Morning Star Beach Resort on St. Thomas

Old Dec 6th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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Morning Star Beach Resort on St. Thomas

We are an elderly couple planning a mid-winter trip to St. Thomas. We like to be on a beautiful beach, to play tennis and to snorkel in calm waters. Has anyone had any experience at the Marriott Morning Star resort. We realize that it is connected to the larger Frenchman's Reef.
Is the beach good for walking? Is it very crowded? Is the water calm and good for snorkeling. Are there reefs within swimming distance to see a variety of fish?
Any information on the quality of service, and the quality of the rooms would also be very useful.
Thank you, Nancylee
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Old Dec 6th, 2012, 12:51 PM
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hi nancylee, i'd take a look at secret harbour beach resort. calm water, really good walkin snorkeling. beach is not long for walking, but neither is the one at marriott, which does not have good snorkeling.
beachfront units at shbr are directly on the beach. very clean well kept condo style units. beach & loungers nicely kept as well. has on site restaurant but you'd probably want to rent a car for part of your stay or take taxi's to some other places for dinner a few nights.
you could go over to magens bay beach one morning for a long walk.
shbr is quite close to the town of red hook where you catch the ferry to st. john & bvi's. you could go to st. john for part of a day (ferry takes 20 mins) for outstanding snorkeling at caneel bay resort's beaches or some other beach.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 06:25 AM
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Hi Virginia. Thank you for your prompt reply. The amazing thing is we ARE planning to spend 6 days at Secret Harbor before moving on to a second 6 days at a different location. We are planning a 12 day vacation in all, but generally like to move on to another part of the island after 6 days just to get a change. We do not rent a car.
We get the impression that you do not think much of Morning Star. From looking at their website the beach looked nice. What is your objection? Is the beach rocky? Is it too crowded? Is it too short to walk? Is the ocean rough?
Is there another resort that you know of that might meet our requirements? Any suggestion would be appreciated.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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MorningStar is very nice. The rooms are right on the beach and away from the bigger Frenchman's just enough to provide some serinity. The two hotels share the same beach and you can use the facilities and do room charges at both.

While the beach is nice, it is not very long for walking - maybe 1/4 mile or so. The hotel provides loungers and umbrellas for the guests, but I have been there when the cruise ship people arrive in big groups. They don't stay long and you can always retreat to your patio near the beach if it gets too crowded.

From MS you can very easily walk to a couple of the hotel's restaurants and a small shop. The FR hotel has other options for shopping and eating, but it is a bit of a hike to get there as it sits atop a hill. There is a shuttle service as well.

Service is standard island service - hit or miss, but everything eventually gets done. If you are friendly, so are they.

Last time I was there the rooms were quite nice, but I find that room quality is pretty much tied to the last time they refreshed the hotel.

There is really no snorkling from the beach and it can be a bit rough at times. The water is not as clear and blue as at Secret Harbour, which is better for snorkling.

From the FR you can take a small shuttle boat into the town for a change of scene or some shopping, so unless you really want to explore the island, you don't really need a car at MS.
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Old Dec 7th, 2012, 01:25 PM
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i don't dislike morningstar, but for the reasons andrew mentioined (the walk up the hill, no snorkeling, cruiseshippers) i prefer shbr.
shbr is more isolated - in a much more peaceful part of the island.
the ferry from marriott into town is very convenient and frenchman's has what i consider to be the best restaurant on st. t, called havana blue. get a table near the open windows just before sunset!
alternatives would be the ritz or wyndham sugar bay which is allinclusive & has ok snorkeling
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Old Dec 8th, 2012, 05:53 AM
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For tennis, Morning Star has nicer, lighted courts. The beach is a windward beach, so there can be wave action. There is a ferry that will take you to the waterfront for shopping and lunch in town.

Have you considered moving over to St John for the next section of your trip? Caneel has great tennis, snorkeling and several beaches.
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Old Dec 8th, 2012, 04:48 PM
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Thank you all for your comments. We have been to Caneel Bay and it is wonderful, but it has gotten very expensive, so we are trying to find another place. If Morning Star has no snorkeling and the water can be rough, that is not for us.
You say that Wyndham Sugar Bay has OK snorkeling, but I read that its a 99-step hike from guest rooms. Is the snorkeling at the Westin on St John any good? How about the Ritz on St Thomas?
Any other ideas where there is at least some snorkeling? We will have good snorkeling at Secret Harbor, so maybe we could do with a little less at our second stop.
Tank you all for your help and good advice.
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Old Dec 9th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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Wyndham is indeed high up from the water. Although the 3 properties (Ritz, SH and Wyndham)are very different from each other, they are fairly close together and on the same side of the island - good snorkling.

Aside from being significantly more upscale (and a bit stuffy) I am not sure the Ritz would provide a significantly different beach experience to make moving from SH (and the added cost) worthwhile. If you are happy with the low key casual approach at SH, the Ritz may be a bit "forced resorty" than you may like.

If you are open to moving a bit further afield, take a look at Little Dix Bay or Peter Island. Both are expensive, but may offer more of what you are looking for and you can get there via ferry from STT.
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Old Dec 9th, 2012, 11:08 AM
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The snorkeling at the Westin on St John isn't the biggest draw. But once you are on St John, you are a quick drive from multiple snorkel venues.
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Old Dec 10th, 2012, 07:29 AM
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Virginia, Andrew, and Eastenderusvi.
After looking at all your comments, we have decided we are best off just staying at Secret Harbor.
Thank you so much - Nancylee
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Old Dec 10th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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i was hoping you'd make that choice. i think you will be glad you stayed & you can still visit any of the other resorts. ritz does an extravagent sunday brunch. there are several small restaurants in red hook. italian at romano's on the road to coki beach. and havana blue is still worth the ride for a special dinner.
there is a good grocery not far from shbr (eastender can tell you the name) and a dandy deli/grocery in red hook.
be sure you are in building 1-4. explain that you are older & have issues navigating the hill up to bldings 5-7. they may tell you they cannot promise a specific unit, but when i needed beachfront grnd floor for a party during my stay, i ended up with one. you should also request not to be on the 3rd floor. if you make polite smalltalk with the reservations people before you begin your request, they are even nicer than usual.
to snorkel - head to your right facing the water. go in just before the rocks in the water & head out & around the cliff at the end of the beach. otoh we saw flying fish from our beach chairs
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Old Dec 10th, 2012, 05:48 PM
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nancylee- I think Virginia gave you some great advice! Personally, when we visited at Frenchman's we were very disappointed in the beach at MorningStar after hearing it was nice. Admittedly, we live very near gorgeous US beaches on the FL panhandle Gulf of Mexico area and are spoiled by long white sand beaches but we thought Secret Harbour was much nicer and the snorkeling nice.
Also, I think St. John would be a good idea for your other week- you can stay anywhere (there are many nice condos, too, in addition to the Westin)and still be close to great snorkeling. Also, if I can throw in another suggestion, we love Virgin Gorda (look at Mango Bay)and you can take ferries there from West End. Have you tried the BVI's?
Happy travels- have a wonderful [email protected]
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 10:46 AM
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I visited Morningstar resort beach on a cruise as was mentioned I loved it there and the water that day was very calm and clear. My husband I said we would love to come and stay a week there at some point in time. This was about 6 years ago. Perhaps it has changed and we did not have anything else to really compare. Whatever you do I am sure you will enjoy your trip.
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 05:04 PM
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The grocery store down the road is Food Center.

If nancylee is a tennis player, I don't think a few stairs will stop her/them. The views up high at Secret Harbour are very nice and it is quieter than down on the beach with the hoi polloi. ;-)

diann24: Morning Star is very nice, you are correct.
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