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

Villa Panache 02/15/2005
Reviewers Rating: Stars Excellent
Our party of 10 stayed at Villa Panache (rented through Catered To) in late January/early February 2005. Villa Panache is in Estate Rendezvous on the south side of St. John, high on a hill overlooking Rendezvous Bay and Fish Bay. I have been to St. John a number of times, and have stayed at 3 other villas on St. John, Caneel Bay, the Westin, the Westin villas, and Gallows Point. We have also rented houses on other Caribbean islands.

Villa Panache was probably built 10-15 years ago, but it has been well maintained. The focal point of the house is a gorgeous great room/kitchen, with large arched mahogany doors, and an adjoining outdoor terrace. The kitchen was just redone in the fall of 2004, and is both beautiful and inviting---large, granite center island, top of the line stainless steel refrigerator and appliances, well stocked with new Williams-Sonoma pottery and every conceivable cooking item you would need (better stocked in the kitchen than any house I have rented).

The house has lovely furnishings---wicker/rattan sofas with tasteful fabrics, antique wood pieces in an island plantation style, colorful Caribbean artwork.

A few of the bedrooms had four poster beds and other antique side pieces. The Master Bedroom was good sized---the other 3 bedrooms were nice sized but not huge. These other 3 bedrooms were in another building, and each of these bedrooms had separate outdoor entrances. Each of the 4 main bedrooms had its own en-suite bathrooms. The bathrooms were fine (nice new granite countertops and new faucets, but the cabinetry and showers are original and not as fancy as some of the newer houses on St. John---no elaborate, outdoor, stone shower).

The only drawback for our group was that what they characterize as a 5th bedroom is really a small sitting room adjoining the master BR with a pullout trundle bed---might work well for small children, but wasn't really a great arrangement for adults (but hey--we were in a beautiful spot in paradise, so I can't complain too much). The owner is adding a beautiful new bedroom suite on a lower level (with arched mahogany doors and a nice terrace of its own), and after this is done, the house would be great as a 5BR for all adults, or as a 6BR with kids.

A few other items---the view is magnificent and sweeping---can see the entire south side of St. John and St. Croix in the distance. We loved the excellent Bose sound system in the great room. Also, for being relatively close to town, this villa offers good privacy. When you are out on the terrace, you can see the roofs of some other houses, but nobody else can see you. Finally, one thing I like about the south shore is the all day sun (at least in Winter). We stayed on the North Shore the prior year in a gorgeous house, but there wasn't as much sun during the day.

Catered To was excellent to work with. There were beautiful flowers in the house when we arrived (picked from the lovely plantings at the house), along with a complimentary welcome package from Katilady catering, that was artfully arranged. We asked for more hangers and Catered To came out in 15 minutes or less. We had a problem one day with the septic system and they responded immediately.

I generally try to rent different houses for variety, but I would seriously consider breaking my rule and renting Villa Panache again--particularly after the new improvements to the house are finished. One suggestion---if there were a hot tub out on the pool deck, this house would be perfect!

---Jim Wine

Jim Wine

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