Reviewers Rating: Excellent
One thing we realized on our first trip to St. John is that there is a choice of lodging to fit almost any taste – from the most stately luxury villa to the full service exclusive beach resort to the eco-friendly camping facilities. This makes St. John attractive and accessible to a lot of people but also makes the selection of the best villa a personal choice. That said Mooncottage was a perfect choice for us.
Mooncottage is a one bedroom villa (with second bed in main house) situated high on the hillside of the Calabash Boom area south of Coral Bay. The views from this area are spectacular. However, this is the quiet side of the island and may not be for everyone. We were fine with this and found everything we needed (dining, provisions, snorkel gear) in Coral Bay without the need to drive into “town”. There are some decent restaurants in Coral Bay and some nightlife – you could hear the music from Shipwreck’s Landing from the porch one night.
The owner of this villa spent a remarkable amount of time creating a villa that blended seamlessly into the natural surroundings. The setting is serene and secluded, but the villa is luxurious in a simple, elegant way.
The floorplan of the main room is open – with the only interior walls in this part of the house enclosing the bathroom/shower. The kitchen is nicely appointed with large stainless steel refrigerator, deep stainless sinks (with cool foot-pedal faucets to help conserve water) and an electric cook top and microwave. (Note there is no oven in Mooncottage.) The decorations are simple but very well thought out, creating a serene, “feng shui” feel throughout. Lighting is controlled by computer and designed to create a great ambiance after dark, both inside and out.
The master bedroom is situated in a separate “pod” behind the pool and next to the back garden and koi pond. However, the walk between buildings is only a few steps across the level pool deck. (This actually comes in handy if one person is awake before the other.) There is also a separate bathroom/shower in this part of the house. In total there are four showers – two inside and two outside.
There is a small, solar heated pool between the main living area and the master bedroom. Because of the location, the pool only receives sun until 3:00 or so (at least while we were there in May.) The landscaping is very lush and blends nicely with the surrounding wooded hillside.
The design is very “open air” in that there are oversized sliding screens throughout which really “invite” the outdoors inside. The only doors are large wooden sliding storm doors that don’t lock with a key. This didn’t really bother us since we left most of our valuables at home and could fit the remainder inside the safe in the bedroom, but did leave us feeling slightly vulnerable at night. There is no air-conditioning at all in the villa. However, the afternoon shade keeps the house from ever getting too hot. Also, there is usually a good breeze and numerous ceiling fans, so we did not miss it. (We were concerned about this prior to our visit.)
The quality of construction is first rate. There are stone walls throughout. The rafters, ceilings, doors and rails are all made of various hardwoods (and gorgeous.) The tile floor carries throughout the entire house, porch, pool deck and bedrooms and is cool and comfortable to walk on.
The main draw of this house is the seclusion and the spectacular view from virtually every spot in the villa or property. The view is looking east across Coral Bay, the East End of St. John and Tortola. However, the view is so expansive; you can see most of the islands of the BVI from the porch. To get to this view, however, you will have to endure the climb up a steep gravel road and steeper driveway to get to the villa. The road has been recently graded and was not nearly as bad as I had envisioned. The shared portion of the driveway is narrow and rutted, but the last section to the villa is concrete and in good shape (but steep). There is a “level” gravel turnaround at the top, so getting up and down for one jeep is not bad. We rented a 4wd Jeep Liberty and had absolutely no problems – even in the rain or at night. It is a bit of a drive to get to Cruz Bay, but was no problem to get to the North Shore beaches – especially the more Eastern ones or south to Salt Pond.
Who would enjoy Mooncottage – mainly couples. (You can sleep four, but the house is really designed for couples.) Those who place a priority on natural beauty and seclusion. Those not planning on spending a lot of time in Cruz Bay. Those who appreciate simple casual elegance over formality. Those who would get enjoyment spending time relaxing at the villa (you would want to spend some time here.) Those who prefer the more laid-back and less crowded Coral Bay and East End of St. John.
Who may not enjoy Mooncottage – large groups (obviously) or kids. Those looking for a lot nightlife outside of the villa. (You would not want to make that drive after to much Cruzan rum.) Sun worshippers, since the villa is in the shade from mid-afternoon on. Those who need the air-conditioning. Those looking for a villa to use as a convenient stop-off spot between trips to the beaches, shopping and restaurants around Cruz Bay. Those seeking a sunset view over St. Thomas (the villa faces east.)
We rented through ViVa, who manage the property and we were very happy with the services. Brian (owner) has a website that allows for a virtual tour at mooncottage.com. We found all of the pictures and information to be accurate – although they cannot do justice to the view.
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