April 2016

Mermaid's Chair - April 2016

Is this you?

Is this you?

Is this you?

Wishing to be here?

Mermaid Chair Beach, St. John, USVI.

Mermaid Chair Beach, St. John, USVI.


The beach pictured above - bet you've never heard of it.  A lot of locals don't even know of it's existence, just a few charter boat captains.  Two ways to get here one by boat and the second a short swim.  Best before you go, check to see when low tide is so you can really use this crazy little secluded spot of paradise. 

Take the rafts from Sopra Mare or Bordo Mare.  NO! NOT THE POOL RAFTS!!  Take the ones that are behind the large chest of water and kid toys that are marked "For Ocean Use."  See these rafts use to be "pool rafts" but now have gouges out of them - hence now ocean rafts.  They got gouges as people used the pool rafts and shut them in the Jeep back hatch resulting in missing pieces of form.  These are expensive rafts around $200.00 a piece - nothing to good for my guests.  Now you see why I don't want you taking the pool rafts? 

Ok! Ok! I've got over that rant! To continue.

Bring your snorkel gear and maybe one of the swim noodles kids use in the pool.  Again, should be in toy box or next to it.  Also a water proof bag for your drinks and sandwiches.

Now stop at Sam and Jacks - third floor of the Market Center where Starfish is and get a deli sandwich for the morning.  Or you can stop at North Shore Deli located in Mongoose Junction - both are excellent.  Don't forget your "canned" drinks.

You take the North Shore road past Hawksnest Beach.  Look left and you will see a white picket fence, just past is an iron gate.  Park on the left or right of the gate definitely not in front or the Park Rangers will ticket or tow you.  Also, there's a couple of spaces on the road.  Take all your gear, walk through the gate down to the yellow party block building.  This is Oppenheimer Beach. 

As your looking toward the beautiful ocean put on your snorkel gear or use the rafts or noodle, you decide.  Now, go right, don't be scared, after the first point you have arrived at Mermaid Chair!  Chances are you'll have this little piece of heaven all to yourself.  Oh, maybe a charter will come but you will see them a long way off.  This definitely is a chance for "clothing optional."  Just remember do not expose "some" body parts too long to the sun or you will likely not be sitting down during the next days of your vacation.


There really are three big dogs in the industry and likely you have used one or more of them.  A lot of controversy has recently developed from the prospective of owners, managers and guests and of course it has to do with money.  So, let's take a brief look at the major players.

Airbnb 6% to 12%

Typically guests are charged from 6% to 12% at booking while owners pay around 3%.  Neither the owner or guests knows the identity of the other until the reservation is confirmed.  Primarily this was a spare room in a home listing site and usually for only a night or two.  Major hotels across the U.S. are attempting to block their expansion as more and more people are using Airbnb rather than traditional hotel rooms.  They are now aggressively moving into the villa and home rental market.

Flip Key/Trip Advisor 5% to 15%

Typically the total cost for booking through this site is 5% to 15% with owners and guests generally splitting these percentages.  Again, there is no information or personal contact between the owner or guest until the guest books the property.

VRBO/Home Away/Expedia 6% to 9%

The biggest gorilla on the block.  Home Away bought VRBO several years ago and Expedia paid $3.9 Billion to buy Home away late last year.  I believe these sites will follow suit with Airbnb and Flip Key thus no interface between owners and guests until after booking.  The 6% to 9% was instituted by VRBO/Home Away in February.  

Independent Owners 0%!

You as a guest, can pretty much avoid all fees charged by the companies above with a little effort.  Use the above "Big Three" as a source for the ideal St. John villa.  Then instead of booking through them search the web for the villa name.  Most of us have developed or are in the process of designing a compresensive web page.  For example, mine is Stjohnoceanfrontvillas.com  Here you will find all villa information pertaining to Sopra and Bordo Mare, extra articles of interest for the island and of course calendar and reservation tools. 

I want to thank Kim Bergstrom info@vacationrentalsmanzanita.com for providing me much of the financial information about the vacation industry.  Kim operates several homes along the Oregon Coast close to Cannon Beach.


My young tech geek has now dragged me into the 21st Century with the development of my own web page.  Next up for me Facebook.  Just FYI, I still have several weeks in June available with a fantastic 25% discount for each week.  You may either use my brand new website: stjohnoceanfrontvillas.com or go to VRBO 251854 for Sopra Mare or VRBO 465589 for Bordo Mare.  And, by the way, you never pay a booking fee with me.

Enjoy the summer - got lots more interesting things and secluded beaches coming up.  I'll "Leave the Lites on for you!"