I have a difficult time writing a good review... not because it wasn't good, but to the contrary, rather because I'd like to keep it a secret. But honesty forces me to agree with all the wonderful reviews before mine.There are no people selling things, no waterslides... it is _not_ a resort. It is a beautiful, quaint, beach house in one of the most beautiful places on the earth.
- The beach was never busy... we maybe saw 10 people in 4 days on Gibney beach.
- The beach was postcard perfect.
- The snorkeling was incredible just off the beach on a shallow reef and bank. Snorkeling tours came to the bay but stayed out beyond the swim buoys
- The groundskeeper, Israel (sp?), was very nice and helpful. He brought tree ripened bananas and freshly opened coconuts to us. I also got a great tour of the garden.
- The owner, Teri, was very nice and helpful and just great in getting us settled and helping us find snorkel rental and restaurants
- The house was just as advertised, was clean, and well cared for. We have 3 daughters (ages 9, 11, and 13) and the Garden Villa was quite sufficient for our family of 5.
Things to note;
- They have wifi, but I think it's in Teri's house and I could only get reception outside on the beach. That said, it was so spectacular that I did not care nearly as much as I thought I did when I had planned the trip.
- There are TV's for kids at night, but no channels. There is a movie rental store in the Marketplace building, but we never did catch it open (didn't try awfully hard... we were on the bech all day and it was around the Thanksgiving holiday as well). There are books and games and we probably enjoyed that more than movies anyway.
- The villa was easy to find, but there was no address. Just drive out of "town" (Cruz Bay area) on Route 20 and when we got to Hawsnest Bay (there is a sign) we finally saw a white picket fence... that was it.
- It was my first time driving on the left side. It wasn't too bad and I quickly got used to it. It helps that the traffic is all pretty slow.
- If you rent a car in St. Thomas, make sure that it is allowed to go on the ferry to St. John... some allow some don't. The ferry for cars is the "car barge". There are 2 barge services. Whichever service you choose, you need to use that service on the return trip too. To load the car barge, you back your vehicle into the yellow lined lanes and await the barge, then back onto the barge.
- Driving in St. Thomas was challenging. The roads are much more crowded and the lack of street signs made the short drive to Red Hook into quite a long drive to Red Hook.
- There were insects, and we did take insect repellent. It helped, but you basically are vacationing in a jungle so there will be bites.
- Just Beach and Arawak Expeditions in Mongoose Junction (the set of stone buildings on the edge of town as you go toward town on Route 20) rent snorkeling equipment for 6$ and 7$ per set per day.
- Parking at Mongoose Junction can be difficult. Just be prepared to park anywhere and walk. The area with shops is a lot smaller than it seems and all within an easy walk.
- We ate at different places in Cruz Bay... some were good. But don't miss driving across the island to Miss Lucy's (past Coral Bay on Friis Bay I believe). Great food.
- There are two short, easy hiking trails just past Hawksnest Bay. One goes to Peace Hill and you have a good view of Hawksnest Bay and Trunk Bay. A trail branching off of that goes down to Denis Bay. It was a nice walk and the beach had more shells. It was fun to explore a little, but there's no better beach than Gibney Beach.
- The garden house is probably 15 feet behind the Beach House which was right on the beach. The walk to the beach was literally 20 paces.
Truly an incredible experience.
- Also Known As:
- Gibney Beach Villas Hotel St. John
- Gibney Beach Villas St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands