Daily resort fee and airport transportation is expensive
Pricey restaurant and bar menus
Spa is small relative to the size of the hotel
This hotel was impacted by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The hotel is currently not accepting reservations through the end of 2017, and we will update our review as soon as we know more. The four-pearl Westin St. John Resort Villas is the largest resort on tiny St. John. The decor is typical of the Westin brand, with meticulous landscaping and modern, upscale interiors. Features include a soft sand beach, a large pool, two beachfront restaurants, and a full-service spa and salon. There's also plenty for kids. The 226 contemporary, homey villas come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and kitchens or kitchenettes -- some even have private pools. Unfortunately, upcharges like a hefty daily resort fee can grow tiresome. Those looking for something a bit more intimate should consider the nearby Gallows Point Resort, which has sharp villas that include full kitchens at similar rates.
Sprawling family-friendly property with well-tended landscaping and upscale polish
The largest resort on St. John -- which isn't a surprise given the Westin brand's frequently massive outposts -- is a reliably upmarket retreat in the southwest corner of St. John. There is enough of a beachy island vibe here to remind guests of where they at most times -- the exterior and grounds are meticulously landscaped, while the interiors are polished and modern. Inside the hotel, expect to see breezy architecture, lots of soft cream tones and warm wood-veneer surfaces, and a few pops of soft pinks, yellows, and blues. Wicker accents bring a bit of the island indoors.
Outside, the resort is sprawling, and golf carts may be necessary for some guests to get around -- they are provided for free. Continuing the go-big-or-go-home ethos, the hotel features one of the island’s largest pools, situated feet from the beach, which is clean, well-maintained, and feels private (though it’s technically semi-private). Guests gather in both areas throughout the day, though the entire outdoor complex is large enough to accommodate the property’s size. The beachfront Snorkels Bar & Grill provides cocktails, a bar food menu, and happy hour specials. The area stays busy until shortly after dinner, but then the entire property quiets down considerably. Overall, the vibe is lively, but never rowdy, and attracts an equal mix of families and couples
On a lovely beach, a five-minute drive from downtown Cruz Bay
Situated on a calm bay, the hotel is just a five-minute drive from Cruz Bay's downtown, which is home to dozens of restaurants, shops, and a lively nightlife scene. The main ferry terminal -- with direct access to St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands -- is also in town. Given the island’s compact size, its most popular tourist attractions -- including Virgin Islands National Park, which is home to Trunk Bay Beach, Cinnamon Bay Beach, and Maho Bay Beach -- are only 15 to 20 minutes away by car. Reef Bay Trail, a popular day hike, is also a 20-minute drive from the hotel.
As there is no airport on the island of St. John, most guests will arrive via St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King Airport (STT). Several options are available to transport guests from the airport to St. John. The hotel’s per-person rates are pricey, though they are the most convenient, with direct access from Charlotte Amalie to a private on-site dock. Alternatively, guests will need to take a taxi from STT airport to the Charlotte Amalie ferry terminal, then a public ferry to Cruz Bay, then another taxi to the hotel. The latter option is cheaper, but requires more time and hardly seems worth the hassle.
Bright, modern rooms with Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, and private balconies
The decor in every villa is typical of the Westin brand, but with distinct island flair. The look is homey and elegant, including dark wood furniture, creamy marble counters and tabletops, and sleek light fixtures. Colors are appropriately beachy -- expect to see plenty of soft blues and sand tones -- while bright Virgin Islands-inspired photographs on the walls kick the aesthetic up a notch. Furniture all has a classic-contemporary look, further contributing to the home-like atmosphere, and some units have bright tile accents or reclaimed wood details.
There are five categories, ranging from Studios to Three-Bedroom Villas. All are situated in a central portion of the property and all are spacious. They have either kitchenettes or full kitchens with a refrigerator, microwaves, dishwasher, and oven; 32- or 42-inch flat-screen TVs and air-conditioning are standard as well. Additionally, every Villa features an extensive list of high-end amenities including Bose entertainment systems and washer/dryers. Studio Villas feature 481 to 600 square feet (44 to 55 square meters) of living space with a sitting area and optional, fully-furnished patios/balconies. Floor space in One-, Two-, and Three-Bedroom Villas increases substantially with 800 to 1,600 square feet (74 to 148 square meters) and private, resort-view balconies or patios. The Three-Bedroom Pool Villas are massive, 2,780-square-foot (258-square-meter) condo-style units with private plunge pools and large, furnished balconies with outdoor grills.
Wi-Fi is “free,” however, the fee is technically included in the property’s pricey daily resort fee. We found the service to be mostly fast and reliable. Rooms also include Westin’s “Heavenly” brand beds which are widely reviewed as plush and comfortable -- they come with pillow-top mattresses and down duvets. Bathrooms vary as well, but all are handsome. Expect to see a mix of dark and light colors in accents plus sleek rainfall walk-in showers. Some rooms add soaking tubs, and all have large vanities with a generous amount of counter space. Westin's White Tea toiletries are provided.
A wide, soft sand beach, a large pool, and two beachfront restaurants
The hotel includes a long list of resort-style amenities that ensure many guests never need to leave the property. The most notable features include a wide, semi-private beach situated in a beautiful, secluded cove. The large pool is beautiful and feels almost over-sized given the scale of the property. Beachfront dining is available at two casual, a la carte restaurants. Unfortunately, while the spa is modern and full-service, it’s surprisingly small relative to the property’s size. Many "freebies" are covered by the resort's daily fee, so check ahead -- Wi-Fi is among those included.
Wide, clean, soft sand beach with water sports and a private dock
The hotel’s beach is a wide, clean stretch of sand with plenty of space to accommodate every guest. An adequate number of lounge chairs and umbrellas line the sand to provide enough shade for guests. The beach is situated inside a horseshoe bay that acts as a natural breakwater. The water is calm and swimmable, even for children, any time of year. However, although the conditions seem ideal, there isn’t much for snorkelers to see.
A small, staffed cabana arranges motorized and non-motorized water sports that range from Jet Skiing and parasailing to kayaking and snorkeling. The hotel’s private dock provides easy access to the ferry terminals in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas (with connections to STT airport) and Cruz Bay. Day trip tours to a number of nearby islands and beaches are also available.
Large pool is clean and well-maintained, with a separate kiddy pool area
The hotel features a single pool, though with over 10,000 square feet (1,000+ square meters) of space, there's more than enough room for everyone. The pool and surrounding deck are both clean and well-maintained. Rows of cushioned lounge chairs and umbrellas provide adequately shaded relaxation space. Two small hot tubs nearby can comfortably accommodate up to a dozen guests each. A small, shallow, walled-off area integrated into the main pool serves as a dedicated kiddy pool. The atmosphere is lively but relatively relaxed and family-friendly. There is no swim-up bar, but Snorkels Bar & Grill is a few steps from the beach side of the pool.
Two beachfront a la carte restaurants and a mini-market for self-caterers
The property is serviced by two a la carte restaurants and a small marketplace for those looking to cook in their kitchens or kitchenettes. Unfortunately, one restaurant only serves breakfast and dinner while the other offers just lunch. Given these limited options, guests seeking additional dining opportunities will need to head to downtown Cruz Bay.
Situated between the pool and beach, Snorkels Bar & Grill provides mid-day drinks and dining in a casual, open-air space. The bar features a full liquor menu of beer, wine, and tropical cocktails. The lunch menu consists mostly of bar foods and sandwiches -- burgers, wraps, sliders, and tacos. A limited selection of salads and reasonably healthy entrees is also available. Lemongrass Restaurant & Bar is located in a slightly more upscale space with an indoor dining area and an alfresco terrace with lovely water views. A standard breakfast buffet is available each morning with a typical resort-buffet selection. Dinner is served a la carte with a menu that focuses on Caribbean and seafood-centric dishes. The food at both restaurants is well-reviewed but pricey.
The hotel’s Marketplace at Cruz Bay is a small, well-stocked mini-market. The grab-and-go menu includes Starbucks brand coffee, pastries, wraps, and sandwiches. Pre-portioned dinner foods like chicken, steak, side dishes, and snack packs are also available, as are beer, wine, and liquor. Guests can bring any purchase to the pool, beach, or back to their room.
A long list of supervised indoor and outdoor activities
The Westin Family Kids Club offers a long list of kids’ activities. The kids’ playscape provides a private, outdoor playground with slides, a jungle gym, and a small rock-climbing wall. Indoor activities include board games, treasure hunts, and Caribbean storytelling. Various paid packages are available to parents depending on how long their children need supervision.
Surprisingly tiny spa, given the hotel’s size and class
For a 200-room, four-pearl property, the spa feels like an afterthought. The space is situated in a tiny room in the hotel’s shopping plaza adjacent to the fitness center. The two main treatment rooms are modern, with a sleek, upscale decor, and additional treatment space is available in a handful of intimate, poolside cabanas. The full-service menu includes typical massage treatments (Swedish, deep tissue, and reflexology) and beauty services (waxing, facials, and microzone skin treatments).
Twenty-four-hour gym with a good selection of modern equipment
The hotel’s moderately sized 24-hour fitness center features a good selection of modern, cardio- and strength-training equipment. A small inventory of balance balls, yoga equipment, and free weights is also available. There are tennis courts on-site and an array of water-sports activities for those wanting to get their exercise in the lovely waters of Great Cruz Bay.
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