Chris and Harriett Bast were married in the autumn of their lives on tiny Henley Cay just off Caneel Bay in 2010. This was the joyful, improbable union of two recent retirees, a Southern belle from Charleston, SC and an Upstate NY contractor. Chris is a West Pointer with a tour of duty in VN. He started his company with his childhood sweetheart, his deceased wife, Nancy. It was Nancy who chose the site, selected the name and did much of the physical work of the building. We dedicate this to Nancy with love.
Chris and Harriett Bast purchased this villa in 2005
We had been stymied in our 3 year search for just the right property on St John during the real estate boom in the early 2000's.
We had made many offers but were always second bidder or too late. Returning stateside after one especially frustrating trip during which we had tendered two unsuccessful proposals, we received an urgent phone call from our realtor which needed an immediate response. A property was about to be listed and already offers were queuing up. We would have to bid 'sight unseen' if we wished to be in the hunt. We bid based on trust and the agent's detailed description - an unbelievably great view, nice neighborhood, buildable lot, well treed, convenient location, good access roads, quiet surrounds, great topography, ample space, and immediate availability. Obviously we were the successful bidder. We hurriedly returned to St John with 3 days of grace if we wanted to withdraw our bid. There was no need, it was love at first sight!
Many St. John locations can boast of great views but Cielo Vista has one of the best. In the dark of night the vista continues - no featureless black seascape here. The lights of St. Thomas twinkle in the distance. We can watch the big cruise ships as they steam in from or out to sea from Charlotte Amalie. On clear days we can see the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebras. But the best is the spectacular sunsets from the deck or balcony as we review the day.
All rooms have the great view, proximity to the pool, and easy access to the outdoors. The Great Room, a two story, vaulted space with catwalk and loft, houses the functions for a group – visiting, cooking, TV watching, game playing, etc. The bed suites each have their own verandas and are get-away spots for reading or napping with privacy. The bathrooms are spacious with special showers which feel like you're outdoors. Originally the villa was built with a large open veranda tying all the areas together around the pool. To reduce the sun’s rays in late afternoon, a special rollup screen was installed in front of the Great Room. This proved so successful that they entire veranda was screened in with overhead fans and comfy cushioned chairs. This room has become a focal point in the villa and mimics the outdoor living spaces of Charleston, SC.
The pool is central to the villa. The surrounding deck is great for private sunbathing, it is often cool at night for cocktails as the twinkling lights of St. Thomas emerge after the sunset. Morning coffee or crossword puzzle are done there also.
The second floor balcony provides an elevated cafe and hammock.