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Mini trip report - St Thomas - Frenchmans Reef

Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:21 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Mini trip report - St Thomas - Frenchmans Reef


We stayed 6 nights using our Points. DH, me and 15 year old daughter, 11 year old son.

For those planning a trip here - bring lots of money - It is very expensive.

The taxi's fees are per person. $40 one way from airport to Hotel. The cabbies own their own cabs so you do not need to tip. the immigration officer told me they make about $100,000/year. I beleive it!! We spent approx. $300 on taxi's. We did rent a car.
They drive on the opposite side of the road. That is fine - I lived in Scotland once! But, the roads are like roller coasters. I was not comfortable driving there.
The little water taxi from the Hotel to Charlotte Amalie is $6. The kids enjoyed it once or twice. It takes 15 min each way.

The Frenchman's Reef is in need of updating. The carpet in the halls are very worn and tattered. The pool is nice, but also in need of some sprucing up. It is not "manicured" like some other properties Marriott owns.
The open air lobby is nice. They serve a great (strong) rum punch in the afternoon. The staff is courteous but not overly friendly. We enjoyed the patio outside the Rumbar at night. It has a spectacular view and is very relaxing.We met a couple there who we hung out with a bit. That was fun.

WE requested and used points for an ocean view. It was gorgeous! It is fun to watch the ships pull in and out of port. Someone said this on aonther thread and I thought - " oh how boring", but until you see it, it is an amazing sight.
The bathroom was small, shower tiles not in good shape and the floor was old. New sink and fixtures. The window TX looked a bit dreary too.
The carpet in the room was updated and there was also neice tile floors.

I would request to stay at Morining Star if I were to return. You can walk right to the beach.It is a boutique type hotel. From our hotel is was a long walk ( I liked the exercise) but for someone with mobliity issues it would not be good at all. There is a free shuttle that goes back and forth between both entrances of the resort.

We ate all the restaurants on the property.
Havana Blue is supposed to one of the nicest on the island. Dinner for two- $180.
It was very good. We sat on the rail and enjoyed the sound of the waves. The service was very good. DH enjoyed a good cigar.
The other restaurants all tasted the same, and the service was AWFUL. But, you are on vacation ans should be in no hurry!! Coco Joes offers a buffet night that was really good - once or twice a week. $35/person. Great Ribs, great seafood and roasted pig etc,,,several local desserts too.

We ate at several other restaurants on the island - I will give our recommendations...
to be cont...
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Two really good restaurants in Charlotte Amalie -

Cafe Amici - the best Margarita Pizza I have ever had!!! My daughter and I split one $13, and it was plenty! (probably the cheapest meal we had too!)
Gladys's - I had the the special - which was a stewed curry chicken - it was divine. The sides were homemade. The kids got club sandwiches and DH got a burger.

We also went to Blue Moon in Secret Harbor. There was live music and the bar was lively. It is part of a resort. We watched people snorkel in the dark with the glow in the dark breath tubes and flashlights. It was fun and they had great calamari! And a homemade seafood chowder that was great.

For Sailing - We hired Horizons I. The crew of two were very knowledgable, funny, and very sweet. The boat can fit up to 40 people. We were lucky to have about 12 - so there was a lot of room. They served lunch and breakfast - very good! $110/person.
We sailed to private beaches/coves at St John and St James islands. The scenery was gorgeous. You leave from Saphire Marina - The resort there is very nice. The view from that beach is breathtaking!
The submarine trip was the highlight for DH and son. $90/person. It lasts about 2 hours and the marine life and history is extraordinary.

We of course did the walking tour of the historic buildings and Blackbeards Castle. The 99 steps should be done in the am before the day tires you out!

I did not care for all the shopping here. It was 99% junk and retail stores found anywhere... IMO. I have never seen so many jewelers. They really do a number on the tourists walking by. I also hated when all the taxis would "hound" us to take us back to our ship. I kept saying we are not on a ship. It was chaos!.
I bought a hand painted ornament..that's it!! My children got some t-shirts/ inexpensive jewelry/....

The water here is so clear and looks like sparkeling emeralds!! I have never seen such color!

We had fun. It was relaxing. Would I stay at this Marriott property again? No. Would I reccomend it? Probably not, unless you were using your rewards and did not have to pay for it. ( But, Morningstar - Yes. )

I kept comparing it to the property in Curacao which we found amazing, so it is a bit slanted perhaps!

I am happy to answer any questions.



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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 07:10 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 872
Hi annesherrod - I can't believe you're already back!!

Thanks for the report - it contains VERY useful information for our family. I'm pretty sure we'll feel the same way... it's an OK stay if you're staying free on points (as we are).

You confirmed 2 of the places on our restaurant list... Blue Moon Cafe and Gladys'. Now we'll have to add Cafe Amici to the list!

So was the walking tour a "do it yourself tour" or did you go with a tour operator?

The submarine sounds fun, but expensive... I think we'll stick with snorkeling and scuba diving for our underwater adventure!

Did you make it over to St. John? That's the main reason we're staying at the Marriott... a free stay and a chance to visit St. John.

Well, thanks again.

Carole
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 05:06 AM
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Hi Carole,

Your information was so helpful to us!!

We did our own walking tour! I used the Fodors book to quide us. I really enjoyed the restored homes ( on the black beard Property) There is a person in each home to explain the history. In one home, there was a man from STL (home) and he retired there and was so imformative. We sat and talked to him for about 30 min.

The beach here is VERY nice. It is just beautiful.

On our sailing trip through Horizon we did go to St John but only to snorkel, not to explore. I wish now that I would have done the tour where you get out and explore. Horizon does offer a tour where you can do that as well as go to the BVI. It is only about $25 more per person.
Csrol, we had the big breakfast buffet once in the restaurant called "Windows" - you can see the ships pulling in! There was delicious fresh local fruits, and everything you can imagine! It was a lot of food though and for 4 people it was about $58. Mostly, we got bagels or fruit and coffee from the little gift shop.

I beleive there are jet skis to rent on the property and the parasailing boat leaves from Marriott as well.
We saw a lady about 70 years old going on her first trip!!! We were in awe.

You will have a ball. Let me know if you have any more questions. I printed your list and it was so Helpful to us!!!!
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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We'll look for Windows restaurant as well, then... although we're going to TRY to eat most breakfasts from the room if we can. How large are the refrigerators in the Marriott? Large enough for breakfast and a few lunch items (I'd like to pack lunches in a cooler for some of our day trips).

My kids will probably want to jet ski. They did that in Grand Cayman in 2005 and loved riding through the colorful water. They will probably want to parasail too... oh, I can feel the budget slipping!!

Carole
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Oh, and we WERE going to do the New Horizons II to the BVI... even had reservations. But now we're staying 5 nights on Virgin Gorda at the end of our St. Thomas stay instead!!

Thanks again.
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Hi Carole -
Just to clarify.....Windows is part of the Marriott.

The fridges are mini but should fit what ever you need for picnics, etc...

FYI - There is not a stocked mini bar though. For us - probably a good thing becasue we tend to raid it and it gets to be so exensive!!!
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Oh, OK... so Windows is in the Marriott. In that case, I did read about the buffet there... we'll probably try it once.

I'm glad to know they don't have mini-bars in the refrigerators... we'll have more room that way.

Another question... you mentioned your husband was enjoying a cigar one night. Did he purchase any cigars while on St. Thomas? My hubby will purchase some on Virgin Gorda at Pusser's... but we're not sure where we can buy them on St. Thomas.

Carole
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 05:26 AM
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Hi Carole,

He purchased it at the Havana Blue Restaurant. He said they had a nice selection. Not a cuban.

Your husband may have better luck at Virgin gorda for those.

I hear VG is gorgeous with a lot of unspoiled landscape - lush and beautiful.

We were told St Thomas was in a middle of a drought. It was not very green. We did get a lot of rain while there though - mostly at night though!!
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