My husband and I spent 2 incredibly wonderful weeks on St. John. Feb 6th-13th was spent at La Sirena Villa ( link to villa review http://www.virgin-islands-on-line.com/sj/sjhotelreviews/20060226120921.shtml)
Feb.13th-20th was spent at Drakes Lookout ( link to villa review http://www.virgin-islands-on-line.com/sj/sjhotelreviews/20060226122756.shtml)
These 2 villas are in very different locations and both places were really great but for our personal preferences La Sirena won hands down. I had plans to go look at some villas to scout them out for our next trip but within 24 hrs. we decided that it wasn’t necessary to look any further. La Sirena is “The” villa for us and we will definitely be returning there next year and probably the one after that etc.
This was out third trip to STJ and I decided to try the “cooler of frozen goods” this time. I was overjoyed that I did. I brought 5 T-Bones, 8 burgers, 10 lb. bag of chicken wings, 1 lb. of bacon, 1 box of breaded shrimp, 1 lb. of butter, some hash browns and Thomas’ Eng. Muffins. I also brought some dry goods with us. Lg. box of Cheerios, pasta, rice, coffee etc. I spent around $200 on food supplies so it was well worth it. We’d have spent over $1000 if we ate those types of meals at the restaurants on the island. We like to spend the majority of our time hanging out at the villas and we like cooking meals that we know we’re going to enjoy. We only ate out 4 times while we were there. One dinner at Café Roma which was great, and 3 times at Miss Lucy’s; one dinner and 2 Sunday Brunches, all were excellent. BTW if you want an outdoor table for brunch show up 9:30-9:45 as they start at 10:00am
I know a lot of people like to travel light when going to STJ but since we spend 2 weeks and like hanging out at the villa we like to bring our “creature comforts” which include the following. Sirius radio was wonderful to have along with us and reception was fine. I also bring my laptop so I can download photos from my camera and watch DVD’s (La Sirena has no DVD but Drakes does). My own scuba gear comes with me and also tripod and video equipment. It makes for a lot of luggage but hey AA allows 2 checked bags per person (with a weight limit of 70lbs. at the time of booking, it’s since been reduced to 50lbs.) and 1 carry-on plus a personal item (such as a laptop) per person so I make the most of it. We’re on vacation so I want the things that are going to make it a happy, enjoyable one for us and so it was.
Our travel day getting there went smoothly. Instead of using our AA miles for a free ticket (they wouldn’t let me use them for the non-stop flight we wanted) we upgraded to Business Class both ways. Yahoo! We flew out of JFK at 8:30am and arrived in STT on time. Met Freddie of Dynamic Tours for a private taxi to Red Hook. Made the 2:00pm ferry and met Karen from Windspree and L&L Jeep rental at the STJ dock. We made a quick stop at Starfish for the essentials; bread, eggs, juice, milk, ice cream and alcohol. (BTW Lily’s Market in Coral Bay is great! They really have a nice selection and anything we needed or wanted was available there.) Then on to La Sirena where we unpacked and made some wings for dinner. On Tuesday morning we went for a sunrise walk on the beach at Little Lameshure (our favorite beach) then back to La Sirena. We didn’t leave the villa again till Thursday when we had some dives booked with 6-Paq.
My thoughts on 6-Paq; Colette was very nice but has only been in business about a year and has some kinks to work out. We met her at the Nat. Park dock on Thursday morning. When we got there we were informed we had to go to Red Hook to fill our air tanks which we weren’t happy about as it took up about an hour of our time. This was not an isolated event, it’s the way she does it and had I known I probably would not have booked the dives with her. Personally I think it would be more professional to have the air tanks filled before the customers get there. I own a trucking company that transports construction equipment. I would never go to pick up a machine with my gas tank empty and waste my customers’ time by going and fueling up my truck after I made the pick-up.
Another thing that was a downer for me (maybe not for others) was her boat is pretty small, and tight on space so it wasn’t very comfortable. Although it could just be that I’m spoiled. The last 2 years we dove with Jay at St. John Dive Adventures, who was really great, had a nice sized dive boat with a cabin and bimini top and really catered to us. However he’s no longer in business so we decided to try another small operator. I ended up canceling the other dives I had booked with 6-Paq. I was willing to keep my res. For the dive to the Rhone but ended up canceling that as well because the day we had it planned for turned out to be rainy, windy and there were 6-7 ft. swells which doesn’t mesh well with my sea-sickness issues.
We did do some more diving though. I brought all my own gear and my hubby rented gear and tanks from Lowkey and we went shore diving on our own at Kiddle Bay several times. I don’t think I’ll bother with boat diving again down there except maybe to get to The Rhone which I still really want to do. Kiddle is very nice to dive and not having to stick to anyone’s schedule but our own is priceless!
On Sat. the 11th we had Nomadic Spa come to the villa for a “Couples Only” package which is a 90 min. massage and 1 hr. spa treatment of your choice for the two of you.
Highly recommend this! Jesse is a masseuse that also works out of the Westin and he gave us one of the best massages we’ve ever had and we’ve had quite a few. Jennifer, who did the spa treatment (a sea salt scrub followed by a moisturizing treatment), was also wonderful. This was a Valentine/Anniversary gift to ourselves and we can’t wait to do it again next year. Well worth the $500 it cost to be pampered that way!
On Monday the 13th we left La Sirena and moved to Drakes’ Lookout. It had been emptied and cleaned the day before so we were able to move right in instead of having to wait till 2pm. This was the night of the full moon and it lit up Coral Bay beautifully. It was a surreal experience. Being on Bordeaux Mt. Rd. it’s in a much more populated area so we didn’t have the same peacefulness we experienced at La Sirena. There’s some construction noise in the area so we spent some “daytime” time at Francis Bay a few days. The water there is nice and calm and the sun hits it fairly early for a north shore beach. There’s some decent snorkeling to be had there as well.
Another activity we enjoyed immensely was renting a dinghy from Crabby’s and exploring the Coral Bay and Hurricane Hole areas. While looking out from Drakes with my binocs , I scoped out a few beaches that couldn’t be accessed by road and off went to get to them by dinghy. We packed the snorkel gear and a cooler of goodies and of course the camera and spent time on our own private beaches. What a blast! Highly recommend doing this. We enjoyed it soo much we did it again the next day too. We spent some time playing on a beach in Princess Bay; we accumulated quite a collection of beach glass from there and then went on to explore the Round Bay area. I can’t believe more people don’t rent those dinghies. It’s a really great way to spend the day.
The majority of our time was spent on the Coral Bay side of the island. The only times we went to Cruz Bay(3 times) was for dinner at Café Roma and one day to meet the dive boat and rent gear and of course to return the gear to Lowkey. I think I can safely say these were the 2 best weeks of my life. It’ll be tough to top this next year but I’m sure
going to try. We’ll be spending both weeks at La Sirena next year. If anyone has any questions I’ll be more than happy to answer them. And in case anyone missed them, my photos from this trip can be viewed here
Hope you all enjoyed the report!