beautiful it is until you are there. I was surprised about how beautiful of a place it is.

3. Our entire stay at A House of Open Arms radiated peace. Rarely have we been so relaxed.

4. The pool is a fantastic part of the stay at the Villa. We often swam in it three times a day - morning, late afternoon, and under the stars.

5. The Villa is quite spacious. Each of the four rooms were much bigger than we expected.

6. Catherine takes wonderful, personal care of the entire grounds of a House of Open Arms. Our Villa was spotlessly clean - and my wife looks for such things.

7. Having been to St. John in the summer before, I was concerned that it might be hot, but the Villa received a constant breeze from the east, keeping us cool and comfortable the whole time.

8. The Villa provides easy access to the entire island of St. John. It's location on the country side of the island makes it private but aslo very acceessible. The roads really weren't bad at all with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Almost everything paved, making it easy to get around.

I honestly wouldn't delay in booking a stay at A House of Open Arms. You will not be disappointed. In fact, I'm sure it will be better than you expected (even though my expectations were already high) - just as it was for me.

I would love to answer any questions anyone has. Please feel free to email me.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Michigan_Llama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vero Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 1, 2009

April 19-26, 2009

We had the most glorious visit to St John. The island was far better than I ever expected. David & I have traveled to many islands throughout the Caribbean and Pacific oceans and yours is by far my favorite.

The best part of a vacation may well be where you lay your head at the end of an adventerous day. The "House of Open Arms" was a beautiful place to start and end each day. We are early risers (5-6am), but found ourselves lingering longer and longer each morning, enjoying the view, the delicious coffee and Catherine's (Innkeeper and owner) infamous homemade granola. Sitting on the porch watching the sun rise was a highlight everyday. It just seemed magical. What a devastatingly beautiful place Catherine has chosen for her home and how lucky we are that she was willing to share it.

We had 7 days on the island and still could not fit in the "day to rest at the Villa," we had planned. I have a few recommendations for future guests.

BEST BURGER: Bleu Cheese Burger at Skinny Legs,

BEST SNORKELING: furthest tip of Waterlemon Cay (Spotted Eagle Ray- 6' wing span),
and Left side of Brown Bay (Mom & Junior Loggerhead Turtles and Octopus). Well worth the hike to the Bay)

BEST HIKES: Ram's Head for the dramatic views & Lamasure Bay Trail for the Petroglyphs, Great House, Slave Ruins, and nice long hike

BEST SHOPPING FOR FOOD: Lily's Gourmet Market.

We are so grateful to Catherine, for the fantastic welcome dinner to the parting hugs at the Ferry dock. We plan to come back in a couple of years with more family to share our joy. We wish her well and thank her for the peace she allowed us to share.

Many thanks,
David & Cindy Howard
Vero Beach, FL

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Cinhoward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2009

My husband and I stayed in the Cottage for an incredible week in April. We were looking for a relaxing, warm and affordable place to vacation - we found all this and more at Catherine's home on St. John.

After booking with Catherine she mailed us a book about the island that became our daily guide while we were there. Every day we woke up to the sound of birds outside our window, put on our bathing suits and picked out a spot to snorkel by reading our book. In the evenings we often cooked on the outdoor grill and sat outside enjoying food and wine to the sound of the ocean.

The House of Open Arms is the most amazing place I have stayed.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank JW_KJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
100 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2009

My husband, 25 year-old son, and I had a wonderful experience on St. John's, based at the villa at A House of Open Arms. The villa was even roomier than it looks in the photographs -- the three of us were quite comfortable. It felt more like a private home than a rental unit -- the furnishings and finishes were all of a very high quality. The owner, Catherine, was a joy, and a pleasure to do business with -- she acted personally committed to us enjoying our experience on the island from the moment we initially contacted her to make our reservation, to our departure. This was an above and beyond experience for us, in every way.

  • Stayed May 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank judyisreadytogo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waverly, Iowa
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2009

One year ago today, my husband and I were in St John celebrating our 10th anniversary. Obviously time got away from me or this review would not be so late - a week after we got home, we got hit with floods and our home was destroyed. So a long 2008, but that doesn't change the fact that our trip to St John was incredible and the best vacation ever for us. We were so lucky to stay at a House of Open Arms just outside Coral Bay. It really is just as beautiful as the photos show. Perched on the mountain, with a view that goes forever - I simply can't recommend it highly enough. When choosing our trip, we wanted something that was away from crowds; where we could appreciate nature; rediscover each other; and feel pampered at the same time. We stayed in the villa at House of Open Arms and seriously, right from the beginning I felt like we must be in a movie. It is so unbelievable - especially when we're from Iowa, and easily overwhelmed with mountains and the ocean! We had a gorgeous patio that overlooks the sea, with a perfect little pool just for us. I was in that every day, and enjoyed my mimosas as I watched the ships sail by.
I could go on for days, easily. I'll try to be relevant! For people considering not getting a car, I do recommend a vehicle. The island is not big, but Catherine's house is outside of Coral Bay on pretty much a donkey trail that goes straight up the mountain. So it is a hike to get around without a vehicle. And honestly, for us, the driving was part of the adventure. Driving on the left, going straight up and down the mountains, it was a riot. You can't go more than 45 anywhere - not that any road is straight enough!
I wondered how it would be to have our host in the house above us. It was fantastic. Not only is Catherine the hardest-working person I know, but she is perfectly happy to be a local resource on trails, snorkel spots and restaurants when you ask, and leave you alone the rest of the time. She is wonderful, and her style definitely comes through in the beauty of the villa and the setting.
If you go to St John, I do consider it a sin not to snorkel. Top 3 spots - Waterlemon Cay; Brown Bay (we had the beach to ourselves, as you have to hike in to it. perfect!!!!); and the #1 not to be missed is snorkeling the mangroves in Hurricane Hole (which our pool overlooks from House of Open Arms). If you do nothing else, do that!
And if you are looking at St John, then you already have some adventure in your soul and a definite love for nature. I would say go for it, and stay at a House of Open Arms. It's eco-friendly, it is absolutely beautiful, and it is somewhere I would go back to in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank melissammb
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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