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virgin islands on line : st. john : hotel & villa reviews

Unicorn by the Sea 09/24/02
Reviewers Rating: Great
Unicorn by the Sea is located in the Fish bay area. By the end of our stay the Fish Bay Road paving project was complete! Even with this major improvement getting to Unicorn by the Sea is not for the uninitiated or faint of heart. The final 1˝ miles of the journey are on dirt roads. The last ˝ mile is on a steep rutted rock strewn passage named Cocoloba Tr. The name of the “road” is Cocoloba Tr. The “Tr” could conjure up images of a “terrace” or the more rustic vision of a “trail”. After our daily treks down the mountain on Cocoloba Tr. we came to believe that the “Tr” actually stands for “Treacherous Route”. It really wasn’t that bad you just had to go slow. Cocoloba Tr. loops up one side of the mountain and down the other side. We found it much easier to get into the driveway by driving past the first entrance to Cocoloba Tr and go up the “back side of the hill. We also just parked the jeep at the top of the driveway so we didn’t have to back out of it. The car also provided additional privacy from the road.

The villa description says that Unicorn has clothing optional privacy but that is really only because there is no traffic on the road. Besides the pool man on Sunday afternoon and the gardeners on Monday morning we counted maybe 2 passing cars all week.

Our first impressions of Unicorn were disappointing, mainly because the pool and Jacuzzi were a mess. By, mid afternoon the pool man was there and working. By early evening everything was shipshape except that the Jacuzzi was cold. In the end the Jacuzzi never got warmer then the pool but we never really wanted to use it anyway.

The villa is a multi-level affair. The kitchen, guest room (2 twin beds) an outdoor eating portico, the separate screened in living room and a small full bath are on the top floor that you walk into from the driveway. Down a flight of outside stairs behind the villa and under the main floor are two identically sized master bedroom suites.

The furnishings in these two suites are vastly different. The first has what appears to be a new (king) bedroom set with lots of space and seating on wicker chairs. There was also a color cable TV in this suite, though the TV here got only a small fraction of the channels you could get on TV in the living room. I cannibalized the VCR from the guesthouse so we could watch movies in this great retreat. The other suite was furnished with a queen-sized bed, 2 chairs and a dresser. There were no drapes or blinds on any of the windows in this second suite. The bathrooms in both were ordinary in size but nice. The AC was the provided by a built-in window unit that really worked great! The laundry facilities are located in an outside closet between the two bedroom suites.

Down a few more stairs and you are at the pool deck. The pool looks bigger in the pictures then it actually is. It is deep for being so small. The stamped concrete deck gets very hot in the afternoon so be sure to bring a pair of flip flops. In the pool is a built-in table with two seats. We did enjoy a couple of breakfasts and some afternoon snack sitting in the pool. We did not use the Jacuzzi but it looked nice.

Down a few more stairs and you get the guesthouse. This space is very compact. If it had a larger bed we may have considered just using it because it is so close to the pool. The guesthouse has a combination kitchen/living room a small bedroom and a full bath.

What we liked about Unicorn: We liked the solitude of being away from it all. We really liked and lived by the pool deck and the pool with the table and seats. Late in our stay we discovered the evening breezes from the upper deck that allowed us to stay out and star gaze bug free. We also liked the master suite with outstanding AC and cable TV.

What we didn’t like about Unicorn: The multi-level layout. This was made worse by the fact that the gas grill is on the pool deck. This meant you had to bring the food down to grill and back up to eat on the portico, which is the best eating spot. I must have done those stairs a dozen times a day at least. This villa would not be for anyone who has difficulty navigating stairs.

Unicorn is on a par with other villas in its price range. It does show some wear. It is a definite step down from Villa Del Sol but it was also $1000 cheaper!

For accurate pictures of this villa visit http://www.caribbeanvilla.com/unicorn/unicorn.html. Note that the pool is smaller then it appears at first glance. Use one of the chaise lounges for scale.

Doug & Deb





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