Hotels & Villas
By Paul Mermelstein and Hal Peat
Within the USVI, St. Thomas not only has the greatest amount of hotel rooms but also the greatest range of luxury standard accommodation that runs from large-style international name properties to mid-sized and boutique hotels, and then a diversity of villa style rentals as well. For those who want all the amenities of a larger world-class hotel, you are likely to find the accommodation of your choice on the island's East End at one of these higher end establishments:
Around the East End:
Point Pleasant Resort - hilltop suites in multi-unit cottages spread out in a lush setting overlooking East End along with some of the best rate deals make Point Pleasant an established favorite in its class on St. Thomas. For those times when you just went to stay in and cocoon, the fully-equipped kitchens are an essential convenience, and your own terrace a private outdoor space to savor it in. At other times, you have the choice of two fine onsite restaurants, Agave Terrace and Fungi's. While it's a steep descent to the beach, guests can take advantage of a full range of equipment for snorkeling, windsurfing or kayaking.
Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas - Set on some 15 acres of carefully manicured grounds bordering the beach, this Ritz-Carlton combines classic European style architecture with Caribbean friendliness without losing sight of the high standards of service its brand prides itself on. Each of the 80 renovated guestrooms and suites feature private balcony/terrace. Main resort amenities include an extensive range of cuisine among four dining areas; a spa and a fitness center, tennis courts and the resort's own beach with plentiful water sport options.
Sugar Bay Resort - The place for high rise, all-inclusive luxury. Carved into a mountainside and surrounded by the natural beauty of St. Thomas, this 294-room, renovated Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa offers breathtaking views of the Caribbean along with nearby St. John and neighboring islands. Private balconies overlook lush mountains, white beaches and sparkling waters. Outdoors, guests have access to a host of onsite activities including miniature golf, tennis, scuba, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking or windsurfing.
Anchorage Beach Resort - beachfront family-friendly vacation condo complex. With younger ones along, what could be more convenient than en-suite full kitchen and washer/dryer units? The property is situated on the beach at Cowper Bay, near the St. Thomas Yacht Club, and also features a bar, a gym, tennis courts, swimming pool and restaurant.
Bluebeard's Castle - This hilltop retreat was actually once a fort in a previous existence, and its white stucco exterior still retains an imposing facade. The 170 rooms overlooking the city harbor have most amenities and all suites have kitchenettes. Guests have access to a property swimming pool, fitness center and tennis courts.
Best Western Emerald Beach Resort - For travelers looking for a wonderful overnight while in transit to or from one of the British Virgin Islands or St. John, this is an excellent choice for an affordable, convenient beach hotel near to the airport. A four-story, peach-hued cluster of buildings tucked behind palm trees and just adjacent to the beach, this Best Western property consistently receives very good reviews. Along with the easy beach access, there are tennis courts, a pool, gym, and the on-site Palms restaurant that serves up a nice Sunday brunch. The water sports concession stand - offering snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boats - provides you with a small aquatic experience of St. Thomas even if you are just passing through.
Along the South Shore:
Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Beach Resorts - Located about 3 miles east of downtown Charlotte Amalie on Flamboyant Point, this grand-scale 500 room, eight-story high property has everything in quantity - including three swimming pools, five restaurants, eight bars, four lit tennis courts. The Frenchman's Reef location is the full-service large property, while Morning Star with its beach location is boutique-scale and somewhat more fashionable. Both include access to spa, gym, water sports such as diving and sailing trips.
Boutique Hotels and Inns:
From countryside and mountaintop homes to hip urban small retreats, boutique-sized accommodation in St. Thomas has all the diversity of character that the larger property spectrum provides while also reflecting that personal and residential feel you expect at a smaller scale retreat. Some of the finest in this category to consider are:
Secret Harbour Beach Resort - A collection of low-rise studio and one/two-bedroom condo suites on a beachfront or overlooking a secluded cove near Red Hook on the island's southeastern shore, Secret Harbour enjoys its own peaceful small cove and all eight rooms have handicap access. There is very good snorkeling just off of the beach here. There's also an on-site restaurant, Blue Moon Cafe, fixing up great seafood accompanied by a fine wine list.
Hotel 1829 - Atmospheric antique inn on Government Hill, Charlotte Amalie. This area favorite with travelers who favor low-key with style is housed in a bright orange building that leads into an interior of bamboo, woods, beamed ceilings and overhead wafting fans. Rooms and public areas are outfitted in period West Indian furniture. There is a small pool and an included continental breakfast. Graham Greene is said to have stopped here in his time, and the ambiance suggests a setting for your own St. Thomas adventure, while it is also close to the city's present-day attractions.
As you explore villa style options around St. Thomas, you will note a variety of level ranging from reasonable two or more bedroom houses up to extensive mansion-sized luxury.
Star Garden - This lavish five-bedroom, two-story chateau-style property has every possible interior luxury and privacy for each guest suite - including individual terraces for each bedroom. Guest accommodations are divided between several structures - a main pavilion leads to the two separate bedroom pavilions, while the two-story Chateau includes two bedrooms upstairs with baths en suite and a master suite on the main level, each offering air conditioning, cable TV with DVD player and VCR, CD player, DSL internet access, mini-fridge and coffee service. The master suite has an adjoining den with kitchenette and work area. The Chateau's main level also includes the laundry and exercise rooms. Behind the main pavilion is the two-bedroom air-conditioned Cottage and its crow's nest view down to Magens Bay, 400 feet below. The main outdoor amenity is the 40-foot long infinity-edged pool. A secluded location on Sydney's Fancy, high point of exclusive Peterborg Peninsula on the island's north coast, provides vistas across the west and Magens Bay and north to nearby Hans Lollik Island, while toward the east guests have a panorama of the British Virgins.
Infinity - One of the most popular luxury villas in St. Thomas, this four-bedroom hilltop estate has commanding views of Charlotte Amalie and the Caribbean Sea beyond. I have spoken with many guests who have raved about the dramatic views and beauty of this wonderful home. The villa features such interior luxury touches as a full-service gourmet kitchen, upper level master suite with its own sitting room, three pool-side guest suites, and its own gym with free weights and cardio equipment. In addition to the full range of leisure and work technology on-hand, there is DSL internet access in all guest rooms and wireless access throughout most of the interiors.
Seabright - Panoramas across the Atlantic and distant islands are on display from this lavish and bright-hued two-bedroom villa in the Peterborg area. As soon as I walked in I thought that the home and location would make a great honeymoon hideaway. The facilities and accommodations are also ideal for traveling couples, friends, or small families with children 8 years of age or older. Renters will enjoy the wraparound exterior decks, interconnecting walkways, and interior or on-site amenities such as the extensively equipped kitchens, leisure and business technology access, and laundry.