1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom, Sleeps 2
About Meredith Small
We quit our jobs at age 52, moved to St. John and bought a cement mixer. We have spent the intervening years building our house. (pink roof in the photos). In 2016 we decided to share this wonderful spot and built this tent/cottage. We were inspired by years of camping at Maho Bay Camps and served as staff there from 1997-2000 while getting the house habitable. We are living the dream. We hike and snorkel whenever we want. When you are our age all your friends can afford airfare! So we have lots of visitors.
Meredith Small purchased this Cottage in 1994
Why Meredith Small chose Estate Mandal
We chose this location because it is both remote and accessible. We can walk to so many of the places we fell in love with so many years ago. While camping at Maho Bay, Bill would often go on an "around the island" snorkel tour and come back raving about a fabulous spot. Later we found out it was Kiddel Bay. It is a 5 minute walk from us! How lucky we are!
What makes this Cottage unique
It was hard to get used to the idea that the weather here comes from the east - in Maine it comes from the west. The beauty of that is that the early morning sprinkles bring out the most beautiful rainbows over the pond. Such a lovely thing to enjoy over morning coffee.
100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
Wonderful, peaceful stay
Estate Mandal was exactly as advertised - a very peaceful cabin in a terrific location. We could walk to the best snorkeling we found on the entire island, and we were usually the only ones there.
Meredith was just over the top wonderful. She out of her way to make our stay comfortable, and was so helpful and accommodative. If you want an island vacation that’s off the beaten path - this is the place. I would stay here again in a heartbeat.
thanks for that lovely review! We love this location and are happy you did, too. We look forward to seeing you and your daughters again sometime.
Economical and convenient for snorkeling and hiking
Lodging is half cabin, half tent with beds, bath and basic kitchen. Very scenic location on a salt pond just 5 minute walk to ocean and pebble beach. No ac and can get warm midday. Best to be out and about during heat of day. Coral Bay is about 10 minutes away with restaurants, equipment rental and tours. The hosts were very attentive and helpful.
thanks for those kind words. We loved sharing our bit of paradise with you. It was perfect tropical weather for your stay! Very few showers and mostly at night. Daytime temps in the low 80's with a breeze and nighttime temps in the mid 70's. Our other life is in Maine and I always tell folks when asked about St John that it is just like the very best summer days in Maine. Tell your friends about us, but don't let them take your week!
Wonderful escape to enjoy nature and quiet but convenient for all St John adventures
Meredith and Bill were warm and generous hosts. They have created a thoughtfully designed and equipped tent cottage that is perfect for two. I traveled with my teenaged daughter, our first return to St John after long ago Maho Bay stays. We fell in love with this part of the island, especially Kiddel Bay (it served as our private and most amazing snorkeling destination), Salt Pond/Ram's Head and the low-key activity of Coral Bay. The beds were comfortable and the outfitted kitchen made it easy to prepare simple meals. We did rent a jeep, which at first felt disappointing because I craved a low impact getaway, but it allowed us to hike and snorkel many places during a short 5-day stay. Bill and Meredith offered great suggestions for places to go, the tent was equipped with books and maps, and we also used the Hiking Project app, which details 29 hikes on St John. We are grateful for all that Bill and Meredith did to make our trip wonderful and will definitely return to their special cottage.
Thanks for those warm words. We love sharing this bit of paradise Being available with suggestions and still staying out of you hair is a balancing act we are working on. We are just as enthusiastic now as we were when we discovered St. John (and camping on island) in 1981.
Snorkeling and hiking this end of the island is about as good as it gets. We loved having you both here and look forward to seeing you again
Very well kept and exactly as advertised.
Meredith and bill were great! They gave us our privacy but we’re there to help when we needed it. The property was nice and secluded which made for great star gazing! Hope to come back again soon.
so happy you enjoyed your stay! The week was absolutely perfect for a first trip to St. John. Come again!
If you miss Maho tents
Since Maho Bay camps closed in 2013, moderate budget places that put you in nature on St John have been harder to find. There are a growing number of places mostly around Coral Bay that can fill that gap. This one is unique in two ways; first, it is built in the tradition of Maho tent-cabins, but with a fridge, sink and bathroom. Second, it is right on a large salt pond, near Lamesur Bay on the south shore.
Having been a regular at Maho Bay camps, it was a pleasure for me to spend a week in a cabin like this one. I'm not a salt pond aficionado, but this one felt to me like a lake retreat setting. If you consider bird-watching at the salt ponds a feature of your visits to St John, this place is likely the best on the island to consider.
Though on the sunny and hot south side of St John, there is enough vegetative cover to keep it fairly cool with the fans blowing during the day. No-see-ums were a bit of a problem, and hopefully the owners will continue to work on reducing the ways they can get it; like the neighboring salt pond bay, this setting has a lot of them and even a fairly tightly designed tent-cabin did not keep them all out. What did seem to work was to keep the fans running especially around dusk and dawn, and to use a bit of mosquito repellent.
I was on the island with an electric bike, and this place was a fine base for e-biking, making the visits to Concordia, Salt Pond Bay, Lamesur, and Coral Bay fun and easy rides with light traffic. Not to mention short walks to a couple of great, lightly trafficked snorkeling bays Kiddle and Groupon.
Being just the third renter of this cabin, I think the owners, who were (like many on the island) former Maho staffers, will listen to visitor's feedback and make improvements to the cabin. Wish them well, and hope more people will build similar low-capital 2nd homes on their lots, for people that see the national park and its natural environs as all they need to make this island perfect. If only there were 100 of them, cluster-zoned with nearby amenities like the Maho Pavilion, Frett's taxi, and the Pepper, where you would not need a car more than a couple times during your stay , it would be paradise.
thanks for your feedback! We will keep trying to improve the tent/cottage. You were the perfect early visitor...as you have camped at both Maho Bay Camps and Concordia and knew your way all around the island...the distances, the length of time it takes to go a few miles here, the beaches, the grocery shopping, the hikes.
The E-bike was amazing and I would recommend it to any future single occupant. We absolutely never heard you come or go.
You left the place just as you found it and even gathered all the soiled towels and bed linens for me.
Loved having you here. Come again...and tell your friends (but don't let them have your week.
Quiet, simple private cottage with great view of national park
After traveling to St. John for almost 20 years we've stayed all over the island. Our preference has always been camping at Cinnamon Bay Campground. In case you haven't heard there have been some changes there and we were not able to get a reservation. Frustrated and in a panic I started searching other places and found this gem!
We stayed 5 days and can't wait to come back. It is the perfect setting to unplug, recharge, and reboot. Cell service is spotty but text works great (at least on Sprint ;-) Imagine waking each morning to a view of no civilization and only the sound of crashing waves and birds singing! It is an easy walk to a rocky beach which is calm, quiet, with beautiful snorkeling. If you want to sit on the sand the walk to that beach isn't much farther. Walking to the bus stop is also a breeze and the bus will take you to Coral and Cruz Bay. We also enjoyed the hike to Concordia. We did not rent a car and felt that we were able to manage without but if you are interested in the North Shore beaches a car would be helpful unless you are comfortable winging it and hitching (which many people do).
Bottom line: beds are comfortable, bathroom is suitable, kitchen is perfect, deck is amazing, no-see-ums are manageable with a fan and bug spray. The owners were available and accommodating but very respectful of privacy.
We were so happy to share our bit of paradise with you. You were the perfect guests. We never even heard you! We look forward to welcoming you back next year!