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

Perelandra 10/14/02
Reviewers Rating: Excellent
Just got back from 2 weeks at this villa. 2BRís with a/c, 2 baths, great room, pool, lots of decking with great views, privacy; quiet and VERY convenient to everything. We loved it! Weíve been staying at various condos and villas on St. John for the last 14 years, some repeats, some one-time onlyís. This one will definitely be a repeater. In fact, weíve already booked it for our Spring trip.

The things we loved about PerelandraĖ

Itís true what they say about the 3 most important things being Location. Location. Location. Itís on the hillside looking over Cruz Bay (more about views later), but you get to it by driving up Jacobís Ladder (past Starfish Market & right by Pine Peace Market). Turning left immediately at the top, you follow road up past Serendip, and then keep following it as it twists and turns and climbs and a few houses later youíre there! All paved roads. Couple minutes from town; just a few minutes more and youíre at the beautiful beaches. After a long day of travel (from Chicago on AA so never a straight-thru shot for us), we just hate traveling any further than we have to in order to get a villa with quiet, privacy, views, and comfort. Well, this one fits our bill just perfectly.

The location, in a very quiet neighborhood, and on the steep hillside with lots of lush landscaping, makes it a very PRIVATE retreat. Especially nice for using the pool. The pool is a very nice concrete with tiles by the top of the water (personally I hate those preformed pools; if it has a pool, it has to be a concrete one for me). Perfect size; big enough to actually swim around a bit not just dip but small enough to be warmed up quickly by the sun. Of course, when we were there, it was hot enough that I didnít care about it being warm but in the winter/early spring, when we return, I will care about that! I donít know what itíll be like when the island isnít as lush, but right now, you can easily swim au natural.

Thereís a nice deck around the pool for sunning. You can step up from the pool deck to the deck surrounding the main floor (about 4 or 5 steps) or you can step down 1-2 steps to the wide veranda-like deck, plenty of shade, that eventually leads to the very private 2nd bedroom. The views from the pool are very, very nice (Pillsbury Sound, blue Caribbean water, St. Thomas lights, sailboats etc). But the views from the upper deck are awesome. You see all of the above plus you can see past the left edge of St. Thomas to little James cay?, the sunsets over St. Thomas, and all 4 cays that are on the far right of Pillsbury, by the Windward & Middle Passages (Lovongo, Congo, and I always forget the names of the other 2). You can also look down and watch all the harbor activity, the sailboats and ferries etc. I love it. When I want activity, I look down; when I want peace, I look out over the horizon at the beautiful deserted cays swimming in the water and silhoutted against the sky; when I want ĎChristmas tree lightsĒ I look at St. Thomas at night, twinkling in the distance. Sigh. I want to go back NOW.

Moving inside...

The 2 bedrooms both have a/c. Nice in the hot seasons; probably not necessary in winter/spring. Thereís a tree growing up right through the decks; itís leaves cover the pergola so it keep the hot afternoon sun from streaming into the house. The great room has 3 or 4 large fans (nice quality that donít make noise or shake; Iíve stayed plenty of places with those and theyíre irritating; sorry, I know I sound picky). With the doors and windows open (theyíre screened), there was plenty of breeze and even though the week we were there was very hot (every day in the 90's) and unusually humid for St. John, we were never uncomfortable (though we were thankful for the a/c in the bedrooms at night). Also fans in both bedrooms, keeping the air circulated. I like that. One thing I didnít like about the a/c, was it meant I had to close the hurricane door in the BR I was in, which meant I couldnít wake up all excited about what I was going to see when I opened my eyes. Nights I didnít use a/c, I went to sleep with the ST.T. lights twinkling me good night; mornings Iíd wake up to the turquoise Caribbean and sailboats. Hmmm. Even with the door closed though, moonlight comes in through the glass tiles in the roof. Instead of skylights, every room upstairs (BR, bath, great room) has sections where the clay tiles are replaced by glass tiles. Very cool.

The downstairs bedroom is just as nice as the upstairs bedroom. In fact, even though we were with another couple, either couple would have been happy with either room. Both with very nice bedding; top quality sheets etc., nice pictures, accessories. Upstairs a 4 poster with gauzy swags, downstairs a 4-poster like netting that was both pretty & romantic looking but also practical. You could untie the bows and surround the bed with the netting at night. None of us adults had any problems with bugs, but the other couple had a 3 month old baby that got some mosquito bites the 1st night. Thereafter, they used the netting and voila, no problem.

RE: bugs, we really had no problem. Sitting on the deck after dark, eating supper out there (though we could eat inside if we wanted or if it rained), going for midnight dips in the pool; no problem. The first time a tiny little lizard came waltzing under the door into the great room, I was a bit taken aback but we quickly became friends. The doors are more than adequate protection against the typical-sized variety. Also, on day 2 or 3, I was startled to have an iguana amble up beside me on the pool deck, but after taking a sip from the pool, he ignored me and went back to wherever his home is. We also had a cute Jack Russell terrior and an old golden lab that used to like to visit us (but Iím sure itís because my husband very thoughtfully fed them all the leftovers from his eveningís grilling events). When he went to sleep, I would just firmly say, Ďgo home,í and off they would go.

Ok, all thatís left is the bathrooms, great room, and getting in and out of the driveway. Bathrooms both are nice size, with ample counter and cabinet space (important to me). Also loved the showers; both large walk-ins with nice Mexican tiling. Upstairs shower has glass tile ceiling, downstairs shower has open air (screened) section. Plenty of towels (regular & beach) and good quality. Downstairs bath has black granite counter, David Schnell lights. Pretty.

Great room has vaulted ceilings (all upstairs rooms have these ceilings). Very light, bright, breezy home. Kitchen is smallish but of course open to everything so you donít feel cramped. Has cool concrete counters with a little round wooden section that you pick up to put your garbage in (keeps all the garbage contained in an enclosed cabinet so you donít have any kind of bug/ant problems; nice). Large refrigerator; nice flatware, dinnerware; pots, bowls. Starbucks coffeemaker (my morning coffee is VERY important to me :-)); all appliances. Very nicely provisioned. TV cabinet is very nice palm-tree-painted. Rattan. Of course TV, cable, VCR, stereo etc but bring your own videos, CDs, tapes etc; not much of these. Cards but no games. Quite a few books though.

Comfortable couch and 2 very nice rattan chairs that are very comfortable. Finished up with a round glass table and 4 chairs for dining in. Very comfortable; pretty, and great views from inside too.

The only problem I had with Perelandra, and it was only a problem the 1st couple times I tried it, was backing out of the driveway. There isnít room to turn around so you have to back out and since itís on a steep hill, you end up backing down the road itself a bit until a turn around at the bottom (maybe 50'). I was really nervous with this at first but I soon realized there was very, very little traffic on the road and what traffic there was were very courteous, cautious, and savvy island drivers. Really not a problem. (Iíve been at much worse driveway, parking, driving situations from our various stays and at much pricier homes; the only reason they werenít a problem for me is that I used to leave my husband do all the driving but now that I'm an 'old-timer' I venture out by myself all the time).

I would very highly recommend Perelandra. Itís actually an extremely good value right now because almost everything in it is new, or newly redone by the new owners, and they want to build up a clientele. But rumor has it that bookings are already going quite well and since itís currently underpriced relative to the going market, prices are due to be changed upward quite soon. Of course this was from the rental agents (Carefree Getaways) but Iíve used them before and they seem quite trustworthy. Pictures are on Carefreeís sight as well as Online Vacations. Online has more recent pics (since itís been redone) but even some of those are old (e.g. the kitchen is much nicer looking now). Sorry this has been so long but I really appreciated all the detailed reviews about villas when Iíve looked in the past so I like to give what I like to get (that old golden-rule thing). :-)

Cindy Koci

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