Gallows Point Resort is a great place on a small headland on the south-western side of Cruz Bay on the beautiful St. John in the US Virgin Islands (not to be confused with St. John's, which is in Antigua and Barbuda). It's one of the few places around that is directly on the water, so you can walk from your room straight to water and head out snorkeling or swimming. (The shot below with the turtle was taken just a few yards off the shore directly in front of the resort.) It's not a resort in the Cancun sense--it's smaller and more self-contained than that--but also much more relaxed. And it's a great place to see some stunning Caribbean sunsets and a convenient jumping off point to explore St. John's beautiful beaches.
I've been lucky enough to stay there several times now. Here are some shots I've taken there.
What To Know Before You Go
- Gallows Point Resort is closer to a serviced apartments model than a full-service hotel resort. Rooms are serviced daily and there is a small (but very good) restaurant and bar on the premises (but no room service). All rooms have kitchens, a full-size fridge, and basic cooking and entertaining equipment. Each unit is individually owned, so each is decorated differently.
- There is also a small shop on the premises, although if you plan to cook you'll need to either take the ingredients with you or visit one of the larger grocery stores on the island. A couple are walkable, but it's a long walk with heavy groceries. St. John prices are generally higher than you'll be used to back home--everything has to be brought over by boat, after all.
- Snorkeling equipment can be rented at the resort's store. They can also make arrangements for boat tours, etc.
- All of the Gallows apartments have views of the water. Some face the sea and some face the harbor (Cruz Bay). Harbor-facing apartments can sometimes be a little noisier due to the boat traffic. Apartments right next to the pool can also be a little noisier depending on who your fellow guests are. Upper units generally have a better view and a more interesting layout but are a bit more expensive. The lower units are still very good but have the bedroom in the back rather than in a loft upstairs.
- There's no airport on St. John, so you'll have to fly into St. Thomas (airport code STT) and catch a ferry to St. John's Cruz Bay. There are usually two ferries. More convenient to the airport is the Downtown Ferry, which leaves from St. Thomas harbor, but the schedule can be erratic. More reliable, but involving a longer taxi ride from the airport, is the Red Hook Ferry. The group taxi/shuttles at the airport can take you to either, and you can ask dispatchers at the taxi rank at the airport if the Downtown Ferry is currently running.
- Gallows Point Resort is a short walk up the hill from the Cruz Bay ferry terminal and the resort will have a car waiting to meet you for luggage (let them know in advance which ferry you'll be on).
- Take your passport. The USVI is part of the United States but you will pass through customs before you board your flight home. You'll also need your passport if you want to do a day trip via boat to the nearby British Virgin Islands.
- One of the great things about Gallows is that it's a very short walk to Cruz Bay town (< 5 mins), so you don't normally need a car. Rental cars are available on St. John but it's worth booking ahead of time--they can run out. They're also expensive. You don't need a special international license, but be warned that they drive left-hand-drive cars on the left-hand side of the road and the roads are often steep and winding. If you're only going to the occasional beach on the northern shore, probably a better bet is to catch one of the many open-back taxis lined up at the Cruz Bay ferry terminal.
- There's a well-equipped scuba shop on the waterfront in Cruz Bay with daily dives (Low Key Watersports).
- Take a book. One of the great pleasures of being there is relaxing by the pool or the sea with a book, but you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere in town selling much of a range of books. The resort shop has a few beach reads and each room usually has a few books to read, but that's about it. There is a local public library in Cruz Bay, but I don't know what its membership requirements are or the extent of its holdings. For e-book readers like the Kindle, the Gallows Point Resort has WiFi but 3G access can be spotty.
- The resort is not designed for young kids. Taking very young kids is strongly discouraged. There are no fences around the pool or along the waterline.
- Don't mind the iguanas! Or the cat.