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.

Living large at Lovango

Capn Dan and Ruby spent their two weeks on St.John two different ways.  The first week, they stayed at a condo at Cruz Views, up Centerline and overlooking town.  The second week, they decamped to the luxurious, remote Lovango Beach House.

While the Inquiring Iguana counts among his friends the couple who originally built Lovango, and the new owner has remained an advertiser on NewsofStJohn.com (and an acquaintance), the reason to highlight the villa has nothing to do with those relationships.

It's just that Capn Dan and Ruby, took the time to write a detailed series of posts about their time at Lovango.  The house and its setting are unique, and reading about this couple's stay at the property is fascinating.  It's not your usual St. John Trip report.

Ruby wrote,"Lovango taught me that you don’t always have to be going and doing. Don’t go to Lovango if you need to go and do on a daily basis. Going over (to St. John ) at will is no longer an option. At first we were a bit put off by this inconvenience, but later we found it to be a blessing. My thoughts on creating a true stress relieving vacation are: find yourself a pleasant place and just relax, allow the sound of the waves, and the breeze to wash over you as you truly understand limin!"

You can find their Trip Reports on Virgin-Islands-On-Line.  The Lovango portion begins here.  To find the additional posts, search VIOL for "Lovango".

A deal at Caneel

In case you need reminding, time is fleeting.

Caneel video

Which is kind of the focus of a marketing video posted by Caneel Bay Resort on its Facebook page. There is no narrative; no plot, and no action.  

Caneel is running a summer special.  Now through August 26th, stay 5 consecutive nights in one of a Beach Front or higher room category and get the 5th night free.

$t. John Villa$ for the rich or famou$

The arrival of Eco Serendib got the Inquiring Iguana wondering how expensive can villa rentals be on the island?  The answer is very!

Eco Serendib is  near the high money mark – today.  For $20,000 a week in low season (high season may be 70% more, we hear) you get eight bedrooms, three cisterns, an organic vegetable garden, and all the other stuff: TV sets, infinity pool, air conditioning, master dining room, yada yada yada.

What about other villas?

An informal survey of villa management companies and rental agents has turned up a number of other high priced offerings for your summer getaway.

Alamer Until now, A La Mer has been considered the highest-priced spread on the island. our $28,500 on off season gives you the keys to seven bedrooms in the main house and cottage, enough space to sleep 22 people.  Features include the usual luxuries plus Sirius/XM radio and three washing machines. The villa's Web site is here.



Read more$t. John Villa$ for the rich or famou$

Westin to dump tons of sand on the beach

It's been six months, but the Westin Resort has still not recovered entirely from the wind and rain and water and erosion wrought by Hurricane Otto last October.

While the grounds and buildings have been repaired and improved, the beach is still a problem.  

The resort's management has now gotten approval from St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee to "renourish" the beach, the St. John Source reported.

Beach(Westin Resort photo)

Read moreWestin to dump tons of sand on the beach

Live the villa life at $20,000 a week

The owners of a new property at Point Rendezvous seem to be betting that the good old days are coming back.

Eco Serendib Villa and Spa opens for business next month offering "a new level of eco-friendly ultra-luxury" with eight suites, a spa,, gym and "epicurean Theater kitchen featuring sub-zero appliances.  Price tag: an introductory cost of $20,000 for a week. (One source says winter season, the place will go for $35,000.)

"Everyone dreams of having a private villa of their own in the Caribbean, whether to just get away with family and friends, experience a wellness journey or hold an event of a lifetime such as a wedding," explained Harith Wickrema, the villa's manager. 

"Our credo is to provide experiences that entertain, excite, educate, provide escapism and aesthetics," said Wickrema, who is a nationally recognized event planner. "It is also our mission to offer our influential guests an opportunity to experience the benefits of spending time at a destination designed with the Earth in mind."  He explained that the Villa's goal is not necessarily to be "a 100% ecologically pure resort" but, rather, to show the discerning traveler how luxury and ecologically sensitive products and designs can co-exist in total harmony.  

"We seek to redefine luxury," he said, "so that it becomes less about self-indulgence and more about self awareness in the world we all share."

Read moreLive the villa life at $20,000 a week