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Caneel Bay, St. John

Caneel has the air of old-world Caribbean elegance that tells you, without a word, that this resort was a Laurance Rockefeller development. Tucked within the Virgin Islands National Park, Caneel boasts seven beaches and a natural beauty that is surpassed only by the resort’s high quality service.

Spread out across the lush property, 171 cottages combine “casual elegance” with “St. John camping” to come up with a property where you can feel like you are camping while enjoying plenty of pampering. Cooled by trade winds and a ceiling fan, each cottage has furnishings from the Philippines, screened walls that are open to a pristine view, and cool terrazzo floors as well as an ice chest for daily ice delivery.

Guests check in when they arrive at the airport in St. Thomas and board private ferry service to the resort. Upon arrival, kids are given a special gift and a personalized letter welcoming them to the resort. Complimentary punch is served to kids on the ferry ride over to their home away from home. After check in, children find milk and cookies waiting in their room with a selection of toys chosen for their age. (The ferry service is available several times daily so guests can hop to St. Thomas for a little shopping.) Private ferry service is also available three times a week to the resort’s sister property, Little Dix Bay, on Virgin Gorda. (Bring along your passport or proof of citizenship to take this jaunt to the British Virgin Islands.)

Along with plenty of complimentary diversions (including the Peter Burwash International tennis program), introductory scuba diving clinic, windsurfing, Sunfish and kayaks, and movie presentations, other activities are available at additional charge: half- and full-day sails, beach barbecue, sunset cocktail cruise, guided snorkel trips, fishing charters, massages, and boat charters.

Fun for kids

Children find plenty of fun at Caneel as well. Turtle Town, the children’s center, offers plenty of fun and education. “In Turtle Town, our young visitors learn to appreciate the beauty of our island by going on treasure hunts and nature walks, making arts and crafts with local natural materials, listening to pirate tales, taking Caribbean dance lessons and much more,” explains Joanna Werman, Caneel Bay’s Children’s Program Director.

Each day’s fun in Turtle Town follows a special theme. On Marine Life Day, kids enjoy shore exploration, search for sea turtle nests, enjoy aquatic arts and crafts, watch a Sea Life slide show and more. Other themed days include An Island Home (with nature walks), A World of One/East To Be Me Day (featuring local culture), Mystery Day (with a scavenger hunt and costumed hunt for pirate treasure), Magic Day (complete with magic shows and lessons), and Family Fun Day (highlighted by events for the family such as a ride on the Atlantis Submarine or a look at the island’s ancient petroglyphs).

However your family chooses to enjoy Caneel, there’s one thing sure to please everyone: the resort’s beaches. Here seven pristine stretches of sand are available, so guests can visit a different beach every day. Guests can hop aboard the resort shuttle for quick drop off at any of these beaches; don’t forget to request a picnic lunch to take along!

Tel. 340/776-6111, Fax 340/693-8280. Toll-free US phone number Tel. 888-ROSEWOOD

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