La Collina is located on a small plateau on Roman Hill, the hill that rises up behind the harbor at Great Cruz Bay. This is a quiet neighborhood of private villas. The views from LaCollina are picturesque and lovely, including the views of the harbor and distant islands floating on the Caribbean, the spectacular sunset views in the early evening, and the twinkling lights of other islands after dark. LaCollina faces south-southwest, which paints the pool, sun deck and villa deck with sun all day, but the local stone and concrete walls keep the house surprisingly cool despite that exquisite Caribbean sunshine. Although this is a tranquil and serene location it's also ultra convenient, being an easy 6-minute drive into Cruz Bay and about two minutes to the beach bar, spa, restaurants and facilities at the four star Westin Resort.
The design of LaCollina is a traditional 2 level layout that is spacious and comfortable. You park on the upper level and enter into the great room, which includes the living, dining and kitchen areas. The two master bedrooms (king beds) are located on both sides of the great room and are very private, while the 2 guest bedrooms (queen beds and also very private) are located on the lower level and are accessed by an exterior walkway. All 4 bedrooms are air conditioned and fully screened and all have tiled baths. Three of the bedrooms also have a pull out sofa bed that is ideal for young children. The bedrooms, great room and dining room open to a 55 foot long deck that offers open areas for sunbathing and covered areas for those who have had too much sun. The pool is surrounded by a tiled sun deck and terraced palm gardens and is located on the on the left side of the house, upper level.
Handsome interior stone walls, tiled floors, arched doors, imposing cathedral ceilings and rattan furniture create a very classic and handsome tropical living area. A cable TV/DVD and stereo/CD are provided and the living room seats 8 comfortably.
The interior cherry dining set seats 10 with a fabulous view and a table under the covered deck also seats 8, also with a spellbinding view.
The kitchen is separated from the living area by a bar area with 3 captain's chairs and contains all the necessary ingredients for preparing great meals, including a gas stove, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, toaster oven and abundant cooking and dining implements. A washer/dryer, gas barbecue, beach chairs and beach towels and all linens are also provided.
We bought our beautiful La Collina villa in 1999, not long after our first vacation visit to St. John. We had been spending winter vacations in the Caribbean for about twenty years, but we’ve never bothered to visit another Caribbean island since having that first St. John experience. A small island with no airport and only a couple of large resorts, we share it mainly with other families who rent or own a villa. True, some visitors come over for the day from St. Thomas, a 20 minute ferry ride, and they spend their time mainly at Trunk Bay, famous for its underwater snorkel trail. St. John has an amazing variety of beaches: some great for snorkeling, some great for body surfing, some great for trails leading in to tropical forests or over rocky cliffs, and some great simply for sunning with a book. Downtown St. John is Cruz Bay, a port with the ferry dock, sleepy and quaint like a 1940s Bogart movie during the day, and lively at night with music and laughter coming from the many excellent restaurants. Oh, did we tell you that three quarters of the island is a US National Park?
La Collina (Italian for hill) sits on top of Roman Hill, set away from the dirt road that circles the top of the hill. While only a minute from Route 104, and thus a quick five minutes to the main shopping area (Starfish at Marketplace), no road noise can be heard from La Collina. The villa is high above Great Cruz Bay (not to be confused with downtown Cruz Bay), and the view is spectacular. The villa looks west from the deck, so there are beautiful sunsets (and rainbows when light morning or afternoon showers briefly pass by), and night scenes with the sparkling lights of nearby St. Thomas. The villa was built by a local who appreciated the traditional Caribbean style: thick walls to make it cool inside even with the A/C off, beautiful gray stone work on the living room walls, monster wooden hurricane doors, whitewashed outside to reflect the heat, and a red tile roof. A huge deck stretches the length of the villa, and what a deck! Always with a cool breeze, one half is covered, and we eat all meals there. The two ends of the deck are uncovered, good for sunning, and right off the two master bedrooms.
La Collina is on a big lot loaded with flowers, papaya trees, and a crushed stone path leading through them, along which one can see hummingbirds. Two kestrels (native to these islands) roost in our trees at night. There are two bedrooms on the lower level, good for privacy.
We think you will love La Collina and St. John. Our family does, and they weep when it’s time to leave.
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