As i sit at my desk back in Atlanta i can't help but wish the view out my window was the one from the Retreat. it was absolutely perfect. All week as we drove around the island i looked for a better house, a more perfect spot to come back to next time and i was pleased to find, there was none better. i felt pretty good about myself for striking "perfection" on our first trip to St. John. everything about the house and its location fit our needs perfectly. i loved the minimalist decor that focused your attention on the view, all the amenities- the pool, hot tub, outdoor showers, lawn chairs, beach gear, and the private beach meant that we could just enjoy the place we were in and not be in a rush to get anywhere. We successfully avoided seeing another human being for a few of the days we were there, and enjoyed the quaint charm of coral bay, preferring it to Cruz bay, and definitely to the bustle of St thomas. We liked our location at the east end of the island and found that all the beaches and trails we wanted to visit were within 20 or so minutes of beautiful, scary, driving. And like Dena told us, some of the best snorkeling was below our porch. the thing that sealed the deal on the perfection of this place was watching a sea turtle show up at our reef throughout the week. where else in the world can you see that from your balcony?!
All that to say, we WILL be back, hopefully next year, if not, very soon.
Oh, and Dena (the manager) was great too, it sure took a lot of the pressure of traveling off having her to answer questions and meet us when we got off the pier. Her help certainly added to our relaxation!!!
A few other notes, we were two couples and a baby, the retreat offered great privacy for each couple and i thought it worked well with a baby because we had a swimming pool for all of us, and the baby monitor reached to the hot tub. :) Also, the name says it all- this is a place for relaxation. you are on the quiet end of the quiet island, sometimes you feel like you are on an undiscovered island, if that sounds like paradise, go! Within 20 minutes you have some small local restaurants, a zillion different beaches and hikes and some historical spots. that is it. everything else is further. which to us, was a good thing. if this all sounds good to you, than this is the place. enjoy it.
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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