REVIEW OF THE RITZ CARLTON ST THOMAS:
Our family along with my sister’s family and my mother decided to vacation in St Thomas for Thanksgiving 2010. We got a great deal at the Ritz Carlton in St Thomas so we packed our bags and headed for the Islands!
We had 7 children along for the ride so it was definitely going to be an adventure. We booked club level rooms at the Ritz Carlton which ended up being a very wise choice. More on that later. Upon arrival at the Ritz Carlton, we were welcomed with a much needed Rum Punch and cold towel, then we were wisked off by golf cart to the club level check-in desk. We all received an upgrade to suites, which was a nice little bonus. The club level concierges introduced themselves to us while our children ran around the esquisite club room with excitement bursting our of their little pores! My brother-in-law wisely slipped the concierge a nice pre-tip for our stay. It might have been a “pre-apology,” now that I think about it. Nonetheless, we were treated like royalty for the entire trip.
We absolutely loved the club at the Ritz Carlton in St Thomas, and could not have imagined staying at the resort without the club lounge access. The food presentations kept up full for all of our breakfasts, most lunches, and even a few dinners during the week. The beverage selections were also impressive. They had all the cola products (actually pepsi but more on that later) and liquor that you could want. They actually left the wine, champagne and liquor bottles out for you to pour at your leisure along with the appropriate mixers. Additionally, there were plenty of cold beer selections. It felt as if you were in a friends house instead of a hotel.
Our kids especially loved the hot chocolate machine. We were happy to see that the hot chocolate cost a whopping $5 a cup in the main resort. We could have easily tallied up a $500 bill amongst our 7 children with the amount of hot choclate they had during the week! Back to the Pepsi versus Coke problem. I am a diet coke only drinker and was terribly disappointed to see they only had Pepsi products. The concierge offered to bring a 12 pack of cokes the next morning to have in the back kitchen for us during our stay. Now, that is service my friends! We ventured out to dinner a couple of times into St Thomas and had good experiences. The kids loved the open air taxis!
The pool at the Ritz was stunning, but surprisingly a little chilly. Admittedly, we are from the South so I am sure it was plenty warm for most people. The ocean was actually much warmer than the pool. We took advantage of the on-site watersports such as snorkeling and paddleboarding. However, our biggest advice for people visiting St Thomas is to get off the resort by boat. However, don’t reserve your charter through the resort unless you want to spend a fortune! We wanted a boat that would accommodate more than 6. The price for a Sea-Ray or a comparable sized boat at the Ritz was shockingly expensive. Luckily, we had a friend who had visited the islands earlier that year and pre-warned us of the exorbant prices. We booked a day charter with another charter company annd it was half of the price of the Ritz. It was still $1000 for the day, however, it covered all our drinks and we split it amongst 3 families so it wasn’t as bad as it seems. Do your homework on charter companies prior to arriving and remember to ask questions as to whether the price includes beverages and fuel.
Note: The Coast Guard is very strict about occupancy on boats in the USVI unlike the States. You will need a big boat to fit 10 people and they are not easy to come by so do your homework.
Visiting the Virgin Islands is all about Island hopping so don’t stay on the resort and think you have done it all because you haven’t ! Our boating highlights were hiking to the wave pool on Jost Van Dyke, lunch at Foxy’s Taboo, snorkeling in the Indian Caves, drinking pain killers at Soggy Dollar, and boating around “that” private island to find the cow that the cooky old man moves everyday.
We also took a day trip to St John which was a lovely Island as well. We loved drinking the fresh smoothies while watching the kids run home from school in the streets as well as looking for the 1 hair braiding lady in town who happened to be on vacation?!!
We enjoyed our trip to the Ritz Carlton in St Thomas and would highly recommend this vacation for a family with kids. We did not participate in the Ritz Kids programs but we did use their recommended babysitting service for our baby, Murray. They were fantastic and very reliable. It was a bit on the expensive side at $20 an hour so we are going to bring a babysitter with us on our next trip! We will let you know how that goes! Scrub Island here we come!