Heaven if you are a photographer the light here is magic and you will not get bored with the gorgeous panorama here or the surround sound of waves and nature. It works on you around the clock. It soothed my city stress away. The view and the amenities and the simplicity of the design of the house is amazing but you do need to have a rental car to get around the island and have good beach options. The hike down to their beach is rugged, steep and rocky, better for adults, sober adults, the hill is studded with a lot of rusted metal spikes where steps are held loosely to the eroded path, and we did it with our kids a few times but you really can't do it easily and nimbly - not with kids. Definitely not in the dark, this is not a place where you can indulge in spontaneous nighttime walks on the beach, but you can do swimming in the gorgeous lap pool. We enjoyed a daytime routine of going to nearby vies snack shack and gladly payed them the $2.50 pp for use of the beach across the street which has chairs and is stunning. I will plan to go back. Suggestion: have a binder with instructions/details/emergency contacts etc.
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You get what you see in the pictures. This house has a really cool design using three double garage doors across the entire front of the living area which fully open for a complete panorama view of Haulover Bay and Tortola--literally with the push of a button. You cannot see any adjacent houses from the house, unless you lean over the rail. You feel like you have then entire bay to yourself, because that is largely true. The snorkeling in Haulover north (out front) is outstanding, particularly to the left--the best we saw in our week in St. John. We snorkeled there every morning with no one else around. No boats, no other snorkelers. The coral is amazing and alive--elkhorn, stag horn, you name it. The snorkeling in Haulover South was also excellent. It was nice to be in the middle of nowhere, basically next to the National Park. Great beaches were minutes away. The lap pool out front was great, and our family decided that a lap pool is really more fun than a regular pool. Everything about the house was nice and very spacious for our family of 4. We would go back in a minute. It was an easy 10 minute drive to Coral Bay.
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I feel compelled to write a review for The Retreat and for St John. This was our first trip to both, and I am incredibly particular and detail-oriented! I researched high and low, and really wanted THE best of all worlds. I could not have asked for more! The water views at The Retreat are breathtaking, the open air design of the whole villa is romantic, breezy, cool, and totally makes you feel in nature. The access to the bay below for snorkeling is a welcome challenge, a mini hike of sorts, with a little adventure. The snorkeling in the bay right below is AWESOME! Best we saw on the island! It got such that we didn't want to leave the villa, because mornings were spent marine-life viewing while sipping coffee, followed by fantastic snorkeling, lunch, rum drinks, a nap, and more afternoon snorkeling! A passing shower brought spectacular rainbows over Tortola. It was quiet (even with the mild construction going on next door), peaceful, one of the most relaxing vacations yet. I've stayed in many VRBO properties, and this was better equipped than most for cooking (should you choose to do so). I was concerned we'd be "out there" and have no restaurant options...but Shipwreck was only a 10 minute or so drive (once you get used to the roads!), and was excellent. Miss Lucy's was maybe 20 mins drive, and was SUPERB! Real quality cuisine. We never missed Cruz Bay at all....If you like privacy, nature, quiet, and you want water views, great snorkeling, and one of the most unique villas out there, The Retreat is for you. The property Manager is so helpful and truly wants you to have the best vacation possible. We would go back without hesitation. Truly wonderful....if you're on the fence, jump off and go to The Retreat. You will not regret it....Oh, I hate heat, and typically sleep with A/C on anytime it's over 65 out...I never once turned on the A/C. The tradewinds blowing through the open air design and the huge ceiling fans in the villa are more than adequate to keep you cool and comfortable. If not, a jump in the pool seals the deal! Wish we were still there.....it makes me smile just thinking about it!
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