I've stayed in other places in Cruz Bay/St. John, but Garden by the Sea is where I'd definitely want to stay again. The location, amenities, and innkeepers really make this place a gem!
First of all, this place is a very short walk to the center of Cruz Bay, which means you don't have to take taxis to get to the restaurants/bars in town. There is a bit of an uphill walk to get to town, but it's easy to walk up. Since they're not right in town, it's blessedly quiet all day. Also, you get nice views of the nearby salt pond (great bird-watching)!
The inn is located in a beautifully painted gingerbread-style house. The main room and guest rooms have beautiful Caribbean mosaics on the floor, and the balcony (where they serve breakfast) is covered with beautiful flowering plants. The guest rooms are simple, but very elegant - and blessedly air-conditioned. The bathroom where we stayed (Wild Ginger Room) had a semi-open-air (screened) garden shower, which was a really cool feature.
The breakfasts were delicious and prepared exactly to our liking- featuring items like eggs benedict, piña colada French toast, and blueberry pancakes. It was wonderful watching the native bananaquits (birds) and hummingbirds eating from the feeders while enjoying our breakfasts on the beautiful balcony.
What really made the stay amazing was the attention of John and Nancy, the owners. They were welcome and friendly right from the start, and they offered some amazing tips on local attractions, (even for those of us already familiar with St. John!) They have beach chairs, coolers, and snorkel equipment available for use, and they were happy to make car rental arrangements for us as well. John even delivered our luggage to the ferry dock, when we wanted to get some morning beach time before heading back to St. Thomas!
The only negative thing I can think of is that GBTS does not accept credit cards or personal checks. However, Nancy and John do a great job of explaining their payment process before you arrive, so there are no last-minute surprises.
If you're looking for a big resort with lots of swanky amenities, GBTS isn't for you. However, if you want a truly memorable experience with tons of local flavor, you can't get better on St. John than Garden-by-the-Sea!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Garden by the Sea B&B is the quintessential Caribbean home: bright, colorful walls; local art and paintings; gingerbread trim; lush gardens with coconut and banana trees; & nesting birds, iguanas, and peacocks. We are located in the heart of Estate Contant and Enighed – a funky little neighborhood within walking distance of Cruz Bay and 1 ½ blocks from Frank Bay Beach. Your hosts have lived on St. John for over 12 years and are very familiar with the island and the national park and are very willing to help plan your daily activities. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Garden By The Sea Hotel Cruz Bay
- Garden By The Sea Bed And Breakfast
- Garden By The Sea B&B St. John/Cruz Bay