Business Spotlight: The Hills Saint John, Luxury Vacation Condominiums

The Hills Saint John, luxury vacation condominiums.

It’s starting to get pretty chilly up north, so I know that vacation planning has gone into overdrive for many of you. You have so many options when choosing a place to stay here on St. John; the island had accommodations for all budgets. Well today, we’d like to tell you about a luxury condominium vacation destination. It’s an upscale spot with many top-notch amenities, and we think you’re going to like it.

The Hills Saint John is described as being a modern-day vacationer’s oasis. It’s comprised of 22 two-, three-, and four-bedroom condominium-style villas that sleep up to eight guests comfortably. Each of the resort’s villas come equipped with chef’s kitchens, private verandas and all the comforts of home. Some of the units have private patio areas complete with pools.

The Hills Saint John opened in 2008 and was then called Sirenusa. It rebranded itself following the 2017 hurricanes.

“In the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the owners spared no expense in not only repairing storm damage but elevating the property to new levels of sophisticated Caribbean charm,” David Adams, condominium association president,  said recently. “The visitor experience was enhanced with upgraded guest services and amenities, like the new Clubhouse restaurant. This reinvention called for a repositioning of the brand and to appeal to new travel segments. With The Hills Saint John, we moved away from Italian villas names, instead naming them in celebration of Virgin Islands flora and fauna to further evoke the tropical feeling of St. John.”

Speaking of guests services and amenities, The Hills Saint John’s management team includes a full time concierge and guest services team which vacationers have access to from the time they book the property to the time that they return home. It offers a welcome amenity specifically catered to each guest’s stay, from a gift card to the Clubhouse, to a bottle of champagne, a birthday cake or other fun surprises. The Clubhouse restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from mid-November through July. All guests receive a complimentary hot continental breakfast with in their stay.

(Off season days and hours for the Clubhouse have not yet been determined.)

The Hills Saint John is located just five minutes from Cruz Bay. Its hillside location makes it the perfect spot to watch the boats cruise in and out of the harbor or pass in nearby Pillsbury Sound. It’s also a prime location to watch the sun dip down into the water at the end of a perfect island day. The complex has everything you need for the ultimate vacation including the Clubhouse restaurant mentioned above, a pool and fully equipped gym. Check out a few pics plus the Clubhouse menus:

Rates vary between $425 and $1,050 a night depending on unit size and season. Interested in becoming an owner? Several units are available for sale. For more information on vacation rentals or sales, please visit www.thehillsstjohn.com. You can also call 1 (800) 727-6610.

St. John Vacation Rental Spotlight: The Other World

Other World View Toward Westin (1)
Looking Out Toward the Westin from The Other World

You have several options when looking for a place to stay when vacationing on St. John. But every then and again, something truly special and unique pops up. Today we’d like to tell you about one of those places. Please check out today’s St. John vacation rental spotlight…

The Other World is so relaxing, you’ll never want to leave. You’ll first enter the private lush grounds through a security gate. Next you’ll discover an open-air living space that features native stone columns and archways, as well as eclectic/global furnishings and artwork. A true couples retreat, the villa has two air-conditioned, enclosed master suites, each with its own bathroom, television and french doors that open up to the stunning views outside. For those of you traveling with children, there is also a room on the lower level equipped with bunk beds.

The entrance to The Other World
The Entrance to The Other World
The Open Air Living Space
The Open Air Living Space
Dining with a View
Dining with a View
One of the Three Bedrooms
One of the Three Bedrooms
Beautiful Stonework Detail Throughout
Beautiful Stonework Detail Throughout

A fully-equipped kitchen/bar area combined with a large patio with immaculate views as far as the eye can see make for a perfect happy hour spot. The villa also features a dipping pool, a great feature after a long day hiking or at the beach. Need to cool off? No problem. With a convenient location just 10 minutes from downtown Cruz Bay, this villa has everything you need for the ultimate St. John experience.

Please check out a few more pics…

View Toward the Open Kitchen
View Toward the Open Kitchen
Video Games Too!
Video Games Too!
Lush Landscaping
Lush Landscaping
Large Outdoor Lounging Area
Large Outdoor Lounging Area
The Other World Looking Southwest - Perfect Sunset Views
The Other World Looking Southwest – Perfect Sunset Views

Rates for The Other World start at $500 per night and vary based on season. To learn more, please visit TheOtherWorldVilla.com

Villa Spotlight: Bogie’s Villa, A Vacation Rental on St. John

bogies sign

Today’s story is near and dear to my heart, and one that I have been eager to share with you for quite some time. Today I’d like to introduce you to Bogie’s Villa.

Over the past two years, I’ve been asked quite often about my experience during Hurricane Irma. People are curious where I hunkered down, who I was with and, obviously, how we fared. I haven’t shared much publicly, but today I have a bit of a story to tell.

I “hurricaned” (which is now a verb for many of us) with four of my very best friends. I was with my boyfriend Mike, and three of our friends –  Chris and Shawna Dudek (owners of St. John Car Rental) and Basil Bsisu. Basil owns Bogie’s Villa with his wife KC. The five of us and five dogs hunkered down in a lower level studio apartment at Chris and Shawna’s home. It was built like a concrete bunker. We had a few scares, but we were safe throughout the storm. 

Basil and KC purchased Bogie’s Villa in July 2017, just two months before Hurricane Irma. At the time of their purchase, Bogie’s was a collection of long-term apartments that housed the former owner and a handful of residents. Basil and KC chose to remain in their rented apartment down the street so not to displace any of the tenants. I remember how excited they were to become homeowners on St. John. And we were all so happy for them.

Then Hurricane Irma blew through.

The morning after Hurricane Irma was tense. Basil, Mike and I did not immediately know how our homes fared. Once we determined it was safe to leave the house and traverse the roads, Mike, Chris, Shawna and I set off on foot to town while Basil made the trek from Contant (the neighborhood above the basketball courts) all the way up Gifft Hill to check on his apartment and Bogie’s.

Mike and I were fortunate in that our apartment fared very well. Basil, we soon learned, lost nearly everything. Bogie’s was destroyed as was the apartment he and his wife KC lived in. We were all devastated. It’s hard to put into words how you feel when you watch someone you care about so deeply go through one of the toughest moments of his life. Heartbroken doesn’t quite describe it.

KC is a special woman. She is an amazing friend and an amazing wife. She’s resilient, and when she sets her mind to something, she gets it done. When the majority of the people on St. John were working to evacuate in the days following Irma, KC was doing everything she could to return to her home. (She happened to be off island visiting family when Irma hit.) And because of her strong will and tenacity, KC was able to get back to St. John one week later, with almost all the supplies Basil requested, despite the fact that our airport and seaports were closed.

KC and Basil spent the following 18 months working tirelessly with Mr. Gregson Simon to repair Bogie’s Villa. The damage was so severe that the US Virgin Island government used images of it in their television ads highlighting the disaster. KC and Basil have put their heart and soul into creating a comfortable space for both residents and guests. From doing a lot of the demo themselves, creating the design for Tektite, installing kitchen cabinets, and learning countless lessons from the pros, they wore a lot of hats throughout the rebuilding phase, and I am so happy to announce that they welcomed their first guests back in March. 

Bogie's Villa after the 2017 hurricanes.
Bogie’s Villa after the 2017 hurricanes.

Bogie’s Villa has been converted into four vacation rentals that span between two buildings. (KC and Basil live on site in a fifth unit, and another long-term couple occupies the sixth unit.) The location is great – right on Gifft Hill Road – and it’s an easy drive into town and also to the North Shore beaches. It’s a great location for exploring all St. John has to offer from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay and all the hiking and beaches in between. Bogie’s has been renovated top to bottom with lots of concrete, (so it’s strong as heck!), and it even has a brand new pool! And even better, due to it’s location atop Gifft Hill, you get spectacular sunset views from all rooms and from the pool. And you know me, I love a good sunset view! 

Sunset at Bogies

Now just take a moment to picture yourself relaxing in a brand new pool with a spectacular sunset in the sky… It can happen over at Bogie’s!

A pool with a view at Bogie's
A pool with a view at Bogie’s

As I mentioned, Bogie’s has four vacation rentals, all of which were named after some of St. John’s best dive sites. (Basil is also a dive instructor at Low Key Watersports and has been since he and KC moved to the island in 2015.)

French Cap, the penthouse, is situated on the highest point on property, and it provides the widest views directly across Pillsbury Sound over Thatch Cay to St. Thomas, and to the north all the way to Great Tobago. The unit has two bedrooms and one bathroom. It has a brand new kitchen, vaulted ceilings – which make it feel extra spacious – and an expansive, private deck. French Cap can be rented as a one or two bedroom unit.

French Cap Outdoor Living Space
French Cap Outdoor Living Space
French Cap Kitchen Living Areas
French Cap Kitchen Living Areas
French Cap Bedroom
French Cap Bedroom
French Cap Bathroom
French Cap Bathroom

Cow Rock is a two bedroom, two bath apartment and is the largest of all the units at Bogie’s Villa. It has master king bedroom with ensuite, a queen bedroom with a separate bathroom, and A/C in the bedrooms. It also has a brand new kitchen and a fantastic, private deck. It’s an ideal space for a family or two couples. 

Cow Rock Outdoor Space
Cow Rock Outdoor Space
Cow Rock Dining Kitchen Area
Cow Rock Dining Kitchen Area
Cow Rock Living Space
Cow Rock Living Space

Calf Rock studio has beautiful views directly across Pillsbury Sound over Thatch Cay to St. Thomas from the shared pool deck, or even as you lift your head in the morning.This large studio provides a queen bed, and a kitchenette complete with a full size refrigerator, hot plate, toaster oven and coffee maker. It’s perfect for a single person or a couple looking to relax. There is also a sofa and smart TV for streaming, and a high top table for dining. 

Calf Rock Studio
Calf Rock Studio
Calf Rock Studio Alternate View
Calf Rock Studio Alternate View

Tektite studio is island tiny living at its finest. This well thought out studio, located on the pool deck, provides a custom queen storage bed, kitchenette and wet room-style bath. This small space is wonderful for a single person or close couple who are looking to get out and explore, but want a comfortable and clean space to lay their head at night. And like all the units at Bogie’s, guests have access to the shared pool, as well as poolside seating. 

The Tektite Studio is locate beside the shared pool.
The Tektite Studio is locate beside the shared pool.
Tektite Studio
Tektite Studio
Tiny Living with a Nicely Equipped Kitchen Space
Tiny Living with a Nicely Equipped Kitchen Space

And for those of you interested in checking out the views from Bogie’s, they even have a webcam! You can see it out at www.bogiesvilla.com/webcam

Rates for Bogie’s Villa range from $100 to $350 a night and vary depending on unit and time of year. They’re currently offering discounted rates for October, so perhaps a last minute St. John vacation is in your future!

So the next time you’re looking for a vacation rental on St. John, please be sure to check out Bogie’s Villa. You can learn more and see additional pics at www.bogiesvilla.com. You can also follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bogiesvillas.

Villa Spotlight: Faith Full View – Win a Week Stay Here!

Outside Faith Full View
Win a week at Faith Full View, a great, one-bedroom, cottage in Coral Bay.

Hello everyone and happy Friday! How does a vacation in an adorable, one bedroom cottage with some of the island’s best views for only $285 a night sound? Pretty great, right??! How about for a mere $25 for a whole week?? For one of you, that will happen! Interested? Want to know more? Than please read on!

As you know, we’re in the midst of a pretty amazing raffle. For just $25, you can enter to win a complete St. John vacation. Villa, airfare credit, Jeep rental, wine, gift certificates… you name it! But the raffle ends tonight at 9 p.m. EST, so you need to get your tickets now. 🙂

To entice you all just a little bit more (we are sooooo close to our goal!), we’d like to spotlight the villa that’s up for grabs. We’d also like to thank the owners, John and Helen Faith, for their generosity which helped us raise an enormous amount of money for Bahamas relief. Now without further ado, please check out Faith Full View…

Faith Full View is a one bedroom cottage with spectacular views of Coral Bay, the British Virgin Islands and beyond. The cottage sits in a very private setting with its own private pool that’s situated among lush gardens. It’s pretty easy to start relaxing the moment you walk into this comfortable and well appointed home. Its 180-degree views can be enjoyed from the shaded covered porch while you dine or enjoy your favorite cocktail. You can also lounge comfortably on the deck while watching the sun rise up from the sea. And even better, the breezes on the mountain will keep you comfortable all day long. ​

Faith Full View Pool View

Sunrise Faith Full View

Tea Faith Full View Drinks Faith Full View

Sunset Faith Full View

This new cottage is beautifully furnished to give you a relaxed island feel. The air conditioned bedroom boasts a comfortable king bed that will allow you to watch the sunrise from your bed. You will find the toiletries you need from your very large bathroom with a view from your shower you won’t find anywhere else! You will find everything you need to prepare your meals in the well equipped kitchen that includes, stove, microwave, large refrigerator, toaster and coffee maker. You have a very comfortable couch to enjoy your favorite TV shows on either Apple TV or Roku if you decide to stay in for the evening. You will also have a washer and dryer for your convenience. ​ ​

You will have the same amazing view from your own private pool and sunny pool deck that is surrounded by lush gardens and palm trees. How amazing does all of that sound? And again, it can be yours for only $25! All you have to do is enter our raffle!

Bedtoom Faith Full View Kitchen Faith Full View Bath Faith Full View Shower Faith Full View

Quaint Coral Bay is less than a five minute drive down a paved road to enjoy the music, restaurants or groceries. Beautiful white sand iconic beaches of the North Shore are a 10-minute drive away. ​

Rates for Faith Full View start at $285 and vary deepening on time of year. Want to learn more? Please visit their website at www.faithfullview.com.

Reminder: The raffle ends tonight, September 20, 2019, at 9 p.m. EST. You can purchase your tickets below.

News of St. John’s Pay It Forward Raffle: One Grand Prize

Tickets are just $25. To purchase a ticket, please choose the number of tickets below. You can buy up to 10 at a time. Then click the Buy Now button. This will bring you to a secure PayPal page where you can check out. (All entries will be treated as donations to Bahamas Relief.)

You will not receive a paper ticket. We will print a spreadsheet of all the entries. We will then mail merge those names into a sheet of labels. I, Jenn here at News of St. John, will personally cut the labels. All entries will be put in a box/bag/bin, and the winner will be announced on or about this Sunday depending on how we’re affected by Tropical Storm Jerry. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Again, please help us reach our goal. We join us in paying it forward! Thank you and good luck!

The raffle period has ended. 

Villa Spotlight: Sunset Cruz

The View from Villa Sunset Cruz
The View from Villa Sunset Cruz

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I know it’s pretty chilly up there, which means your vacation browsing is likely in overdrive! Well today, we’d like to tell you about a great villa that’s available here on St. John. It’s newly renovated, has amazing views and it’s close to town but far enough to be nice and quiet. Intrigued? Want to know more? Then please read on…

Villa Sunset Cruz is located in the exclusive gated community of Virgin Grand Estates, an upscale neighborhood on St. John’s southwest shore. Sunset Cruz sits at an elevation of about 700 feet, so it has breathtaking views of Great Cruz Bay, the Caribbean Sea, St Thomas and the outlying cays off in the distance. Villa Sunset Cruz is the only home on its drive, so you will enjoy privacy and seclusion there. And even better, the west-facing views offer dazzling sunsets year round!

Villa Sunset Cruz Sunset 1

Villa Sunset Cruz Sunset 2

This three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home spans three levels and offers opportunities for outdoor living on each floor. On the first level you will find a poolside bar and tiled pool deck featuring a large saltwater pool, a 1/2 bath and an outdoor shower. On the second level, the large, air conditioned great room with adjacent 1/2 bath opens onto a spacious deck and is the perfect place to gather and entertain. The chef’s kitchen comes equipped with everything you will need to cook all your meals in style with natural stone countertops, custom cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. The laundry room is conveniently located on the main level and all appliances in the villa are brand new. The third level features another bedroom with a private balcony overlooking Great Cruz Bay.

Sunset Cruz

Villa Sunset Cruz Great Room

Villa Sunset Cruz Kitchen

Villa Sunset Cruz Dining Area

All bedrooms have access to outdoor balconies with private sitting areas overlooking Great Cruz Bay and breathtaking sunsets. Two of the bedrooms are located on the second level with a third offered on the private third level.

Villa Sunset Cruz Bedroom 1

Villa Sunset Cruz Bedroom 2

When staying at Villa Sunset Cruz, you get to decide which level offers the best sunbathing, optimal viewing of the brilliant turquoise waters of the Caribbean by day and fiery sunsets by evening.

Villa Sunset Cruz Pool View

Villa Sunset Cruz Pool Bar

Villa Sunset Cruz is just a 10 minute drive from Cruz Bay where you can check out a plethora of shops and great restaurants. Prefer to stay in? Well then you can opt to grill out on the patio and relax in the reclining outdoor chairs.

Rates start at $460 per night and vary depending on season. But here’s the best part… Villa Sunset Cruz is offering a 10 percent discount on all stays in 2019. How amazing is that??!!

Want to know more? Ready to book that trip? Check out www.villasunsetcruz.com for more details.

Villa Spotlight: Eco Serendib Villa and Spa

eco serendib villa overview

Happy Sunday everyone! Today we’d like to introduce you to one of the most exclusive villas on St. John: Eco Serendib Villa and Spa. Not only does it set the standard for eco-luxury in the territory, but Eco Serendib also upholds a commitment to environmental causes in the USVI. More than $85,000 has been donated to the island community and a contribution is made every day the villa is rented. Intrigued? Want to know more? Well then please check out Eco Serendib…

Dramatically set atop Point Rendezvous with sweeping views from Fish Bay to Ram Head, Eco Serendib incorporates a variety of eco-friendly, energy-saving products and systems to lessen its carbon footprint without sacrificing the guest experience. These include Suniva solar panels; Sub-Zero/Wolf’s kitchen appliances that are made from as much as 75% recycled materials and use less energy than a 100-watt bulb; water-conservation products from Kohler; teak furniture from Gloster, produced using sustainable plantation management systems; saltwater pool; a grey water system for irrigation; multiple cisterns to collect rain water; an organic garden for seed-to-plate experiences and more.

eco serendib location hillside

Eco Serendib’s conservation efforts extend beyond the borders of retreat as well.

The funds that has been contributed by owner Harith Wickrema have gone to Island Green Living Association, Friends of the National Park, Gifft Hill School and other green initiatives across the island. The latest project is Island Green’s new Sustainable Living Center, a groundbreaking facility unlike any other in the Caribbean where green innovation will be developed and shared with the community.

gardens eco serendib

Harith has also worked closely with the legislature on banning plastic bags and on efforts to eliminate single-use disposable plastics including straws, source separation and bottle deposit legislation and ban of sunscreen containing harmful oxybenzone throughout the Virgin Islands. Additionally, he was integrally involved in the ban on burning green and brown hurricane debris to ensure the health and well being of the islands and her residents.

Now let’s get back to the villa itself…

Eco Serendib Villa and Spa, which has earned Five Stars on HomeAway and TripAdvisor, offers eight individually designed guest suites that give the look and feel of a private estate. Guests delight in the villa’s finely appointed features including a full service spa and Life Fitness gym; Epicurean Theater kitchen with professional grade appliances (private chef service is available); elegant dining area overlooking Fish Bay; spacious pool terrace, hot tub and barbecue; serene Great Room with baby grand piano, life-size chess set, table tennis, as well as Zen and organic gardens. Guests can choose from among three tiers of service from complete privacy to signature butler service, and the villa accepts just one reservation at a time so guests have exclusive access whether booking one, two or all eight guest suites. The villa also boasts luxury offerings such as individualized turndown service, designer bath products, Frette robes, daily maid service, dedicated villa concierge and more.

eco serendib great room

eco serendib dining table

eco serendib suite

bathtub view eco serendib

eco serendib pool view

hammock eco serendib

Eco Serendib is popluar for family reunions, girls’ getaways, romantic escapes and more.  In addition to being a stellar vacation destination, Eco Serendib also offers an enchanting setting for incredible destination weddings. Ceremonies take place against the backdrop of breathtaking views from the villa’s expansive terrace and receptions can be hosted for up to 35 guests. Weddings are individually designed to ensure the wishes and vision of the bride and groom become reality. The villa can provide access to one of the top local wedding consultants or bring in the services of managing agent Harith Productions. A well-appointed bridal suite with a grand staircase and full length mirror is perfect for photography and getting ready. The spa features a full range of services including a sauna, steam room and soaking tub.

eco serendib wedding

spa eco serendib

Eco Serendib is also ideal for corporate retreats, team building, change management, leadership and executive coaching workshops. Drawing on the strength of Harith Productions, which offers 25 years of expertise in this arena, Eco Serendib Villa and Spa is a natural for professional events that allow attendees to bask in the beauty and inspiring spirit of the locale. A state-of-the-art “paperless” boardroom and business center ensure attendees can get down to business in a private, secure setting far from distractions.

meeting room eco serendib

I’m not sure about you, but this villa certainly checks all of the boxes for the perfect vacation rental in my book!

Interested? Want to learn more?

Eco Serendib is currently running a special rate of $17,500 a week for a full house booking on Service Tier 1. This rate is based on availability, and blackout dates may apply.

And for those of you looking to ring in the New Year in style, Eco Serendib is still available for the 2018/2019 holiday.

For more information on Eco Serendib, please visit its website at www.ecoserendib.com

eco serendib hot tub

Villa Spotlight: Ardisia

ardisia from water
Ardisia

We receive a lot of emails here at News of St. John asking us where guests should stay while visiting St. John. This is never a simple question to answer as there are so many variables that come into play. Which area of the island do you prefer? Near town or out in the country? Number of people? Budget? The list goes on and on.

Last fall, I was introduced to a villa that is truly spectacular. It is one of the most beautiful villas on the island, and today I’d like to introduce it to all of you.

Ardisia is a brand new, five bedroom, luxury waterfront villa in Great Cruz Bay. The villa is complete with whole house air-conditioning, dual-band WIFI coverage, top-of-the-line furnishings, an infinity-edge pool, spectacular views and a private beach. In some cases, pictures speak louder than words. That’s certainly the case here. Check out these images:

ardisia overview

ardisia pool

ardisia bay

ardisia living space

kitchen 2

ardisia dining

ardisia stairwells ardisia bedroom

ardisia sunset

Pretty amazing, right?

So you may be wondering how I stumbled across this villa last fall. About a month or so after Hurricane Irma, I wrote a story about communications here on island and explained how we had limited cell service and internet. At that time. Garrick, the owner of Ardisia, reached out to me. I had never met Garrick, yet he offered me the use of this amazing villa. Ardisia has satellite internet, he told me, and wasn’t being rented at the time due to the storms. Garrick said I had an open invitation to stop by and use the internet, all so I could continue to get the “news” out to all of you. For that, I will be forever grateful.

Ardisia has five bedrooms and can accommodate up to 10 guests. Rates start at $10,000 a week and vary depending on number of people and season. It’s a great space for large families or couples looking to vacation together. For example, three couples visiting next winter can pay just $3,000 per couple. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

In addition to its beautiful features and great waterfront location, Ardisia is one of the few villas on St. John where guests can take a boat trip right from the villa. You may have to wade in the water a bit, but it sure beats an early morning drive into town to catch the boat at the dock!

So when you’re planning your next vacation, please keep Ardisia in mind. And for those of you who’d like more information, please check out Ardisia’s website at www.ardisiastjohn.com