For our one night on St. John, we had the opportunity to stay in a variety of hotels close to Cruz Bay. We eschewed this in exchange for the unique experience offered by staying in one of the tent cottages at Maho Bay Camps
Maho Bay Camps is a 30-year old eco-resort comprised of around 100 tent cottages, along with some more "traditional" accommodations. The tents are set up in platforms in the forest along the hillside, and connected by wooden walkways.
Each tent is furnished with two camp bed, linens, a sofa, dining table and various cooking utensils. Communal bath huts are located throughout the resort convenient distances to all the tents. Running water is only available at the bath huts, and potable water is even more limited to a handful of locations.
The tent we stayed in was right on the water, about 20 feet above the shore. We watched the sunrise when we arrived, and fell asleep to the sound of the waves lapping on the beach. Less convenient to our location was the bath hut, which was located about 1/4 mile away, up 5 flights of stairs. Similarly, the potable water tap was a good 1/2 mile away. Since we were only there for one night, we just went without water in our tent, as neither of us felt like lugging the 2.5 gallon jug provided over that distance.
The entire tent-cottage was immaculately clean, and the beds were far more comfortable than anything I would've expected to find in something called a tent-cottage. In fact, I had my best night's sleep in a while, with no roosters or dogs around to wake me up in the morning.
In addition to the general nifty-ness of spending the night in a super-comfortable, luxurious tent right next to the ocean, Maho Bay Camps offers tons of activities for those staying longer on St. John. They have a very extensive art program, including a wide variety of art classes and glass blowing demonstrations. They also organize eco-tours, hikes, snorkel and scuba trips, and they have a well-known restaurant on property, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Not only is Maho Bay Camps' commitment to conservation and eco-friendly tourism is impressive and admirable, the resort is also a fantastic place for some R&R. HB and I are already planning a longer, return trip to take full advantage of everything Maho Bay offers.