I just returned from a one week stay at Ambiance and had a great experience no problems at all! The furnishings and upholstery all looked new and the house was immaculate. Ambiance is large and spacious there were only two of us so we only used the master suite. One of the first things that I always check is the condition of the pillows as they are often overlooked not at Ambiance new white and pristine.
The beach equipment chairs umbrella's and coolers all were clean and in good condition. The washer and dryer appear to be new along with a clear ice maker which we appreciated. The infinity edge pool is a fun shape with the charming white footbridge passing over. There are double loungers and market umbrella's on the stone deck outdoor dining and seating area for relaxing out of the sun. We have been renting on St.John usually biannually for many years and have had the opportunity to experience to both small and large luxury villas with and without our now college-age children. Ambiance is an older home and has great charm that is sometimes missing in the newer properties. The established garden was blooming the banana palm by the pool lush and producing fruit luckily not destroyed by the hurricane. The Island was in surprisingly in pretty good shape MUCH better than I had expected with restaurants and shops up and running. It was super quiet in late April with both The Westin and Caneel Bay closed. At this time Caneel is completely destroyed ( we viewed it by boat ) and no new construction is apparent the grounds are brown, barren and bare. The beaches minus the palm and grape trees are more spectacular than ever the water crystal clear and almost no seagrass which had become a problem in the past few years. The roads are clear internet is being restored we had it at Ambiance and the vegetation has really started to come back. I liked the quiet no crowds it reminded me of St. Bart's 25 years ago before it became a total scene and crazy expensive. I would recommend Ambiance for a family or larger group the management company was very helpful but actually, we did not have any issues everything was great sun every day no mosquitoes either!
God bless all on St. John who stayed strong after a horrible tragedy and worked so hard to heal and restore a true paradise.
Great prospects from the information presented on listings, but none of this property looks like the pictures - the furniture is different and multiple items are broken, the décor has changed in multiple areas of the house, and there are numerous poorly repaired aspects - Issues included but not limited to a lack of hot water from day one of stay stay, one 'master suite' was so damp and mold smelling that we couldn't use it and certainly did not offer amazing views being on a lower level.
We intend to pursue this and other points & will update in due course.
The house was dirty and had not been cleaned upon initial walk in, food was found on cutlery and kitchen utensils -
Management tried to rectify some issues, but too little too late to save our vacation from being a disappointment on the accommodation side of things, and in the end they seemed to simply give up and ignore us, failing even to acknowledge our check out text.
On a plus our view was amazing and the pool is great (although smaller than it appears in photos) - the island is returning to its former glory and well worth a trip - if you are undecided but considering St John - PLEASE GO, they are ready for you and you will find it amazing all over again.
At the time of writing this review we have still to get a promised response to our email (which was acknowledged by the management company via text) from the start of our stay - this serves as a great summary of support from both management and travel agent.
A once great house thats been allowed to run down through lack of investment and is simply out of its depth at the current price points. To be avoided.
When researching 4 bedroom rentals in St. John, Ambiance Villa came up and looked fabulous for our two families for four for 10 days. We have rented villas on the island numerous times and last rented the amazing Starstruck on Gifft Hill, but we were looking to upgrade to the next level for 2018.
We rented with Denise from onlinevacations.com as we wanted an on-island agent and she was with the management company for Starstuck. Unfortunately, we were informed after we sent deposit check that she was conducting business from FL and as a result was slow to answer any questions we had about the property. We contacted her with the concerns below, but Denise has not returned any of our messages to date and has since closed her business (the domain name is listed for sale).
We could write a novel about our disappointment with this villa, but to sum it up, here are the PROS and CONS about staying at Ambiance:
• Convenient location
• Amazing view
• Beautiful infinity pool
• Brand new separate ice maker which worked well
• Ability to completely collapse the sliding glass wall for an open air concept.
The house was filthy upon our arrival…hair, clothing tags, wrappers & food on the floor, stains in each toilet, crumbs on the counters, old food stuck on the utensils, smears on the glass doors & mirrors, lipstick stains on the glasses, the grill was caked in fat, dirty coolers, sandy spiral staircase, used Bandaid and half eaten Snickers bar inside the dresser. I wish this site allowed us to post pictures as I have a ton showing the condition of Ambiance Villa.
Tired furniture/ amenities:
• Pool bridge had a missing spindle
• Drawer fronts/ closet knobs came off when opened
• Non-working DVD player
• Several blown out light bulbs/ broken lamps
• No caddy/ shelf for toiletries in any showers- had to put them on the floor.
• Blown out lights in outdoor shower- had to shower in the dark.
• No HOT water until day 8.
• Leaking/ running toilets.
• Blinds falling off the windows.
• Poorly stocked kitchen- no potholders, minimal pots/ pans, no kettle, fridge water filter broken, no pantry/ food cabinet (must keep on counters), bar stools too high to fit knees under counter
• 4th bedroom downstairs was unusable. A past review mentioned a moldy smell and it appears to have gotten much MUCH worse. Even if it was usable, it wasn’t safe to put children in, as the house level is separate and the doors have deadbolts and no screens and no blinds. We were forced to put the kids in the upstairs loft, which was not a proper bedroom- just a mattress on the floor with no screens/ blinds or sound protection from downstairs.
Although the management company did make efforts to clean and fix some of these issues throughout the trip, the frequent interruptions from the maintenance team were a constant reminder of how run down this villa had become.
Almost all details that would have been made to make this villa hospitable have been overlooked. No towel hooks in the bathrooms, toiletry caddies, a broom but no dustpan, flashlights but no batteries in them, no luggage stands, ipod docks, snorkel equipment, bureaus to small to unpack your clothes, extra blankets & pillows and other touches that make you feel like you’re on vacation were unavailable.
As two families who visit St. John frequently, we did not feel it acceptable to rent a home for over $1200 per night and the house be dirty, so many things completely different than the listing and so many things broken. The bottom line, we felt like this was a “bait & switch” situation. All the photos of Ambience online were taken when it was newly furnished. Currently, Ambiance Villa is a tired, dated house is that needs some serious attention. This is absolutely the most disappointing property we have stayed in on the island and made worse by the poor value of the rental rate. The island is a very special place to us, as it is to many others, and we look forward to returning again and again throughout the years. We felt blessed that St. John has returned from the storm devastation and encourage tourists to visit and enjoy all that the beautiful island has to offer...just don’t stay at Ambiance Villa.
Our family of 4 stayed at Ambiance in Jan 2018. This was 4 months post Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Laura from Destination St. John (DSJ) was wonderful working with us given the hurricane recovery process and some issues on our end close to our trip. I didn't realize until we arrived the extent of the work Laura had to put in to get the house ready for us. Since we were the first ones since the Hurricanes, they had to get all new linens and replace a broken glass sliding door. Several minor things damaged by the weather had not been fixed yet (gutters, exterior light coverings, etc). However, she made it as comfortable as possible. The hot tub and pool (which is DEEP) were great. The house is beautiful. A mixed blessing, there is a power pole across the beautiful view (not sure if this is new or a replacement), but to the people of St. John those poles are beautiful as they are so thankful for power. There are 4 bedrooms with king beds plus a loft with 3 twin beds. Room ACs in each bedroom, including loft. I gave it 4 stars because the villa was not in perfect shape given the recovery, but we were pleased/comfortable.
Some tips for post-Hurricane travelers: 1) the mosquitos and no-see-ums are hungry and prominent! Bring bug spray. DSJ provided bug spray for the home which was invaluable. Also, the frogs seem to think the bedrooms are theirs- they were frequent visitors. 2) There were very few provisions in the house - no salt/pepper/oil/foil etc. so bring your own or buy them there. We bought and left all these at the house, so maybe the next person will not have to get as much. We also left 2 boogie boards and the beach chairs provided by DSJ were great. Also rolling cooler was wonderful. 3) Beware of glass shards on the floor. The house was very clean but with the tile it was impossible to get all shards up. Bring tweezers just in case. 4) we did not use the washer/dryer as they needed some repairs but I believe they were working well when we left. There is an ice maker too that was not working when we were there but would be GREAT and should be up and running soon. 5) Some of the island people were VERY welcoming and thanked us profusely for coming back. However, there was more tension in people than I've ever seen in St. John, minor skirmishes and such, nothing dangerous. But it hit me how much these people have gone through and they are still recovering their easy going island way of life. It will come back but we visitors need to be sensitive to the ordeal they have been living.
St John is changed since the hurricanes - the beaches and landscape are changed. However the beauty of St. John and the Caribbean is still there and was wonderful!
I stayed here with some family members to celebrate some very special anniversaries for 8 days in March 2016 and it's a vacation that will be difficult to beat. (Parents with 48ish years; sister/husband at 15 years - married on Hawksnest!; my wife's and my 2nd anniversary - honeymoon'd overlooking Reef Bay!).
Regarding the house - i'm just going to list out some of the strengths of this property: Incredible views, very private setting (only prying eyes were the iguanas chilling by the pool!), great lounging areas - both shaded and in the sun, AC in bedrooms, private outdoor showers (at least 2 out of 4). Great pool, nice new grill, good spacing for bedrooms (ability to put the loud people in the separate bedroom tower). Easy access to food/beer markets and into Cruz Bay. Great exposure as the sun started hitting the pool by about 7:30-8AM and didn't go away until after the lovely sunset over the hills of St. Thomas in the distance.
only one negative - lack of an iPod docking station. a simple Bose (or other) iPod dock would make this house absolutely perfect.
Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful house with us. I will (and have) recommended this house to friends.
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