Good Morning, Good Morning! A few weeks ago, I ventured out to beautiful Cinnamon Bay in order to meet up with the campground’s managing director, Adrian Davis, and take a little tour of the newly opened cottages. The cottages were simply awesome and decked out with every single necessity you could possibly ask for in a “camping” trip. And my conversation with Adrian about the past, present and future of the beloved campground was absolutely riveting.
I met Adrian at the Raintree Café on an overcast Thursday afternoon in April. I noticed, as I waited for him in the breezy guest services area, that the restaurant is now doing themed cuisine nights! They do breakfast from 7:30AM-9:30AM each day with an ever changing menu and dinner is served from 5:30 until 8PM nightly.
You do not need to be a guest at the campground to join them for breakfast or dinner…But I DO enjoy the way that the entire guest experience is catered to a camping clientele.
Adrian joined me in the lobby and we jumped into conversation about how the campground has been doing since they re-opened. He told me they have been joyfully busy and that the guests, both first timers and veteran Cinnamon visitors, have been happy with their experience. And, I remarked, that you can see that from their AMAZING reviews…I did a little research before our walk through 🙂
We stopped short on our chat because it looked like rain could be rolling in and ventured out the back of the open air restaurant towards the first of four completed two story cottages.
Ok, so let me give you a little background. All of the development at Cinnamon, similar timing at Caneel Bay, was prior to there being certain restrictions about what we know to be toxic chemicals. So, the pipes needing to be replaced at Cinnamon prior to re-opening…Those were the original pipes and not up to current codes. The same concept goes to what we now know about the important archeological finds at Cinnamon Bay. EVERY era of human existence on St. John has been discovered at Cinnamon over the years all the way back to the Tainos. And, with the wide expanse of beach, fresh water nearby, a wooded shoreline for protection from the sun and, at one time, abundance from the sea, I’m not surprised. I would likely set up shop there as well!
Originally, there were ten cottages at the campground. Each filled with camping “cots” in order to supply fun for the whole family over the course of a camping trip.
The foundation area of cottages number one and three, closest to the main path to the beach, are not built on due to the possibility of extensive archeology. How cool is that? VI National Park archeologists are currently sifting through the soil surrounding them in order to uncover the mysteries of the past. Additionally, cottage number ten could not be re-built because of the proximity to the ocean. So, in order to keep with ten units for guests but eliminate the need for new foundations, the team at Cinnamon dreamed up the new and improved solid concrete, two story structures that are built in the same footprint as the originals.
One upper level unit of the new cottages is completely ADA compliant with a ramp leading directly from the restaurant and handicap accessible full sized bathrooms to the upper level of the first four buildings which opened for overnight guests just last month. As Adrian and I walked away from the Raintree, on the newly constructed, elevated ramp through the trees he described a recent guest’s experience.
One of their first guests in the cottage was a gentleman who was paraplegic and was traveling with an aide. He stayed in a cottage for several weeks with no issues and was absolutely over the moon happy with his visit. If you have traveled to St. John frequently, then you understand how incredibly rare this type of accessibility is! Once again, I was blown away by the thoughtful details that Adrian and the owner of the management company (CinnOpCo), Tom Secunda, put into every aspect of the renovations of this incredible village by the sea.
We entered the first building and I literally lost my vocal cords for a second…If you know me, you know that takes some effort. HA! The single room with a partial wall in the middle and lofted ceilings was so incredibly spacious and breezy in comparison to the original cottages. A versatile couch/double bed with a trundle was in the “living” area accompanied by a dining table for four and a counter and food storage area with a mini fridge.
To the right of the kitchenette in the below photo, you’ll notice the door. That accesses the adjacent room. So, if you are traveling with another family or a group larger than four people, you can expand the unit to sleep eight!
The door to the left (in the top floor units) accesses a beautiful private grilling and outdoor dining area.
Beyond the first room of the cottage, is the master bedroom with a brand new, comfy queen sized bed and a beautiful wardrobe for storing all of your gear.
We stopped to take a quick peek at the other buildings’ top levels and Adrian described the foliage they had planted both surrounding the patio areas on the top level rooms and in front of the lower level units in similar outdoor living spaces. The plants on the upper level are contained in pots do not necessarily need to be native to St. John and beautiful wispy palms and greenery surround your outdoor dining area!
On the lower level verandas, native plants line the walkways. Adrian told me that, in order to not disturb the natural grounds surrounding the footprints of the cottages, the plants are nestled into raised beds around each of the patio areas.
The lower level rooms are the same layout as the upper rooms but appear to be a bit smaller due to the lack of vaulted ceilings. So, in an effort to create a similar feel of amazingness, the gang at Cinnamon Bay has contracted resident St. John artist, Bryan McKinney to paint bright and happy murals on the walls of each of the lower units!
Oh, but wait…These cottages are not just absolutely LOVELY vacation rentals on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. They are also hurricane hardened bunkers with their own power and water sources. Perhaps, in the event of another disaster, we will have a place to put displaced residents or relief organizations. Perhaps, these beautiful cottages and the adjoining campground facilities are a true testament to learning from the past and preparing for the future.
The beach and main bathroom at Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground are open year round but the campground and cottages will close to overnight guests during the months of September and October each year. The food truck and additional services will also be closed during these peak hurricane season months. Cottages range in price from $150-$250 per night and the second phase of ocean front cottages will be opening in July of this year. And, I am looking so forward to taking another look at the final phase of construction at our beloved Cinnamon Bay.
15 thoughts on “Cinnamon Bay Campground Cottages Are OPEN!”
WOW!!! My 1st. visit to STJ was to Cinnamon Bay Campgrounds,1981. It was the 3rd. date with a lady Dr. that I met in Ann Arbor Mi. We stayed at campsite # 162 ( The Honeymoon Site ) it cost $7.00/day. I fell in LOVE with STJ. first and her second. I met Rich Meyer ( Lime Inn ) during that stay. St. John Vi. is MY HEAVEN ON EARTH. I have been returning to the ROCK almost every year since. Thanks Hillary for this awesome article. See you & Capt. Teddy in November!!!
Great review of the ‘new’ Cinnamon Bay Campgrounds! I first visited the gorgeous beach there, eating in the cafe as well, in 1973/74! Then, 10 years on, I stayed on the property in Cabin #10, the very furthest unit – so close to the water – it was amazing! I’ve not been on island since 2006. I feel it calling me back!
1973 was the first time I stayed at Cinnamon in a campsite.
It was totally different and beautiful back then and It’s still beautiful today
Love love love these new “cabins” on my favorite beach!
I stayed here back in early 1991. I had the best vacation staying in one of the original cottages. I continually have bragged non stop about Cinnamon Bay since I have been home. I’m coming back as soon as I can!!
My happy plsce
Thanks soooooo much for this detailed review! I swear, Kathy and I will make it happen soon! Cinnamon always has been our favorite beach on STJ for its incredible beauty, snorkeling (just as good if not better than the well known location, with 1/4 the number of people, most of the time anyway. Again – thank you thank you thank you!!!! And we WILL book you for a tour the next time we’re on island!
Gene & Kathy
I was there last month after a 20 year absence to celebrate my 70 th birthday and to reunite with a Cinammon Bay buddy whom I met there many moons ago. Like many of you, I first found Cinnamon Bay Campground in 1983 and have gone back many times since…even having the good fortune to stay at the end unit of block 10. Personally, I enjoy the tents, but will have no problem revisiting the cottages. I wish to thank everyone who has worked so hard on this restoration, and the courteous and helpful staff (Kiara and Adonis) who made my recent visit to my “happy place” both a joy and a privilege. Finally, I wish to commend you for respecting the culture of St. John’s predecessors who made this special spot their home. Continued success!
The cabins look beautiful. Had to call this camping anymore! lol
I can’t wait to see them in person when I’m visiting in July
Our favorite getaway from St. Croix since 1976, tents and occasionally cabins. Thanks for the update, so glad to see it finally open and so beautifully done. The gravel paths, though? So much for the barefoot beach/camping week!
As someone who has been following updates about Cinnamon Bay’s restoration progress, reading current news of its opening is a big source of pleasure and enthusiasm. Hope the new administration prepares the traditional map identifying campsites and facilities location. Will definitely return soon.
Can’t wait to return and bring my grandkids. I’ve been coming since 1975 but haven’t yet returned since the hurricane. It looks better than ever! Just a bit worried about the strict no refund policy given the state of Covid changes
Just returned yesterday from a 9 day stay at Cinnamon Bay in the group site Ecotents. The Ecotents are amazing! They are about 50% larger than the old tents in all directions, with lights, power, and a ceiling fan. Each tent comes with everything you need – shelving, side table, stove, dishes, utensils, cookware, tubs – even a strainer, drying towel, and lighter. They outfitted the bathrooms with liquid body soap/shampoo and even liquid dish detergent. Each tent has a nice little deck with wooden adirondack chairs and a very large plastic storage unit for food/gear. They now have a paved sidewalk that goes throughout the camping areas making it super easy to roll luggage or walk barefoot to the beach. Thank you to the new owners for such an amazing upgraded experience and for thinking about every detail. We had a great trip!
I first gave these cabins in 1968… It was one of the most memorable vacations of my life. Stayed in cabin 4 or 4B as I remember it. I remember the huge tree with a trunk so large we could climb into it. the little store looks like it may now be a Museum. What a wonderful family vacation we had… Left New York on a Pan Am flight where I met Hubert Humphrey. Life was simpler then. We stayed at the Rockefeller Caneel Bay Resort Both before and after our stay at cinnamon Bay. We enjoyed Cinnamon Bay much more than Caneel Bay. I’ve been back to the island several times but have never stayed at the campground since… Can’t wait till my trip in November