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“Very disappointing experience and very rude hosts”
Review of Sandcastle Hotel

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Sandcastle Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Jost Van Dyke
Reviewed September 8, 2011

Our stay at Sandcastle was incredibly disappointing, for several reasons. Before I explain the details of our uncomfortable experience last year, I have to be fair--my family arrived with two more guests than we'd expected. Upon arrival, we assured our hosts that we would be happy to pay for our extra guests and apologized for the change of plans. In most hotels, that would have been the end of it. But Sandcastle is, apparently, not most hotels. The hosts overreacted, to say the least. They were, quite bizarrely, outraged. We apologized some more, and really expected it to be over. However, they were very rude and unwelcoming, and persisted in their rudeness throughout the duration of our stay. On New Year's Eve, the host accosted my sister--the very sober mother of a two-year-old--on the path as she returned to her room, and accused her of being drunk. Completely bizarre and inappropriate. The next evening, he eavesdropped outside my brother's room, and responded aloud to their conversation. Again, completely bizarre and inappropriate. We'd been very much looking forward to our stay since we reserved the hotel the previous New Year's--it's in an idyllic spot, and we'd anticipated complete relaxation. What we received, however, was an anxiety-ridden four days where we felt it necessary to tiptoe around the hotel in fear that the hosts would yell at us! Completely, and utterly unprofessional. While I understand that they may have been annoyed that we brought extra guests (for whom there were more than enough beds, I might add!), their persistance in making us uncomfortable was the height of inhospitable behavior. It's sad, because it's a lovely hotel and it ought to have been a fantastic week.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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13  Thank Jenniferhknopf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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67 - 73 of 110 reviews

Reviewed July 18, 2011

This hands down was the best part of our trip. Visited jost for two days and stayed at the sandcastle. By far exceeded every expectation my family had. The rooms were simple, BUT CLEAN, the garden room was the most relaxing nights I have had. The open air feeling of the room was great. Stayed in july and we were very comfortable with the ceiling fan on only. I turned off the floor fan so we could here the sounds of the carib and all the evening sounds. Wake up in the morning and look at beautiful landscaping a very nice gentleman spends alot of time caring for the plants. Strolled over to the soggy dollar bar about a hundred or so feat and turned on the coffe, I was the only on on the beach at @8 sat there watched a few boats moored over night rock in the waves. A few more people wandered around from the sandcastle I think max capacity is @12 guest. Around ten a few boats start to appear in the bay and as the morning went on the beach became alive and we had the best time of our lives meeting and talking with so many people. The staff at soggy and sandcastle are the best. A great crew. Around 4:30 5:00 you are all alone again agian it is spectacular. Very clean units, very nice outdoor showers,, very nice people I CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK! ps used dolphin water taxi capt brad was the best. request him

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank somedaycame2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2011

I love the Sandcastle Hotel, everything I thought it would be. Great staff, beautiful beach, good food. Stayed in room #5 (A/C)....very large room with king-size bed. We arrived early & greeted by staff. Got a beach towel & headed towards the beach. Tina came to tell us our room was ready ahead of check-in. The grounds of the Sandcastle are beautiful with all the tropical foliage! Comfortable bed too! Food was good but not anything special IMO. A great place if you just want to relax even if the day trippers are there from excursions. Makes for great people watching! Looking forward to returning again soon.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank sabalpom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
    • Value
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1  Thank Jumbies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandcastle Hotel

Address: White Bay, VG1160, Jost Van Dyke
Location: Caribbean > British Virgin Islands > Jost Van Dyke
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Jost Van Dyke
Price Range: $150 - $225 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The home of the original Painkiller and situated on one of the world's best beaches, the Sandcastle Hotel and Soggy Dollar Bar are located in White Bay on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands... or, as we like to say... at the corner of sunny and shady. For over 46 years the six room boutique hotel and adjacent world famous Soggy Dollar let's you eat, drink and stay in the middle of paradise. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sandcastle Hotel Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

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