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virgin islands on line : St. John : hotel & villa reviews

Oleander Villa 09/01/2007
Reviewers Rating: Excellent
We just returned from a trip to Villa Oleander, a 3 BR villa in the Klein Bay section overlooking Rendevous Bay. We only planned the trip about a month ago, taking advantage of the reduced rates that Caribbean Villas offers on many of their houses for last minute travelers.
Our group of five included DH, myself, my sister and her 9 yr old twin boys. We wanted a modest villa in a beautiful setting, with a fun pool and easy access to the north shore beaches, Cruz Bay and the Westin. We love to look out at "in-your-face" blue water, and don't like to look down on other villas. Oleander fit the bill and we could not have been more pleased.
The house consists of 2 two story pods, fronted by decking with a medium sized pool on the ground level in between. One of the pods contained the two king master bedrooms, one on top of the other. Both were identical in size and similiar in decor, but the upper bedroom had a vaulted ceiling and a much better view from its'covered porch. The porch off the lower bedroom was identical and offered more shade, but the view of the bay was partially obscured by the surrounding shrubbery. This bedroom is only steps from the pool, an excellent choice for those with kids. Each BR has a TV and the downstairs BR also has a DVD player. The open air trellised showers were large, but afforded no view. Having A/C was a blessing, as it was very hot during the day. The evenings were breezy and cool, but sadly, the louvres on the screened windows and doors in the bedrooms could not be opened- the handles had been removed and the louvres in some places were sealed- so sleeping with A/C off and gentle breezes that we look forward to blowing through our bedrooms at night was not an option. I guess the owners want to seal in the A/C space to conserve energy. So much for the sound of the water lapping at the rocks below and lulling you to sleep.
The second pod contained the living/dining/kitchen area, as well as the third bedroom in an open loft above. There is a nice bath/shower upstairs too. No part of this pod has A/C, and although the downstairs remained comfortable day and night using the ceiling fans, the loft bedroom was much to hot to be used during our August stay. The kids thought they might use it as a neat retreat from the adults one night after dinner, but within an hour they had lots of mosquito bites. Oleander had wonderful breezes on all decks and porches, and the only trouble we had with mosquitos during our stay was up in the loft bedroom. We used the citronella coils on the floor of the decks at dusk, and were not even bothered by the no-seeums.
The living room was furnished with comfortable, casual and colorful couches and chairs, wicker tables and a nice sized TV with cable and a DVD player. The indoor dining table has a glass top, and this space opens to a covered outdoor dining area with a large table, comfortable chairs, great views and a gentle breeze. We spent a lot of time there, as well as at the smaller round table on the deck in front of the pool--the one pictured with the umbrella that is long gone--never to return so we were told. The kitchen was well equipped--the appliances were older but functional. Plenty of pots, pans and dishes. Easy to keep clean, but you had provide the supplies. This is the first villa I have ever rented where there was no dishwasher liquid, no sponges, no laundry detergent, no garbage bags and no soap in the bathrooms. We were treated to salt, pepper, sweet and low and a half full bottle of wine--chilled- also salsa and a bag of chips.
The pool was great for the kids, with deck space all around so nothing went over the side or off the deck. We liked the idea that it varied from 3 to 5 ft, so the kids could walk around and play with stuff, or swim in the deeper area. We did have to chase them out if we wanted to float as there was really not enough space for 5 but we were fine with that. The pool would be much too small for 6 adults or teens.
We were very satisfied with the house and with Caribbean Villas. Still cant figure out what their extra 5% service fee is about but they were immediately responsive to the 2 issues we had. When we arrived, we immediately got into some serious pool time and went out to dinner and never noticed that all the electronics in the house had been disconnected for some reason. No TV, no cable, no DvD or VCR, no telephone answering machine-- everything had been disconnected separately and there was no way we were going to spend our vacation time reconnecting and reprogramming this stuff. They came right out and did it all. The next day the sent out a maintenance man with a tall ladder to fix the pull chains on the fans to raise the speed and cool the interior of the living area.

We really would recommend this house highly--epecially for 2 couples or families with school-aged children. It is private, convenient and clean, with views to die for. A very serene setting, and watching the water in the bay turn magificent colors of blue is just mesmerizing. We loved it!!

Mary Brockway

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