Reviewers Rating: Great
We rented Rivendell for our most recent trip to St. John. We were looking for a good quality house with a North Shore location. This was our seventh St. John trip and 4th St. John villa rental.
Rivendell in located in Lower Peter Bay and is the farthest house from the main gate. The road to the house is all concrete and narrow with beautiful views and landscaping.
There is a second point of access to the North Shore Road very close to the house but our key card didnít open this gate, which is only open during the day. We used this access point only when coming and going from the areas east of Peter Bay, the corner was too sharp when heading the opposite direction.
The house sits close to the road but we never noticed. Because of topography and vegetation, road noise was minimal.
Pete Bay is quite lovely but is a development and as such, we heard a fair amount of general maintenance noise during our stay such as leaf blowers and weed whackers running throughout the morning hours. We had not experienced this in other island locations as our rentals were more isolated.
Peter Bay beach is reached by walking down the driveway and going a short distance (couple hundred yards maybe) to a very rustic trail (approximately 100 yards) of somewhat graded dirt and rock. I would describe the trail as not flip-flop friendly. It was a very steep return walk to Rivendell. There is a small pull off area at the top of the beach access but it wasnít clear to us whether or not parking was permitted at this spot.
Although Rivendell is located rather low on the hillside (and close to the beach), it has wonderful views from all areas of the house.
In addition to the location and size, we were attracted to Rivendellís architecture. The house is two separate structures. The main house has a very large living room, half bath, and entry area on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor.
The master bedroom had a large walk-in closet but no dresser or drawer storage. The hanging area was sufficient but other clothing must be stacked on the shelves. The addition of better clothing storage would be an improvement to the house. Bedding is a queen four-poster with Pottery Barn linens.
The master bathroom is narrow (a bit of a tight squeeze with two adults) with one sink. The shower is outside, enclosed on all sides with a ĺ wall. Potted plants provide additional privacy. It is large with one big rainfall showerhead with good water pressure. We very much enjoyed the shower and its wonderful views and natural feeling. There is a small balcony off of the bedroom. The room has many screened windows as well as French doors to the balcony. The AC is icy cold. We turned it off immediately and slept with windows open, under covers all week.
The second bedroom was only slightly smaller in size. It also has a balcony. This bathroom does not have a shower. Viva advertises this bathroom as having a Jacuzzi tub, which is misleading in the sense that it is a Jacuzzi in name brand only. It is a regular bathtub (no jets) with a spray wand that doesnít work except to give a trickle of water. I pointed this misleading description out to the management company.
The living room is large with two separate seating areas. The furnishings are slip covered in white and tasteful island prints. This area of the house is not air conditioned but with the many doors and fans, it was very comfortable.
This is a small nook inside the door that is outfitted with a computer with internet access and a printer.
The separate guest house has a bedroom on each floor, each with baths and outdoor showers. (With the exception of the bathtub, all bathing areas/showers are outside.)
Rivendellís kitchen is unique; it is in a separate building from the main house and is connected only by the pavilion roof. It is also open on one side with only a wall of screens. We liked this feature but it might not be for everyone. The main dining area is outside, under the pavilion roof. There no inside dining area.
There is a large built-in stainless Weber grill just off the pavilion area. It is located in an area behind the house.
The kitchen is small and more than two people make it very crowded. We needed to do breakfast in shifts.
The Outside Areas
The main patio area is has a large dining table with umbrella and two lounge chairs. (The house sleeps eight) The outdoor furniture is good quality, Brown Jordan.
The house is nicely outfitted with beach chairs, coolers, toys and assorted snorkel gear. We did not have enough beach towels on arrival, a few extras were delivered two days later.
The pool is small. It is more of a get in and cool off pool than a floating/swimming pool. The water was quite cold during our stay.
The driveway provided plenty of parking and enough turnaround area for two jeeps.
Our Overall Impression
We encountered a number of maintenance issues during our stay. An issue here and there is not unexpected but we had enough that I grew tired of calling the rental company.
We were unhappy with the quality of the houseís pots, pans and utensils, which were a mixed-matched bunch of junk and not what I expected to find in a house of this cost/quality.
The flat wear came from at least three different sets, one of which reminded me of diner utensils. The pots and pans were old with scratched off Teflon coating. The baking sheets were vile with built-up food and grease. Seeing such crappy stuff gave us a poor impression. We did a fair amount of cooking so it was a disappointment to have a poorly (in terms of quality) outfitted kitchen. In relation to the cost of the house, outfitting the kitchen with at least acceptable quality kitchen items is minor. I passed my feelings along to the rental company.
Maybe we were spoiled with prior rentals, but I felt that we had more than our fair share of house-annoyances this trip especially considering the cost and luxury-billing of the house.
The quality of construction is quite good and design is unique. We enjoyed the outdoor areas and were only bothered by bugs one night.
The house itself was very clean as were the linens and bed coverings. This is an area I am very picky about.
The landscaping is beautiful with lots of different palm trees. The exterior lighting is well placed and added to the evening atmosphere.
The design of the house worked very well for our two families.
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