Why villa rates could go up

Let's touch 'the third rail' about the cost of renting a villa.

On the VINow forum, a person wanted to know if St. John villas charged an 'energy fee,' as she has paid at resorts in the Bahamas and Antigua.

Anita Davis, a long time VI resident, replied she was unaware of the practice generally.  "But, since our energy costs from 50-cents/kwh, it would be great if our visitors did not open doors and/or windows with air conditioning blasting or let water run unnecessarily."  To which, the Inquiring Iguana says 'Amen."

Toes in the Sand said, "We have never had a villa with a specific fee for energy usage. There is usually a provision in the contract for a fee if excessive energy or water usage occurs, but never a fee for normal usage. I would love to see a villa rate plan that allows credit for low utility and water usage."

Cruising Gal said she's found a villa that does have such fees,"The one we want to rent."  There is a $250 cleaning fee and a $19 per day energy surcharge.

Linda J passed along the news that Caneel Bay has a 10% charge which can be attributed to energy. (Can anyone confirm this?)  "Others, the Westin I believe, have a daily activities fee.  It all adds up to the same thing. (They) do not want to raise their published daily rates," she said.

How do you feel about villas trying to manage and monitor guests' water and energy use through quotas and charges for overage?

12 thoughts on “Why villa rates could go up”

  1. Seems to me that alternative power (such as solar power) could significantly help with this issue. Is there a commission on the island which explores moratoriums on new construction and/or trying to tap into alternative energy sources? It is only going to get worse as more and more villas are built….and the people to blame for that are the OWNERS and local GOVERNMENT, not tourists!!

  2. AP
    I do blame tourists when they blast the AC and leave all doors and windows open 24/7 and take 25 minute showers. This is something that is easy to track and therefore easy to charge for. Perhaps the first time an idiot group gets charged for this type of activity, they will think twice before doing it next time.
    We are villa owners and have looked into solar power, but right now (as with most things on the island) it is not easy to get done. Seems silly, yes, but if you know how the island works (or doesn’t work) you would understand. This is the same government that failed to collect property taxes for for 4 years – – good luck trying to implement something like alternative energy.

  3. I apologize for offending and please don’t get me wrong… I have personally witnessed sheer disregard for the precious resources on STJ, both from tourists and owners. You are right….they will think twice next time if they are charged for misuse and overuse. It just seems that it is a catch 22 situation and a more proactive stance might be more effective rather than just blaming the “off-islanders”, aka the tourists, who do actually help the island in so many ways.

  4. We rent a private home each year and only run the a/c in the bedroom at night while sleeping, other than that we do not run any a/c units. We also try to take quick showers. I do think the majority of the people that can afford to rent a private home or villa, has the common sense to try and comply with the wishes of the owners. The Villa owner that refers to the tourist as idiot groups and complains how the island “doesn’t work”,should remember that these idiot tourist help pay for his investment, and contributes to the economy on an island that depends heavily on tousits to maintain it’s existence. If the island doesn’t work, and the tourist who rents the villa are “idiots” maybe they should consider selling, and then just visit beautiful St John like the other idiots….

  5. I agree with AP and Art in response to that Villa owner. We have a time share at the Westin but our second week is at either a private villa or condo. We only run AC when we are at the place and make sure windows and doors are shut. We do this at the Westin also. We also watch how much water we use. There are bad apples in every bunch that don’t care. Including the Villa owners. Which this person who refers to renters as “IDIOTS” shows. If a short supply of renters came about good or bad how long would the this owner be in business. I doubt this particular owner is about to let us no what Villa he owns. If this owner has an ad online I wonder how up to date his pictures are of the place??? These places all look brand new online. But some take on a very different look when you get there. I can’t believe this person would refer to any renter as an IDIOT. Great marketing strategy. Hope we didn’t get this person’s Villa this January. 161 days. Have a great day.

  6. Hi All,
    This is a catch 22. The more fees the fewer number of people can afford to rent. So what is the answer, I don’t know. But I do have a suggestion. Did you know that your frig is design to work most efficiently when the freezer is at least 75% full? I’ll bet that most of the rental villas have little to nothing in the freeze most of the time. My suggestion would be to have the management company put a 20lb bag of ice cubes in the freezer for each new renter. Also make sure the ice cube trays are full. The renters would have plenty of ice for when they head of to the beach and it would cut down on electricity usage, at least for part of there stay. This maybe a small thing but it could pay off in the long run.
    Hope to get back to ST John’s in the next year or two,
    Bob

  7. I have a solution for the villa energy consumption problem. Here goes: Charge a low rate for the weekly rental that does NOT include electric/water. Make this clear in the ad that energy is not included in the rental price. Make sure that the unit you are renting has a water meter and seperate electric meter from any other buildings that may be on the property. Take a n energy deposit that would cover the worst case scenario- leave the a/c on all week and let the water run. That way the owner doesn’t get screwed. At the end of the week, read the meters and return the money to the renter. Only charge for what he/she actually used. I think this will make the ‘tourists’ very aware of energy use since they are directly paying for it. The LOW RATE is what will draw people to the villa- so I see it as a win-win for lower energy use, lower rental prices, and a great deal for the tourist. PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR FEEDBACK ON THIS IDEA- IF YOU ARE A TOURIST WOULD YOU STAY AT A PLACE LIKE THIS?

  8. Evan, the simple answer is “no.” When I am on vacation, I am on vacation. I would prefer not to have to worry about consumption, when vacation is all about consumption.

  9. Smart villa renters only have the A/C on when all doors and windows are shut and usually only at night if they can’t sleep due to heat. During the day when it’s hot they are most likely in a pool or at the beach and should turn off the A/C at the villa if the villa’s A/C is not equipped with auto shut off when a person exits.
    As far as solar panels, many of the resorts in French Polynesia have installed them even on the overwater bungalows. I was just there last year and found it interesting to see thatch covered roofs with solar panels included on each bungalow. It did not take away from the overall appearance and saves the resort a lot. I understand it’s more challenging for individual villa owners on St. John to implement such a project.

  10. I’m with Pete. I understand the concerns owners have about wasteful renters, but I also know that most visitors are informed of the scarcity of resources, and try to be responsible. If I’m paying $4000-$5000 for a week, I don’t want to be nickle-and-dimed with additional fees. Factor your energy costs into your rental rate.

  11. Dear VILLA OWNER: I have just finished reading all the posts on this matter and just can’t believe some of what was said… I would love to know what villa you rent as I would NEVER rent your property. We have been visiting St. John for many years and plan to come again in 2011… this will be our 8th trip, everytime we come we rent a home and treat the home as if it were our own… most have no A/C so that isn’t an issue, however I don’t leave doors open at my house and wouldn’t at yours… If it were not for us IDOITS helping you pay for your villa you would have to cover the entire cost of the property… but with that said I guess if you can afford to build on St. John you don’t need us IDIOTS…

  12. To be fair to both, there are some owners who add extraneous costs, sometimes outrageous. And there are some renters who are irresponsible with how they use the a/c and water systems. Perhaps there can be a compromise to this? Maybe discount system can be introduced.

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