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Juliana's Hotel Reveals Repurposed Charm of Saba's Hotel Scene

February 27, 2014 at 1:06 PM | by | ()

All right, so the Queen's Garden Resort has incredible beauty and first-class service, but let's take a step back and understand what's happening with the rest of the island's hotel scene.

There are only 80 beds in total, so let's not confuse things. Options are limited, but that doesn't mean they aren't quality. The coolest thing we learned about the hotels on the island is that they all used to be something else. When tourism started to grow, they were converted to the hotels that exist today.

Scout's Place Hotel, for example, used to be a prison (now there isn't one on the island). Juliana's Hotel, featured in this post, used to be a warehouse and a convenience store until a shortage of rooms in the 1980s led then-owners Franklin and Juliana Johnson to convert it to a hotel. In this sense and on the surface, Juliana's perfectly embodies the repurposed charm of the hotel scene on a whole. And when you start to dig, the appeal only continues to grow as you realize how intertwined the local culture is with the way its hotels are run.

When you check into Juliana's, you're given a key code to get in your door. But when you enter your room, a card awaits on the desk. It goes something like this: "The code is provided for your security and comfort, but remember, 'This is Saba.'" Aka - you don't need to lock your doors on this island. This kind of trust-filled thinking carries over to the honor bar in the common area, where guests are given sheets to track their consumption and pay at the end of their stay.

Our bro Jaunted wrote about how Saba's airport is also a local hangout, and the same can be said for the hotel scene. Between Scout's karaoke night on Friday's and Juliana's daily happy hour, it could be argued that locals spend more time socializing at hotels than they do at the bars in the villages.

And that, in a nutshell, is what makes Saba such a great place to rest your head. No fluff, no phoniness, no corporate this or touristy that. Just a couple of local Sabans, keeping it real.

Rates for Juliana's Hotel start at $120/night.

[Photos: Will McGough]

[Disclosure: Will stayed at Juliana's at the behest of the hotel while on assignment for another publication.]

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