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Jonathan Back

Member since: 2004
Call Owner
Speaks: english

The Castle on St. John Island

Sleeps4
Bedrooms 2
Bathrooms2
Property type villa

Overview

Johns Folly Villa Rental Photos and Description

2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, sleeps 6

Castle St John is a unique villa within the Virgin Islands National Park boundaries. Built by the owner over eight years, it boasts the most extraordinary seascape panorama.

Two very separate bedrooms, king and queen, each with adjoining full baths. Besides the fully-equipped, modern kitchen and mahogany great room, there is a tiled outdoor shower, expansive decks and balconies, an observatory sundeck with giant chess on the fifth level, and a whirlpool spa nestled in a tropical garden.

Ceilings, furniture, and cabinetry are custom made of Cyprus and Mahogany with a feeling of casual elegance and artistic refinement... relics in the walls... fine mosaics... sculptures and a Zen sand garden. This unusual decor is accented by local paintings, masks, crafts, and statuary.

This is a romantic destination for your anniversary or honeymoon vacation! However, kids of all ages also love the mix of fantasy with the power of nature.

Suitability:
  • Events Allowed
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • pets considered
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Jonathan Back (Owner)
Member since: 2004
Call Owner
Speaks: english

About Jonathan Back

I first came to St John as the general manager of Maho Bay, an upscale camping resort. I was lucky (or fated) to buy this exquisite land in 1977 and built a small wooden house for myself in the Japanese Sukia style. The house was entirely off the grid, with solar panels, a wind generator, solar hot water, and gravity fed shower. It was novel to mix the techie survival elements with the spiritual power of the wind on the mountaintop and the calming simplicity of the tea house.

Why Jonathan Back chose St John

When the house burned down in 1983, I was persuaded to build again...so naturally I followed the Three Little Pigs story and made my house out of stone. Dozens of talented people helped over the years, and I acknowledge a considerable debt to their generosity and patience with me.

What makes this villa unique

The little castle combines one of the island's most fabulous panoramas with complete privacy. It is elegant where nature calls for that, but it is not deluxe. Folks who want no adventure in their visit probably should choose another dwelling.

Guestbook comments from the owner

5 of 5 stars Reviewed on FLIPKEY for a stay June 23, 2014



The Castle St. John was an absolute dream! The initial ride up to the castle can be a bit daunting, but it is definitely worth it and easy after you adjust. (My husband says after the 2nd time he didn't find it an issue at all, and by the end of the trip I was even willing to try it out!) The building itself is beautiful, with a nice, large deck with lounge chairs, a hammock, and a regular table and chairs--not only was it a perfect place to relax with a book, but it was also a great spot to eat in the evenings and enjoy the view, which is beyond marvelous. We also really loved relaxing in the hot tub after a long day of hiking and snorkeling. The kitchen is well-equipped for cooking on your own, and the upstairs bedroom has the bed situated so that you wake up to gorgeous views of the island. The open-air aspect was actually one of my favorite things as well--we had visits from birds, lizards, caterpillars, and hermit crabs all week long :) If you are looking for secluded yet conveniently located for your honeymoon, this is an ideal spot: peaceful, beautiful, private, and close to oodles of yummy restaurants and beautiful beaches. In addition, the new property managers, Cathy and Clark, were extremely helpful. As brand new visitors to the island, we were a bit lost at first, but they met us in Coral Bay, guided us up to the castle, and even offered some very spot-on recommendations for dining and other activities in St. John. We are already trying to figure out when we can go back and take some friends along to experience the castle!
Jun 2014
  • 1 of 10

Reviews

The Castle on St. John Island
average rating of 5.0 based on 12 reviews
5

Wow. Wow. Wow.

  • 5 of 5

Quite simply, a spectacular setting and view. My husband and I spent the entire week trying to decide if this was the best view we've ever had in our extensive travels. We never did quite decide, but it was a great problem to ponder! St. John is my favorite spot in the Caribbean--though I'd never been to the Coral Bay side before. Having seen how busy Cruz Bay has gotten, Coral Bay still retains the older island, low key vibe. The Castle is a romantic, secluded, dream of a place to stay. We left the doors to the tower bedroom open every night for the lovely breezes, and the mosquito netting over the bed was useful for keeping the moths out while we read at night (and Mosquitos-- but they were few).The pictures on the site show the view from your pillow when you open your eyes--Caribbean blue meets sky blue. The decks. The options for lazing about. Open air everything. If you are into view and adventure, this is the place for you. Adventure comes in the form of the drive up the mountain to get to the castle. The owner will tell you, you need four wheel drive, and he is not kidding. Even with it, it is a very bumpy 1 mile, 10 minute at best, ride up or down that hill. The first time you do it, you will think OMG! We can't do that again! But gradually you will get more comfortable with it, and appreciate that you are at the top of this mountain with a view that is unsurpassed. Though the snorkeling, and beaches, and sailboats and hikes of the island call, it is hard to leave the castle once you arrive. Note-- the restaurant choices in Coral Bay are less numerous than Cruz but every bit as good. Beaches with just a few people--many days we were the only ones on the beach after 2 or 3. Visited a different beach every day for 9 days. Perfect. Don' miss snorkeling in the mangroves. The caretaker will rent you a kayak you can paddle over to the mangroves and snorkle all day. We can hardly wait to go back. Jonathan Back, the owner, very easy to work with.

  • Submitted: Feb 18, 2016
  • Stayed: Jan 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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5

Amazingly Wonderful Location and Villa!

  • 5 of 5

My wife and I went to the Castle to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and couldn't have been happier. The stone work and architecture of the castle was breathtaking. Every little nook and cranny was thought through. It is a work of art in a way!

Then there is the view! The trip up the long drive is worth it. Being on top of the mountain, everywhere you look is pure beauty and it's so private.

We liked being on the east side of the island away from the more busy Cruz Bay area. It felt more local and there were a lot of less populated interesting beaches i.e. Francis Bay, Maho Bay, Salt Pond Bay, Drunk Bay etc.

I would recommend going to the Concordia restaurant. It overlooks Salt Pond Bay. They have a great food and an open mike night on Monday :)

Overall I give the Castle two thumbs and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a private getaway on the most beautiful island I have ever visited.

  • Submitted: Jan 7, 2015
  • Stayed: Dec 2014
  • Source: HomeAway
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Map

Nearest Airport
25 Miles
STT
Nearest Barpub
2 Miles
Aqua Bistro
Nearest Ferry
11 Miles
Cruz Bay-Red Hook, Cruz Bay-Tortola
Nearest Restaurant
2 Miles
Miss Lucy's
Nearest Beach
3 Miles
Salt Pond Bay
Car: necessary

Other Activities: Donkey rides, National Park tours and programs, giant chess, deep sky viewing

Photos

Rates & Availability

Johns Folly Villa Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
USD
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Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
 
Shoulder 2 (holidays more)
Apr 23 2016 - Aug 26 2016
4 night minimum stay
$2,175
 
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $43 per night, per additional guest
 
My Standard Rate
1 night minimum stay
$330
 

Additional information about rental rates

Tax Rate 10.0%

Holiday and school break dates have a premium rental fee. see our home page for details

50% in a personal check holds the dates, final payment due one month prior to arrival

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Available arrival
Available stay (no arrival)
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Amenities

Johns Folly Villa Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • villa
Meals:
  • Guests provide their own meals
Location Type:
  • Mountain ...
  • Mountain View
  • Near The Ocean
  • Ocean View
  • Water View
Theme:
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
General:
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking Off Street
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Wireless Internet
Kitchen:
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
Dining:
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
Bathrooms:
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , tub , shower
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , tub , shower
  • The First bathroom adjoins the lower bedroom, and is mostly open-air. The second bedroom is part of the tower suite of rooms, above the kitchen.
Bedrooms:
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 king
    Bedroom 2 - 1 queen
  • The castle tower suite is a full bath on the second floor above the kitchen...private staircase to rooftop sunbathing, stargazing, giant chess.
Entertainment:
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • VCR
Outside:
  • Balcony
  • Deck / Patio
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Outdoor Grill Gas
  • Patio
  • Wood Deck
  • 2 beach chairs
Suitability:
  • Events Allowed
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • pets considered
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Hot Tub
Attractions:
  • churches
  • forests
  • marina
  • museums
  • nude beach
  • reefs
  • restaurants
  • ruins
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • horseshoes
  • paddle boating
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • shelling
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • basketball court
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • rock climbing
  • sailing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • snorkeling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • wind-surfing
Notes:
Giant chess on the parapets,, Native drums, hammock, hummingbirds, anole lizards, goats and donkeys visit

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