Reviewers Rating: Excellent
We have been renting villas on St John since 1996, and have also stayed at both Caneel and the Westin. We basically take two different kinds of villa vacations--those with either another couple or mixed adult couples and singles--or those that we take with family--including our adult children, young grandchildren and two young nephews. Although we have stayed in most areas of St John except Bordeaux and Coral Bay, we most frequently rent in the Catherineberg area, and use Vacation St John, managed by Kathy and Dennis Demar. We have also used Vacation Vistas( Lisa Durgin) and Destination St John ( John Brego) and have found that all of these villa management agencies deliver great service.
We have been trying to rent Hawksnest since we first started coming to St John, but have never managed to find an opening there at the time we were traveling. We usually plan our vacations at least 6 months in advance and travel in May, June or November. This time, we were traveling with only one other couple, and made plans only one month ahead. We were so lucky to finally get the house with the "killer view". There is just no better way to describe the awesome expanse of white sand, blue water, verdant nearby mountains and the entire east end of St Thomas in the distance.
Hawksnest is a great house for adults, and perhaps teens who love the beach and the beautiful views it affords from each and every spot in the house( except the small rear patio where the grill and outdoor table for 4 is located). The main living area, which includes the kitchen and a combined living and dining area, is completely open( no screens but you do have roll down shutters) behind the arches that form the border between this area, which is about 60 ft wide, and the open deck which is about 80 ft wide( but very narrow). The open deck area kind of fans out at the ends, one of which contains a very large jacuzzi, which can be cooled to use as a warm water pool where at least 2 people can float. There are 2 chairs and a small table adjacent to the jacuzzi. The other end has 4 chaises, with room for 2 or 3 chairs that can be borrowed from the bedroom balconies if you dont have folks in all the bedrooms. The center of this deck space has just about 4'wide by 20' long in front of the wide stairs that lead down to the area from the great room. The views from this area are beautiful--on one side you look down on to the Gibney property, including the palm grove, the tops of the beach cottages, all of Gibney and Hawksnest beaches and the entire Caneel property. From the other side of the deck you can look out at the above mentioned beaches, all of Caneel, some of the beaches on Jost and the entire east end of St Thomas from Nazareth Bay all the way around almost to Peterborg.
The house sleeps 8 comfortably in 4 king bedrooms( one of the bedrooms has 2 twins)one atop another on both sides of the house. Each bedroom has a covered deck with two chairs and a table. The two lower bedroom decks are at the same level as the outside deck so they afford little privacy, but the upper bedroom decks just hang in the air and can hardly be seen from the main living area or main deck. Each bedroom has a bathroom ensuite and each has a large open air shower. The showers off the upper bedrooms had no cover overhead so it really felt peculiar to take a shower in the rain. There was more than ample closet and storage space off each bedroom. The bedrooms themselves were rather simply firnished as compared to other villas we have rented. They were fully screened and had sliding glass doors to each patio. Each had a ceiling fan and a louvred window on the side of the room. The upper right bedroom afforded a panoramic view of St Thomas and its twinkling lights at night, right from the bed. From the upper left bedroom, you could lie in bed and watch the moon rise over the south shore and then bathe the bed in moonlightthroughout the night. As it is very dark over the hills to the south and west, the night sky was impressive from the balcony and the open air shower.
The main living area was simply but attractively furnished with wicker furniture and a glass topped dining table and 8 chairs.( better to eat for 6) The kitchen island can accommodate 6 persons on the stools for an informal meal. There is really no eating area that would accommodate 8 adults comfortably for a meal, however, the living and dining area could easily accommodate 8 adults sitting, lounging and reading, and maybe 15 more standing around( it is quite large) There is a TV, but no cable or satellite, so you have your choice of watching a video, or the news in Spanish. Hawksnest has a great surround sound stereo, with speakers all over the huge living area, plenty of classical music and a number of adult games. We were there during a week when it rained heavily, and we had numerous downpours both day and night. We never had to close the shutters, even at night, and no rain ever entered the house regardless of the way it was blowing. There was no hint of dampness in any of the rooms and surprisingly enough, despite the fact that there were no screens, there was no greater amount of mosquitos in the living area than if you had a fully screened house with people opening and closing the sliding doors to go out to the deck.
The kitchen was well equipped with the usual implements for villa living--there is an additional powder room which also contains the washer and dryer and it is located just off the kitchen. The driveway to the house is located just opposite to the Peach Hill sign on the Northshore Road--convenient to all the beaches and less than 10 minutes to Cruz Bay. The driveway is concrete right to the villa door. There is ample parking for 2 cars and any easy turn around at the villa.
I must say that this is not a house for children, although the guest book has entries by some kids in the 8 to 10 year old range. The jacuzzi pool would be unappealing to kids IMHO, and there is really not enough space for young kids to move around and let off steam. There are too many interior stairways for toddlers, but the house would be good if you had an infant that was not walking.
The house would be great for inactive people who come simply for R&R and for anyone who wants to be minutes away from Hawksnest, Trunk and Cinnamon. You can walk right down the driveway and a few paces along the road to Gibney or Jumbie but I wouldnt want to walk back up.
This review is very long, but in short, I recommend this villa for the killer view, the great location,the convenience for beach lovers and those who are looking for a beautiful spot for R&R.We thought the north shore view from Catherineberg could not be surpassed but we were wrong--this is the house for a view on St John.
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