Nothing says “treat yourself” better than a mini getaway at a Ritz-Carlton property, which is exactly what I did this past September when I stayed for two nights at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas. As part of a five-day, four- night island hopping excursion (we started our trip at the Ritz-Carlton, San Juan), we definitely saved the best for last.
Situated on Great Bay Beach in St. Thomas, the Ritz-Carlton is a lush, tropical sprawl spread out over 30 sloping acres of carefully landscaped palm trees, fragrant floral blooms and verdant foliage. It took a bit of time to get there from the airport (though I suspect it had more to do with our driver being up in age than the actual distance), but some much-needed sunshine offered a welcome respite from the two days of showers we had experienced in San Juan.
Indeed, the sun’s warmth was rivaled, perhaps, only by the inviting and helpful personalities of the staff. Upon our arrival, we were immediately given welcome cocktails and checked in sans delay. We hopped onto one of the resort’s many carts and the driver whisked us off to our very own little cozy corner of the hotel for the next 48 hours.
The accommodations upheld the standards that have made the Ritz-Carlton a world-renowned prestige hotel brand – generous square footage, a spacious bathroom with a bathtub and separate shower and toilet area, luxury toiletries courtesy of Asprey London, the signature Ritz-Carlton bathrobes and slippers and a king-size bed resplendently outfitted with flawless white linens surrounded. A blend of neutral tones sharply punctuated by stately dark woods, the décor seamlessly blended Old World elegance with modern flourishes. Our room also had a rather roomy balcony overlooking the resort with a partial view of the bay – perfect for ordering room service and dining al fresco.
While extremely tempted to stay ensconced in the room, once outside on the resort grounds, it was equally difficult to stay inside. Sails, the bar and grill near the beach area, proved to be an excellent watering hole for chatting up other guests and it would have been easy to spend a king’s ransom sampling all of the delicious concoctions dreamed up by the bar staff. And although the siren call of the infinity pool beckoned, we spent our lazy days lounging on chairs by the beach. With a variety of non-motorized watersport activities at our disposal and the lull of Great Bay’s calm, crystal clear waters and spectacular views of mountain peaks nearby (we couldn’t tell if they were peaks from other neighboring islands or simply crests peeking beyond bends and turns on St. Thomas’ own mountainous terrain), we took to the sea to explore the area by kayak. Mostly we just basked under the shade of the umbrella in the sunshine; eventually we did spend an evening dipping back and forth from the infinity pool to the Jacuzzi nearby.
Of course, the Ritz-Carlton is known for its fine dining options and St. Thomas was no exception. We ate breakfast on the Bleuwater Terrace every morning and grabbed lunch at Sails, but we did leave the property on a few occasions to sample the local scene and cuisine.
While we didn’t have the time to do everything we could have done during our stay, it is worth noting that the Ritz-Carlton team can arrange day excursions to sister island St. John or their cousin in the British Virgin Islands Jost Van Dyke. The Ritz–Carlton also boasts St. Thomas’ only 18 hole championship golf course, offers a wide array of soothing spa services including a couples’ massage in their beach cabana and extends a very unique eco-cultural experience through their “Ambassador of the Environment” program. Coupled with the activities provided through their “Ritz Kids” program, the resort is extremely family friendly.
Whether you are looking for a family vacay or a romantic interlude for two, If you have the opportunity to visit St. Thomas and you have never been to the Ritz-Carlton there, I’d highly recommend that you consider booking a stay. Rates are pretty friendly during the low season and manageable during peak travel times as well. I would certainly go back.
This article also appears in Ocean Splash Magazine.