Big Changes Happening at Caneel Bay

Caneel Bay

Caneel Bay plans to relaunch itself as an independent boutique resort this fall when it reopens for the season on November 1.

Caneel’s contract with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts recently expired giving the 170-acre luxury resort the opportunity to begin operating independently. The change officially goes into effect October 13.

“(The resort, which will be renamed Caneel Bay Resort,) will continue to follow the same eco-friendly focus that has guided the property since its founding by philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller,” a release stated Tuesday. “The appealing mix of low-key luxury, attentive service and purposeful absence of digital distractions will remain the same, right down to the donkey and deer that are such a lovable part of the Caneel Bay Resort experience.”

Along with the relaunch, Caneel will offer guests two new dining options in addition to its planned updated guestrooms. As we reported earlier this summer, Zozo’s Ristorante will open at the former Sugar Mill restaurant November 1. (Read that story here.) The site is currently being transformed by ZoZo’s owner, John Ferrigno, who also plans to revamp the renowned restaurant’s menu when it reopens at Caneel.

Caneel guests and visitors will also be able to perk up at a new coffee shop and Italian geleteria when the resort reopens. Cannella will serve gelato inspired by local flavors, in addition to paninis and coffee. The shop will be located near Caneel’s gift shop.

The resort is also looking to further pamper its guests with the addition of two new spa treatments. The hot bamboo massage and hot seashell massage will help guests to relax and unwind in special cabanas overlooking the beach.

Lastly, Caneel plans to renovate all of its rooms beginning in 2014. The work is expected to be completed in phases over the next two to three years.

“Caneel Bay continues to be the leader of rustic, luxury-chic in the Caribbean. We have an incredible heritage started by the Rockefellers and it’s a legacy that we look forward to developing, while preserving the area’s tranquility,” Nikolay Hotze, Caneel’s Managing Director, said in a release. “We look forward to this new chapter as an independent resort and welcoming back our returning and first-time guests to the property.”

10 thoughts on “Big Changes Happening at Caneel Bay”

  1. I am very interesting in this property; Caneel Bay… Is it possible to purchase …(not unlike a timeshare)… or will it be essentially a beautiful hotel? Pls advise.. Dr. Sample

  2. Hi Dr. Sample,

    It will continue to operate a a resort or what you referred to as a “beautiful hotel.” It does not offer timeshares or fractional ownership like other properties on island.

    • the property never belonged to the national park but is considered an “inholder” within the park’s boundaries……. and those park boundaries came about due to the acquisition of 3/5 of the island’s land by laurence rockefeller back in the 1940’s & early 1950’s…….he offered the land to be a part of the National park system if congress would approve that designation, which it did in 1956………. at some point i’m sure he stipulated that caneel bay perhaps become a part of the national park should his hotel, caneel bay, fail after his lifetime…. in fact he passed away within the last 3 years or so, i believe….. without him st john would be completely over developed and look like not so GRANDE BAY on every bay……

  3. Thanks Jenn. I can’t wait to see how this evolves. It is a beautiful property. But, the issue that interests me most is, will I still have to pay $20 to walk over to Honeymoon!?

  4. The only “big change” coming to Caneel is that Rosewood corporate is not renewing its affiliation. This means Caneel is held “privately” again. (CBI Acquisitions LLC )
    Frankly, this is a positive step for Caneel given that it is now free from the DALLAS based Rosewood conglomerate…
    The entire management team from Rosewood from Nicolay to marketing and others is still on board. This will hopefully allow Caneel to resume supporting local and regional marketing initiatives with Caribbean based advertising, PR and print and online publications. This according to Nicolay’s email to me.
    Thanks and hope to see you all this October!
Dan Bostdorf
    ps Regarding major renovations:
    According to another news source….
    “Caneel officials also anticipate approval of its lease renewal by the 112th U.S. Congress early next year, which will put the resort in a better position to plan for the future, Hotze explained….The lease is not yet renewed but we hope by the beginning of next year to enter into a new 40 year lease,” he said. “If we sign the lease in the beginning of the year, we’ll be moving forward with the capital investment plan….During its seasonal closure, lighting will be installed on two tennis courts and Caneel officials are excited to offer night tennis, Hotze added.”

  5. We’ve been coming to Caneel Bay for the past 5 years. Staff is great and place is beautiful. My parents would go to Caneel Bay back in the Rockefeller ownership days and loved it. But, now rooms a bit run down, small and it’s lacking zip….for the price. I’m looking forward to the updated rooms….hoping for a kitchenette, good coffee maker and a decent size refrigerator. The amazing snorkeling at Scott’s Bay kept me coming back. We debated coming back this year and thought about Gallows Point instead. Half the price, awesome units, and Zozos and town nearby. When will updated rooms be available? How will construction affect our experience there?

  6. We were very upset to see the luncheon buffet discontinued. It’s been the highlight of our visits to St John inn the past.

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