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Sandcastle Hotel
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Reviews (110)
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All reviewsthe soggy dollar bargarden cottageac roomoutdoor showerbeautiful beachpain killerssand castlesame weekbeach frontbeaches in the worldgreat place to get awaywhat makes this place so specialfellow guestsgreat drinkswater pressurethe entire staffclaire
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Reviewed June 13, 2011

Overview
We stayed at the Sandcastle for three nights in November 2010. We were glad to have done it once, but would not do it again. There are better places to stay if you are looking to relax, but if your goal is to party on the beach and drink in the bar all day then this is your place. Jost Van Dyke is a small island and taxis are the primary means of transport. They are expensive, but are the only real means for exploring the island.

General
The Sandcastle is very small with just a handful of cottages, small restaurant, beach, souvenir shop, and bar – the infamous Soggy Dollar Bar. Most rooms are un-air-conditioned cottages scattered amongst the palm trees cordoned off by a rope fence. There are two rooms that are air-conditioned. We stayed in one of these.

Bugs
This is not normally a category that I include in a review, but this is important. My wife was eaten alive by sand flies! So much so, that she had an allegeric reaction and I spent many a night covering her with Benadryl cream to stop the itching. Once we left Yost Van Dyke for Tortola, the bug problem stopped and she slowly healed.

Rooms
The rooms are pleasant, clean, and with adequate space. They are in good mechanical condition with no major defects. None of the rooms have locks adding to the informal feel of the place. Housekeeping was prompt and did a decent job although extra towels were hard to come by. The bathroom was small and the shower had challenges with having enough hot water for two people.

Food
You have to sign up for breakfast everyday on the board in the restaurant area. It is generally eggs, pancakes, or the like, and is nothing special. Service is spotty and a couple of mornings I made the coffee as it had run out or nobody bothered. Again, this is part of the informal feel to the place and was not a problem.

Lunch is served daily and orders are taken at the bar. Any variation to this practice causing confusion and could mean long waits or no food at all. When the tourists arrive to use the beach and drink in the bar, they crowd the restaurant and slow things down. Lunch is nothing special and most days we went off-site to enjoy the local island fare instead.

Dinner is by far the best meal of the day as it is prepared by a proper chef. You need to sign up for this as well. We had dinner once there and several times off-site to take advantage of the huge local lobsters served at the various beach front restaurants.

Beach
The beach was very nice, however; tourists descend on the place starting at 10:00 a.m. and not leaving to around 3:00 p.m. This is the worst part of the Sandcastle experience. They generally crowd the beach and bar, get drunk, and make a lot of noise. It isn’t conducive to a relaxing beach day. We would move inside the rope fence to have our own chaises and not be as bothered by the crowd.

Bar
The Soggy Dollar Bar is known all over the British Virgins Island and is the home of the Painkiller drink. It is a small outside bar with limited seating. Bar staff are courteous and fast and the drinks are good albeit overpriced. After the tourists leave, the bar becomes manageable and is a good way to end the afternoon. There is an honesty policy if you want to make your own drinks after closing.

Service
Overall, the service was good. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The owners live on-site and seem to be rather aloof. I got the sense they were much more interested in the tourist dollars at the bar then they were for the needs of the guests.

Amenities
There are no major amenities at the Sandcastle. Rooms have free phones and TV, but the site really offers nothing else.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank jccase
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2011

Jost Van Dyke has amazing beaches. The SandCastle Hotel is basically a little beach bar with a few huts around it. The huts are VERY basic and the bathrooms are not the best in world. My husband and I had a wonderful time there and we would definitely go back. You can't beat the beaches and the little bars, but a lot of people may find the accommodations a little less than ideal. The huts are very old, a little Inconvenient, and there are lots of mosquitos there! Yachts stop by to visit the bars all day long, which are very small, a little over crowded, and immediately outside of your hut. Anyone who likes a laid back, very basic, caribbean bar scene atmosphere, where there is no need to dress up will love this place. There are no phones, no TV, no internet, no alarm clocks, the food is just alright, the staff is ok, but the location is great!

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank RAM07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2011

Lots of changes to Sandcastle in the past year and all of them good. We stayed for 10 nights in Garden Cottage 3 and have not one complaint. The grounds and gardens are beautiful, thanks to Mr. Singh. Plants and shrubs have been cut back, replanted, pruned and shaped into an enjoyable place to walk and ponder. The flowers were blooming and I found something new to look at each day. The dining room has new tables and chairs along with linens that change nightly. Lots and lots of new beach chairs. So many that I didnt feel as though I needed to go to the beach before breakfast and claim my chair. A new chef is on board and he is good. I had the best shrimp scampi ever! The menu has changed as well. They have added a salad and appetizer menu as well as a dessert menu. So on nights that I wasnt hungry enough to eat a full meal, I just had appetizers and dessert too of course.
Some things havent changed and thats good too. Mic is still Mic. Showing up everyday with a smile and quietly noticing the guests at a full bar. He will take care of you first without making others at the bar turn and look at you. He remembers what you drink and where you stay so you get your beverage with little missed beach time. Simone, Shaneek, Winsome, Gail, Linda, Blossom, Nola, Vicky and my girl, Sana are all still there and they too, treat you like a an old friend. They are happy to see you and if you need them for anything, they will help but if you dont, they wont bother you. And of course Tina. She is the details girl. She knows the ferry schedule off the top of her head and the menu at a restaurant in Great Harbour. With Tina, if she says she is going to take care of something, dont worry, she will.
If you want to clear your head, make some new friends and chill, this is the place to do it. The only question you really have to answer on a daily basis is what do you want for dinner. No phones, no tv's, no radio's, no shoes, no makeup, no cares and no worries. Sit back, relax. Your at Sandcastle. Enjoy.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank zachsaunt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2011

There is a reason music videos are filmed on this beach - the water and beach are absolutely stunning. The beach does get very crowded during the day but we expected that (b/c of reviews we read before booking the hotel) and it does make for good people watching (by 6:00 p.m., the day trippers evacuate). The Sandcastle is the place to come if you want to spend the day relaxing and reading on the beach.
We stayed in one of the air conditioned rooms because the cottages were booked. While we enjoyed our room, we would choose a cottage for our next trip because they are so charming.
Be prepared for "island time" if you visit Jost Van Dyke. Lunch at the Sandcastle was delicious but the dinners were too fancy for our taste so we made dinner reservations at one of the restaurants on the island. However, upon arrival, we found out that the chef decided to take the night off. If you decide to cab it into town, we recommend that you call Clyde.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jumbies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 24, 2010

Are you a person who wants to dress up each night and enjoy nightlife? Do you want to see throngs of people at breakfast every morning competing over the buffet? Do you like to wear shoes and socks? If you are, you need not read on -- this is NOT the place for you!

As all the other reviewers have written, this is about as low-key as it gets, and we loved that! Adults only -- no kids allowed to stay here under 16, and why would they? The focus is on peace and quiet, ocean waves, moonlight, and the scent of the sea. Surely nothing fancy, just a more than adequate cottage steps from the beach, you will spend your time deciding whether to be in your hammock or your chaise lounge, when to get up and get another drink, what to read, and whether to take a walk or a swim.

The service was impeccable in that Tina and Winsome and all the others waited on our every need. While the bar and beach are filled with day trippers, it's true that when the bartender sees the resident guests,they become first for the next poured Painkiller.

Beware the mosquitoes -- we wish we had come better prepared. Your garden variety bug repellent won't do the trick down here, but there is a can of the tougher stuff in your room, so make sure to use it. And if I have one suggestion for the management, it would be that the public area (bar and nearby tables, ash trays) be cleaned on a more regular basis. Painkillers make for sticky surfaces, and plenty were poured, so a wipe and a sweep would make that area a little more welcoming once the day guests have departed.

A perfect vacation spot for those of us who DO NOT like to wear shoes and socks!

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TravelFan15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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