Historical Traveller Reviews of The Westin St John Resort & Villas Hotel
A Beautiful Setting-A Dumpy Room
What we loved: the beautiful, well-kept grounds, the bay, the beach, the iguana that crossed the grass tennis court.
What we didn't like: the room. Everything about the room was tired and in need of a renovation two years ago. TV hardly worked, cheap fixtures in the bathroom, nasty grout, burned out vinyl chairs on the deck, bad carpet, etc. Talked to management who said that only the time shares had been upgraded and that non of the rooms were upgraded and only differed by size. The room is not what you'd expect from a Westin, let alone a Sheraton FourPoints. If you're a room snob, this is not the place for you.
Prices: I've read some comments here about food being expensive at the resort. We ate at restaurants around the island and visited a grocery store. We didn't think the prices at the resort were any different than the rest of the island. Thought resort prices were very fair in comparison.
Tip: We found renting a car well worth it and enjoyed exploring the island.
family trip with 2 teenaged daughters turned out great at the Westin St. John
We were guests at the Westin St. john in July of 2003. The hotel is breathtaking, the grounds are incredible, immaculately maintained and sensitive to native flora and fauna. Iguanas roam the grounds, the flowers are spectacular and the evening sounds are out of this world. We had a 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite on the hill. It was very comfortable with breathtaking views of the bay. The main complaint is that it's a 2 story suite with no bathroom on the first floor where the living/dining area is. Also, if you don't want to use the expensive minibar(there's a great deli/convenience store on site) you have to pay extra for a fridge. We had to buy 2 small coolers to keep soft drinks, snacks, etc. in the room. The hotel's concierge made most of the arrangements ahead of time for us, dinner reservations, boat and car rentals, etc. I would strongly recommend this as the popular restaurants can be diffucult to get into without a reservation. There's plenty of really good places to eat, although most of it is pricy. The beach at Hawksnest is spectacular with great swimming, snorkeling is great on the east side of leinster bay(there's a resident turtle) and drive up to Bordeaux Mountain is fun, especially chatting with the guy who runs the small bar at the point. One other note, the legal drinking age is 18 - my 16 and 18 year-old daughters had no problem getting served at the poolside bar (without proof of age)so ,if you've got teenagers, keep this in mind. Overall, this is a great family destination for those with older kids who like to snorkel/dive, especially if you rent your own powerboat so you can explore other islands on your own schedule. P.S. taxis are always available right outside the resort and it's very easy to get back and forth to Cruz Bay, where there are some wonderful shops.
There are two choices and this is the wrong one.
from A TripAdvisor Member
We've just returned from St. John (stayed 8/11 to 8/18) where we booked at the Westin St. John. The Westin St. John is the sort of place that grows off you. Maybe that requires some explanation - its the sort of place that seems just fantastic when you first get there, but every thing else is downhill from there.St. John essentially has two choices for a large hotel: The Westin and Caneel Bay. If you can, choose Caneel Bay even though it costs more - it seems to be worth it.The Westin is not without its nice points. We really liked the room, which was large and clean with a great bed, a nice bathroom and a private balcony. The beach looks nice from a distance and the grounds are immaculate. There are iguanas and funny chickens that patrol the place and some wonderful landscaping. The pool is shallow (only about 5 ft at its deepest) but attractive and refreshing. There are also tennis courts and a workout center so its pleasantly easy to be active in those ways while staying there.Unfortunately, the resort seems to be designed solely to seperate you from as much of your money as it possibly can. This was really frustrating. There are four places for food - but you'll find the same jerk chicken and assortment of fish dishes on almost all of the menus. You'll also often find your food overcooked, service slow and not very friendly - indeed at the swankest joint (Chloe and Bernards), after waiting at the host station for quite a while, no one ever came to seat us! A bottle of water costs $3, a deli sandwich costs $10, most entrees are priced between $16 and $30. Breakfast, lunch and dinner... you'll be hard pressed to find a meal for two that costs under $50.If you want to go into town, the money you save for far better food is taken up by the taxi fare. Even though Cruz Bay is only about a mile away (if that) its not safe or easy to walk there due to the steep and blind hills. It cost us $8 each way for two of us (that includes a tip) so thats a $16 surcharge on all your meals - just enough to make it not so worth it. As our week passed we began to resent giving the Westin more of our money. We were charged $2 for a toll free call and $1.50 for local calls and $2 for a pitcher of tapwater in a room service order. Iced tea - the least expensive drink in the world to make - cost $3 a cup. Pizza? Try in the neighborhood of $20. Caesar salads are also about $20. And none of it is worth half the price. We also splurged on extremely expensive massages which were lackluster at best.The ferry provided by Westin was supposedly free in our package - a savings, the hotel informed us, of almost $70 ($38 each way). If the Westin ferry is not included in your trip, we would not recommend paying the extra money for them to provide your transportation to St. John. The ferry between Charlotte Amalie and Cruz Bay is far less expensive ($7 each way) and the ferry dock in Cruz Bay is a quick 5 min. cab ride away from the hotel.Though we often slept in, our room was not made up each day. They are allegedly environmentally conscientious in that they will not bring fresh towels or change your sheets without your request which is fantastic but part of the service we paid for was to return at night to a freshly made bed!After getting off the property and exploring the island, we found that the biggest drawback is actually the location. The hotel faces south so there are no sunsets. The sand is nice and as I said above the beach looks nice from a distance but its by far the worst beach we went to on the island. There is loose algae throughout the bay that makes swimming a bit unpleasant - rather like swimming in a pond instead of the idyllic Carribean experience many other beaches/bays offer. The water is so murky that you can't snorkel. Its fairly worthless beyond a quick dip and suntanning.While we didn't spend a night at Caneel, we did spend time there. Its worth the extra money for the following reasons: Their beach is much better - we even saw a sea turtle there while snorkling. They are connected to Cruz Bay by a nice path (about a mile one way) so if you want to walk you can. Caneel has lots of beaches, and Honeymoon Beach is only a short walk away and its another world from the Westin beach. Salomon Beach is a short hike away as well. These beaches are all in the National Park and are superb. Caneel faces west for outrageous sunsets. More food choices and if you aren't feeling like spending $80,000 on you sandwhich, you can get big snacks like nachos.This was our first trip to St. John, and it won't be our last. If you are thinking of heading there, we highly recommend it. We found a book we picked up at the National Park headquarters in Cruz Bay really helpful- Pam Gaffin's St. John: Feet, Fins & Four-Wheel Drive. This gave us good information for planning our day trips.We didn't have a bad time at the Westin, however, you may want to take the above into consideration when choosing your accomodation! While we had a great great time, its was despite, and not because of, our choice of hotel.
The Westin was Great!
from A TripAdvisor Member
My girlfriend and I have stayed at the Westin Resort 2 of the last 3
summers for 8 days, the first trip and enjoyed it so much that we
decided to stay 10 days the next summer. Wonderful accomadations and
service! The free ferry ride from St. Thomas, with free pickup service
of your luggage from St. Thomas was a great relief after travelling so
far and being rather tired from the plane ride. Once you arrive at the
airport at St. Thomas, your luggage is completely taken care of until
you check into your room at the Westin. Your luggage is waiting for you
at your room--that was a great relief! This is just a part of the great
service provided by the Westin Resort. Once aboard the ferry, you are
taken directly to the Westin where you are signed in and greeted by
their very friendly staff, and then are transported by golf cart
directly to your elegant room where your luggage is waiting for you.
The rooms are extremely nice with all the amenities and have the most
wonderful bed that one could possibly dream of sleeping in! All of the
rooms at the Westin have a wonderful view of the bay, a great view of
the plush, palm tree laden grounds as well as their extremely nice pool
which has numerous juccuzzies surrounding it.Everything that you need
for your vacation is on-site including a small shop for buying the
neccessities for your vacation including a small convenience shop for
bread, milk, beverages, sandwich meat, etc. Also, available is a shop
to rent an auto, plus any snorkeling needs that you may have. There is
also a health spa which has the finest equipment, plus several
extremely nice and well-lit tennis courts.Above all, the service is
fantastic at the Westin. Whatever you need, from transportation to room
service is readily available by just dialing room service. Also, even
though security is not needed, it is there for you. I give the Westin
Resort at St. Johns Island 5 stars and would recommend it for anyone
looking for a paradise, luxury vacation on one of the most beautiful,
quaint islands in the Carribean. If you are looking for a vacation with
all the amenities and service with no problems and just relaxation,
then you cannot find any better than the Westin. Russell Fonvielle
We loved St. John and the Westin
We stayed at the Westin for 8 days beginning July 19th. We had a fantastic time. Everything was first rate. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful and so is the pool. We especially enjoyed playing volleyball several afternoons. Everything we read about the beach is true. It's not as beautiful as other beaches and there is seaweed, but they do have the inflatable rock wall and trampoline in the water which our kids really enjoyed. They also have kayaks and water bikes which you can ride around the bay. We didn't spend that much time at that beach, though. we explored other beaches, went on a day long boat trip to the British Virgin Islands and spent a day in St. Thomas. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. We had a two bedroom, 2 story suite which was beautiful. We stayed in one of the lower bldgs. The shuttles run every 15 min. but we never timed it right and it was easy enough to walk to our room from the pool. It was a bit of a walk, though, from where we parked our rental car. I wouldn't want to stay in one of the upper bldgs. The fitness center was top notch. We had heard that food was expensive at the Westin and not as good as some of the restaurants on the island so we only ate at Snorkels for lunch once and got sandwiches to go for lunch once from Mano Deli. There is a better deli next to Mongoose Restaurant in Mongoose Junction that makes better sandwiches cheaper. You can still ask for a cooler and ice from the deli at the Westin. The deli at the Westin is convenient to get coffee in the morning. The bagels aren't great but I liked their scones. We brought cereal from home and got milk and fruit from the market in town and had that for breakfast most days. You can get a fridge in your room for $5/day. Do rent a car - at least for a few days, and visit the other beaches. Be prepared for the mountainous roads with hairpin turns - especially if you're traveling outside of town at night. But it's definitely worth it to explore the island at your own pace. Trunk Bay, Francis and Hawknest all had great snorkeling and great beaches.
Cinnamon Bay was great also. Trunk and Cinnamon have bathroom facilities. We went to Skinny Legs which is very casual and had fantastic burgers and grilled mahi sandwiches. Our favorite restaurant was Zozo's. Great food and great view. Lime Inn and Paradiso were also great. We had a very good lunch at Mongoose, but were a little disappointed in our dinner at Morgan's Mango. We also went to Chateau Bordeaux which also has a great view and great food. I know the reviews we read helped us plan our trip, so we hope this helps you. We were all depressed when we had to leave - we could have stayed at the Westin another month!
from A TripAdvisor Member
My husband and I were married in St. John and had our cocktail party the night before our wedding and the wedding reception at the Westin Resort. We stayed at the Westin for 8 nights in a 2 floor suite. It was fabulous. We also had approximately 50 wedding guests who also stayed at the resort. Everyone had a fabulous time and were very impressed with the service and hostpitality of the staff at the Westin.
Overall, there is nothing that I would have changed about our stay at the Westin. The staff went out of their way to make our guests feel welcome, and were very accommodating to ensure that our wedding reception and our cocktail party were wonderful.
The beaches at the Westin aren't as nice as trunk bay and some of the beaches in the Nat'l park - but its very convenient to get to the other beaches.
Loving Vacation at the Westin on STJ
Having stayed at the Westin 3 times in the past three years...twice in April and once in July...I feel qualifed at this point to note the high points and the negatives. During each stay we stayed in a Garden view room, or what was conisdered garden view. We are not millionaires so we do budget our money to stay where we can feel like millionaries. The view was great...saw the ocean from our balcony and lots of super sunsets. Our stays have averaged 5 to 6 days each time. We have a six year old and the pool there is fantastic. It is huge, not too deep and even when the hotel is sold out, as it was 2 of the 3 times we visited, it wasn't too crowded. It is carribean blue and everything you'd think of when dreaming of vacation! The beach is nice, but not Trunk or Cinnamon which disappoints some people,but not us...we are pool people!
Lots of others seem to love it though..lots of chairs and good service if you want drinks or lunch. The Pool bar was good...better when they had happy hour! Then the prices were much better. We ate lunch a number of times at the pool side and food was very good. That was the extent of our eating at the hotel. We did have room service pizza one that was good, but costly. We go into town at night to eat, Lime Inn, Morgans Mango, the Rib shack...we have our faves and someday we'll work up to Chole and Bernards at the Westin...but again we have a 6 year old and while they do advertise babysitting, we've never used it. Rooms are wonderful, no complaints at all. Heavenly beds and heavenly showers...need I say more? If you have never slept in a Westin heavenly bed, then you've never slept!! We have a King for mom and dad and a rollaway for our 6 year old...she loves it. Rooms are large, spacious and the A/C works great. Housekeeping was always good. Starbucks coffee in the room and an inroom mini bar round it out. We usually get a quick breakfast from the deli...cheap we don't eat much and enjoy that and the newspaper (VI) on the balcony in the AM. We enjoy the sunset and sometimes a glass of wine or champagne in the evening. Ok...sometimes a Red Stripe or Carib too. Took the transfers to the airport once and they were wonderful. In past years we've rented so we've done the car ferry thing also. In short the Westin does it right...perfect for families, honeymooners and everybody in between. The only negative...and I do mean the only negative is the fact that during prime times, the hotel is hard to book at reasonable rates...so it is very expensive. But hey, that is why we love it...we feel we are getting what we pay for...Great location, great vacation and oh yeah....we'll be back...already looking to book for 2004! Hope this review helps somebody out.
Careful where you stay on the property
The location and amenities like pool and spa were great, st john is a wonderful island, but aside from that I am surprised by the high marks. We stayed in one of the highest buildings up the hill. Trees blocked out the carribean view, our 2-bedroom suite came with a window-less bedroom(!) and a dining room table but no fridge! Had not been renovated since it was built in the 70's and smelled stale and dank. A/C did not work in on of the bedrooms. I couldn't wait to leave the room! A shame, because the rest of the resort was nice.
Starving in Parardise
from A TripAdvisor Member
We pricelined our trip to the Westin for about 140 dollars a night. This is certainly a bargain against their advertised rates, but there are no shortage of packages available at a similar cost.There was no included ferry fare, so you need to look at another 34 dollars a person for the trip from the airport. It is expensive, but terribly convenient -- despite a rather long wait -- and it gets your luggage straight to your room. There is a small, but excellent grocery store at the ferry dock on St. Thomas. It is worth stocking up there and there are few sources for inexpensive supplies on St. John.Some reviewers mentioned emptying the mini-bar to use it for milk and other storage, but they seem to have caught on to that. Any movement of the bottles in the minibar automatically registers a purchase on your bill. This didn't stop us from using the minibar but we removed nothing and moved gingerly taking things out.The reason for this concern is of course the shocking price of food on the island. At the high end, the rates are not unreasonable, but there are simply no places on the resort for cheap or even reasonable meals. The deli serves up rather small ten dollar sandwiches, and the room service burger set me back 18 dollars. Much better to eat off site, even though the prices here are still exhorbitant.We had a great time at the Bordeaux on centerline road, and great success, though of a very different kind, with street vendors in Cruz Bay. (Sheila's near the ferry dock in town serves up excellent shrimp and chicken -- well worth checking out.) Renting a car can be well worth the trip as getting off the resort is not cheap by taxi -- though it is convenient and the waiting times are minimal. On the opposite side of the island is Vie's which is worth visiting for more authentic west indian food (though I was bitten by a goat while I was there).We found the happy hour specials disappointing at Snorkels on the Westin grounds -- but we loved the nearby pool where we seemed to spend as much time as we any time. We loved Trunk Bay though you need to get there early. If you move down the beach to the west, you can have much of the place to yourself for much longer than you might expect. Beach goers aren't big on walking, it seems. If you can find directions down to Dennis Bay -- from Peace Hill -- avail yourself of the short walk and look at Sugar Mill ruins (awash with hermit crabs) completely on your own. We had excellent snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay -- sea turtles and sting rays, and saw some beautiful tropical fish in Salt Pond Bay.We found the staff at the Westin to be very pleasant and mostly obliging. Nobody was rude to us, though sometimes people weren't as helpful as we would have hoped. (Though we stayed at the Marriott on Frenchman's Reef on the same trip and we retrospectively came to greatly appreciate the level of service at the Westin.) We took the time share tour for the seventy five "Westin" bucks, and actually had a lovely time. The hard sell was hard to take, but it was only a small portion of the tour. Be sure to insist on meal coupons if you go after lunch.My overall impression is that the Westin was a lovely place to visit, though I must admit that I feel a bit as though our time at the resort was marred by attempts by the hotel management to separate as much money from us as possible. The kit kat on the minibar was $2.25 -- a coke at the deli was $2.00. Do your best to get off the resort and enjoy the island. It is an amazing and beautiful place. We were heartbroken when we went to St. Thomas.
Great Honeymoon at the Westin!!
from A TripAdvisor Member
we went to St john for our honeymoon, and it was awesome! A true feeling of being on deserted island when you go to the bays and beaches, but then have a real pamper feeling at the resort. It gets a little pricey to go eat out every night and take taxis, but we had a great time, and can't wait to go back. It is a great place to bring kids too....but if you don't have kids it is not "too fammilyish" to the point that you feel like you are at Disneyland. Very relaxing, and rent a boat and go off and do your own snorkeling...that was the best for us, and feeding the iguanas everyday. Loved it!
Top Local Tips for Cruz Bay
Bring lots of cash
If you want gorgeous beaches, water, and snorkeling, you'll have to leave the Westin and go to the north shore every day. And if you want fun dining with Caribbean atmosphere and good food, you'll need to go into Cruz Bay every night. If you want to brave the driving, rent in advance. Daily car rentals weren't available the whole week we were there. Taxis are easy to get and fun to take. They are more like an open minibus, so you meet lots of people. But everything is cash. Plan on $40-$60 a day for taxis.
get a rental car as early as you can.
Their are only local providers of rental cars no majors at all on St John> this is very different from St Thomas. We were only able to get a rental car 3 of our 8 days since it didn't seem and issue until we got there
We didn't realize that if you have a large group like we had, (7) that you can rent one of the trucks with the seats in the back. They are basically like the taxi's only smaller. But you need to rent well in advance of your trip, especially if you go during high season. The same with rental cars in general, reserve one early !! Taxi's charge $4.00 per person one way, doesn't sound like much, but it really adds up.