|Minimum Stay||5 - 10 nights|
On the unspoiled east end of Saint Johns, perched just 110 feet above the live coral reefs, white sands and soothing surf of Dreekets Bay, sits the tropical residence The Retreat. The grounds at this bijou villa feature papaya, passion fruit, banana, lemon and lime trees for you to pick and enjoy seasonally. Among its charms, outside one bedroom pavilion is a wooden staircase that leads to a trail zigzagging all the way down to Haulover Bay.
The landscaped courtyard at The Retreat includes a pergola, lap pool, hot tub and a terrace welcoming guests into an aura of tranquil serenity swept by cooling trade winds. Its three pavilions, washed with cool green hues, are situated to overlook the sparkling panorama of Sir Francis Drake Channel with the verdant island of Tortola beyond. A hammock awaits the sway of quieter moments. The villa also features a barbeque grill. The indoors are loaded with entertainment options including electronic screening, satellite TV, a movie collection, books, games and a PlayStation 2. Wi-Fi access is complimentary.
This lovely hideaway is finished with rich slate tiles, handcrafted mahogany cabinetry and accent pieces from Guatemala, Indonesia, Burma and Thailand. High ceilings provide an airy atmosphere to the nearly alfresco interior open plan dining, living and kitchen areas. Cooking in the kitchen offers the illusion of floating on the sea.
Two air conditioned king bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms flank the main pavilion, and both offer a loft with extra-long double beds. The baths feature romantic outdoor showers from which the spectacular views can be enjoyed in complete privacy. For additional guests, the sofa in the living area can be converted into a comfortable queen bed or two single beds, with your advance request. Children aged seven years and older are welcome.
Frommers deems Haulover Bay one of the best snorkeling destinations on Saint John, and locals say its the best. Keep an eye out for frolicking dolphins or the gentle glide of a sea turtle swimming by. A few feet down the shoreline from the trail, a lovely crescent of white sand and rock beach curves around crystal clear waters, waiting for you. The Retreat offers the ideal combination of elegant luxury and relaxing seclusion. Refresh your spirit with this luxury villas ambience of natural harmony and peace.
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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Due to the villa being in a remote location, renting a car is recommended, therwise taxi service to other destinations on the island is necessary. For groceries, we recommend guests request pre-stocking services.
Bedroom 1: King bed, Air conditioning, Safe, Loft with extra-long double bed (accessible by ladder), En-suite bathroom with alfresco shower
Bedroom 2: King bed, Air conditioning, Safe, Loft with extra-long double bed (accessible by ladder), En-suite bathroom with alfresco shower
Additional Bedding: Award-winning designer sofa in living area can be made into either a queen-sized bed OR into 2 single beds
Satellite TV (120 channels including Cinemax and HBO)
VCR/DVD/CD player and Sirius Satellite Radio with surround sound
Sony PlayStation II (bring your own games)
Books and games
Complimentary Welcome Basket on arrival
Electronic gate to villa
Lap pool (6 ft x 40 ft; 4.5 ft deep)
Gas grill on patio
Some snorkelling gear
STAFF SERVICES Included
Weekly maid service for stays of 14 days or more
At Extra Cost
Villa pre-stocking (advance notice required)
In-house chef (advance notice required)
Maximum 4 guests
Children welcome 7 years old
Pets are not allowed
Drakeet's Bay, Haulover Bay, East end
5 minute hike to beach
Advertised rates may vary according to the season and duration of stay
The most appealing features of The Retreat Villa are 1) the location...perched above Haulover Bay. Haulover Bay is the best snorkeling location we have experienced on St. John. If, on any particular day, the wind was making the water rough on North Haulover bay, we simply walked 10 minutes from the villa to South Haulover Bay where the water would be smooth and vice versa 2) the private trail from the villa to the beach. 3) the unique architecture of the villa. Most of the walls are garage doors which, when open, give a unique open air experience 4) the presence of unique island flora and fauna to keep nature lovers entertained.
Negatives: not many. The villa is showing a fair amount of wear and tear. The driveway is not for the driver who is faint of heart. The pool and hot tub are being over chlorinated. The outdoor shower by the trail to the beach had no hot water. The trail to the beach is not being well maintained and may be dangerous for older and very young visitors.
My husband and our 2 kids ages 9 and 12 spent a week at The Retreat. We had an amazing vacation. Enjoyed the views and breezes from every room! The beach below was a bit rocky but there was some great snorkeling there. We look forward to returning!
Before anything: I would give this trip 10 out of 10 every time. We LOVED it, want to go back, and enjoyed ourselves SO much. The pre-trip staff (shout out to Florence!) was perfect; the greeter was available and had a great personality; and at no point did we have a need that wasn't met or resolved!
That being said, as a small business owner ourselves, we do have a few suggestions:
1. It's a luxury retreat. Maybe it's fallen away in the shuffle or isn't showcased since it's an "extra", but organize the place. The scuba gear was left in a dirty, unserviceable heap; there was outdated, old food left in the fridge and pantry; and there were a lot of extra chairs or beach equipment strewn about.
2. Convenience is great, but I'm paying for a villa. Exchanging out all the furniture for foldy beach chairs made the space seem mediocre.
3. Definite ant/spider infestation. A "bomb" before the guest arrives would've taken care of that while leaving other critters/lizards in tact!
We stayed here for the last 5 nights of our 4 week honeymoon and it was just perfect - seriously, nothing negative to stay at all. Our biggest tip is that you must hire a jeep on this island, and in particular for this villa. It really is in the middle of nowhere, but we wanted that!!!
If you are looking for a quiet, remote vacation, go to The Retreat. We sat and looked at the view rather than watch TV or read. I do wish the house had different seating in the main house. It is not very comfortable when you are there for a week for R&R. Loved the Hot tub and the stars at night. Really liked the feeling when the house was totally opened up. It was like being on a giant screened in porch. We will be back.
The Retreat must have one of the best views and most private settings on St John. Perfect size for 2 couples. Can't beat the ability to open the walls to the outdoors! Not the most convenient spot for access to restaurants, groceries, and other practicalities, but otherwise a great stay.