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Reviewed July 8, 2014 via mobile

I can't say enough good things about Caneel Bay. This was our first trip to Caneel with our kids, and we can't wait to get back! We were in an oceanfront room which was set up perfectly with two twin beds and a king.
We spent very little time in the room anyway, as there was just too much to enjoy around the resort and the islands. The beaches around Caneel are unreal, a great place to see turtles, rays, fish, barracudas, etc.
The service is FANTASTIC. Everything is attended to and immaculate. We've travelled there as a couple several times previously, and service is always nothing less than spectacular.
Can't think of a better place to relax and unplug. Won't stay anywhere else on St John (assuming I can afford it). Will be back soon!

Stayed: June 2014
3  Thank mtomko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2014 via mobile

Caneel bay exceeded all of my expectations! The food, accommodating, my kids had the best time, the beaches were amazing, staff was lovely. We paddle boarded and kayaked everyday. We stayed in The main beach Caneel bay and it was perfect! Breakfast every morning was delicious, zozo's was super yummy and so was the turtle bay house! I love it here and I cannot wait to come back!

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Christina C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2014

Lovely location, but the service is horrible. The majority of staff members I encountered were either indifferent or rude. For the price, I expect at least courtesy, if not true effort to make me feel welcome.

My garden-view accommodations were quite nice, and about what I had expected. However, the customer service was the absolute worst. My arrival started on a negative note with the team who met the incoming ferry at dockside. They were were short tempered and curt. One of them repeatedly tried to check me in under my father's room (we have the same last name) and was downright rude when I tried to correct the error. My room key didn't work, and she left me standing outside my door while she went to get a new one. When I pointed out that my "porch" light was burned out, I was told I'd have to take that up with maintenance (which I did; it was never fixed).

The next morning, I asked the concierge desk for directions to my sister's wedding at Hawksnest Beach. I was told that I needed to check with my sister on how she expected guests to get there. I experienced this sort of behavior throughout my stay -- rude, bored, indifferent staff who took no time and even less care to make me feel welcome. From the bartender who grudgingly made me one drink when I arrived at the bar and then closed my tab because it was "nearly last call anyway" to the waitstaff at breakfast who huffed and made a face when I asked for a bigger table because my parents would shortly be joining me. It truly got to the point where I was surprised if someone was nice.

This is truly inexcusable at a self-described "luxury" resort charging upwards of $400 a night. Other hotels in this tier make sure my every need is met, and then meet some needs I don't know I have. They learn my name. They fix problems. When I'm lost, they walk me to my destination, not point vaguely and turn away. Oh, and they don't charge extra for things like bottled water in the room. I mean, come on.

This was the experience of everyone in our wedding party, including the bride and groom. They were mortified that they'd brought family and friends to a place that treated them so indifferently. As a group, none of us would recommend this hotel to anyone. It may have been elite at some point, but it's not anymore.

Room Tip: Ask in advance for a room near the main building. My sister's room was at the other end of the 171-acre property, which meant taking a shuttle every time they went anywhere, including to breakfast, the bar, the parking lot for her rent car, etc. No cars allowed.
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
19  Thank Anne H
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 July 8, 2014

Dear Anne H,
Thank you for sharing your review on Tripadvisor. While I am pleased to hear you enjoyed your accommodations and our property, I would like to extend my personal apologies to you for the disappointment you have shared regarding the service provided by our staff members. We take great pride in extending all the courtesies Caneel Bay has to offer our guests, and it is always our goal, collectively, to provided our guests with a most memorable experience; it is truly unfortunate that we fell short in the experience provided to you and your party. I have shared your comments with our entire team, to ensure each experience provided is most gracious and pleasant as our guests have come to expect. Once again, thank you for sharing your experience and providing us the opportunity through your most important feedback.
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 July 7, 2014

My husband and I just returned from Caneel, our 5th trip there. Again, as before, our trip was perfect. The beaches at Caneel are nearly empty, even when the resort is full. Each beach has only between 10 and 20 rooms, and people try different beaches, so the beaches never feel anywhere near full. The snorkeling is incomparable. Turtles, barracuda, stingrays, parrot fish -- they're all there and easy to find. I understand what people write about the rooms not being super fancy (they're not), but I think the national park restrictions on renovations that keep the rooms from major updates are the same restrictions that thankfully keep large hotel towers away. And that said, we loved our room. I appreciated that there's no tv, and our cell phones worked fine. The air conditioning worked fine, but I preferred the wonderful cross breezes. So far as the staff, we felt they were top rate and couldn't have been nicer, from the housekeepers, to the wait staff to the drivers. We stayed at Hawksnest, as we like the shade. We look forward to returning next year!

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank lisafromny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2014

Let's start on a positive note. Caneel Bay Resort's location is incredible and once you start exploring the 7 beaches and the rest of St John you may be able to accept the lack of luxury you may have expected from the high costs you will pay. But I just want to warn you what you will be getting so you aren't disappointed like I was on my recent 40th wedding anniversary vacation.
We stayed in the cheapest room but it was still high priced, close to what we paid in Hawaii last year so I expected a nice room without a bay view.
The biggest problem with the room was not the lack of a refrigerator, TV, phone to call the front desk, or decent wifi but the bathroom. It was extremely small, 10 x 6 tops. There was one sink with no vanity, with the toilet 3 inches away ( keep the seat down as two things fell in day 1), and then the shower which had patches of brown grout most likely covering mold. It reminded me of the city Y pool where I swam 50 years ago. I was grossed out, always kept my flip flops on and hurried in and out. There were plenty of towels in the closet outside the bathroom as there was no room inside and nice tropical ameneties that took away the yucky smell.
I asked the concierge if all the rooms had bathrooms like that as I was considering upgrading if I could and she said yes they all do and blamed the lack of updating to national park rules. Now that I'm home reading other people's reviews I find that statement hard to believe because one person even said their bathroom was spacious. So anyway be warned about the bathroom.
Some positives would be snorkeling equipment is included and you can keep it for length of stay. There's an excellent buffet breakfast that was included in our package. Staff was not friendly except for the cook but food was good and the view is fantastic.. The grill that is open for lunch and dinner was OK .Downstairs had no atmosphere so request upstairs overlooking the sunset and bay. Servers were not friendly and very slow. Gelato bar was delicious but over priced like everything.
There is a shuttle to get you around, Drivers are friendly as is the housekeeping staff. Hawksnest was my favorite beach. Great snorkeling, lots of turtles. Honeymoon was my husband's favorite. He loved the hammocks until the cruise boat people and kayak tours began.
Solomon's beach was practically empty and gorgeous. It required a fairly steep hike to get in but we came to hike. So that's it for Caneel bay. I will review some other activities in other reviews

Room Tip: Rooms 30-49 have bay views but are set back from the beach traffic. They look newer as well but ask about the bathrooms!
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Bike2
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 July 9, 2014

Dear Bike 2,
Thank you for sharing your review on Tripadvisor. I am pleased you enjoyed our location as well as our seven beaches and that many of the experiences you have shared were most memorable. I would however, like to apologize that you did not find value, in your holiday with us. It is true, we do not have TV’s nor phones in our rooms, as 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.
I thank you for taking the time to share your most important feedback with us, as we continue our endeavor to enhance each area as well as each encounter our guests experience. It is our goal to meet if not exceed the expectations of each and every guest who visits Caneel Bay.
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.
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