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

Calicaribe 10/24/2008
Reviewers Rating: Good
Calicaribe is a villa managed by Destination St. John. This villa is located on Contant Point and is very convenient to Cruz Bay, Starfish Market and the North Shore Beaches. We visited the first full week of October, 2008.

Aesthetically, Calicaribe is a pretty house. There is a large outdoor covered patio and a central pool deck with a decently-sized pool. Due to the western exposure of this villa, the pool is a good temperature. The outdoor furniture is just okay. The tables and chairs are wood, which can feel a little dry and uncomfortable, and the pads on the chaises are slightly mildewed and take forever to dry out even after the briefest of rains.

This is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house with A/C in the bedrooms only. We had a party of three couples, and I think one of our biggest problems was that Destination St. John represented that the bedrooms were fairly equal so that no one would feel as if they got the short end of the stick. I'd like the villa rep from DSJ to stay in the bottom bedroom at this villa for a week and then honestly look me in the face and say that all of the rooms are equal.

The master bedroom was very large and had a good-sized bathroom with a beautiful garden shower. However, due to the screened in shower, the master bedroom did get a fair amount of bugs, including spiders, millipedes and some sort of little critters that found their way onto the coverlet every night. The master bed was a king-size and had comfortable bedding, once the bugs were removed.

The real problems were with the other two bedrooms. When we arrived, both were extremely musty because the A/C had been left off for a long period of time. This made the sheets very musty and mildewy. It's my best guess that the sheets were changed after the last guests departed and that was probably some weeks prior. The rental agency should have put freshly washed sheets on the beds. We turned on the A/C when we arrived and it eventually helped relieve some of the mustiness.

I understand that this is the Caribbean and humidity is high, but either leave windows open or leave the A/C on at a low level, or at least change the sheets right before new guests arrive.

Also, there is no way the rooms are remotely "equal." The master is by far the best, followed by the top pool bedroom. The pool bedroom has the best view in the house, but is TINY and lacks adequate window coverings to block out morning shade on one side.

The "bottom" bedroom is where the real problem comes in. This bedroom has no view and an outside entrance that can only be reached by walking a good ways from the main house. Further, the railing is inadequate and doesn't run the full length of the tiled entryway. A section of a couple of feet is left unguarded and one of our friends fell in the dark. While funny at the time, in retrospect she could have been hurt badly.

The bottom bedroom was extremely mildewy and was visited by roaches, scorpions, spiders and other little critters. Again, I understand this is the Caribbean but I really think Calicaribe needs to have an exterminator out there. I've stayed in houses on many other islands and I've never seen this many bugs. I almost stepped on a scorpion one morning (they are supposed to be nocturnal) -- it was outside the laundry room by the kitchen.

Lastly, and perhaps most concerning, I didn't feel that main part of the villa could be adequately secured. The villa is kind of divided into two "pods" connected by the pool deck. One "pod" houses the main room, kitchen, laundry (safe) and master suite. The other "pod" contains the two bedrooms, each of which has a separate entrance and separate locks. This villa has a front door to the main house that locks. It also has an approximately eight-foot wall that links the two "pods" of the house and provides a divider between parking and the pool patio. The main house has about six double screen doors that lock and provide great cross-ventilation. However, there is no way to completely secure the main house. At any time, someone could climb over the eight foot wall (easy to do) and enter the house through the screen doors off the main patio/pool area. There are large wooden hurricane shutters, but these have EXTERIOR locks, so even if you bolted each lock into place, all someone would have to do is unbolt them and enter the screen doors. I felt the master suite could not be adequately secured as a result of the home's design.

When we arrived, the maintenance guy told us that the pool would be a little cloudy for the first day since he just cleaned it. I was more worried about the film of debris on the top. We realized later that day that the pool was filled waaaay too high, so the skimmer wasn't working. We actually got four of us in the pool and emptied out water until the skimmer started making its familiar gurgling noise. Once we did that, we had no more issues with the pool.

There were good points to this villa. For one, the location was highly convenient. Second, the pool was nice once we fixed the aforemention skimmer problem. Third, the sunset views were very pleasant.

But, I think we'll look elsewhere next time. Calicaribe is not, in my opinion, the right house for three couples.


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