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“Great Start to a St. John Vacation”

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Hillcrest Guest House
Ranked #3 of 5 Cruz Bay B&B and Inns
Reviewed January 19, 2009

We just returned from a St. John vacation. We stayed the bulk of the time in a villa on the Coral Bay side, however given the nature of traveling from New England in winter, we tacked a day on each end of the vacation to avoid any weather delays to our vacation.

Phyllis (the wonderful owner) was nice enough to rent us a room for one night (many places on the island have a 2+ night minimum), and we just loved the place. The welcome basket and beverages were perfect after a day of travel and allowed us to get our bearings and down shift to Island Time before venturing out for the evening.

Hillcrest Guest House is cosy and very comfortable, and Phyllis makes you feel right at home. The hill to the house is VERY steep, so be prepared and arrange an arrival pick-up with Phyllis to get you and your bags up the hill.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Disch42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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65 - 71 of 85 reviews

Reviewed March 31, 2008

We just finished a stay at the Hillcrest Guest House in Cruz Bay, St. John. We had a great stay in the Tropical Garden Suite. I will now provide the positives and few negatives about our stay.

Positive: Awesome views, nice wrap around balcony area with chairs and two tables. Great view of the sunset over Cruz Bay. The owner and host Phyllis Hall was very nice and accomodating with the things that we needed (e.g. how to access the free WIFI). Beach towels were provided. Games were provided. Good selection of TV channels. My ten-year-old daughter liked that. Comfortable bed and cozy guest room. CD player on the bedside table to listen to CD's of the ocean to lull me to sleep. Plenty of hot water and water presssure in the shower. Host can take you to private Peter Bay. Host will pick you up and drop you off at the ferry dock. Location very close to downtown and all the shops and restaurants. Phyllis provides a welcome basket with snacks and fruit. She provides rum, soda and juice.

Negative: Some of the items in the welcome basket were past their expiration date (such as the choclate chip cookies). The guest house is up a steep hill. One should hang around town after dinner to let their food digest before taking on the very steep hill. Negotiate a cab rate before taking a cab up the hill. The cab driver was charging us 9 bucks for a 2 minute ride up the hill from town. The beach chairs are upright and you can't recline. You may want to consider renting chairs on the island or bringing your own.

Other tips about St. John. We liked the following restaurants:
The Ocean Grill, La Tapa, The Lime Inn, Miss Lucy's, The Fish Trap and Skinny Legs. We were very disappointed in Morgan's Mango as the service was slow and not very friendly. Morgan's fell far below our expectations. Would not try that place again.
Gas is 4.17 per gallon. Was satisfied with my car rental from Conrad-Sutton rental. They are easy to find just about two blocks past the ferry terminal past First Bank and The Lime Inn. We explore at least 12 beaches including Caneel Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Solomon Bay, Jumbie Bay, Trunk Bay, Denis Bay, Salt Pond Bay, Leinster Bay/Waterlemon Beach and Key, Cinammon Bay, Maho Bay and parked on the paved road and hiked to. Lameshure Bay. Could not find the turnoff for Gibney/Oppenheimer Beach. We enjoyed Coral Bay on the other end of the island. Less intense party scene and more laid back. I want to go back soon and door more hiking as we spent a lot of time on the beach. We liked Peace Hill and the Annaberg Ruins as well. When you go to a restaurant, ask what they are out of first. Don't assume that they have everything or a fraction of what's on the menu. Since almost everything has to be shipped from Miami to St Thomas to St. John by barge, expect higher prices. We found lunch at Skinny Legs to be the most economical place for lunch (44 bucks for three people). There is no sales tax on most purchases on St. John. This island is an incredible American treasure and is well worth the extra expense to visit it. One beautiful beach after another. Great snorkeling and siteseeing. The trip of a lifetime! Highly recommend saving for St. John and allowing extra time to get there. Would stay at Hillcrest again. By the end of the trip, Phyllis felt like family.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank hhansell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2008

Would highly recommend the tropical garden suite as it is by far the largest of the four units. With separate living/dining area and galley kitchen, as well as private balcony wrapping around back and side of unit, (inland view) it is the best option for a stay exceeding 1 or 2 nights. The other three units opposite this suite, have window(s) with bay view, but are much smaller (Front Suite has side balcony with spectacular view of Cruz Bay, but is not accessed from within the room). There is shared lounge/sitting area shared by all four units...wonderful views, and great for sitting in late afternoon sun; we saw several guests at times having a meal out here. Phyllis was a great hostess and was always accessible when needed. The property was within easy walking distance to Cruz Bay restaurants and shops; could be a bit noisy at times, as the windows don't close completely..but all in all, was a good value with many ammenities.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank lynnejenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2008

We checked in on 12/30 for a four night stay in the Front Suite at Hillcrest. We had been on St. John a few other times, so we found our way in the dark even though Phyllis offered to meet us at the ferry dock. We rented a vehicle from Dependable on St. Thomas and took it over on the car ferry. I'm glad we decided to rent a vehicle since the walk from town would be very strenuous unless you are in top physical shape. We just had so much freedom with a car. Check in was easy. Phyllis had everything ready for us. She had all of our favorite things, including Sam Adams for my husband, rum, mixers, eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, ice cream, coffee, tea, OJ, soda, bagels, muffins, candy, cream cheese, just about everything you could think of. She had coolers, beach chairs and towels for us to use, along with a DVD player and DVD's in the walkway for everyone to use. There was a small CD player so we listened to CD's from home while relaxing on the balcony. The room was larger than what we thought it would be. There was a small safe in the closet, along with a hamper and snorkeling equipment. I believe there was an iron too, but we didn't think about ironing anything on this trip.

The view from the balcony is the best part of the accommodations at Hillcrest. It's a little narrow and could use a good painting, but it's a great place to have a birds's eye view of Cruz Bay each evening while drinking pina colada's. We loved the view of Cruz Bay. We watched the ferries come and go and felt really sorry for those leaving. We were there for New Year's Eve, so the music was pretty loud in town until the wee hours. The A/C worked well and we turned it on each night to drown out the noise. The bed was pretty comfortable. It was a queen size. We're used to a king size bed (very firm) and it was fine for us. We went to St. John Ice Co. to pick up some ice for our drinks and a few gallons of water. There were ice trays in the freezer if you don't want to buy ice. We drank bottled water the whole time, so I can't comment on how the water tastes. The blender is very nice and worked great for all of our frozen drinks. We stopped by the grocery store and picked up some bread. We cooked breakfast each morning in the room. It was great. We did have to wash our own dishes and give Phyllis our soiled towels each day for some fresh ones, so that was a little bit of a pain. The only real downfall to the Front Suite is gap around the air conditioner. We noticed mosquitos and bugs in the room each evening. We were really careful to close the door quickly, but they still got in. We killed lots of bugs and wore bug spray. The no see 'ums got my husband in the early AM while he sat outside working on his computer. The view was worth the bites though. He had fast wireless Internet service with his Sprint air card, so he worked each morning while we were there. Our Sprint phones also worked well all over the island.

Phyllis was wonderful. She took care of anything we needed and got me a extra pillow when we asked her for it. She also told us about the police cracking down on people not wearing seat belts. They were giving out $125 fines left and right, so be careful. I really liked the fact that Phyllis lives on-site, so we felt safe there since everyone seems to know Phyllis. There are also some dogs (and roosters) around the area. You'll hear them frequently. I grew up on a farm and it brought back lots of childhood memories. We will definitely stay at Hillcrest again on our next visit to St. John.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank COMizzouFan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2007

We stayed at the Hillcrest for 2 nights. The view is great and it was very nice having the snacks, eggs, etc already in the room when we arrived. As its been stated in other posts Phyllis picked us up at the dock and then gave us a little tour of the city.

What really impressed us was Phyllis, the owner/manager. My wife sprained her ankle while we were hiking and Phyllis volunteered to go to the store and buy us some advil. She did so and would not accept reimbursement. I don't think you would get such service at other establishments. She also drove us to the ferry dock on our day of departure.

Since we spent more time at the guesthouse than we anticipated we were very happy with the accomondations. I would definitely recommend the Hillcrest Guesthouse.

  • Stayed: December 2007
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2  Thank cpatraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2007

Completed our stay November 12, 2007 and loved it! Our hostess was exceptionally gratious - we were picked up and dropped off at the Cruz Bay ferry - a relevant extra benefit since street addresses are used only loosely in St. John's. Hillcrest is a 5 minute walk from Cruz Bay - be aware that the magnificent view our room had overlooking the bay was due to the house being located on a hill. While we enjoyed walking to and from the house, the walk to and from the town is not for the faint of heart - strongly consider renting a car if you're not in good physical shape. The room itself was average, but the amenities were exceptional! A well stocked bar including, snacks, mixers and liquor - esepcially the bottle of champagne waiting for us ! - and snorkeling gear was also provided free of charge - a "must" in our case!

Overall, I'd recommend Hillcrest to any couple or family looking to take advantage of what St. John;s has to offer at a reasonable price.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Nomad0921
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2007

We were in St. John for a few days for a wedding at Caneel Bay. Hillcrest Guest House was a perfect place to stay for this wedding. Hillcrest is located near the ferry stop in Cruz Harbor, making it a very convenient location. From the guesthouse you've got to walk about 5 minutes down the hill to catch a taxi to any of the beaches. The walk up to the guesthouse is steep, but we found it to be just fine and quite quick.

The views from the rooms are pretty, the apartments clean and comfortable. Extra perks included being picked up and dropped off at the ferry station by Phyllis, wi-fi access, kitchen with snacks, fruit, coffee, tea, guidebooks. There is not a single thing we could complain about. Thank you Phyllis!

Liezl + Viet, New York, NY

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank liz-cj7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hillcrest Guest House

Address: Number 157 Estate Enighed, Cruz Bay 00831-0033, St. John
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. John > Cruz Bay
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Cruz Bay
Price Range: $189 - $284 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hillcrest Guest House 2.5*
Number of rooms: 1
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hillcrest Guest House is a romantic accommodation with million dollar ocean and garden views. $185 to 235/day. 2 day minimum ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hillcrest Guest House Hotel Cruz Bay
Hillcrest Guest House St. John/Cruz Bay

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