Villa Spotlight: Spend the Holidays at The Hills St. John

Villa Spotlight: Spend the Holidays at The Hills St. John 1

Well folks, Thanksgiving is creeping up on us which means the Holiday Season is right around the corner.  Many of you may look forward to this time of year for large family gatherings and re-connecting with your loved ones.  Unfortunately, for many, the current pandemic may keep us away from these larger gatherings due to concern over the spread of the virus and the health of our more “at-risk” family members.

Due to all of this, 2020 might be the year that you finally take that holiday trip that you’ve been thinking about for a long while.  With family traditions potentially on pause until a vaccination is widely accessible, a simple getaway to St. John in a private villa with your immediate family might be the holiday rest and relaxation you need.

Read moreVilla Spotlight: Spend the Holidays at The Hills St. John

Zozo’s Ristorante is On the Move

Photo courtesy of Zozos.net

One of St. John’s most popular fine dining spots will have a new home later this year.

ZoZo’s Ristorante announced Friday that it is leaving its current location at Gallows Point Resort after 13 years. ZoZo’s isn’t going too far, however, as it plans to move just down the road over at Caneel Bay.

ZoZo’s will move into the space currently occupied by the Sugar Mill restaurant. The old 18th century sugar mill will undergo renovations this summer led by ZoZo’s owner John Ferrigno. ZoZo’s will open in its new location on November 1 after Caneel’s annual seasonal closure.

We’re curious – Now that ZoZo’s is leaving Gallows, what would you like to see go into its old spot? 

Survey says St. John 5th most expensive

Cheap Hotels Cheaphotels.org says St. John  is the fifth most costly Caribbean destination.  Odds are, the island should rank a lot higher.

If you search the CheapHotels Web site for a place to lay your weary head (and assuming that was the sample for the report), it offers only four options on the island: St. John Inn, Hillcrest Guest House, Concordia Eco Tents, and the Westin Resort.

That’s hardly the St. John market. It ignores dozens of condominiums, timeshares, and hotels, many of which are much more expensive than CheapHotel.org’s St. John average of $224/night for a three star hotel.

Few people would consider St. John cheap by any measure.

Virgin Gorda took the top spot for the lowest-priced available Caribbean three-star hotel double room in high season at $321.

Asked for a reaction to the St. John ranking, the general manager at Caneel Bay Resort told the St. John Source, “It’s expensive all over the Caribbean. “ Nikolay Hotze gave no sign he’s ready to lower rates. “I don’t see it as a negative,” he added.

Grande Bay’s Final Four


The developers of the Grande View Residences at Grande Bay Resort on Cruz Bay are finishing the project with a quartet of new penthouse  homes.  Called "Whole Ownership Residences," the one or two bedroom units start at $900,000. 

John Alvarado, director of sales, said the Residences "represent the best of St. John in terms of location refinement and convenience.

"The big distinction is that owners have the option to live here year round," he said.  The units can also be rented, in which case guests will be pampered with "exclusive amenities such as daily housekeeping and a complimentary in-room mini bar that is replenished daily." Whole Ownership owners also get priority access to use of the resort's power boat and Jeep.

The latest on Maho Bay’s future

Closing day may be drawing nigh but first-timers are still discovering Maho Bay Campgrounds.

The Blog of Maho says that despite plans to shut down and pack up after May 15th, “It’s been a very typical kind of season here at Maho, with plenty of happy guests,” both ‘veterans’ and ‘newbies’.

“The general mood and attitude around camp has been very upbeat and positive as all our guests seem to be visiting, enjoying, and making the most of their last vacation to Maho.”

The new owner of the the Maho site has still not been identified, nor have his/her/its plans for the land been made public.

Maho Bay Camps is not accepting reservations after the middle of May.

Luxury villa rental rate slashed

One of the most expensive St. John villas is cutting its price 60% from now until next January.  Odds are, it still won’t be affordable for most visitors.


Eco Serendib. Photo by Steve Simonsen.

Eco Serendib, boasting eight suites, a spa and even butler service, has reduced its price as low as $1,500 a night for its least expensive accomodation.  The Anniversary Special Rates start at $2,000 per night when you book the entire villa which includes eight bedrooms.

Despite the “budget pricing,” guests “have completely private use of the sumptuous facilities including spa and gym, expansive terrace, salt water pol and hot tub, Epicurean Theater kitchen, outdoor grill patio, sophisticated great room, inviting dining area and more,” according to a news release.

The villa boasts an organic garden, 500 thread-count sheets and Frette robes. Other amenities include several tiers of coddling, at additional charge, up to and including the butler service and two housekeepers.

The Inquiring Iguana is tempted to think Eco Serendib is ”on sale” because business at the high end is soft, right now. What do you think? Comment here.

Do some good, save some dough


You can save $100 a night at the St. John Westin by donating a few hours of your time to help the Virgin Islands National Park.

The Westin will credit you if you head out to the Park and put in a couple of hours doing things like picking up debris or maintaining the trails. The Westin is offering the deal in partnership with the Friends of the Park. To get in on it, mention it when you check in.

The Inquiring Iguana heard about the offer via a travel blog, but when he checked the Westin's Web site it said the offer was good through 2011. A call to the reservations desk at the resort got confirmation it's being offered this year, too.

A shuttle bus takes volunteering Westin-ers to the Park twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday.

It’s a girl at Caneel

A baby donkey was born last week at Caneel Bay Resort.


Chad Prentice, Guest Services manager, has been looking after the little girl, becoming the critter’s official photographer.  Video of the baby trying out her two-day old legs (!) can be seen here.

Caneel has announced the winning name is “Sugar Millie”.  Caneel posted news about the birth on its Facebook page and solicited names for the foal.  More than 200 suggestions were received.  Others which made it into the top five were “Neely,” “Precious,” “Rose” and “Sandy."

BTW, the gestation period for a doney is 12-14 months, and donkeys can live 30 years, or more.

Luxury villa economizes with solar

The island's new luxury Eco Serendib Villa and Spa is fighting the territory's high electricity cost by going solar.

Florida-based ESA Renewables has installed a "photovoltaic energy generating solar array" on the roof of the resort which, according to ESA, is "frequented by discerning visitors from around the world."

“At Eco Serendib, we are not only dedicated to offering our guests a luxury environment that exceeds expectations, but also one that minimizes the carbon footprint,” said Harith Wickrema, the villa’s visionary. 

The villa expects to use the solar array to meet electric needs such as guest room power, pool pump equipment, the gourmet kitchen, and for external lighting. 

The 16kW rooftop solar energy generating system is expected to produce more than 23,360 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year by converting sunlight into pollution-free electricity. It is expected to offset over 35,512 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. That’s the equivalent of taking over 1,100 cars off the road for a day.