Travel Insurance

Get a FREE no obligation quote!

Steve Simonsen 2018 St. John CalendarSteve Simonsen 2018 St. John Calendar

Latest Forum Posts (all forums):

Travel Specials:

Forum members on island:

Harbor Cam
Virgin Islands Webcams

Bolongo Bay

BillVT’s St. John Trip Report: Preface

Travel discussion for St. John

Moderator: The Mgmt.

BillVT’s St. John Trip Report: Preface

Postby BillVT » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:45 am

We have been traveling to St. John yearly since 1997. There may have been a year or two when our daughter was in college that we may have missed; college ain’t cheap. But mostly, it has been a yearly trip. And for the most part, we have traveled at the same time of year, except for the above-mentioned daughter who was married on Trunk Bay a week before Christmas, rather than us visiting in late March. There is a good reason for this and it involved our best friends. They are fellow New Englanders whom we have known since before our marriage. While we raised our two children, they traveled the Caribbean looking for the right place. They made an initial investment in a property on St. Kitts but after years of inactivity by the developers, they moved on. They landed on St. John and purchased a timeshare unit at Sunset Ridge Villas in Cruz Bay.

It was in 1997 that they were able to occupy their unit and they brought us along. Being the friends that they were, they gave us the master suite while they slept in the main building. After that year, they bought their second week and we started paying for college. When we returned we would rent a villa for ourselves, with or without our children and then stay a week with our friends to extend our time on STJ. We came to know Sunset Ridge and the people who occupied the surrounding units at the same time of year. There are only six, two building units to the complex, so it was not difficult to get acquainted. When a week became available at the same time of year, we bought it. And then we bought another, a week earlier. So now, we own two weeks and then move in with our friend for our third week. We think three weeks on island is perfect. In the ensuing years one of our friends passed on, but we still travel and visit with his widow and we welcome the spillage from each others guests when there are too many.

So we are timeshare people, a subdivision of the tourists that visit St. John that include villa people, campers, resort visitors, eco-resort visitors, hotel renters, cruise ship visitors, boaters and us. I may have missed a category or two. Since I retired, I was asked to join the board of directors of the homeowners association at Sunset Ridge. “Sure,” I said, how much work can it involve? As it turned out, plenty, the developers had given control of SRV to the HOA after they had extracted what they comfortably could. I doubt they made much money out of the project and the place had begun to fall into disrepair. It is not a full time job but on some days it can come close. Due to the dedication of the HOA board and the patience and willingness of the other owners to sink a few more dollars into the place, we were able to bring it back from the brink. It is a pleasure to return each year to see what more we were able to accomplish since our last visit. While not luxurious, it is comfortable, with lots of room to stretch out and views that are hard to beat.

But this year is going to be a little different. We will still occupy our two weeks at SRV, but after making a huge error in booking our flight, we will be arriving a week earlier so that we will not be moving in with our friend at the end of our vacation. After discovering our error we checked prices on the correct flights and the cost of canceling our current flight, and it almost covered the cost of renting another week somewhere else. So we kept our current flight and are going to start our vacation at a place that we have always been curious about. Estate Zootenval. Yep, we’ll let you know.
User avatar
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:58 am
Location: Grand Isle VT

Re: BillVT’s St. John Trip Report: Preface

Postby hoosierdaddy » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:40 am

Thanks for the Preface. It is nice to hear how others have developed their love for St. John.

I have recently become aware of Estate Zootenval. It looks like an incredible place on Hurricane Hole. Right on the water. It looks like a perfect place to unwind and forget about the rest of the world.
User avatar
Posts: 884
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: BillVT’s St. John Trip Report: Preface

Postby Nancie-Pa » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:17 am

Looking forward to reading about your stay in Estate Zootenval, Bill. Don't think anyone has ever posted about it before.
And I have always been interested in Sunset Ridge. Hope to stay there sometime. I check their webcam every day. As a matter of fact, you can see Moorehead Point (Moravian Point) from it. That's where I'll be for a week in June, so I'll wave to you all! :lol:
Bill, am I allowed to walk through Sunset Ridge to see if it's a good fit for me? It looks great from the pics but would rather see it in person, if that's ok. Just let me know.
Enjoy the new views!
Friends, they go away then they re-appear...I believe there is Magic here.
User avatar
Posts: 411
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:58 am
Location: Pa.

Re: BillVT’s St. John Trip Report: Preface

Postby PatrickMcc » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:26 pm

Hi Bill. I think that you will like Zootenvaal. We had been curious about it since 1983 when we first started visiting St John with our daughters. Last year my wife and I spent five nights at one of the one bedroom cottages and loved it. The inside had been redecorated not long before and it was very nice. You have a nice veranda with a view of the water across the street. The private beach across the street does not compare with the park beaches but it was a nice quiet place too relax in the afternoon. Next time I would bring my water shoes to make it easier to get into the water there. You are one hill away from Skinny Legs and Indigo grill and a short flat road drive to a few other restaurants like Aqua Bistro and Shipwreck landing, all of which we like. In all our years going to St John we had never eaten dinner at any of these restaurants because I did not relish the drive back to Cruz Bay or the South shore area. We then went to Cruz Bay for five nights and said it was like going from the country to Boston, although we still love Cruz Bay. Have a great time.
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 3:43 pm
Location: Boston

Re: BillVT’s St. John Trip Report: Preface

Postby Bigcheeze » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:42 am


Great story! See you in a few weeks for a cocktail on the beach at the Beach Bar or Joes !


Enjoy the Journey
User avatar
Posts: 771
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:13 am
Location: Michigan

Re: BillVT’s St. John Trip Report: Preface

Postby david@va.beach » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:39 am

Just got back friday! The weather was breezy the nights were cool and there were actually a few good rain events..That said the island was very green. Zootenvaal has been a favorite for many years. We've known Robin the manager for 40+ years from stateside. Zoot has been for sale for some time and they have subdivided the waterfront house which has been is still a rental and is a one of a kind truly amazing house with a pristine view of hurricane hole. Our 2nd favorite would be the Round House at Haul Over. Trip report soon come maybe.
Posts: 162
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:51 am

Return to U.S. Virgin Islands Travel Forum: St. John

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 17 guests


VIOL on tumblr
Submit a pic

Advertising | Privacy Policy | © 1995 - 2017 | iBizDaily