Minimalist Travel: Review of Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI

Sam FarringtonMinimalist Travel

Minimalist Travel Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI

After arriving at the ferry dock in Cruz Bay, our family of four made the two block walk to our home for the week. We chose the Grande Bay Resort on St. John over other places on the island because it had a kitchen for us to cook our own meals, a close proximity to Cruz Bay, a separate bedroom for the adults, washer and dryer, and a swimming pool for the kids.

Upon checking in at the main office, we were led to our room, which was located on the first floor. Prior to booking the resort, we took the advice of other reviewers and asked for a room on an upper level to have a view of Cruz Bay that wasn’t obstructed by wires and was quieter from the street noise.

Although a bit disappointed that our request wasn’t granted, we settled in for a week in paradise. For what it’s worth, noise from the street below was never an issue and the view is better than what I’m used to at home!

Here’s the view from our first floor room at the Grande Bay Resort. Although wires obstructed the view a bit, it is much better than what I’m used to at home!

We appreciated the complimentary bottle of rum and two cans of Coke even though we opted to leave these untouched for the next group of guests. Crazy I know!

Nearby Grocery Store

Our plan was to cook our own meals in the kitchen for most of the week, so the first order of business was to go shopping at the Dolphin Market grocery store. Bringing our empty backpacks to use as grocery bags, we made our first grocery run, which was a short 5 block walk.

The Master Bedroom and Bathroom

The master bedroom had an extremely comfortable king-sized bed with a nightstand on each side. There was a ceiling fan, but the only lights in the room were the table top lamps by the bed. We were supplied with flashlights for when the power goes out.

We inquired if the power goes out often and the answer was an immediate, yes. I’m still unsure if it’s an entire island thing, a Cruz Bay issue, or simply the Grande Bay Resort, but we only had the power go out for about 10 minutes one of the mornings.

  • Grande Bay Resort St. John Master Bedroom Review
    Scroll through the pics.
    Grande Bay Resort Master Bedroom with lamps on the nightstands (and flashlights for power outages)
  • Grande Bay Resort Shower St. John USVI
    The bathroom, which was in the master bedroom had a large walk in shower. Shampoo, conditioner, and soap were provided.
  • Grande Bay Resort Washer and Dryer
    The washer and dryer were located in a closet in the master bedroom. Washing machine pods were provided, but dryer sheets were not. We simply opted against using/buying dryer sheets for the week.

Kitchen and Living Room

The kitchen was a little tight if more than one person was making breakfast or dinner, but definitely got the job done. There were plenty of glasses, plates, and cookware available to use. We also used the microwave each day for popcorn, the toaster for bagels, and the coffeemaker (filters were provided) for our daily cup of joe.

Tip: The one item we wish we would’ve purchased at Dolphin Market was cooking spray. We are used to cooking on a gas stove, so the electric flat-top stove in our room provided us with a sticky challenge!

  • Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI Living Room and Kitchen
    The kitchen was a little tight but had the essentials for cooking for the week.
  • Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI Living Room Review
    4 bar stool chairs, tv, and pullout couch.
  • Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI Living Room and Patio
    Our kids claimed the pullout bed wasn’t their favorite, but the patio sure was!

The Swimming Pool

The swimming pool was small, but rarely were other guests utilizing the water. The pool deck has plenty of chairs for lounging and we were able to use the beach towels (separate from the shower towels) that are supplied for you in your room.

The hot tub was extremely hot, but it’s possible that our bodies were always warm from being out in the sun all day.

A special bonus for our kids were the iguanas. We started hearing noises on the roof and in the gutters of a nearby building. Much to our surprise, there were iguanas everywhere!

They were obviously used to people, but we kept a safe distance and let them soak up the sun right next to us.

  • Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI Swimming Pool
    The swimming pool was small, but there was rarely other guests using it.
  • Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI Swimming Pool at Night
    The swimming pool at night.
  • Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI Swimming Pool Deck
    Plenty of chairs to lounge on the deck.
  • Grande Bay Resort St. John USVI Swimming Pool Deck Iguana
    The iguanas started being active in the early evening. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone!
  • Grande Bay Resort Iguanas St. John USVI
    Look in the nearby trees, on rooftops, and even on the walls to spot some iguana friends!
  • Grande Bay Resort Sign St. John USVI
    A post swimming picture opportunity on the way back to the room

Bonus Items

Beach Towels

Grande Bay Resort gives you separate towels (not your shower towels) to take to the beach that you may exchange each day.

Beach chairs

You can pick up complimentary beach chairs at the Grande Bay Resort main office. Although awkward to carry, the two chairs we held onto for the week were so nice to have at the beach.

Soft cooler

Strange how something as simple as a soft cooler can enhance a trip! We were able to pack our lunches each day and use ice from the ice maker in the freezer to keep our food and drinks cool. The cooler was also complimentary and already in the room!

Umbrellas

We never used the two complimentary umbrellas, but they were available for rain or even shade. It was recommended to always bring the umbrellas to the beach, but opted to check our weather app at the beginning of the day to help aide our decision making.

Safe in the closet

We did put our laptop, a wallet, and a phone in the safe each day when going to the beach. It’s not necessary, but I suppose it’s a nice bonus item.

Internet

You never know how fast internet will be on an island. I had to work for a couple hours one day and was pleasantly surprised at the internet speed.

Cell Phone Service on St. John

We noticed many travelers struggling with roaming on their cell phones. Our phones are through Sprint, and we never had connectivity issues.

Bugs

Not sure if March is too early for the bugs, but we had no issues at all. There were a few mosquitoes hanging around the patio in the morning and early evenings, but our bug spray didn’t get used.

Complimentary Happy Hour

Low Key Watersports is next door to Grande Bay Resort. The resort had a complimentary happy hour here twice a week, and they were nice enough to make our kids delicious strawberry smoothies!

Television

One television in the living room and one in the master bedroom. These didn’t get used much on our trip, but they are available for those who can’t go without your favorite show for a week.

Cleaning Service

Our room only got cleaned once while we were there. I loved this! Having a room cleaned each day seems completely unnecessary to me.

Recycling could be improved

Recycling was really the only area we thought could see some improvement. Aluminum cans could be recycled, but everything else went into the trash compactor. I’m not sure if this is an island-wide issue, but I’d love to see a wider recycling program. After all, 60% of the island is a national park!

  • Beach chair and towel St. John USVI
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    Beach chair and beach towel at Trunk Bay!
  • The soft cooler might be my favorite bonus item!
  • Low Key Watersports St. John Happy Hour
    Delicious smoothie from Grande Bay Resort complimentary happy hour at Low Key Watersports.
  • Low Key Watersports St. John USVI Happy Hour
    Delicious smoothie from Grande Bay Resort complimentary happy hour at Low Key Watersports.

Conclusion

I highly recommend Grande Bay Resort. The close proximity to the ferry dock and taxis in Cruz Bay gives you quick access to anywhere you want to go, whether on St. John or even exploring other islands.

Other amenities allow you to pack light, cook your own meals, and keep you comfortable while relaxing in paradise. We can’t wait to go back!

About the Author

Sam Farrington

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Sam is a personal finance blogger and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional passionate about helping people improve their finances through minimalism. He's a financial expert who’s been quoted in such publications as Forbes, USA Today, Money, Yahoo! Finance, Nerdwallet, and Nasdaq.