The fastest-growing sector of St. John’s accommodation market is villas, private homes rented out for a week or more at a time. Many are owned by snowbirds, who rent the house out when they are not using it. Others were constructed specifically for vacation rentals. Villas come in a wide variety of styles and sizes, but most have two or more bedrooms, with capacity to sleep large groups of people. One-bedroom villas are hard to find.
Villa rental rates vary widely but generally start around $2,500 per week in the winter and top out at over $10,000. Average rates are $3,000–5,000 per week.
The best way to book a villa is to contact a villa rental agency. These agencies represent villas, make reservations, and, in many cases, manage the properties for the owners. Carefree Getaways (340/779-4070, U.S. toll-free 888/643-6002, www.carefreegetaways.com) specializes in villas south of Cruz Bay, in Chocolate Hole, Rendezvous Bay, and Gift Hill. Windspree Vacation Homes (Coral Bay, 340/693-5423, U.S. toll-free 888/742-0357, www.windspree.com) represents several dozen villas around Coral Bay and the east end.
Catered To Inc. (Marketplace, Cruz Bay, 340/776-6642, U.S. toll-free 800/424-6641, fax 340/693-8191, www.cateredto.com) represents some 50 villas in the Cruz Bay and north shore areas. Virgin Islands Vacations and Villas (Boulon Center, Cruz Bay, 340/779-4250, U.S. toll-free 888/856-4601, www.vivacations.com) and Caribbean Villas and Resorts (U.S. toll-free 800/338-0987, www.caribbeanvilla.com) have a wide selection of villas all over the island.
Caribe Havens (340/776-6518, www.caribehavens.com) is a small rental agency specializing in inexpensive rentals. Despite the lower price tags, these comfortable and clean homes offer good locations and views. Many of the properties pre-date the recent large-scale building boom. Weekly rates range $1,100–2,500 in winter and $875–1,500 in summer.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition