R&R: St. Thomas or St. John?

Jan 3rd, 2005, 06:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 35
R&R: St. Thomas or St. John?

My husband and I are expecting our first and planning a trip to the Carribean in mid-to-late March.

Ideal Location: down-to-earth and comfortable yet pampered, beautiful place on a beautiful island, budget not too much of a concern, easy access to the States, established/reputable, avoid spring break hot-spots.

During Stay: beach, pool, short day trips, shopping at local marketplace, eating, relaxing.

Options: I have identified Westin St. John and Ritz in St. Thomas as options (need TV so Caneel Bay is out).

Questions: are there other hotels/islands we should consider? e.g. we like the idea of Bermuda but is too cold to pool/beach mid-March? Do you think Westin St. John or the Ritz fit the bill?

Thank you so much!
May is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 5
It seems to me that St. John would fit your needs. St. Thomas is very developed, lots of bad shopping, cruise ships, etc. Not really my thing. It is hard to get away from the crowds. I'm sure the Ritz is beautiful, but I wouldn't plan to leave the resort.

I have stayed at the Westin St. John several times. Beautiful property, nice (not great) rooms, nice pool, average man-made beach. There are much better National Park beaches on the island that are really beautiful and generally very quiet. They are a quick cab ride away (picture a nice pick-up with steps and seats in the back, always available at the hotel and cheap). Cruz Bay is the local town that offers good restaurants, shopping, bars, people watching, etc.

Let me know if I can help with any other St John questions. It is one of my favorite travel destinations. Good luck.
krispykreme is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 15
St John gets my vote hands down. You might want to consider Gallows Point Resort though instead of The Westin. The Westin is more of a child friendly hotel, having trampolines in the ocean etc, so if you are wanting r&r might not be your best option. Gallows, although does not have room service, does have daily maid service, is a 2 minute walk from the town where there are fabulous restaurants, shopping etc. ZoZo's restaurant is on site (one of the best on island) you have a fabulous sunset view over St Thomas, good snorkling off the "beach" (their beach area is rocky, but the Westins beach is man made and not the best on island) and you are 10 mins closer to all the north shore beaches via taxi than from the Westin, and you wouldn't have to take a taxi every night to town eat. If you are looking for a huge pool area though with a bar, Gallows is not for you. They do have a pool but it is tiny, (although every time we went we were the only ones)and we just took a cooler with us so it was no problem. Just something to consider. Happy planning and congratulations on your first.
Piaa is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,832
It is true that St. John is quieter, but the hotels on St. Thomas tend to not be in downtown and next to the cruise ships. You might be able to be more creative staying on STT and doing some short day trips including a trip by ferry to STJ. It is true that shopping is not a leisure activity on STT when lots of cruise ships are in port, but there are many places to eat and you can relax on STT easily. We did. We were in Bermuda in Sept and it was VERY hot, but I expect that March will still be cool. Do try to get there someday. It is unlike any other place with great food and hotels. Enjoy your vacation!
Knowing is offline  
Jan 10th, 2005, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 28
we stayed at ritz st thomas club level and enjoyed it. found five food presentations well worth it and preferred the pool that is closer to club. we did two day trips to st john and loved the island. If tv not necessary would do caneel but I have heard mixed reviews on westin. On the whole if you stay at the Ritz do the club level. the folks in the rest. always make you feel welcome. the resort is on the other side of st thomas, away from shopping and cruise crowds. My husband tended to get a bit car sick on the roads. That may be something to think about. good luck
ozhen4 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2005, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,771
St.John gets my vote based on 6-7 visits to the island at Caneel Bay Resort. If you go outside of a school break the number of children will not be overwhelming. Twenty years ago children under 8 were strongly discouraged but now they have a kids camp. The only drawback is the food is adequate at fairly steep pricing based on my last visit in 2002. Also, Conde Naste reader survey does not rate the food very high either.

Did you look into Peter Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands where food is very good,excluding the once a week buffet? They still discourage children and it is a more romantic resort.
Price comparable to Caneel Bay.
StanKase is offline  
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