Choosing a perfect vacation destination in St. John, Virgin Islands can be overwhelming. After all, vacation days are at a premium!
These days traveling means a mountain of preparation, with accommodation being of utmost importance. Preparing can come in the form of polling social media for ideas or just going down the search engine rabbit hole. However, everyone travels with a different style, a varied list of must-dos, and of course a varying amount of children. For the latter, I salute you and feel your struggle!
What are the best places to stay in St John?
The best accommodation in St John, Virgin Islands depends on your preferences, but one of the following hotels is sure to meet your needs and more:
- Budget-Friendly: Concordia Eco Resort
- Family Friendly: The Westin St John Resort
- Intimate: Garden By The Sea Bed and Breakfast
- Best Views: Coconut Coast Villas
- Luxury: Calichi at Picture Point
There are many parameters to consider in choosing your accommodation in paradise. Whether you are looking for an eco stay, a budget-friendly abode, or you want to splurge on luxury, I will break down the location benefits, perks, and must-dos.
If you find it difficult to find trustworthy and impartial advice about where to stay on vacation from strangers on the internet, I am here to offer personalized advice from real experience. After living in several of the Virgin Islands for over six years, I can personally attest to the greatness of these recommendations having either stayed or visited with friends in all of them.
So pour a Painkiller, grab a Johnny Cake, and let’s set off to your dream accommodations in St. John.
St. John, Virgin Islands: Accommodation For Every Kind of Traveler
St. John is astonishingly comprised of eighty percent National Park. This all makes accommodation a precious commodity but fortunately, that also means that it is impossible to not have a good view.
It is lush and green and full of wandering donkeys who will eat just about anything you have to offer out of your car window. While I once thought these donkeys innocuous and oblivious as they blocked the roads to beach paradise in small groups, I have now concluded, that this is a coordinated effort to be fed chips as bribery for passage to the sandy shores.
Famous not only for its “beach guardian donkies”, but St John is also commonly top listed for its world-class sugar-white beaches and breathtaking azure shorelines left virtually untouched by development.
The smallest of the three US Virgin Islands, St. John, is covered in tropical wilderness left virtually unchanged since the time of the sugar plantations.
Below we list our favorite stays in St. John.
Budget-Friendly: Concordia Eco Resort
Cocordia Eco Resort was opened before “eco” was a buzzword, dating back thirty years, and has been nature forward ever since.
Surrounded by the Virgin Islands National Park, this gem is located on the tranquil southeast side of St. John. It is nestled in the middle of the park just above Salt Bay Pond with easy access to the famous Ram’s Head Trail.
It is a stunning 40-minute drive from Cruz Bay where the ferries arrive, but only 10 minutes to quiter Coral Bay, the town opposite.
Concordia Eco Resort is a perfect place to feel off the grid but not so much that you are uncomfortable.
There is an onsite restaurant, pool, and gift shop for edible amenities. Comprised of a mix of “glamping style” eco tents (although they are actually more of a hut structure) and several more typical simple studio accommodations, there is something for every level of glamper.
The eco tents are a really fun way to experience the rhythms of the island without having to sweat setting up an actual tent! They are equipped with small burners for cooking, simple mattresses on wooden frames and a rustic shower and bathroom set up and above all, some of the most pristine unobstructed views of the Caribbean.
The studio accommodations come with ocean views, two queen-sized beds, a kitchenette, and a private bathroom.
The ocean breeze is all you will need to stay cool as the resort strives to stay carbon neutral and does not have air conditioning units. This is a great setup for kids or couples who want to get in touch with nature for a couple of nights.
Must-See Spots Nearby
There is plenty of world-class fishing, snorkeling, and hiking at the flip-flops reach of Concordia. Many travelers and locals alike consider it a right of passage to tackle the Ram’s Head Trail as the payoff is an unbeatable 3.7km of the pristine Caribbean seascape.
You’ll find panoramic views of both the US Virgin Islands as well as the British Virgin Islands.
This is the perfect place to feel like you’ve left it all behind, yet still, be within an hour’s hike of a cold beer and the Eco Resort’s swimming pool.
Alternatively, you can pack your snorkel and take a dip in Salt Pond Bay afterward.
Family Friendly: The Westin St John Resort
This family classic is located just south of the ferry dock and directly in front of Great Cruz Bay. The Westin St John Resort is well contained and has a private beach for those who really just want to roll out of bed and directly under a beach umbrella.
The Westin is also a short 5-10 drive into colorful and vibrant Cruz Bay which is full of lively restaurants and locals reminiscing about hurricane stories of days gone past.
This accommodation could have easily been slotted under “luxury” as well “family-friendly” as it ticks boxes for both.
You can modify your island to get away from a more intimate one-bedroom studio, all the way up to a two or three-bedroom townhouse of a spacious 2,850 square feet that can comfortably accommodate a family that needs a little breathing room.
If you are like my family there are two things I always consider; options and space. We all know the pain that is packing up multiple tiny backpacks to venture out every day.
If you are looking for relief from your role as family manager, The Westin is here to help.
For children, there is a Kids Club that gives an awesome “camping” style experience for kids 3-12 as well as hourly activities like arts and crafts, movies, and pool games.
There are also plenty of water activities for all including pedal boats, kayaking, sailing, and even scuba diving for older kids. The beach here is sugar soft and you can easily feel like you got your sand quota in without leaving the resort.
Must-See Spots Nearby
If you absolutely must leave this all in one paradise, there are plenty of excursions to be had including Trunk Bay, which is just 15 minutes away by island taxi or hotel transport.
This is genuinely not just any ordinary beach stop on a St. John adventure. Trunk Bay has been voted on Top 10 Lists since… well the begging of Top Ten Lists, the consensus is that this might be one of the best natural tropical playgrounds on earth.
One of its stand-out features is a 225-yard-long underwater snorkeling trail that is teeming with underwater life and takes little effort to reach. There are underwater plaques to guide the way and even learn a bit at your own pace.
Intimate: Garden By The Sea Bed and Breakfast
Garden By The Sea Bed and Breakfast is a quaint Bed and Breakfast located just a 10-minute stroll from Cruz Bay. This might just be one of its best selling points if you enjoy a little eclectic bar hopping.
Considered a classic West Indian design, it doesn’t get much more local than this.
There are just three sweet suites in this boutique hotel, with a communal kitchen space serving all. The Terrace suite has excellent views of Frank Bay while the Wild Ginger room has an open-air garden shower which is a great place to catch the sunrise as the island wakes up.
Lastly, the Garden suite boasts an additional sitting room and lush tropical garden surroundings.
Must-See Spots Nearby
There is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to check out ancient petroglyphs carved into rocks just not far from Garden By The Sea.
The Reef Bay Trail can be accessed off Centerline Road where it will guide you on a well-marked two-hour hike past the Reef Bay Estate Great House Ruins where it ends near Genti Bay at the phenomenally preserved Sugar Mill Ruins.
Best Views: Coconut Coast Villas
The Coconut Coast Villas are sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and an Audobon Wildlife Salt Pond. If you are a birder, paradise lies not only in the seas but also in the skies as the villas are located in a hybrid area that sees a lot of avian traffic! The real magic is that Coconut Coast Villas are all beachfront and each room has a tiffany blue water vista year-round.
It is also conveniently within walking distance from the ferry dock and downtown Cruz Bay.
Described as “beach house comfortable” this boutique hotel offers studios and one, two, and three-bedroom condos. It has nine units in all.
Each one has a full kitchen, wide porch, and ensuite bathroom. There is a small pool and even an oceanfront BBQ grill for all your fresh catch of the day.
Coconut Coast Villas is the perfect setting for a multifamily getaway.
The suites are small enough to feel homey but also generous in island vibe luxury.
Must-See Spots Nearby
You would think it might be reaching to say St. John has more than one Top 10 Beach in its repertoire. However, Trunk Bay isn’t the only Top 10 gem on this island.
With its abundance of sandy riches, Hawksnest Beach is stiff competition. This sandy stretch is the epitome of chill, spread out enough that you can easily find a nook and feel like you are on your own deserted island.
Bring your snorkel gear and check out the shallow reef that is home to sea fans, elkhorn, and angelfish.
Luxury: Calichi at Picture Point
Calichi at Picture Point is located in a private enclave on Bordeaux Mountain and has a breathtaking view of Coral Bay and beyond.
Bordeaux Mountain is actually the highest peak on St. John and its 360-degree views give it a special edge for people reluctant to leave the beachfront. The massive estate is just 20-25 minutes from the main ferry dock in Cruz Bay.
Calichi At Picture Point is a perfect spot for a wedding party or honeymoon as the rooms have a luxurious “special occasion” feel with six modern private villages. This estate does in fact host weddings and it is possible to rent the entire property out.
The six stand-alone houses will make you feel like you’ve got your own island of luxury. A private concierge is also on call to offer four-star service and will be delighted to book your day trips and tours.
To top off the abundance of this location, there is an infinity-edge pool that gives a panoramic experience that you won’t soon forget, as well as a putting green and yoga lawn.
Must-See Spots Nearby
Although Calichi offers almost two acres of tropical property to explore, if you have wanderlust, there are many nearby adventures awaiting.
Coral Bay is known as “the other town” opposite Cruz Bay. In contrast to bustling Cruz Bay, which is the welcoming point for all visitors, Coral Bay has a slower pace where the locals are outnumbered by donkeys, roosters, goats, and mongoose.
Here there are plenty of historical ruins to take in, hiking paths to conquer or you can opt to take in the bay by the sea with a kayak adventure in Hurricane Hole. If you opt for the latter, bring a lunch in a dry bag and cruise into one of the deserted beaches for lunch.