My Caneel Bay

An Idyllic Girls Trip to Caneel Bay Resort, a Hidden Gem Located on St. John in the US Virgin Islands
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By the time December rolls around, I’m usually knee-deep in the holiday crazy, and I find myself engulfed in my absolute busiest time of year.  Between the Shop and editorial shoots, I can usually be found frantically running around town with my head cut off.  So you can imagine my excitement at the opportunity to jet away for a warm Caribbean retreat.  To be completely honest I was a bit anxious at the idea of truly unplugging during the December madness, but Kat assured me that a girl’s trip and a little “island-time” living was exactly what we needed.  

And after what turned out to be a mad-dash to the airport, during one of Atlanta’s worst traffic moments (we barely caught our flight thank you Mr. Good Samaritan for opening the gate for us!), Kat and I settled in for our three-hour flight to St. Thomas with the thought of sun on our backs, sand beneath our toes, and Painkillers in-hand.

For generations, people have made their way to Caneel Bay Resort for a luxurious, yet refreshingly simple getaway. Families and friends seek out, and always return, to this Caribbean destination to escape their daily hustle and instead drink in the relaxing, laid-back vibe on this quiet bay. It’s a place to truly unplug; no telephones or televisions can be found within the rooms.  But in its simplicity, lies what I consider true luxury; Caneel Bay‘s plush bathrobes and comfortable amenities gently reminded us to slow down and reset.

If Caneel Bay Resort is unfamiliar to you, don’t be surprised.  Caneel Bay may be one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets, though the reviews speak for themselves.  What makes it truly unique is its claim to 170 acres of St. John’s vibrant and lush National Park, as well as seven seriously stunning, pristine beaches.  We couldn’t possibly narrow it down to a favorite beach—seeing as there’s a beach for every day—but we may have been partial to the ones where we caught sight of the sweet wild donkeys roaming and happily grazing. They were just too cute! 

For all of you history buffs, Caneel Bay was discovered by none other than Laurance Rockefeller on a sailing trip, and the resort stays true to its promise of upholding Rockefeller’s dream to preserve the splendor of its natural setting. You truly have the feeling that you’re stumbling upon a hidden sanctuary, safe from tourist traps and high-rise hotels, a secret tucked in the Caribbean.  Our ocean-front views were idyllic, and the fact that our rooms were merely steps away from the water’s edge was a perk that simply could not be beat.  While the warm, friendly Caneel Bay Resort staff was happy to set us up with a slew of activities: oceanfront massages, diving expeditions, paddle boarding, snorkeling and sunset cruises, we spent most our our days relaxing in lounge chairs and just soaking it all in.

To say we had exquisite meals on our trip is a major understatement.  Atop the resort’s 18th-century sugar mill, Zozo’s restaurant and bar welcomed us with open arms on our first evening.  We shared delightful dishes while enjoying its stunning open-air perch that overlooked the entire resort.  But of course, we were then blown away by Chef Nicholas Arnold and his culinary team at Turtle Bay Estate House, taste testing and sipping through the evening with each bite and gulp better than the last.  And while the resort is where we spent most of our time we did wander through the streets of downtown St. John which embodied island life; happy, bright, and beyond welcoming.

Looking back through photos, I’m reminded how hard it is to into words just how stunning Caneel Bay Resort‘s crystal clear water really is.  It’s safe to say that we continued our love affair with blues on this vacation, studying the many shades of cerulean, aqua and sea foam floating timelessly…the way the water caught the sparkle of sunlight, and illuminated with such vibrant electricity during the 5 minute island rain showers…well it was something to behold.  And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better a rainbow appeared, but we didn’t need to search for the pot of gold, we had already found it.  Truly, MKR & Kat





All images original to Waiting on Martha | THIS STORY WAS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH Caneel Bay Resort, A resort WE LOVE AND ADORE. OPINIONS ARE 100% OUR OWN. 

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  • This place looks SO beautiful! We’ve been told we’re going to be getting -25 degree temperatures this weekend so I’m not so secretly dying to sneak away. Ain’t nobody got time for that kind of cold!

  • I loved your Snapchats from Caneel Bay – the beaches are divine and the wild donkeys are too cute! It definitely looks like the perfect place to unwind (and warm up)!

  • Matt Denholm / 02.09.2016

    My sister in law shared this blog with me because this is where my wife and I honeymooned. The trip was divine and Caneel is such a beautiful place to relax and unwind. The service there and the staff are delightful. The scenery and the beaches are world class. It’s not for everyone, but my wife and I are so lucky to have wound up there and are looking forward to trips in the future there.

  • Kat Neunaber / 02.11.2016

    Sooo cold! Stay warm Jacquelyn! xo

  • Kat Neunaber / 02.11.2016

    Love to hear that, Matt! We definitely agree; it’s such a beautiful place to relax and unwind. xo

  • Theresa / 02.16.2016

    Loved reading your Blog about Caneel Bay!! Was there in Nov. & had a wonderful time, seeing the wild donkeys is the best!! Everything about Caneel Bay and St John is amazing, can’t wait to go back, I want to start planning my trip.

  • Maggie / 02.16.2016

    We have been lucky enough to visit this beautiful resort, Caneel Bay, the last ten years. It is truly peace and quiet and heaven on earth.

  • Caneel Bay is my favorite place. I’m dying to go back. We went for our 10th anniversary. We plan on taking our kids back to snorkel with us next time. Thanks for the gorgeous photos and a lovely reminder of heaven.

  • Lynn Skinner / 02.17.2016

    So excited to hear about your trip to Caneel. I started working here in October and everyday feels like a vacation. Especially when you spend lunch with the donkeys!!

  • Truly my favorite place in the world. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.

  • Kat Neunaber / 03.07.2016

    Thanks for the kind words, Kelly! We so enjoyed our stay at Caneel Bay, and have a feeling we’ll both be back someday! xo

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