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“Beautiful Beaches but Overpriced”
Review of Caneel Bay Resort

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Caneel Bay Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Caneel Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 21, 2014

The beaches are breathtakingly incredible, the grounds are beautiful, the wildlife is wonderful to watch. The turndown service was lovely.

The rooms seem dated and not in great shape. The a/c leaked water down onto whoever was below it in the room and was poorly located. Numerous little things didn't work correctly.

Do not underestimate how much you will miss having a phone. Getting in touch with the front desk involves a hike to a phone stand. This is very inconvenient, especially in the middle of the night.

Service at the restaurant was poor; it was as if it was a bother for them to wait on you.

We felt this resort was overpriced and in need of an update. Updating the service could go a long way in compensating for the shortcomings. If the service had been terrific, everything else would've faded into the background (except the phones - that was really a hassle).

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank TAExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MDCaneel, General Manager at Caneel Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2014

Dear TAExplorer,

Thank you for sharing your review on Tripadvisor. I am pleased to hear there were many aspects of your stay with us that your found enjoyable, however, please accept my apologies for those areas in which we fell short of your expectations. We continuously strive to enhance each experience we provide our guests, especially in the area of the service we provide. We will continue our rigorous training and mentor programs as it is our goal to exceed expectations in all areas. Thank you once again for your feedback, and I do hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back to Caneel Bay one day in the future.

Sincerely,
Nikolay Hotze
Managing Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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697 - 703 of 764 reviews

Reviewed January 21, 2014

My wife and I took our 16 month old daughter to Caneel Bay for 5 nights just before Christmas. The setting could not have been better for our child's first beach trip. Our room was literally 1 step from the sand and less than 50 ft from the water. In fact, from what I saw, this is true of most of the rooms on the property. The island is beautiful and the resort's sprawling grounds are breathtaking.

Unfortunately, this is where the praise ends. My wife and I chose Caneel in part because of it's association with Rosewood Resorts. Over the past few years, my wife and I have visited 4 other Rosewood properties, and although they tend to be extremely pricey, the quality and service of the resorts matched or exceeded the cost.

We never had the opportunity to visit Caneel Bay while it was under Rosewood's management, thus I cannot speak to it's quality prior to our visit, but I can say that during our visit, we were less than impressed. The setting/location of this resort alone is worth $400-$500 per night in my opinion, but at $750-$1000 per night we expected first class accomodations and service as well. This was not the case. The rooms and other common buildings at the resort are were constructed 50 years ago, and although they have been thoroughly renovated, they are nowhere close to today's standard for a luxury resort. Our room was small with cheap furnishings that did not fit the dimensions of the room. The food was mediocre at best with extremely limited variety. In spite of a few bright spots, the staff was generally curt and rude as if our presence was a hassle. I could go on for pages with examples of the minor details that are being missed by the resorts current management, but a couple that stood out to us were the condition of the grounds and the overall lack of service. The natural beauty of the grounds is stunning, but the grass is not mowed and the landscaping is not manicured. We had to walk from our room to the main building of the resort to get everything we needed, room service, drinks, etc. There are no phones in the rooms and thus your options are to go get it yourself or use your cellphone to call the resorts main line and be forwarded to the necessary department.

Shortly after our stay I was asked to complete a survey regarding our stay by "The Leading Hotels of the World". I presume they are now managing/marketing Caneel Bay. I relayed many of these same concerns in this survey, and now a month later have received no response. The bottom line is pretty well summed up by the title of this review. We have been to dozens of beach resorts around the world and the setting at Caneel Bay is unsurpassed. If you are looking for luxury and service, look elsewhere.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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15  Thank Bo J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MDCaneel, General Manager at Caneel Bay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2014

Dear Bo J,
Thank you for sharing your review on Tripadvisor. Please accept my personal apologies regarding your comments about a lack of response from your survey. I read and respond to every survey we receive, as all our guest feedback is very important to me, to our staff, and allows us opportunities to grow and exceed our guest’s expectations. I do sincerely apologize for any glitch that occured in my response.

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize for your dissatisfaction with the rooms and landscaping at Caneel Bay. We strive to provide luxury and comfort as well as adhering to the original design and tone of the resort, which remains faithful to the vision of founder Laurance Rockefeller and his reverence for the environment. The resort remains purposefully absent of modern glitz and digital distractions.

Sincerely,
Nikolay Hotze
Managing Director
Caneel Bay Resort

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2014

Our January 2014 stay would only have been better with more time to explore the island further. Which means, we will return. This is a pricey stay, but the beaches are amazing, the service excellent, and only the pizza a negative ($24 for cardboard with bad sauce and tasteless pepperoni). But forget that - it was room service we got to take to the nightly movie. Each beach has areas for snorkeling that are awesome. I stopped counting turtles at 20 when I found where they hung out on Hawknest Bay. We stayed on the little Turtle Bay at the tip of the resort. It is awesome. The sand is almost pink, and like sugar. Almost no one else on the beach the whole week. And our suite was not big, but great. WiFi signal fine. So, here are reasons not to go: If you want a party place, this is NOT it. The restaurants and bar at Zozo's is nice, but die really early. And only one of the bartenders at the Zozo's and the Turtle Bay bar had any personality to speak of. But we wanted peace - and got it. If you want to have TV - forget it. The rooms are TV and phone free. You have to walk out to call for room service to the shuttle stop. But this is what we wanted = PEACE. The ruins are really cool, and the deer and donkey's really neat. There are two trails on the 77 acre grounds. The one from Turtle Bay to HawksNest is great. Skip the other. Tennis courts are good too. As this was our first trip to the island, we barely scratched the surface of the beached, snorkeling sites, shops and numerous restaurants. Looks like a return trip and a jeep rental will be needed. If you want the worlds's prettiest beaches and quiet, no crowds and can afford it, this is a really amazing trip. All things here are pricey, from meals to drinks. Be ready!

Room Tip: You really can not go wrong. Explore all though so you find a fit for where to go when you return...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank RichBrown_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2014

I am biased. I can't stay away. 20 plus trips make me an addict.

Check in: From the minute you land in St. Thomas the Caneel staff makes sure you and your bags are transported to the ferry safely and efficiently. Thirty minutes later Caneel Bay comes into view, and no matter how many times you have laid your weary eyes on the crystal blue water and white sand, a sense of welcome relief soothes your soul. You are greeted warmly at the dock and your bags are whisked to your room.

The Rooms: Variable locations offer something for everyone. Beach and ocean views abound. Quiet garden views await. Bustle or solitude. The rooms themselves are clean and adequate. Nothing fancy but exceedingly comfortable.

The Grounds: Beyond description. Beyond beautiful. Beaches for every taste and activity level. Water sports including kayaking, sailing and snorkeling. Hiking for every fitness level.

The Food: Breakfast overlooking Caneel or Turtle Bay? Both offer stunning vistas and delicious fare. Fresh fruit, yogurt, pastry, eggs, and just about anything else your stomach desires. Same deal with lunch. No disappointments. Dinner is a bit trickier. A new restaurant has taken over the Equator which is a loss in my book. However, the food at Zozo's is delicious even if the charm is gone. Turtle is another viable dining option with good food and service minus great nighttime views.

The Staff: The General Manager has done an incredible job of maintaining tradition while embracing change. He oversees a staff that is second to none.

Bottom Line: An experience not to be missed.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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5  Thank OhioMaranello
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2014

I've been at this resort for many years and it's still my favorite place.
I went there for my birthday and loved every minute of this wonderful island. You truly get spoiled. The food and service is excellent.
You won't be disappointed.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
2  Thank greatshots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2014

Loved this place, the people, the facilities, the food but most of all the quiet serene beaches especially the one you can go to without children. The tennis program is great as well, both instructors ran great clinics/lessons and were really nice people as well, making us feel like they have known us for years. Even though we were there a full week we did not take advantage of all of the activities so we will have to go back.

Room Tip: We chose a garden room which was furthest from the beach but close to the tennis courts, but had the...
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank bikecopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2014

We spent about 11 days there from Christmas with our 2 kids. The best thing about this place is the location. It is 170 acres. The rooms are spread all over the property. It has 7 private beaches. The weather is perfect. They keep the grounds neatly manicured.

Favorite things: snorkeling at Little Caneel, Caneel, Scott and Hawks Nest; paddle boarding at Caneel; sushi every day at the Grill; running/jogging over the property; hiking the Margarite Hill and the Caneel Hill; swimming with the turtles.

JT, the front manager, is awesome. I forgot my camera charger. He asked one of the employees if she/he had a camera similar to mine. The next day she brought the charger. He went above and beyond his call of duty. The other folks at the front desk weren't as resourceful. Needless to say, the service is spotty.

We planned to rent a car for 4 days of the 11 days. However, after driving around for 1 day, we cancelled the remaining number of rental days. The best part of the island is Caneel Bay Resort. So, no need to rent a car.

Watch out for sandflies in the mornings and evenings. Use the OFF, which they provide for you for free.

We went to eat at Zozo's and Turtle Bay, but the food was okay/good but too heavy for my taste.

Don't skip the afternoon tea. Go there at 4 pm and get some freshly baked cookies.

This resort is a tennis resort. It has tons of tennis courts.

The fitness center was okay. We used it about 4-5 times.

The resort could communicate better. We had to find out about things by asking several people. The important notices are posted on the bus stops.

No TV no telephone in the rooms. No Verizon coverage either.

Overall, it was an easy vacation. We're coming back again this year. If you enjoy beautiful natural scenery and beautiful beaches, then this place is it. The water is blue and calm. The sand is white and soft in most places. There are plenty of trees for shade, unlike the bald Florida beaches where the sun bakes you to death.

Room Tip: If you want a large room and don't want to pay too much, then go for the garden room. If you a...
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank NoodleHouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Caneel Bay Resort

Address: PO Box 720, Caneel Bay 00831-0720, St. John (Formerly Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. John > Caneel Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Caneel Bay
Price Range: $571 - $1,252 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Caneel Bay Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 166
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on a 170-acre peninsula amid the lush beauty of the Virgin Islands National Park and seven picturesque beaches, Caneel Bay is one of the most breathtaking vacation destinations in the Caribbean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Caneel Bay, a Rosewood Hotel Caneel Bay
Caneel Bay a Rosewood Resort
Caneel Bay Resort St John
Caneel Bay St John

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