The world of travel may have changed, but one thing hasn’t: a luxury villa remains one of the ultimate vacations to take in the Caribbean.
And today, a villa getaway is that much more alluring: you have the built-in privacy, comfort and, well, all the social distancing you want.
And while Caribbean destinations have begun reopening their borders to tourism, it’s the US Virgin Islands that is the easiest and best villa destination in the region right now. (Here’s more on the USVI’s recent reopening)
And within the USVI, the crown jewel of villa vacations is the island of St John, a quick ferry ride from nearby St Thomas.
Two-thirds of the island of St John is a national park, making it one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the region, says Stiles Bennet, president and CMO of WIMCO Villas.
“Development within the park is prohibited, so much of the island is wild and pristine,” Bennet tells Caribbean Journal. “There is excellent snorkeling right off shore of several beaches, and you can arrnage scuba or snorketing outings to nearby reefs through one of several companies on the island. Another point of interest is the charming village of Cruz Bay, known for colorful pedestrian friendly streets, with an interesting selection of bars, restaurant and shops.”
So if you want to take a villa vacation to St John, how do you do it?
The major airlines have resumed many of their flights to the USVI’s hub of St. Thomas.
Take a short taxi to the ferry dock in Red Hook, board a 20-minute ferry and you’re in the beach town of Cruz Bay.
If you’re looking for more privacy, you can also hire a private boat charter, Bennet says. And of course, travelers can fly private to St Thomas, too.
“Leaving the docks by the airport is actually a shorter route than going from Red Hook.” he says.
And then there are the other questions travelers now have in the world of COVID-19.
Can the villa be stocked to avoid having to go shopping? Yes, Bennet says, meaning you can ask your villa rental agency to either pre-stock the villa or fill out a shopping list, with a small delivery fee added.
Villas are now asked to try and clean when the guests are not inside the villa.
“That’s the best option for everyone,” Bennet says. “Extra attention is now paid to wiping down and disinfecting all surfaces, limiting contact with a client’s personal items such as toiletries, and airing the house out thoroughly between stays. When any service provider is in the villa, be it a house keeper or private chef or anyone else, they will wear a mask.”
So where to stay?
There’a range of options among St John villas.
For the a more affordable option, try Villa Blue Tang, a two-bedroom retreat in Great Cruz Bay a few minutes from the beach and terrific eateries.
And for something more luxurious, there’s Villa Island Girl, a four-bedroom stunner near Coral Bay, with spectacular views of the bay and some incredible sunrises, too.
And for the ultra-luxe option, there’s Villa Limetree, set on Peter Bay, a brand-new villa with Mediterranean flair and a breathtaking pool deck and hot tub.
For more, visit WIMCO.