HIGH LIFE

BEACHY KEEN: The Caneel Bay Resort boasts the island's most exclusive (read: no one will bother you!) beaches.

Travel like an aristocrat in pristine St. John, USVI

By MACKENZIE DAWSON

YOUR bank account might not be exactly Rockefeller- esque, but that doesn't mean you can't travel like Old Money, old chap.

As it turns out, the clan of American aristocrats didn't just give their names to countless foundations and charities - they also gave their house and land.

Located on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Caneel Bay Resort ( caneelbay.com) was the brainchild of Laurance Rockefeller, and what a brainchild it was - 170 acres of wellmanicured grounds, including seven private beaches and the 18th century ruins of an old sugar mill.

The amenities are top-drawer and the rooms are casually elegant. But if you're really going to vacation like a Rockefeller, you have to embrace the weirdness of WASP cuisine - a combination of expensive alcohol and bland or lowbrow food, including canned peaches, chocolate cake with Grand Marnier Jell-O, espresso fudge-ripple ice cream, highly salted duck, and Carr's Water Biscuits - served up by resort restaurants like the Turtle Bay Estate House.

The Estate House is one part 1950s country club, two parts Gilligan's Isle - it's as if Thurston and Lovey Howell decided to throw a cocktail party in their thatch bungalow.

On any given evening, hot-pink blazers and duck pants abound, with the piano player tapping out a truly bizarre selection of music, from "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" to "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Hava Nagila."

Outside the resort complex, the steeldrum bands beckon from the main square of Cruz Bay, one of the few touristy areas on what is a refreshingly pristine island.

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