Where To Stay
St John island is one of the hottest Caribbean travel destinations. This tiny island is literally and figuratively “on the map”. With her beautiful North Shore beaches like Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Maho Beach and Honeymoon Beach – it’s no wonder why so many people choose St John for their next vacation. But St John isn’t like most other tourist spots. It doesn’t have an airport ( visitors fly into St Thomas STT ). At just 9 miles long, it isn’t very big. And just over 2/3rds of the island is taken up by the Virgin Islands National Park.
The pictures of stunning white sand beaches have you set on visiting St John? Next up … accommodations. And here’s where St John is different from other places in the Caribbean. St John is home to just two resorts – and they are not St John all inclusive resorts. Hotels? There are a few small inns and bed and breakfasts on the Island. So where do most people stay? They rent one of over 800 St John vacation rental villas dotting the island from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay. With this many options there’s bound to be a villa that matches your budget, number of guests, kid friendly, pools, ocean views and a/c. Keep reading to find out which options appeal most to you and your style of travel.
Before you book on VRBO, HomeAway, Flipkey or AirBnb – note: they all charge crazy guest service fees of 4%-15% of your booking on top of processing fees and taxes!
The most popular type of accommodation is a rental villa. Ranging in size from a Caribbean-style cottage to lavish 6, 7, 8 or more bedroom compounds. And as you’d imagine there’s a range of prices that match the size and amenities of each property. Most offer privacy, ocean views and amenities like spas and pools. Many are convenient to St John’s popular beaches. Roughly half of the properties are owner managed. The other 1/2 of the properties are connected to on-island management companies. So how do you find a place to rent? Many turn to sites like VRBO, HomeAway, Flipkey and AirBnb. But before you do the same – you should know that booking through these sites carries a “penalty” in the form of a “guest service charge” ranging from 4% – 15% of your booking. Luckily you do have alternatives. You can research villas on the large rental sites. Then search for the owners web site. Or, you can use a St John community site like www.StJohn-VillaRentals.com . There you’ll find a huge selection of St John vacation rentals in all budgets – and deal directly with owners and management.
One thing you’ll want to decide is Coral Bay vs Cruz Bay?
Cruz Bay is the island’s economic hub. The ferry and taxis call it home. There are a large number of restaurants and bars to choose from. You’ll find plenty of shops, several grocery stores and markets, a pharmacy and several gas stations. In contrast, Coral Bay has a handful of restaurants and bars. There are even fewer shops. And the time of writing, there’s no gas station. So what makes Coral Bay so special? Many people are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of their every day lives. They want to escape to a simpler place. And for many, Coral Bay is that place. A short drive ot most North Shore beaches. A much shorter drive to beaches like Salt Pond, Little Lameshur, Hansen Bay; and snorkeling meccas like Haulover North and Pelican Rock.
St John Resorts
Unlike much of the Caribbean with it’s resort lined beaches – St John has just three resorts. Located inside the Virgin Islands National Park, and boasting seven beautiful beaches sits Caneel Bay Resort. Not far from Cruz Bay is The Westin St John with resort rentals as well as timeshare opportunities. Guest might also enjoy Gallows Point and Grande Bay Resort. While not traditional resorts they do offer amenities that a villa may not offer. Gallows Point’s rental condos and on-site amenities qualify in our book. Located on Cruz Bay; with snorkeling at your door step.
St John All-Inclusive Resorts
So many people ask – that it begs an answer! A: Unlike most of the Caribbean’s top island destinations … St John does not have an all inclusive resort on the island. You’ll find that most people come for the beaches and snorkeling, hiking and relaxed atmosphere. The St John experience isn’t for everybody. But that’s what makes it so special!
360 VR View of Estate Lindholm
St John Inns + B&Bs
Looking for a place to rest your head that’s not a big resort and not as complicated as a rental villa? Then one of St John’s inns and bed & breakfasts might be right for you. Rates and amenities vary by location. But one thing they all share is relaxed accommodations.
The island’s most acclaimed B&B is Estate Lindholm (pictured). It sits on the hillside above Cruz Bay and inside the National Park. The 16 rooms, some with ocean views or garden views, put you within a short hike of Salomon Beach and Honeymoon Beach!
St John Inn – Offers charming standard rooms, some with kitchenettes, and 2 bedroom suites. Conveniently located in Cruz Bay. Guests enjoy Continental breakfast, WIFI, A/C, pool and more!
Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel – Located in the heart of Cruz Bay. They offer 10 guest rooms and one Penthouse Suite. Guests enjoy daily housekeeping, concierge services, wifi, A/C, Continental breakfast and more!
Camping on St John
Located inside the Virgin Islands National Park is the Cinnamon Bay Resort & Campgrounds. Choose between cottages, eco-tents or bare site!
Which one is right for you?
If you’re looking for a rustic experience but not necessarily a tent dwelling … then the Cinnamon Bay cottages are perfect. They offer fans, linens and even a refrigerator. But the best part is they are just steps from the white sand and aqua blue water of Cinnamon Bay Beach! One step down – the outdoor person will love the new eco-tents. Enjoy a tent experience with electricity, locking door, storage, deck and even king or twin beds! One rung down are the platform tents. Simple living at its best! Enjoy camp mattresses, gas stove and basic cooking equipment – just add adventures! And last there are the bare tent sites for the truly adventurous spirits! No matter which type of St John camping experience you choose … you’re just a short distance to the beach and some amazing snorkeling and watersports!
Cinnamon Reservations & Front Desk: Call (669) 999-8784
or visit their web site: www.cinnamonbayresort.com
Located at the edge of the VI National Park on St John’s rugged south eastern coastline – a short hike to / from Salt Pond Bay and Drunk Bay! Choose from Premium Eco-Tent, Eco-Tent, Concordia Studio, Concordia Loft, Concordia Queen, Concordia Ocean, Concordia Garden, Concordia Banana Cabana, Efficiency Queen, or Efficiency King accommodations.
Which one is right for you?
Check out the tent and studio descriptions and details on Concordia’s web site.