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Marriott Frenchmans Reef ocean view or Morningstar Garden view?

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Dec 4th, 2003, 01:28 PM
  #1
mjz
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Marriott Frenchmans Reef ocean view or Morningstar Garden view?

I'll be spending 5 nights at the St. Thomas Marriott using points. I'm considering upgrading (for a fee) to either an ocean-view room at the Frenchman's Reef or to a garden-view room at the Morning Star. A lot of you may think it's a no-brainer....the ocean-view, but the Morningstar rooms and amenities sound much nicer. I would appreciate recommendations from anyone that has stayed at this resort. By the way, I'm not paying the upgrade fee for an ocean-view room at the Morningstar.

We'll also be staying at the Westin St. John in an ocean-view room. Perhaps we will have had our fill of looking at the ocean...doubtful!

As always, thank you.
Matt
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Dec 5th, 2003, 03:53 AM
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Hi, Matt!
We just returned late Tuesday night, 12/2, having stayed at both the Morningstar for 7 nights and the Westin for 5 nights. I haven't had time yet to write a trip report, but thought I'd try to offer my thoughts:
We used points (and a small upgrade fee)and stayed at the Morningstar. I would highly recommend staying there. After much research on this board and others, I requested bldg. 3 (out of 5 bldgs. that dot the beach) and received it upon check-in. Note that if you are a smoker, bldgs. 1 and 2 are smoking. We were in bldg. 3 on the 2nd floor, garden-view, #5321. On the balcony, over a tree, you could see a bit of the ocean. BUT...go for bldg. 4 (#5421)or bldg. 5, (#5521). These are both the same room that we had, but you have a straight shot of the water from your balcony (I would have requested these but didn't know the layout of the rooms until I got there!).
Upon arrival, you are greeted with chilled towels and taken to your room. The room has a frig. and ice-maker. Very clean and nice. Two- double beds in our room. The maids come in every morning AND every evening to clean the room and provide turn-down service (the Marriott chocolate on each pillow...I noticed that the pillows on the beds were arranged differently every evening and was told that they change the pattern daily). There are 2 chairs and a table on the balcony. A quick walk down a landscaped path (resembled a botanical garden) and you were on the beach).
On to the Westin:
We were in bldg. #22, 2217, gardenview. I had requested a ground floor in bldg. #21 (centrally located, closest walk to the pool, beach, restaurants, etc) but bldg. #21 was not available upon check-in. Well, once we walked the grounds, realized that many of the ground level rooms in bldg. #21 had been flooded with the rains the previous week and were totally being renovated.
Shuttles (enlarged golf carts that are gas-powered)are driven by really nice attendants that take you to your room (and anywhere else on the property). I liked the location of #2217 as it was near the end of the bldg and close to a walking path. I would tell anybody to go for bldg. #21, and rooms in the range of #2110-#2116. These are all ground floor, with a GREAT view of the water from your patio (and are considered gardenview rooms as far as I know).
Sorry to have been so long winded...but still excited from the trip!
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Dec 5th, 2003, 04:42 AM
  #3
mjz
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Hi tjcm. Thanks for your detailed information regarding the Marriott and Westin. Hope you did not have to return home to cold, nasty weather!

I've upgraded to the Morningstar and requested building 4 or 5. The Westin I'm not too worried about as they treat me well because of my Starwood status...they have already guaranteed me an ocean view.

I'll be anxious to see your trip report. Thanks again!

Matt
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Dec 5th, 2003, 07:16 AM
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TJCM -

Since you just came back, my sister is planning a trip to St Thomas in April and she is deciding between the Ritz, and the Marriott Frenchmans/Morningstar resort. When we were looking at pictures, it seemed the Frenchman's rooms were nicer and the Morningstar looked kind of dumpy. But, knowing that pictures are not always accurate, did you manage to view the rooms at the Frenchman?

Also, which beach is better, Marriott or The Ritz. We have also heard that The Ritz is not really as close to things as Marriott is. What was your take or did you even go by the Ritz?

Thanks so much.
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Dec 5th, 2003, 07:20 AM
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tjcm
Did you take a taxi from STT airport to Marriott's or did Marriott arrange transfer for you? How much did you pay?
Do Marriott Frenchmans Reef and Morningstar have one reception or they are independant?
Did you check-in in Marriott Frenchmans Reef or Morningstar?
What ferry did you take from St Thomas to St. John? Did you take a taxi to the ferry? How much did you pay?
Thank you


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Dec 5th, 2003, 10:47 AM
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Hi again, Matt-
Yes, it was a 50 degrees temperature drop for us upon our return homes. Yuk. Still cold and kind of sleety/snowy today.
Beachdreams-
I did not see any of the Frenchman's Reef rooms. Apparently the "top of the reef" rooms are the nicest...and I believe they are suites (some 2 levels). From what I had read, you'd only want to stay in the main bldg. at Frenchman's because the "wing" rooms can be musty. The Ritz is supposed to be EXTREMELY nice, and everything I have ever read or heard about it sounds wonderful. While the Marriott is about a mile to town (Charlotte Amalie), the Ritz is farther away, but if she is renting a car she will have no problems getting around. We went by the Ritz property a few times (saw the sign), but the property is up a drive and you cannot see it at all from the road.I do not know which property has the larger beach. Note too that the Morningstar property sits directly on the beach, while the Reef sits up on a cliff (via a set of stairs or via free shuttle that runs up/down between the Reef and Morningstar).
Pat2003: We took a cab from the airport to the Marriott Morningstar. Note that all taxi's are have standard fares to various destinations...i.e. cannot dicker about the price. For the 4 of us, plus our bags (which you are charged by the piece!), I think it was $40. The check-in areas for the two properties are totally independent of each other. You tell the taxi driver "Morninstar" and they take you to the main entrance of Morningstar for check-in.
We took the ferry from Red Hook, St. Thomas to St. John. This ferry ride takes only 15 minutes, and for the 4 of us(2 Adults, 2 children) cost like $8.00. I didn't read my notes on the morning of our departure from St.Thomas for St. John, and we missed the ferry from Charlotte to St. John...so we cabbed ($32) to the ferry dock at Red Hook. From St.John to Charlotte Amalie (or vice versa), it is a 45 min. ferry ride to/from St. John, and cost us $20 for the 4 of us one-way.
Note: we didn't rent a car. I was hesitant, having been there before (cruises) and seen the driving on the left-hand side of the road, twisty/turny
roads on the side of cliffs, and overall lack of confindence driving in the evening after a few (or more) cocktails. But I will tell you this, you will spend a FORTUNE in taxis if you don't rent a car. To get to town, for the 4 of us, was $20 each way. To go to Sapphire Beach, I think we paid $28 each way. To go to Agave Terrace (agaveterrace.com) restaurant, was $32 each way. It adds up. I would definitely rent a car on St. John. We didn't but should have (next time...right?!)
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Dec 5th, 2003, 12:25 PM
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Thank you, tjcm.
Would you recommend Red Hook or Charlotte ferry to St. John? I read the Charlotte ferry could be a little rough and I rather not get sea sick. How much would be taxi to Charlotte from Marriott's Morning Star? Any idea?

We already reserved our car on St. John but I appreciate your concerns and all price details. Now I realize that a high price of a rental car is justified.
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Dec 5th, 2003, 06:44 PM
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Pat-

I have stayed at the RITZ- It is a gorgeous property- hotel is set on a bank of hills overlooking the water- sort of like 2 story apt bldgs in sections--

All rooms are jr suites- but that is a misnomer- all they are is a larger room with a loveseat thrown in--
Bathrooms are gorgeous- all marble and huge...

All rooms have water view- but some are closer to the beach than others due to the placement of the building on the hill.

The beach is a small gorgeous white man made beach--with the pool steps away from the beach...really really beautiful


The beach at Morningstar is WAY way bigger...

Ritz is about 25 min drive to downtown on windy 2 lane roads that you drive on the wrong side of the street...Can be a little horrid to drive at nite if you want to go out to dinner...We always rent a car and felt this hotel, while gorgeous, was a little too far from the good restaurants on the island and also too far from going into town...

Morningstar is a GREAT location--but I have not seen the inside of the rooms..

I HAVE stayed at the Frenchmans Reef and also recommend a direct OCEAN view in the main building..DO NOT get a "garden view" as those rooms overlook the parking lot...and do not get a room in any of the wings..

The Rooms in the main building are large ( remember it is a Marriott) and the views are beautiful..The pool is on a Cliff overlooking the sea- and there is an elevator to take you down to the small walk to Morningstar Beach..
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Dec 6th, 2003, 06:06 AM
  #9
 
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Pat2003:
If you are going to stay at the Marriott, the logical (closest) ferry to St. John (while a longer ride) would be out of Charlotte. I think it totally depends on the weather when you are there as to how rough of a ride the ferry will be.
Well, for 4 people, it is a $20 cab ride to town (where the ferry is)...and then add in your luggage.
Yes, a car is the way to go on this island.
If you have any more questions, pls do not hesitate to ask.
Note: If you are a pool person...I had read that during the off-season they drain the pools for repair, painting, etc. The Morningstar pool is lovely, right on the beach, next to Coco Joe's bar/restaurant...and was always open during our stay. The main pool up at the Reef was closed for two days, open for 2 and then closed again another day. Never really heard what was wrong.
While we were at the Marriott at the end of November, the elevator from the Reef down to the lower level (to walk out to access the walk to the Morningstar) was out of service.
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Dec 6th, 2003, 06:13 AM
  #10
 
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All-
Look at this site for taxi rates. These are posted in every cab:
http://www.usvi-on-line.com/st/sttaxi.shtml
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Dec 7th, 2003, 02:25 PM
  #11
 
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Jumping in...

The rooms at Morningstar are much nicer than those in the tower, but the regular Marriott rooms are just fine...

I think I would take ocean view in the tower over garden view at MS...my favorite is full ocean view at MS...ask for rooms 326 or 328...best of the best...the garden view rooms (or some of them) look out onto the access road (but still have a very short walk to the beach)...the tower is a bit of a trek to the beach and can involve a couple of elevator rides...I like this resort a lot and think it is highly under rated...the beach is very good (not excellent), but overall it is a great location and has the most going for it of the STT resorts...
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