Cottage, 1 Bedrooms, 1 Baths, (Sleeps 2) Villa also on propertyHomeaway#177239
About Catherine Perry
Catherine Perry is the owner and innkeeper of A House of Open Arms. I helped to build this house from the ground up. I began in 2004 and completed the building process in 2006. I am a full time artist as well as the Innkeeper on this property and I welcome my guests at the ferry dock in Cruz Bay and offer a first evening welcome dinner. I also provide basic essentials for your first few days:,homemade granola, coffee, sugar and tea, cooking spices,etc.
Catherine Perry purchased this Cottage in 2006
Why Catherine Perry chose Estate Fortsberg
I purchased this land in 2003 to begin a dream of being a working artist and Innkeeper on St. John. I create unique lighting for many private homes on St. John. I also have items for purchase for my guests! And they are always. welcome to visit my studio during their stay here!
What makes this Cottage unique
A House of Open Arms is on the electric grid to provide A/C. It also has solar powered water system to insure continuos use even in an electrical pause. The water purified rainwater-fed and UV filtered. House of Open Arms sits amid lush tropical gardens with a 180 degree view of the sea. Cooling easterly breezes come up the hill making the need for a/c very optional. Hawks, kestrels, bananaquits, Lesser Antilles bull finches, Puerto Rican bull finches, and magnificent frigates float above with the crashing sea below. This is truly a nature lover's paradise. It is made all the sweeter by the knowledge much of the electricity and all of the water used on the property are collected from the sun and sky, with minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
Pool / Spa
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
Looking for a magical getaway on one of the most beautiful spots on earth? This is it!
This was by far our very best HomeAway rental experience ever! We just spent the last nine nights in the cottage and are already planning our return trip. The cottage sits on a hillside overlooking the water. The views, the sounds of the ocean and the seclusion make this such an inviting place to read, relax and connect with each other after a day filled with adventure. Our mornings began on the deck with a beautiful sunrise as we enjoyed our coffee and breakfast. Our evenings ended gazing at the stars as we enjoyed a bottle of wine. The deck is truly the crown jewel of this rental! I was a little unsure about the kitchen but it is actually perfect! The outdoor sink/prep area and grill gave us everything we needed to cook some amazing meals and prepare lunches for the beach. The bathroom and outdoor shower were stocked with everything we could need and the bed was so comfortable! There is AC but we didn't turn it on once. The breezes keep the cottage the perfect temperature! There are blinds, curtains and a sunshade if you aren't an early riser - but trust me - treat yourself to at least one sunrise! Catherine is the absolute perfect host! She met us at the ferry, helped us locate a place to rent snorkel gear for the week, took us to the rental car company and then to the grocery before leading us to the rental. The road to the rental is somewhat steep and unpaved, however we had zero problems getting up and down the hill. The rental car company that Catherine recommends knows the road and will provide you with a 4WD vehicle (with appropriate tires) to get there without issue. We stayed longer than 7 days so she provided a lovely dinner for us the first night and she will provide breakfast at your request for an additional cost - definitely do that at least once during your stay! She was readily available for questions and recommendations - but never intrusive. She knows the island well so definitely take her advice on where to snorkel and hike. There are many extra perks included: great wifi, Bose stereo, acoustic guitar, books, board games, french press coffee, granola, coolers, beach chairs, beach towels, extra toiletries. It’s difficult to find the words that capture the magic of this place. We HIGHLY recommend House of Open Arms Cottage!
TWENTY YARDS SHORT OF PERFECTION
The Cottage is a little gem box with a perfect attention to every detail. The design is exquisite with a vaulted, trussed, and clear wood ceiling. It has a gorgeously tiled outdoor shower and kitchen as well as a porch that oversees more than 180 degrees. The view is amazing, the winds gentle, and the quiet absolute.
Everything a traveler would need has been provided - basic condiments, pans, and good knives. There's also coffee, juice, granola, and sugar for the birds. Beach needs are met - chairs, coolers, and an umbrella. The bedding and linens are of good quality. There isn't a TV but the Wi-Fi is strong, although not streamable. The welcome dinner was excellent and very, very welcome after a traveling day.
One night we were greeted at the door by an enormous hermit crab (there are many other smaller ones lurking!), another night by a knot of frogs (in addition to the shower friends!), a friendly cat one day, and of course, the ubiquitous geckos and sugarbirds. It is absolutely wonderful!
Things to know:
- the steps to/from the cottage are many and steep. We live in a fifth floor brownstone walk-up and the steps here are a tad more challenging.
staying here REQUIRES a car. The car MUST be a 4-wheel drive - an all-wheel jeep just won't cut it . . .
- . . . because the last twenty yards to the property is sheer, cratered, and topped with scree. Without the right car, it's nearly impossible to make it to the top. The one mile road leading to the this last obstacle is also a one-lane dirt road - very rutted, cratered, and with two very steep grades.
- Skinny Legs, the closest restaurant, is at the bottom of the same last mile. Although close, getting there/back for dinner means either driving the same road, on the side of a cliff, on a moonless night, after a drink or two OR walking the same road when others may have had a drink or two themselves.
- We're hikers but we were happy that we self-provisioned and didn't need to leave and return from dinner after dark. However, we felt somewhat isolated at night.
It is a lovely cottage in a special place - perfect but for the last twenty yards.
Thank you Tori for visiting. It was a delight to have you stay at the cottage. I offer the best WIFI available on St. John and yes, I personally do stream movies more than a couple times a week. My guests would need to bring their computer and not just their phones to do that as the quality of the device does make a difference.
I do make it very clear that my guests need a 4W drive vehicle and the fact that you arrived without one was your decision rather than my advice. My dirt road is graded yearly but if guests do not use the 4W high choice on their cars, they do make those very ruts you were discouraged about! St. John is a mountainous Island and my road is considered a typical road for St. John. Though you are climbing up a hill, the road is very wide so there should be no worry of being on a cliff. It is actually a very easy " off road" experience. Also, since I am only one of 2 homes up here, hiking up and down my road is very safe. In the fifteen years I have lived here I have never run into someone who has had a drink either walking or driving. As far as isolated: I am here for my guests every evening and available for all their needs if they seek me out. Feeling isolated is a choice not necessarily a reality.
Many of my guests return year after year because of the views, the privacy, the adventure, and my dedication to providing for all of their needs. In truth, this is the first time in the thirteen years I have been in business that I have earned anything other than a 5 star review. However, I truly do appreciate you sharing your experience. Thank you Tori!
A House of Open Arms Cottage was exactly what my wife and I were looking for. We had never been to the Virgin Islands including St. John so everything was completely new to us. Catherine was a fantastic host from the moment we initially booked the trip to the time we left. Her prompt communications and the wealth of "local" information she was able to provide eased any apprehensions we had about taking a trip of this nature. The island is rugged but so beautiful. The cottage itself was well-appointed and had all of the amenities that we needed for making some of our own meals as well as spending our days on any number of beaches (we really enjoyed Salt Pond!) We were very glad we opted for Coral Bay; it was so tranquil we constantly found ourselves asking each other what time it was, is it Sunday or Monday, etc. Prior to booking with Catherine we spent a lot of time looking at different properties but kept coming back to A House of Open Arms. We couldn't find any reviews less than 5 stars, and after spending the past week there, I now know why. Fabulous trip, fabulous host, and wouldn't change a thing!
Great location, great cottage and great owner....sitting on the porch with view is amazing.
Cottage is perfect for a couple, has everything you need. Catherine's artistic spirit and attention to detail is reflected throughout the cottage. Tradewinds kept everything cool and wonderful. Cannot wait to get back...... Tons of activities to keep you busy, eclectic variety of restaurants (all good in their own way), wonderfully friendly people but our favorite part of the entire vacation was waking up to the view every morning.......we will be back.
We have stayed on St John numerous times but this was our first time at House of Open Arms. I have to admit that we were skeptical about visiting the island after reviewing numerous reports of power outages, closed restaurants, and other hurricane related issues. To our delight this was one of our very best vacations and we owe it all to Catherine, the owner of House of Open Arms. Open Arms is a perfect way to describe Catherine. Not only did we feel life valued guests but after a few days we felt like family. The cottage was a dream to stay in - we are avid sailors and we joked that it was like staying on a magnificent yacht but not having to worry about the anchor. The cottage was pristine, comfortable and the outdoor shower was superb. To add to our experience, Catherine offered to deliver us breakfasts and dinners at a nominal fee as many of the local restaurants are still open on a limited basis. This was a most generous offer and we were not disappointed as the meals were elegant and delicious — from homemade muffins and eggs Florentine in the morning to gourmet fish meals in the evening. Each meal delivered to our front deck table. We were so pleased with our stay and with Catherine’s gracious personality that we have booked again for the same time next year and are doing our best to make another visit during Christmas or Thanksgiving. Five stars are not enough for this delightful experience.
Back in June 2017, I booked a week for my girlfriend and I to stay at House of Open Arms for that coming November. Did not anticipate not one, but TWO category 5 hurricanes to rip through the islands in September, 2017! We were uncertain whether the trip would happen due to the damage sustained by the island. But as time passed we received reports of the island beginning to recover. We wanted to be part of the healing, so we kept our reservation, packed our bags and headed to STJ.
We were greeted by Catherine at the Cruz Bay ferry dock and instantly knew we made the right decision. Catherine is every bit as wonderful as all reviewers have stated and then some! At a time when she could have been disgruntled and down... she was anything but. Her island spirit shined through and she welcomed us with open arms (pun intended).
Catherine took us to pick up our rental Jeep (she will recommend which company to use and I can truly say they offer outstanding service!). Afterwards we went to the market for provisions and then embarked on our drive across the island to the Coral Bay area. The island was already "greening" up nicely after the hurricanes stripped the trees of their leaves just 2 months earlier. Beautiful sites abounded!
As soon as we entered House of Open Arms we were completely awestruck by the views from the villa and cottage! The pics on the House of Open Arms page are stunning. But in person... WOW!! Even more impressive!! We slept with the windows open and did not need to put the air conditioner on at night (although it is there for your comfort should you need it). As many reviewers have stated, tropical breezes, chirping frogs and the waves below were all we heard. Truly paradise!
The entire stay was a dream-come-true. Catherine is a remarkable host who is there when you need her... and yet, invisible when you do not. The villa and cottage are perfect for a romantic stay. If I was able to give more than 5 stars... I certainly would!
St John is a magical island and House of Open Arms is among its finest treasures! I urge you to see for yourself!
Coral Bay is the quieter side of the Island with low key eateries and shopping and people. We are located in the perfect spot to get anywhere: East End, Southside, and Northshore beaches as well as Cruz Bay..
Fortsberg is home to the great fort of 1725 and the cannons.
There is a great book and game collection in both the villa and cottage. Visit my art studio upstairs to see work in progress or finished work for sale.