Sustainability at Caneel Bay Resort

The idea of sustainability has become an important responsibility of our industry today, many hotels & destinations promote initiatives and are constantly looking for ways to make a difference in their region and show guests that they care. One definition of sustainable tourism that is widely used: “meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future.” Caneel Bay Resort in St. John, USVI has been concerned with sustainability since its doors opened back in 1956.

The grounds of Caneel Bay Resort were discovered by Laurance Rockefeller while sailing around the Caribbean with his family over 60 years ago. Rockefeller instantly fell in love with the beauty of St. John and began buying up land in order to protect it. A dedicated environmentalist and preservationist, he could be one of the earliest promoters of sustainability. Rockefeller decided to construct this special resort on St. John which blended in with its natural surroundings for visitors to enjoy while preserving the property for all future generations to enjoy. Today the resort lies on VI National Park land which also attributes to Caneel Bay’s success in preserving the property in its pristine condition.

On land, guests enjoy donkeys, deer and iguanas which roam the grounds freely. While exploring our 7 beaches guests can observe turtles and dolphins which enjoy their natural habitat of the coral reefs. Our seasoned grounds crews are constantly working to protect our beautiful land and the security of the flora and fauna at Caneel Bay. We conduct an annual massive clean-up of the sea bed around property by collecting bottles, fishing line, plastic bags, among other trash that finds its way into our ocean.

Caneel Bay Resort provides a unique low key luxury getaway experience, where you can truly “unplug” while enjoying the natural surroundings. We have never added televisions or phones to the guest rooms, but we do offer free wifi all over the property. We proudly have multi generations of guests who discovered the resort as a child and now bring their own children to experience Caneel Bay.

By staying true to Laurance Rockefeller’s vision in establishing Caneel Bay and the Virgin Islands National Park, our policy of sustainability nearly 60 years on, is more than a marketing strategy. Our team of staff, most of whom are from the local community, are personally invested in preserving the beauty of our island environment. We are dedicated our initiatives below, in order to maintain our entire 170 acre property so it can be enjoyed for years to come.

• Use local recycling opportunities
• All clear glass bottles with minimal labeling are separated and collected for Maho Bay Camp ground where it is used this in their glass blowing program
• Printed collateral uses 100% post consumer recycled paper manufactured with wind power and with soy dyes used for the ink.
• Water supply for irrigation comes from rainfall we collect, merged with “gray water”.

• Environmentally-friendly electric buses to transport guests around the property
• Energy efficient light bulbs in exterior lighting

• Locally produced honey
• Locally caught fish and lobster
• Organic greens grown on St. John
• Bottled water produced in Puerto Rico, utilizing a bottle design more environmentally friendly and the label on the bottled water offers environmental advice
• Use 100% bio-degradable beverage cups for all beach service.
• 100% bio-degradable plastic to-go bags, and compostable to-go containers for food and ramekins for sauces
• Glass crusher that grinds glass bottles down to a fine sand which is then disposed of more easily

To learn more about Caneel Bay Resort visit our website: or for any questions you can contact Digital Manager: Kelly Otto at