Caneel Bay Resort

St. John’s lush and luxurious escape
Editor's note: Caneel Bay Resort is closed for post-hurricane repairs through the end of 2019. 

There are remnants of hundreds of sugar plantations scattered across the U.S. Virgin Islands, but very few of them are surrounded by as much natural splendor as the well-preserved ruins found at Caneel Bay Resort.

Situated just past the entrance to the property, the former mill situated among the palms does a great job of foreshadowing the beauty ahead. The hotel is located on a 170-acre plot of paradise resting in the middle of the Virgin Islands National Park but even beyond sights like this, Caneel Bay, distinguishes itself with a gadget-free mentality, an impressive culinary lineup and more amenities than you’ll likely have time to explore on your vacation.
Our Inspector's Highlights
  • At M’Ocean Studio, guests can take yoga and Pilates classes, play basketball, soccer and tennis in facilities specially designed to please sports-lovers.
  • Kids can hang out at Turtle Town, which offers everything from steel pan drumming and volleyball to a robust dinner-and-a-movie calendar. There’s also a teen extension housing video games, a karaoke machine, shuffleboard and more.
  • Adults will certainly appreciate all of the youthful distractions, giving them plenty of time to schedule a spa treatment in one of the massage cabanas.
Things to Know
  • Trunk Bay, a spectacular slither of a beach that critics and consumers have raved about for decades, is only a five-minute drive from Caneel Bay.
  • But even if you don’t feel like making that short trek, the sands and cliff-side bluffs onsite are nearly as appealing.
  • One particular stretch at the resort, Turtle Bay Beach, is mere feet from a set of beachfront rooms. It earns its name because sea turtles have actually been known to hatch on its shores.
  • The property also has an abundance of other wildlife prancing about with regularity—you’ll likely see donkeys and white-tailed deer “posing” for pictures and grazing wherever they see fit.
The Rooms
  • The former estate of Laurance Rockefeller in the 1950s, Caneel Bay offers accommodations that are a mix of garden-view rooms, beachfront suites and oversized cottages.
  • Wherever your unit sits on the property map, expect it to include handcrafted wood furniture, a soft green-and-tan color palette and Lady Primrose bath essentials.
  • But of all the luxuries you’ll find in the rooms, the two things you won’t see are televisions and phones. To help you unplug, the property asks that you walk to a telephone pavilion just outside your room to make a call.
  • But that’s not to say you shouldn’t use Caneel Bay’s forthcoming smartphone app for assistance during your stay, especially on overcast days when you might need to place a room service order or request extra towels.
The Restaurants
  • Caneel Bay has three onsite restaurants, with similar dedication to highlighting local produce and seafood through traditional Caribbean cooking styles.
  • Sample the island-renowned sushi at Caneel Beach Bar & Grill or nosh on burger while watching the big game.
  • At Turtle Bay Estate House, you’ll enjoy views of the nearby islands and dishes that include Marcona Almond Chilean Sea Bass and Lavender Honey Glazed Duck.
  • Zozo’s at the Sugar Mill is the place to partake in a romantic dinner. The glorious address offers northern Italian cuisine and views overlooking the 18th-century plantation ruins.
Getting There
Caneel Bay, Virgin Islands National Park, 00830
STT (1 h 25 min)