Island Hopping - 10 islands in one week

Island Hopping - 10 islands in one week and why St John is still the Best.

 

This week, I was fortunate enough to get a little time off and get in some Island Hopping and had a chance to compare islands and research Caribbean service styles.   I could title this article “Why you love to hate Caribbean Service Style”, but I am not grabbing headlines with click bait.  I will tell you why that when you arrive, you think the service is lazy and when you leave, you think it was amazing and why you can not wait to come back and get some more.

 

An amazing week is easy to have with St John as a home base.  Wednesday, we went boating in the British Virgin Islands.  Leaving St John on a calm sunny morning, and heading out to sea is breathtaking.  The cool breeze coupled with the warm sun as the clear blue water slips beneath you under the boat.  It’s transcendental.  That day I took us to Tortola, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke and a quick stop at Flanagan Island to finish the day.  The dark green steep hills of Tortola, the Rugged outpost and mind boggling clear waters of Norman Island, the beach life of Jost Van Dyke and the lonely majestic reefs of Flanagan Island all offered in one day what some people are not lucky enough to experience in a lifetime.  Still, at the end of the day, we wanted to come home, to St John.

 

Friday, we literally hopped our way to Nevis, another tiny island 158 miles South East of my home in Coral Bay.  That trip took us by Car to Cruz Bay, by Boat to St Thomas, by Taxi to the Cyril King Airport, by Plane to St Maarten, By Plane to Antigua, By Plane to St Kitts and by Boat to Nevis.  What a day!  St Thomas, a necessary evil for St John was hectic and practical. St Maarten was brief on this trip, with it’s looming over development and multi national culture clash all ready to bring luxury to the beach.  Antigua proudly embracing it’s European roots and preparing for cricket matches with cheese on baguettes whilst a regatta begins just off shore.  St Kitts with its fiercely proud history and independence (independent since just 1983 – a moment in history too large and so recent that men reminisce about it with a twinkle in their eye…because they lived that midnight moment.) And Nevis, with it’s small island feel and it’s single peak, a symbol of natural pride and self reliance.

 

So what did I learn about in such brief glimpses?  Besides that we are lucky to have the opportunity to travel and experience such beautiful places.  Besides that you can find diversity and kindness everywhere?  Besides that each place can be so close and so far from each other; geographically, culturally, practically and most important that ever subtle VIBE?  What I learned is that although Caribbean Service style may sound like an oxymoron, in fact, I believe service in the Caribbean to be some of the best in the world.   To be fully served without pretentiousness and with casual style takes a talent unknown to the modern fast paced world.  It is this key combination of casual attitude and full attention to detail that creates a world class experience.  Day after day, travelers arrive carrying stress and quick judgment.  It takes unbelievable talent to turn that around, a talent found throughout the Caribbean, but mostly on St John.

 

Even with my visit to the 10 very different islands this week, St John remains the best.  I can say this with the confidence of experiencing hundreds of islands and destinations across the globe.  St John has the unique quality of being the best of everything.  The best beaches, the best food, the best service, the best accommodation options, the best access, the best infrastructure and the nicest people. 

 

I will continue to travel with an open mind, and hope that one day, I may find a better place, but for now, St John remains on top.    

St John Vacation Rentals vs St John Long Term Rentals

The Enduring Strength of the St John Rental Market

 

Even as the economic roller coaster permeates real estate and financial markets globally, here on St John, the real estate rental market refuses to burst.  Both long and short term rentals on island continue to command high prices in what seems to be a reflection of the steady stream of demand and extreme shortage of supply. 

Gorgeous St John Rentals are in high demand, both for short and long term.  This stunning short term rental has sold out for Nov - June for the last 10 years.   

Short term rental villas have solidified their position in vacation accommodations on St John.  Even with as many as 900 properties available for weekly vacation rentals on island, occupancy for this season was strong and projections for next season are strong from a poll of booking agents and owners, with most properties already booking up or nearly sold out for the 2017 high season.  With short term vacation rentals, owners who have good property management can expect nearly 100% occupancy for Nov 1 - May 1.  And it does not turn off like a switch.  The summer months can see as high as 80% occupancy on average for June and July.  August and November average at about 50% occupancy.  It is no wonder that investing in real estate on St John has it's advantages.  The short term market provides a viable stream of income to the owners who also want occasional use of their homes and can be the best option for owners who want their home professionally maintained and cleaned weekly. 

 

Getting a long term rental with a view like this isn't cheap.  Many simple homes such as this rent for as much as $2000/month for a one bedroom apartment with a year lease.

Long term rentals are difficult to come by.  The extremely high demand, coupled with the limited inventory have set monthly lease rates (on year long leases) to an average of $1800 for a one bedroom apartment plus utilities.  Furnished apartments go for even more.  With rates this high, many owners have built small apartments below their homes or on their properties to capitalize on the additional income stream.  Some have developed small apartment buildings or condos on vacant lots to target this lucrative market. 

 

All in all, owners and buyers can take comfort in the fact that properties on St John can and will continue to provide real income from rent, be it year leases or weekly guests.  Get in touch with me if you would like to further discuss the rental possibilities of properties here on St John.

 

6 bedroom Beach Front Villa on St John

6 bedroom Beach Front Villa on St John for Large Groups and Families

The Virgin Islands, especially on the island of St John, has always been a gathering place for big families, weddings and groups of friends.  It is a place to celebrate, to re-connect, to relax and to experience.  But, finding a rental home on St John that can hold groups of 12 or more can be a challenge.  There are only a handful of homes capable of holding more then 12 guests and many of those are really expensive - up to $30,000 per week!  Villa St John is an exception.  This 6 master bedroom, 6 bath (plus 2 half bath) beach front home on St John's Chocolate Hole Bay can sleep up to 18 guests, and for almost 1/2 the price of some of the other homes of this size.  Close to Cruz Bay for easy access, the home boasts a large pool and 2 hot tubs.

With a large pool, 2 hot tubs and a staircase to the beach, this 6 bedroom St John Villa is ideal for your group of 12 or more

With 6 equal Master bedrooms, each with tons of space, a giant bathroom with his and her sinks, jetted tubs, showers, separate water closets and walk in closets, views from everywhere and covered balconies, the home easily sleeps 12 guests.  Use the 2 pull out couches with memory foam mattresses or add additional air beds to sleep up to 18 guests.  With each room equal, you dont have to worry about your cousin Hal complaining about being stuck in the basement or grandma Celia needing to be close to the kitchen.  Situated as a guest house and a main house, each with their own full kitchen, you can book this home knowing that even relative strangers will have enough privacy, but you can still be all together.  

One of 6 master bedrooms at Villa St John

Planning a wedding or family reunion on St John?  Be sure to reserve Villa St John early.  Now offering wedding parties of up to 65 guests, the home easily can be a home base or easy solution to your planning hurdles.  Put the whole bridal party in there, or book this house for your whole side of family.  Super kid friendly, this home is the perfect place for your grand kids, nieces, and nephews. 

The grand entry view from the main villa.  With 6 bedrooms, Villa St John has the space you need for large groups and families on St John

Contact us  today to ask more about your big group or family getting into this amazing 6 bedroom villa on St John.