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St. Thomas Hotels

Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort

Pros

  • Beachfront location
  • Good dining options
  • Plenty of activities

Cons

  • Musty smell on lower levels
  • Long walk between resorts
  • A crowded-cruise-ship feel

Updated 03/04/2014

Fodor's Review

Set majestically on a promontory overlooking the east side of Charlotte Amalie's harbor, Frenchman's Reef is the high-rise full-service superhotel; Morning Star is the even more upscale boutique property that's closer to the fine white-sand beach. Mahogany furniture, flat-screen televisions, and Wi-Fi connections are in all the rooms. Meals here include lavish buffets for breakfast and dinner. Live entertainment and dancing, scheduled activities for all ages, and an hourly boat that shuttles guests to town make having fun easy. Next door is Marriott's Frenchman's Cove time-share resort, which offers two- and three-bedroom units in seven multistory waterfront buildings clustered around a central pool, with a small market, restaurant, and fitness room.

Hotel Information

Address:

Rte. 315, Estate Bakkeroe, St. Thomas, 00801, U.S. Virgin Islands

Map It

Phone:

340-776–8500; 800-233–6388

Website: www.marriott.com

Hotel Details:

  • 479 rooms, 27 suites; 220 2- and 3-bedroom time-share units
  • No meals

Updated 03/04/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Oct 7, 2009

Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Beach Resorts Review

This was one of the worst hotels I've ever been to. We had an all-inclusive package so everything was prepaid. When we got there we found out one major restaurant was closed for renovations and most of the others were missing half their menu every day. The air conditioning in the hotel broke one night and wasn't fixed until late the next morning. But the worst part was one night when we had raw sewage coming out of our pipes! When we called the front

desk to complain they said they couldn't do anything because we were prepaid. A front desk manager finally agreed to give us some credit back to my card, but it never came. When I called the hotel to check on the status of the credit, they said only that manager could do anything and she was off for a month and to call back later. I've called back about 20 times over the past month to speak with two managers, and am told to either call back later or don't have my messages returned. This was one of the worst hotel experiences I have ever had, and I would definitely NOT recommend it to anyone. Stay somewhere else unless you want a 90 degree room with yellow "water".

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May 31, 2008

Try the new Frenchman's Cove!

Frenchman's Cove is the new time-share part of the Marriott Resort Complex, and it oulldn't be nicer! We were lured to visit Frenchman's Cove with a package offer. All we had to do was listen to a short presentation before we left. We ended up staying for over two hours, as we had MANY questions! Frenchman's Cove is Beautiful. Sure, construction is not complete, but we feel confident that Marriott will maintain the construction schedule as promised.

The units are modern and up-to-date, and furnished as a fine home would be. The common areas are nicely landscaped, and will look even better when the plants grow to maturity. The exposed cliffs with the road overhead are a bit disconcerting, but the iguanas cavorting there are a distraction. The pool area is pretty (a swim up bar would be nice...) and is directly on the ocean. Others have commented about the beach. Marriott, PLEASE do not damage the reef there just to make a sandy beach for some people! It is actually quite a nice snorkling area, especially if you move towards the town. Lobsters and larger fish have taken up residence among the large rocks, and parts of the old sugar mill lie on the bottom of the sea. Yes, there are a few service kinks to be worked out. We have traveled to many Caribbean Islands, and prefer Condo accomodations to Hotels. We usually only find nice units like this with private owners (Grand Cayman, St. Martin.). We will positively return here. One Warning! Iguanas like to eat pink flowers. We used to have a pet iguana, but were not aware of that. As my daughter lounged on a chair in the sun, a huge iguana bit her pink-painted toe, then climbed onto her chair and tried to eat her green beach tote!

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Dec 23, 2006

Thoroughly enjoyed it

Our room overlooked the harbor and the view at night is stunning. Also enjoyed Havana Blue restaurant at Morningstar. Front desk staff is very helpful. Highly recommend.

By Julie

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Aug 15, 2006

Run the gauntlet!

The iguana's were a scream and much to my school age children's delight. Food was good but expensive. Rum punch at check in nice touch, staff very accomodating. Rooms in Frenchmans Reef large enough for a family of four. Clean propert but in need of some upgrades and maintenance. Would recommend highly with some reservations. However one of the best on the island!

By Kim

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Oct 16, 2005

Nice Hotel with Bland, Boring, Expensive Food

The hotel was decent and the staff was very friendly and helpful, however, the food was awful. We ate at every restaurant and they all had the same frozen, processed food. The wine list was pretty boring in all of the restaurants. There was also a serious rodent problem at the pool bar. If you go, make sure to eat at Havana Blue at Morning Star beach. The restaurant leases the space from Marriott but the Marriott stays out of their kitchen.

Our dinner there was the only good one we had at the property!

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By John

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Jun 12, 2005

Solid

After much research on the internet, we decided to take our family to the Marriott. Part of our group stayed in the Frenchman's Reef (more of a traditional hotel room) and part stayed at Morning Star (smaller buildings with several rooms). The Frenchman's Reef room was kind of out dated, but acceptable. Morning Star rooms were excellent, with a great balcony and view of the beach. The walk from Morning Star to Frenchman's Reef was not that far,

and I did it with a 2 year old on my shoulders about 5x per day. Other than a few bad apples, the staff was excellent and very accommodating to my family. Food was excellent, but very expensive. Breakfast $18 per person, moderate lunch (burger or shrimp sandwich) $15-20 per person, and nice dinner (most seafood or steak) $20-40 per person. Overall, it would be hard to beat the variety of activities and amenities at this resort. I spoke with several frequent travelers that echoed the same thought. We did not visit the Ritz Carlton, but heard it was very nice, but probably not as much to do.

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By Rick

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Jul 11, 2004

Surprising stay

We really liked this place. We stayed away on other trips due to comments on various boards. We had a great room, good service and loved the property. We will be back.

By Dave

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Jul 5, 2004

Large Upscale Resort-Relaxation with no worries

Just returned from a wonderful family vacation at Frenchmans Reef. I have travelled to many islands in the carribean. This Island offers little in terms of bargins or Island Culture.The resort is very large and includes the Morningstar Property located on the adjacent beachfront. The pools are wonderful. Although the hotel has many rooms the property is spread out among pools, beaches, restaurants and rooms, so that you never feel overcrowded.(of

course this was off season and the hotel was not at capacity).You can walk to the beach going down a scenic elevator or take the beach shuttle at the front of the hotel. The beach also has a beautiful pool.The hotel has a 24 hour grocery/deli store. The fitness center has new treadmill machines with TV's.The restaurants at the hotel are pricey. In fact the whole island feels like a giant tourist trap, but some bargins can be found if you go outside the traditional tourist areas.I did catch a pickpocketer in my beach bag while shopping on main street.You need to be vigilant for thieves everywhere except at the resort. Overall this was a relaxing vacation but slightly over priced.I would definitley recomend staying at the Marriott Resort.

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By Angela

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May 25, 2004

A Nice Place to Stay

Thoroughly enjoyed our stay here at the Morning Star. Beach has gentle waves. Staff are all very friendly. Short walk to the Reef side is very scenic. Food is just ok -typical overpriced hotel fare. Major complaint about the room is the thin walls -could easily hear our neighbors all the time.

By Nicole

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Mar 30, 2004

Perfect Location for Sun and Fun

We just returned from staying at the Marriott for 5 days and I have to say it was amazing! The grounds a very nice and clean. The restaurants were surprisingly excellent and the views were priceless! It's in a great location - close to town and not far from everything. And to top it all off, it has the best beach in St. Thomas right there at the hotel with everything you could possibly want! I'll absolutely go back!

By Nell

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Feb 13, 2004

We Found Paradise

We just returned from the Marriott Morningstar and it was fabulous. I'm so glad we chose the beach resort as opposed to the Frenchman's Reef; it was intimate and quiet, yet the larger hotel's facilities are there when you want them. Every employee was delightful to deal with. The manager and general manager got to know us, which was easy to do because of the size of the resort; we were invited to a new arrivals' wine-tasting and appetizer party

at the Tavern on the Beach hosted by them. The breakfast buffet and dinners at Windows on the Harbour were fantastic and the waitresses and hostesses got to be good friends. The ferry dock at Frenchman's is so convenient for going into town. Every night it was fun to see what treat was waiting on the nightstand. We will definitely return.

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By Matt

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Feb 3, 2004

Marriott Morningstar

Just returned from a 5 night stay at the Morningstar. Our beachfront room was nice, nothing special. We found the service to be average/good. I would have expected more for the price. The view was incredible and the grounds were beautiful. Morningstar Beach is very nice with plenty of amenities. If I return to St Thomas, I'd probably opt for the Ritz or a villa.

By Joe

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Jan 17, 2004

Iguana Feeding at 2

We just returned and was pleasantly suprised by the Hotel and service. We traveled with 2 children ages 5 and 7 and they enjoyed the Iguana feedings, the large pool and the mornigside beach. I would not recommend this resort for children activities but there are plenty of things to do once you leave the resort. Overall the Hotel was nice but more geared for conventions and couples.

By Mike

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Jul 9, 2003

Had a great time.

Went in April of 2003 and had a great time. It is true that the swimming pools are old and in need of repair and that there is a somewhat musty smell to areas of the hotel, but it is in the humid tropics and this is what happens. The food was decent but expensive for what you were getting. All in all the staff was very friendly and accomodating. The beach was a lot of fun due to the strong tide and the grounds were generally beautiful. The only

problem I had was checking in. I was to have a ocean view room, but instead was given a landside view. They told me the room would be ready in fifteen minutes, but was not available until nearly 4 hours later. Due to my total unhappiness at the time, a few minutes of "negotiation" netted me a room with a beautiful harbor view. (The groups checking in next to me were also experiencing dreadful problems with improper rooms assignements and lengthy waits for their room to be ready). The room was not fancy, but was certainly adequate (how much time do you spend in the room anyway). All I know is that I was in the tropics, away from the workplace and missing a large spring snowstorm. I had fun and would stay there again.

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By Dan

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Jun 11, 2003

Nice hotel, great location

We used my marriott points to go here, so I'm not sure what the rooms cost. We were very pleased with the hotel. My fiance and myself are in our late 20's. I'm not sure what some of these snobs expect from a hotel. The hotel is in a perfect location. The views are beautiful. The grounds are very nice, the lobby is nice, the pool's are nice, the beach is nice. The rooms are decent, nice and clean, but not overly fancy. But what do we care, we

don't hang out in our room all day. We had a room in the main building overlooking the ocean and pools. If you can get a room in the main building, on a high floor, facing the bay and downtown. It's a much better view; although ours was nice. There is a decent snorkeling spot down by the beach. Also, there is a small boat ferry to go into the downtown. It's worth to take just for the views and pictures. If we went back to St. Thomas, we would definitely go back.

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May 29, 2003

Fantastic! (I guess some people are just hard to please)

My husband and I were married and honeymooned on St. Thomas 5/2003 at Frenchman's. The negative reviews had me a bit nervous about my choice but the minute we arrived at the hotel all worries were gone. Absolutely beautiful! We stayed at Frenchman's and by no means is this a mediocre facility. Aside from a few minor cosmetic imperfections (chips/scrapes on the elevators and on a couple of outside walkways), the hotel grounds were gorgeous and

very well kept. Certainly nothing to overshadow the many positives. We had the Royal Honeymoon Suite which was immaculate. The maid service was wonderful and each day we returned to our room it looked as it did the first day we arrived. Over at Morning Star we spent time on the beach, the play room and ate at Coco Joes which was great because it's right on the beach, has a DJ, good food and cool hammock chairs. Our experience was simply wonderful all the way around. The wedding staff helped to make our wedding day beautiful and full of great memories and Frenchman's was a perfect honeymoon resort. Couldn't have asked for more. We definitely plan to return.

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By Nancee

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Feb 24, 2003

Great time!!

After reading so many of the comments, we were seriously considering changing our vacation plans. What a mistake that would have been. We have been to almost most f the Islands. We thought Frenchmans and Morning Star were delightful. You had the ambiance of the reef and view of Charlotte Amalie. We had a 6'th floor room facing the harbour, and then the charming beach of Morningstar. We loved the view, the pool, the beach and the evening swims

at Morningstar pool. We stayed at Frenchmans but used both facilities. It made it quite interesting with the Falls bridge walk or garden step walk. Please.... don't take some of the negative feedback; we almost changed our plans...., but totally enjoyed it. We only ate once at the Beach Tavern? at Morning Star. We rented a car and had delightful meals at Island restaurants. Our cleaning staff were delightful and extremely helpful. Great vacation.

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By Kathy

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Oct 29, 2002

Do not go to this hotel!

Do not go to this hotel! Just returned from a week in St. Thomas. Checked into the Marriott and promptly checked out the next day and went to the Ritz Carlton. Highlights, food at the restaurant was possibly the worst I've ever had, pools are all chipped and old, pool bar is the same, rooms and the entire place smell like mold. Towel had previous users feces embedded, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

By pat

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Sep 9, 2002

Great Resort.

One of the nicest Marriotts I have ever been to. Great service. Lots of room options. I recommend the main hotel and upgrade to the suite. The one downside is there is a lot of walking to the beach, which is pretty small.

By Sloane

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Aug 22, 2002

Have a great trip

Stayed at Morning Star last November for a long weekend. Will be returning for Labor Day weekend this year, but will stay at the Reef. Morning Star was great, but we had a "garden view" room which pretty much faced the road. The room was beautiful and it was great to be so close to the beach. The snack bar had great inexpensive lunch options, and we spent our days rotating between the perfect beach and refreshing pool. For Morning Star it's best to

have an ocean front room or your experience really isn't the same. The staff seemed fine, nothing memorable (positive or negative). The restaurants up at the Reef were some what pricey and were just okay. At the bar/restaurant we actually paid $8.00 for a small hamburger! When we return this time we'll eat out more because we'll have a car. The water taxi to town was great. We're staying at the Reef this time only to try something different. I hope we don't get a musty room like some others have complained about. The sunset views are breathtaking, and the harbor looks incredible all lit up at night. The pool area was nice at the reef but a little too crowded and busy for our tastes. We like it quieter and just hope we're not making a mistake booking the Reef vs Morning Star. But variety is the spice of life. We obviously like this hotel and will continue to visit when traveling to St. Thomas.

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Mar 21, 2002

Despite my rating....beautiful hotel!

If you're looking for oppulence....find another hotel. If you're looking for a fantastic view....this is your place. The rooms were average, but after touring the island....I believe this is the most beautiful spot to stay. You can't beat the beauty of the reef. You sit up very high and look out over the smaller islands. You can watch the cruise ships coming and going...which is quite a site since they're so close. The staff left a little to

be desired. After spending time last year at the Marriott in Puerta Vallarta Mexico....I expected more from the staff. Most (not all) made us feel like an intrusion. I never felt as though we were welcome. However, we were able to look beyond that and enjoy the beautiful beach and the wonderful view. One tip.....if you're going to the island with your family....RENT A CAR. We had 3 of our kids with us, and no matter where we went, the taxi cost us $50.00 per ride ($100.00 round trip). We wised up on day 2 and rented a car. They drive on the wrong side of the road there....but you get used to it quickly.

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By Sara

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Mar 19, 2002

Good Vacation for Using Marriott Points

Just got back from spending 6 days at the Marriott. We stayed at the Morning Star and found the rooms to be adequate/clean (although the tile floors made it possible to hear your neighbors, their children, etc.). The rooms appeared to be recently re-modeled because everything seemed new. We chose to stay at the Morning Star because we liked the idea of being closer to the beach and being at a quieter location. We walked-up to Frenchman's Reef several

times and the pool was bigger with a larger deck, but both pools were nice with their own charms. The pools were open late, so it made for nice late night swim. We didn't notice any trash or filth when walking around the grounds and felt very safe. The beach was nice (clear water/nice snad) with some limited opportunity for snorkeling. There were plenty of free rafts, beach chairs, and umbrellas for shade lovers. Hotel service was good. We usually prefer not to eat at hotels to experience the local restaurants, so we only ate at Coco Joes, the beach bar, for snacks. So I really can't comment on all the restaurants. There was plenty to do, if you were looking for entertainment. There was (it seemed) always live music at Coco Joes and while we were there, they held a wine tasting at one of the restaurants, a "Full Moon" BBQ celebration on the beach, various other sports and exercise activities, and of course, the daily feeding of the iguanas (ick)! Overall, I thought that the hotel was nice, clean, convenient, and had plenty to do. Went went using Marriott points, so it was a good value for us and we enjoyed our vacation.

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By Peter

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Mar 17, 2002

Morningstar better than Frenchman's Reef

Resort has best location on the island. Nice, clean beach-no seaweed. Morningstar section much better than the Frenchman's section. The rooms were o.k., nothing fancy, but 30 feet from the beach. Place could use alittle better upkeep-paint and polish. Occasional trash seen in spots. Food ok, best at Tavern at the Terrace and Coco's. I will definitely return

By Jane

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Mar 8, 2002

Poor Service and Upkeep

Could be a very nice resort but upkeep badly needed. There was trash and clutter all around the parts of the grounds that were less frequented. Service was abyssmal. Wait staff practically threw our food at us. Rooms have a musty smell that is much worse in the hillside rooms. Views of the harbor and cruise ships did not give me the romantic, secluded feeling I would have liked. Would not recommend!

By Bill

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Jul 24, 2001

Morningstar is Fine

Spent a week here on business 7/15-22/01 and enjoyed the stay very much. The oceanfront rooms on the high floors (3 floors only) are the best. Quiet and nice views of the beach. Rooms have ice machines and small refrig.--- which is very nice to have. Staff were all very nice and when I had a problem with the ice maker it was corrected promptly. We stay here as it is an easy trip to town. Check their internet site for rate specials.

By Carlos

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Jul 21, 2001

Morning Star 5, the Reef 4

Both accomodations are excellent for business. If traveling for leisutre, although 3 minutes away by courtesy shuttle, The Morning Star a lot more cozy than the Reef due to more secluded location. Love the 24 hour convenience shop at the Reef (surprisingly very reasonable prices for a Marriott Hotel).

By penny

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Jul 16, 2001

A good mix

We just got back from a 9 day stay at Morning Star. With our 3 year old in tow we wanted a quiet place for us and a fun place for her. We got both. The pools are nice (but could have been cleaner) and the beach is great. Our daughter didn't want to leave but we noticed that some teens looked bored. There was no night life which was fine with us. The food was good but not great. We ate at Caesar's ALOT and enjoyed the staff at their walk up window.

We originally were in a 1st floor garden room but then moved to the a 3rd floor one due to the noise of the AC units that surround one side of each building. Town is very accessible from this resort and the views really are wonderful. We visited the beach at the Renaissance and liked Morning Star's better. Overall a very good value

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By Nick

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Jul 3, 2001

My piece of the pie

My wife and I stayed here on our 4th wedding anniversary, and all I can say is wow! What a beautiful resort. We had a wonderful view of the harbor from our room, and we could watch the cruise ships come and go daily. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. I would definitely stay here again.

By Brent

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Jun 12, 2001

Can you say AVERAGE at best?!!

I just got back from my honeymoon and after 2 days at the Morningstar we moved to the Ritz(as usual, the Ritz was amazing in every way). The Marriott was ONLY ok! It wasn't bad but don't expect to be wowed! It all depends on what your expectations are....are you used to pristine/perfect hotels or just casual accomadations? So, if average is what you're after..Marriott-St Thomas is the hotel for you!

By Diane

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Jun 3, 2001

A St. Thomas Must!

This is my third stay at Morning Star. Although I prefer the island of St. John, I always stop at Morning Star for several days just because I like the resort. The rooms are lovely, the staff is courteous and friendly and seem to know your name almost immediately. Some even remembered me from my past stay more than a year ago! The food is very good. I especially enjoyed my lunch overlooking the pool and harbor. It was movie set perfection. In

my estimation it is a great Carrebean value.

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By Jenn

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May 10, 2001

dirty sheets

For the money we paid, I expected alot better. The staff couldnt be bothered with us and when we showed up on our first day, there were stains on the sheets!! A beautiful resort, but the staff and accomodations left alot to be desired. Would not reccommend.

By Amy

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Apr 25, 2001

Island Girl

We spent our honeymoon at Frenchman's Reef and loved it. Even though we were there 9 days, the hotel had so much that we rarely left the property. Tavern on the Beach and Caesar's were our two favorite restaurants, and we thought the food was delicious. I loved the 24 hour market where you could buy snacks, etc. We would definitley (and hopefully will) return.

By Kevin

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Apr 2, 2001

Don't be fooled...

Having stayed at many different Marriott resorts and after reading many differing reviews, I expected (hoped) this would be all it should be for the price. Location is great and the rooms weren't bad but the service and food were absolutely terrible. Wait staff could care less when or what you get served. Bartenders are upset with the wait staff due to lousy service translating into lousier tips. Pool furniture broken, activities offered were

anemic. I would recommend considering somewhere else.

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By Kent

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Mar 22, 2001

Morning Star should be called Morning 5 Star!

Rooms very comfortable, well kept. Staff very friendly and helpful, even the general manager knew us by name on the 3rd day. Great swimming beach, pool stays open at night. Great location, easy to get to town or other beaches although the only other one better on the island is Megan's. 1st trip in 98, returned in 00, the first time we've ever gone to same place twice. Thinking of going back this year.

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