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Brergo

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My wife and I are traveling to WSJ for the first time in 2 weeks for our 20th anniversary.

We have reserved a Studio Villa and on my reservation confirmation it lists it as 481 sq. ft. I was wondering if anyone has any tips/suggestions for location on the property that would be reasonable close to pool with nice view?

Also, we are planning on taking the Westin's private ferry from St. Thomas. Any suggestions/tips/things to avoid with that?

Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks in advance,
 

NNerland

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There are lots of good tips on the Westin St John feed - but you have to read through many pages

Ferry -- great choice. Super easy, simply get off plane, get your bags and check in at the Westin Desk. They take care of the rest and have a drink waiting on arrival. You won't touch your luggage after you get it from baggage claim until you want to unpack in your villa.

Villa Location - you will probably get placed in the Coral Vista Studios. The new Poolside/Beach Villas are more than likely claimed by the owners of those studios. But either location is great. CV is centrally located and very close to everything. We stayed last year and they are new and very nice.

Quick tips on to do:

CarRental - OConnor is on site. Quick tip -- make a reservation for a week or multiple days. Make it to coincide when you would want a car. Their requirement is 3 days for a reservation, but you can reduce your "reservation" with 24 hours notice. So we always book for a week and decide our schedule later. Rates very reasonable and located right on property and very easy. You will want to get out and about, especially being there for 2 weeks. Enjoy the beaches that is what St John is known for and you have 2 weeks. The pool is great, beach is decent, but get out for a few days. Your own car is the way to go and so much easier to get around.

Island Roots -- I would highly recommend them for a day on the water. They have a new boat option for 2 passengers where you can have a day to yourself on a boat for $400 or $450 plus gas. It isn't that much more than if you each did a "big boat/group day" and you get to do what you want to do. The skipper is awesome and they an awesome way to go. BVI does have a $50 per person cash tax to visit per day, but worth it to hit up Jost Van Dyke or any other areas. But super cheap for a private boat.

Dining -- every place is expensive, so you may as well go to the places with good food and atmosphere:

ZoZO's -- is a MUST for your special dinner. Amazing food, location. Request sunset seating. Call in advance to ensure you get the time you want.

Asolare - great sunset dinner as well. Up on the hill from Cruz Bay - $5/person taxi from Westin if you don't want to drive each way.

Extra Virgin - new last winter - very good food

Skinny Legs - when out on the island be sure to stop in for a burger. Located in Coral Bay. Super good food and very unique laid back setting.

Ocean 362 - old ZoZo's and location is great for sunset

Longboard - more laid back, super good food and less expensive. Located in middle of Cruz Bay

Rhumb Lines - super good food and reasonable prices.

All the places are more reasonable if you don't have as much booze with dinner or share entree's.

Groceries -- When you check in you will get a 20% off grocery card for St John Market which is just up the road from the Resort. Great place to go to get things to save money on meals (breakfast), booze is super cheap. (20% may be for just owners but ask the front desk)

There is another market - Starkist Market - closer to Coral Bay that has a bit more selection but prices pretty similar and you don't get 20% off.


Enjoy - it is the most amazing place in the Vistana Network -- Hawaii of the East Coast. We are going in January for 11 day - -I can't wait.
 

Brergo

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Thanks so much for the info NNerland. I did spend quite a few hours looking through the boards as well before I posted. BTW, we are GOING in 2 weeks, not STAYING for 2 weeks. We will have 4 full days on property.

Is anything walk-able distance from the resort or do you need to take a taxi or rent a car? I've seen a lot of folks do rent a car but I'm not sure why.
 

NNerland

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You should try and rent a car from OConnor 1-2 days. I don't believe they let you make a reservation for that short of time, but you can go down to the shop each morning when they open and see what is available for the day.

The reason people rent a car is to get to the beautiful beaches of St John. Totally worth getting out to see the island at least 1-2 days. It is what St John is all about. Be sure to hit up Skinny Legs. You don't need a car to get to dinner or Cruz Bay. The taxi's do go to Cinnamon, Hawksnest, Trunk Bay...but it is more expensive each way and you don't control your day. A single day is like $100 for a car/jeep.

The Westin has Westin Island Taxi's - that are on the back of pick up trucks....kind of neat. It is $5/person each way to Cruz Bay and $8/person to ZoZo's. You can get around very easy.

The only walkable dining is on property and the ones i mentioned I would be sure to hit -- Asolare and ZoZo's. You will not regret it!!
 

LisaRex

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I agree that the ferry is a good choice if it's your first visit, and just the two of you. It's much more expensive than taking the public ferry, but it's a special occasion and will make getting there a breeze. Get in line to board the ferry early for both trips if you want to enjoy the sunshine, as there is very limited seating up top.

If it's cold at home, I pack summer clothes in my carryon and change in the airport restroom.

If you plan on drinking at home, stop by the duty-free store at the airport before boarding the bus to get to the marina.

If you arrive at Crown Bay marina early enough, you can stop in the little grocery store there and grab a few snack items/beverages that can tide you over until you make it to a grocery store. (Be prepared for sticker shock!)

If the ferry schedule permits, you can also grab drinks/lunch at Tickles restaurant at the marina, too. Good food and reasonably priced.

If you plan on snorkeling, even if you're just a casual snorkeler, invest in a decent mask and snorkel to bring along. Having good equipment, especially a good sealing mask, will make all the difference. Fins aren't as essential to pack, as you can rent decent cheap ones on island. My husband still hauls his full-size fins and chafe-guard socks everywhere we go because he's part dolphin, but I've switched to the shorter ones.

If you stick to the closest beaches (e.g. Caneel, Trunk Bay, Hawks Nest), you can get by with taxi drivers. Rates are published on VINOW.com. If you want to venture out further (Waterlemon, Coral Bay), then you should rent a car.

Personally, On Day 1, I'd take a taxi to one of the closer beaches, taxi back to Cruz Bay for lunch, then have dinner on site; On Day 2, I'd book Island Roots charter (includes lunch); On Day 3, I'd schedule a hike with the National Park Service or enjoy a resort/spa day; On Day 4, I'd rent a car and drive to Waterlemon/Coral Bay.
 

Brergo

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What is the story with the beach at the Westin? Is it not good? Seems like many recommend going elsewhere for the beach.
 

SandyPGravel

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It's a man made beach. To quote someone else, "of the 39 beaches on St. John it ranks 40th".

The north shore 'natural' beaches are as beautiful as you can imagine, and maybe even better than you can imagine. IMHO
 

LisaRex

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What is the story with the beach at the Westin? Is it not good? Seems like many recommend going elsewhere for the beach.
Everything's relative. It's a manmade beach with a fairly crowded harbor, so not great snorkeling, but it's fine for sunning and lounging. We usually grab some cocktails and spend at least one afternoon or early evening at the Westin Beach because it's so convenient. They have nice lounge chairs, a bar and a restaurant within walking distance, and it's rarely crowded.





Not sure if the trampoline is still there or not, but just getting on and off of that thing is good for some laughs.



P.S. No idea who those folks are. :)
 

SandyPGravel

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Something kinda fun to do at the Westin beach is take a bright flashlight down to the waters edge at night and watch the sea creatures that are attracted to the light. (Obviously I am easily entertained.:rolleyes:) Last time we saw some neat little fish, some crabs and DH said he caught a glimpse of a very large fish around the dock. (You can't venture out on the dock, but you can see it near the shore.) DH and I did the night paddleboard trip with Arawak which is where we got the idea.
 

Brergo

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Thanks LisaRex. Sounds like it will be fine for us. We aren't snorkelers or beach connoisseurs; pretty easy to please. Looks good to me!

Everything's relative. It's a manmade beach with a fairly crowded harbor, so not great snorkeling, but it's fine for sunning and lounging. We usually grab some cocktails and spend at least one afternoon or early evening at the Westin Beach because it's so convenient. They have nice lounge chairs, a bar and a restaurant within walking distance, and it's rarely crowded.





Not sure if the trampoline is still there or not, but just getting on and off of that thing is good for some laughs.



P.S. No idea who those folks are. :)
 

lizap

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Highly recommend Amalie Car Rental in St. Thomas. They will pick you up at STT and you take the car ferry from St. Thomas to St. John. About a 45 min. drive (give yourself a couple of hours in case there's a line to get on ferry) to the dock and another 35 min. ride to St. Thomas. Very accomodating and reasonable. Cannot say enough good things about them..
 

Helios

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Highly recommend Amalie Car Rental in St. Thomas. They will pick you up at STT and you take the car ferry from St. Thomas to St. John. About a 45 min. drive (give yourself a couple of hours in case there's a line to get on ferry) to the dock and another 35 min. ride to St. Thomas. Very accomodating and reasonable. Cannot say enough good things about them..
This is pretty accurate, $50 for round trip which includes the vehicle and passengers plus $4 port fee.
 

bobpark56

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Renting a vehicle on St Thomas is not best for everyone. Renting one in Cruz Bay had the advantage (for us) of providing a parking spot (free) when in town. We also did not need to rent a car for the first day of our stay. And we could turn it in a day early to save $.
 

lizap

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This is really a matter of personal preference. For us, I can't imagine not having a car the whole time. Also, I believe the O'Connor's on site has primarily jeeps. Keep this in mind if you need something a little larger. Many people love the convenience of the Westin ferry, but it is expensive. My guess is you could probably rent a car for a week for what you would pay for the Westin ferry (for 4) and an onsite O'Connor rental for a couple of days.



Renting a vehicle on St Thomas is not best for everyone. Renting one in Cruz Bay had the advantage (for us) of providing a parking spot (free) when in town. We also did not need to rent a car for the first day of our stay. And we could turn it in a day early to save $.
 

Bill4728

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The beach at the westin is, as said, great for sitting and sunning. Swimming is just fine and snorkeling is a NO.

BUT sitting in a big nice beach chair with umbrellas and drink service is GREAT! Also the pool is right there too.
 

DavidnRobin

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There are lots of good tips on the Westin St John feed - but you have to read through many pages
Hint for WSJ thread - start at end...
read trip reports that are linked in 1st few posts
 

DavidnRobin

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The sweet spot for a STT-STJ rental (Amalie) - 4 people/1-week
IMO
 
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