Reviewers Rating: Excellent
My husband and I just returned from spending a week at Casa YaYa, in Coral Bay, USVI. We have never seen a review of this villa on this forum and thought we should provide one for future travelers interested in this property.
In short, we had a wonderful time at the villa. The best thing going for this property is the breathtaking view. It is situated on the hillside overlooking Coral Bay, and we were treated to spectacular sunrises every morning, and for several nights during our stay some amazing full-moonrises. The whole expanse of Coral Bay is visible below the deck, and we just couldn’t get enough of watching the goings on in this little village: from the sailboat races out in the bay, to flocks of goats wandering the hillsides, to the cement trucks barreling down Centerline Road and frightening unwary drivers—it was better than television! (By the way, there is a TV, but only for videos and DVDs, no cable or satellite.) We much preferred the slower pace of Coral Bay to Cruz Bay.
This house is unlike any we’ve ever seen before, in that the entire east wall of the house is made up of retractable roller shutters that open up to the ocean breezes. Even if it was hot down below in Coral Bay, one could count on a breeze up above to cool you off. There were two portable fans available, in case one didn’t want to keep the shutters up at night. After a couple of nights we felt so safe that we just left the walls open and slept al fresco. There are shutters in the bathrooms (2 of them) as well, that when open allow access to both showers, which are private, glass-blocked, yet open-air. Very cool.
There are two bedrooms in this villa, both with king-sized beds. There is also a loft above the kitchen with a queen-sized bed. A note of caution: if you have small children, do not count on them to be able to use this loft. It is reached only by a steep ladder, not something you’d want young ‘uns clambering up and down to reach a bathroom in the middle of the night. Furthermore, I think that it might be quite stuffy to sleep in that loft, unless one left the loft windows open (no screens)—again a small child would be at risk of falling out of one of these.
Getting to the villa is an adventure. First, the road to the driveway is paved, but seemingly straight up (probably a 30 degree slope); closer to the villa the road deteriorates into a rocky, bumpy, narrow gauntlet! We blew a tire on the next to last day there—it had to happen sooner or later. I don’t think that this driveway is out of the ordinary for villas on that side of the island, just don’t be surprised when you see it.
Let’s talk about bugs. You may think that with the house being open air that you would be inundated with bugs of all types. We really weren’t, but never quite got rid of the mosquitoes. However, in all fairness, we encountered mosquitoes everywhere we went on the island: the beaches, restaurants, in town, so bring your bug spray and use it faithfully! There is mosquito netting on the beds, so you are safe from them at night. There was one morning where we woke to find an enormous dead grasshopper in one of our showers—turns out he got smushed by the roll down shutters when we closed them the night before. Poor fella.
A few odds and ends:
• The kitchen is fine—well stocked with dishes, pans, etc.
• The front doors, while beautifully carved wood, are worn and showing their age and lock only with a padlock from the outside when you are leaving the villa, and only with a teeny slide lock when you are inside for the night. I don’t think security is a problem with this villa, as it is pretty hard to reach and on the wrong side of the island for prowlers, but the owners might want to consider upgrading those doors.
• They do provide a safe for your valuables, but we never were given a key or the combination. We ended up locking our camera and other stuff in the lockable glove compartment of our hard-top jeep, rather than leaving them in the villa.
• The pool is not large, just a dip pool, but it was just what we needed to cool off when sunbathing.
• One of the two hammock chairs was gone for repairs the week we stayed-- perhaps it has been fixed and returned by now.
• We were treated with the utmost courtesy and care by the rental agent: Caribbean Villas. The manager, Curtis, met us at the ferry dock in Cruz Bay, took us to our rental car, showed us to Starfish Market so we could get groceries, and then escorted us out to Coral Bay to the villa.
• We can highly recommend Sticky Fingers as a place to get excellent barbecue at reasonable prices and huge portions! And it can’t be handier to Casa YaYa—right at the bottom of the hill.
A note about staying in Coral Bay: if you don’t rent Casa YaYa, be sure to ask your rental agent how close the villa you are renting is to Centerline Road. At the moment there is quite a bit of construction going on, and the cement trucks come down Centerline numerous times a day, blowing their horns around every corner. It was amusing to watch them, thumbnail sized, from Casa YaYa, but I can imagine if you are situated closer to Centerline Road the noise would be very annoying.
We have created a website with pictures from our trip. There are some pictures of the villa, including a panorama: http://mysite.verizon.net/res761r0/vacation_st_john/index.html.
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