My wife and I stayed at the castle for a week and absolutely loved it. Four wheel drive is a must; the open plan does allow for bugs, small lizards and birds to share the kitchen and living space just a little,but it wasn’t disagreeable to us. The weather is a little hard on some of the wood at the property so it’s not in perfect condition, but we loved it; the place is a piece of art. That’s the adventure side. The property is well furnished and the views are unparalleled. We could happily have stayed all day at the place, but we were at St. John. For the beaches. Coming back to the castle in the evening to grill dinner and getting up in the morning to gorgeous sunrises were certainly highlights of our trip. Jonathan and Rob are each great to work with and very helpful. We would love to return if we are ever able.
Greenville, South Carolina
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 more useful for keeping the moths out while we read at night. The pictures on the site show the view from your pillow when you open your eyes–Caribbean blue meets sky blue. 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. Castle is unique, very livable and fun, but not for those expecting plush. Outdoor shower and hot tub great.
So we stayed at the castle Christmas vacation with my wife mother in law and two boys 4 and 9. First off the castle is by far the best view on the island 2 rooms lots of space and privacy galore I mean no neighbors to be seen.. The drive up is rough but exciting deer donkeys great for my boys total adventure the place is not the ritz but a beach house (castle) who cares your at the beach everyday.
We wanted to try staying in Coral Bay, as we mostly stay in Cruz Bay. We booked this place based on the pictures. It does have a fabulous view, but is a little on the rustic side. That is great as long as you are prepared for it!! The ride up the hill is a little daunting and takes some getting used to. It is not for the faint of heart. The Castle is very open and quite beautiful. The bed was comfortable. The huge window at the foot of the bed allows the sun to wake you every morning at 6:30 so you are up and ready for the day early. ThereFF is no dish washer, so be prepared to clean your dishes before using them to make sure they are clean. The kitchen was pretty well equipped, but many of the glasses had chips out of them. The most disappointing thing was that the lounge chairs on the deck were ripped and the cushions old. It could use some new furniture. The outside shower was great!!
Our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 teenage boys) spent the week of March 14-21 on St. John and we stayed at “the Castle” near Coral Bay. We had no trouble getting a taxi from the airport in St. Thomas to the ferry dock in Red Hook and the ferry ride over to St. John was very pleasant. Once the ferry arrived in Cruz Bay we found our rental jeep and headed off to meet Rob at the Calabash Market near the Castle. Rob (the property manager) took us up the long dirt road to the property and showed us around. Rob was very friendly and gave us some valuable tips on getting around the island and things to see and do. The weather was perfect, sunny and in the low 80’s every day. There was a constant breeze though the Castle so it stayed very comfortable, even in the afternoon. There was quite a menagerie of critters passing through, lizards, birds, hermit crabs, etc. IMPROTANT TIP: keep the wrought iron gate closed to keep out the donkeys, goats, and deer that wander by.
We very much enjoyed the “off-road adventure” sense of driving up and down the dirt road. We had a 4WD jeep but it was not really necessary although it would certainly come in handy if it had rained during our stay.
The kitchen was well equipped and everything as in good working order. There were two small telescopes but the mirrors were starting to corrode, however, the still collected enough light to be useful at Jupiter and Mars (the night sky was spectacular). The beds were comfortable and there was a cooler, beach towels, and beach chairs for us to use.
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.
A FlipKey verified reviewer
Ithaca, New York
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!
New Orleans, Louisiana
We stayed for 6 nights and wish it could’ve been longer! The Castle is such a unique and well-designed structure. Attention to detail is evident in every aspect. It’s truly a work of art! The location is a little rough to get to but well worth it once you arrive! As beautiful as St. John is, it’s hard to leave this sanctuary and it’s stunning view! The caretaker lives just down the hill and is extremely accommodating. We can’t wait to come back!
Pam and Craig
We stayed in the Castle for 8 nights, for our Honeymoon in July 2013. Words cannot express enough how absolutely perfect it was! We did not want to leave! Jonathan was such a pleasure to work with.
The Castle was so unique and lovely. We loved the open airiness, the wildlife that would meander through the house. The best thing, however, were the views. So beautiful and peaceful. We by far, could not have picked a better place on Earth to have our Honeymoon.
As everyone else has stated, you must have a 4 wheel drive for your stay here. We toyed with the idea of not renting a car, but after spending 8 nights here, and exploring the island, it is a must to rent a 4 wheel drive, and we are glad we did. The road is very bumpy and steep (which adds to the fun!). We would highly recommend staying at the Castle, and definitely want to visit again!!
The castle views are spectacular. You cannot, simply cannot, get any better in the world (at least within a short distance of other folks.) The castle is also very private. I liked the fact we could go for days without having to see any other person.
The castle is for folks wanting to feel closer to nature and want to be further away from the usual droll and mundane. If you are a fan of architecture, the castle is a must. The castle offers what I can only describe as social architecture. I cannot see a homestead like this existing in most populated areas on the planet. There are walls and windows omitted in the design, and for good reason too. I truly appreciate the amount of creativity put into the building itself.
If you are comfortable camping then the daily flurry of nature’s visitors into the castle are no big deal. Hermit crabs, lizards, deer, foxes, donkeys and dragon flies are always around. Some less welcome guests (but usually only outside) are mosquitoes and wasps.
You do need a proper jeep or a good 4×4. The hill is very arduous. We made a point of walking up and down from the castle to sea level almost every day, but I doubt many folks will be able to do that unless you are fit.
If anything is slightly amiss is the heavy rust present on some of the metal fittings and cutlery. All manageable, but could do with a refresh.
All in all, the best place we’ve ever stayed in the world. I’m in awe of Jonathan and Eve.
My husband and I stayed at the castle for 4 days during our honeymoon. We were thankful to have a fully-equipped kitchen to cook our meals after spending 5 days eating in restaurants in St. Thomas. The castle was so intricately built, you could tell the builder spend a lot of time and attention to detail. It was a bit more rugged than I imagined it to be. Only the upper castle bedroom locks so the rest of the house is open to the elements and insects. This wasn’t a major problem, would just bring bug spray next time. The property manager Bonnie was great and made recommendations for places to see and eat while we were on St. John. This would be an ideal place for 2 couples as there is plenty of space and is set up for entertaining (games, hot tub, big living room, etc.). It is up a long road and while we always felt safe, once at the top of the mountain it can feel a bit secluded. All in all, we loved this place and look forward to grabbing another couple and coming back soon!
Although the trip up the mountain is treacherous, the views from the top are worth the bumps, turns and dips. This is not a drive for the faint of heart. Once at the top, experience true magical scenery and seclusion – views you cannot imagine until you see with your own eyes and stars you feel as though you can reach out and touch. Although the kitchen wasn’t as well equipped as we would have liked, we cooked many meals in. The views “at home” were far better than anywhere on the island. The grill was wonderful and well-utilized on our stay. We loved the lizards, hermit crabs, and birds in our little paradise. The outdoor shower was wonderful! The seclusion and privacy something we’d never experienced anywhere! The whole experience was rustic rather than lavish but entirely unique and unforgettable.
Beaufort, South Carolina
Castle St. John was different from anything else we had seen when trying to pick the perfect honeymoon location and believe me, I took my time looking. Once we came across it we were hooked. Jonathan was my contact and talking to him was one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole experience. Got to the island with little light to spare, but after a day of nothing but travel and exhaustion, we new were home when we topped the hill and saw the castle. Next morning the sun came out and and so did the kid in us. We explored everything and it was amazing. We love nature so even the lizards were exciting. I still swear they starter posing for pictures after day two. The views are like nothing you’ll ever get a resort (which we hate). Bottom line, stay here and experience everything, you’ll think about it every day and for those who work their tails off like us, its a piece of heaven you’ll keep forever.
Josh & Beth
my wife and I chose the castle for our wedding. What a terrific decision. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this place. The only negative is the road up the hill, but to be totally honest it was worth it. My new bride wanted to stay another week. Then she wanted to buy the place. We plan on going back every year for our anniversary.
A FlipKey verified reviewer
kansas city mo
The Castle acted as my honeymoon villa for a week and my wife and I were completely blown away by it’s complete awesomeness. The ride up the mountain made the whole thing so much greater as well! The Castle is beautifully made, has a wonderful collection of books, musical instruments (I’m a musician), and art. Bonnie, the property manager, is an absolute pleasure and I would like to purchase the Castle should it go on the market…unfortunately I’m newly married and broke from my St John wedding experience! Thank you John and Eve for sharing your absolutely magical and love-inducing hideaway with us! We will stay there again~
We’re Castle Addicts! My wife and I have stayed at the castle two years in a row and plan to make this the third. The location is fantastic – amazing views, absolutely peaceful, very private. The Castle is a wonderful work of art in itself, and the deck is a slice of heaven. Every part of the villa has the best views on the island. It’s a completely unique experience! Visit their website – castlestjohn.com – for more info and search YouTube for “Castle St John” for some videos.
The Castle is perfect for couples or a pair of couples. Particularly folks looking for a bit of an adventure. The drive up the mountain is very rough and can be nerve racking for some. Once you’re there, you are literally on top of the world.
We got into a good groove of waking with the sun, taking an easy breakfast, going to a beach for the morning with a picnic lunch, taking a nap and reading books on the deck in the afternoon, then going out for dinner.
Note that the Castle is fairly rugged. There aren’t many doors, and the ones there don’t seal – but they’re beautiful heavy doors like you’d expect on a castle! You’ll need to be friends with small wildlife. The lizards particularly like to watch your vacation. The A/C is marginal at best, so if you’re there in the summer, be prepared to dress light and stay in the breeze. There’s always a fresh wind up there! The Castle is incredibly open, but that’s never a worry. Most of the days had perfect weather. When we had storms, we actually preferred to stay in the great room and watch!
The kitchen has everything you’d expect and there is a gas grill. We cooked over half our meals at the Castle. There is a TV – we turned it on just to see if it worked.
My wife left part of her soul in Maui with the whales, I left part of mine on the Castle’s deck. Must go back regularly to visit.
A FlipKey verified reviewer
Our stay at The Castle was amazing. For those looking for a bit more adventure than the average resort folk, this is the place to go. We stayed there for a week in late April with awesome views and weather the entire time. Even on hot days, the wind across the ridge keeps you cool. And while a jostling trip up and down the 4WD-only “road” would scare some people away, it also guarantees total privacy. We saw nobody from our villa all week, other than the cars that looked like ants on the roads below. We also made daily excursions out for hikes, beaching it, or eating dinner in Cruz Bay, so the entire island is still at your disposal even with the remote location. The bustle is nice occasionally for food and a little shopping, but if you want a place with absolutely none, The Castle is perfect. It is also more affordable than most other villas on the island, probably due to the lack of a swimming pool and the need to drive to the beach. It does have a hot tub however, and the positives of total privacy and a continually stunning view more than make up for the added travel time, at least for us. We’d go back in a heartbeat.