California Girls Trip Report - Part 3 - The Villa w/ Pics

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California Girls Trip Report - Part 3 - The Villa w/ Pics

Post by California Girl »

Trip Report - Part 3 - Bayview Villa & Caribbean Villas

We stayed at Bayview Villa on Ajax Peak overlooking Coral Bay and Peter & Norman Islands to the southeast and Whistling Cay & Francis Bay to the northwest. An absolutely outstanding view!!

My criteria in choosing a villa were as follows in order of importance:
1. Price
2. View
3. Privacy!
4. High up with breezes to keep the bugs away (like THAT worked!)

I knew Bayview wasn't fancy or air-conditioned, but I had it on good authority that the breezes were sufficient to not really need A/C (I don't much like A/C anyway. I'm one of those weirdos that actually thrives in heat and humidity). And I thought I'd like the older style of the home.

There were both good and semi-bad points to both Caribbean Villas and Bayview, itself. I probably wouldn't use CV again or stay at Bayview again, either, but not because it was really a bad experience. However my comments below do reflect my honest opinion.

Our rep from Caribbean Villas, Judy, was nice enough, but she was extremely rushed and she rushed us, as well, and it was she who was LATE getting to the ferry to meet us! It was not fun trying to find her at the ferry dock in Cruz Bay when she wasn't even there yet! Once we got together, she headed off like she was in a marathon, toward her car. She wanted to know if we wanted to stop at Starfish Market or anywhere else. We said, no, because we just wanted to get to our villa and sit out on the patio with a cold one in our hands! (we didn't know about the skeeters yet other than from RickG's trip report - and who believes someone really means it when he says "Biblical proportions"? He's exaggerating, right?) We picked up our rental car at Courtesy and we followed Judy out to Coral Bay. The whole way there we could see Judy pointing out things along the way, but Rick and I had no idea what she was saying. This seemed a little odd to me that she was telling Sharon all this stuff, when it was my name on the rental agreement, but maybe she just didn't think about it that way. So I never really got much one-on-one with her regarding the rules of the villa.

Previously, I defended CV on the forum regarding the 20% service charge, and I still feel Bayview was an excellent price even WITH the service charge, but I kept an open mind until I had stayed there and knew if there actually WAS any service to warrant the extra 20%. The answer (other than the luggage thing) is "no." The place appeared to be clean and well-maintained, but it's old and a little tired and smelled musty in places (but, then again, it is a tropical climate, so maybe that comes with the territory and the recent rains).

Bayview really is rather charming in its own way. However the microwave is technically in the living room, for those who care to know that kind of thing, and watch the low knife rack if you have kids. The stove is one of those smooth cooktop models. I like gas. I only tried to cook once on this stove and gave up when my pancakes came out to be "burnt on the outside gobs of goo." I even took a special square griddle down with me to make pancakes, too! (not an expensive one, maybe a better pan would have cooked better). The griddle worked out great for quesadillas, though. I left it there for the next guests to use :D

Bayview Entrance (northwest patio)

Bayview Living Room

Bayview northwest living room doors. See the microwave & the knives?

Bayview Kitchen (pretty stained glass window!)

The 2 wicker loveseats (as well as a weight bench) on the deck overlooking Coral Bay were covered so we never really looked at them the first couple of days, because we couldn't use the patios because of the mosquitoes.


About Tuesday or Wednesday, I decided to take some pictures of the deck and I uncovered the furniture. Well, I was just a little more than surprised to see the wood-frame base on one of the sofas. I mean, sheesh, look at those big gnarly nails! As tacky as it was, couldn't they at least have put a coat of paint on it? I don't know if this is an issue with the owners, but shouldn't Caribbean Villas make suggestions when they see something like that? Or am I just expecting too much out of a less expensive villa? I don't think I'm a snob. Am I being a snob?


The first night when we went to bed, we were in bed about 5 minutes and I said, "It feels like something's biting me!" And I jumped up and turned on the light and threw the covers back, expecting to see a little spider or something (I'm not afraid of bugs most of the time, I just don't want them ON me). Well, there seemed to be nothing in bed with us, so I chalked it up to mosquito bites I must have gotten just before we went to bed that had just now started itching. I told Sharon about it the next morning and then we all just sort of forgot about it. That night Rick & I shook out the top sheet and comforter real good and sort of swiped off the bottom sheet and neither of us had any problem after that. The next morning Sharon said she had taken a good look at her bed last night, too, and found fleas!! :shock: I should have reported it to CV, but Sharon had already sprayed her bed with OFF and it appeared to be under control. Other than the fleas & skeeters, we didn't have any other bug problems.

We had 3 geckos that shared the living room with us and which we enjoyed immensely because they're so cute and they love to eat bugs! One of them sat on the back side of the lampshade and peered over the top of the shade at us every night. :D

I never used the pool because, at first there was no time (and the skeeters, of course), and by the time I wanted to go in, we had had such tremendous winds at night and in the early morning that there were all sorts of leaves and large dead bugs floating around. It would have been no problem to skim the pool, but I was just too lazy. Sharon used the pool on Monday while Rick & I went out with Capt. Phil, but she said it was really too small to actually "swim" in (she has a good-sized pool at home) and the bottom step dropped off pretty steep & deep.


On Friday our phone rang and it was CV, although I can't remember the lady's name. She didn't say "this is [insert name here] from Caribbean Villas", she just said her name like I should know who she was! So I said, "Yeeesssss???" and she said, "I just called to tell you about the check-out procedures." So I said, "okaay" and she said "What time do you think you'll be leaving tomorrow?" and I said "8:00 a.m." and then she said, "Just leave the doors unlocked and leave the keys on the counter. Have a nice trip home." She was nice and polite, and that was all the contact we had with CV!

I will say one thing, however... The rental contract said they would be collecting a $500 refundable deposit from us upon arrival. That never happened. I don't know if it's just because Judy was so rushed or if they only consider it important when they suspect you might be a big time partier, or have rowdy kids. Who knows?? We looked pretty boring, I guess.

No, I wouldn't rent Bayview Villa again or go through Caribbean Villas again. Not because I felt it was a bad experience in any way, but because I would like to be closer to Cruz Bay next time, and have a bit newer house, and a sunset view. I would also just plain like to experience a different rental company and see how it differs from Caribbean Villas & Resorts. But I would recommend Bayview to anyone who wants an affordable villa and who doesn't want anything fancy or any special treatment. I will say there were also some extremely good points about Bayview and those were: absolutely INCREDIBLE VIEWS from both sides of the house...

Coral Bay from our southeast deck

Whistling Cay & Francis from our northwest patio (thanks for helping me identify this RickG!)

We were walking distance to the smoothie truck and right next to the intersection of Centerline Rd. and North Shore Rd., so you could be in Coral Bay very quickly, or to Cruz Bay or any North Shore beach in no time! And if you're not there during a mosquito swarm, both sides of the house open up so it's open straight through. I bet it's really, really neat when you can have it all opened up like that.
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Post by Jan&MikeVa »

I've been looking for a new wicker love seat, maybe I can make them an offer while on Island next week! :roll: Yeah, pretty tacky in my book.

I have enjoyed your trip reporting and love the pics. Appreciate your honest reviews and attention to detail. We've never used anyone BUT Caribbean Villas, but this trip it's Destination St. John. Am anxious to see what they're like. We never got the rush through the villa deal like you did, but after last year & getting stranded at the dock. Well let's just say it was time to try someone else.

Thanks for the good stuff!

Jan (akaCharlie)
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Post by sea-nile »

Thanks for the report about the villa. The views did look great, but when you can't be out on the patio that pretty much stinks. We had to go the economical route too and our Villa is in Cruz Bay and I don't think it has much of a view. I am hoping that the skeeters are under control when we are there so we can be outside most of the time. :)
Your reports are fun to read and I love all of the pictures that you include. :D
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Post by mbw1024 »

Sorry the villa wasn't better for you and no I don't think you are being a snob. A weight bench on the deck, huh? Fleas, huh?
You sure do take it in stride. I'm not sure I'd be as calm as you.

Great reports..... thanks!
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Post by waterguy »

Great report love the views
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Post by traceysj »

Those pesky skeeters!!

I love your report and the pictures are great!! I used CV before and we didn't have a problem with them. The girl who met us at the ferry was very nice, she brought us to the Conrad's to rent our car and took her time to show us the villa. She had maps of the island and really showed us the ropes. After reading this forum though, I don't love the %20 charge. Must not have realized it 5 years ago. My husband wants to do the last minute rentals for our December visit. That makes me scared!! I like to know where I'm going, but I'm trying to roll with it!!
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Post by kellyanna »

FLEAS? OMG, I would have freaked! Especially if they were in the bed!

You are not a snob!

The views are beautiful. Thank you for your review!
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Post by Mango »

Great report CG. But just to clarify, CV's service charge is 5%, not 20%. :shock: I don't feel the service charge is fair either & I've used CV 3 times.

Post by obsessedmuch »

I was all "eh, no big deal" until you said fleas. That would have been really difficult for me.

Thanks for the report and photos- those are fabulous views!
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Post by cypressgirl »

I agree, the fleas would have freaked me out! And that love seat wasn't too lovable.

The views looked amazing. Too bad for the skeeters.

I have used CV in the past and will be using them twice this summer. I prefer other agencies and don't like the extra 5%, but I think their prices are a little lower than the others. Anyway, they just happened to have the properties that fit my requirements. I think part of the problem with CV is that their main office is in the states. They don't seem to have that personal touch that I have experienced in the past from other rental agencies.

Thanks for sharing and love the pictures.
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Post by kellyanna »

Did ya'll rent your cars through CV (or did they handle that for you) through Courtesy?
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Post by Suds »

Hey CG,

Thanks for the info. Pictures ARE worth a thousand words! Great pics. Ya know I may schedule my next visit AROUND low bug season- wonder when that is?

I also agree with you that you have to try some things to find out what it is really like. You report was IMHO very fair and objective so - no I don't think you were being a snob.

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Post by PA Girl »

I don't think you are being a snob, not at all. I think your review of both the rental and agency was comprehensive and fair.

The wicker loveseat? I can't say I would be thrilled to see it in a rental but it makes me smile - it looks exactly like the type of repair my father would done.
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Post by CariBert »

CG, great report! Enjoying the heck out of it! We have never used a rental agency before, we are using Vacation Vistas this time. Now I have something to compare it to, not that youyr experience is the bench mark!

Fleas, eh? Well I guess that eliminates going to bed comando......

Love the pix and report! Keep em coming! 2 weeks seems like a loooong ways off!!

The liver is evil, it must be punished!

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Post by Jo Ann - VA »

Fleas in you bed? OMG!!! I don't think I would have slept a wink all week. I would have had the hebbie jebbies!

Caribbean Villas was late meeting us at the dock too. We had to wait about 30 minutes....enough time for hubby to get us a couple of beers from JJ's. :lol: Being late really wasn't a problem for us, we were in vacation mode.
The representative (Derek) from CV was nice enough and did a good job. Overall we were pleased.

Jo Ann
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