St John/St Thomas trip report

Feb 1st, 2004, 07:51 AM
  #1  
mjz
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St John/St Thomas trip report

I just returned from a 9 day trip to St John and St Thomas and wanted to post a brief trip report to assist any planners.

We flew into STT and picked up a mid-size rental car from Avis. From STT, we drove to Red Hook and took the car barge to St John. I believe the round trip fare was $35. By the way, we had no problems with a mid-size car on St. John and explored the entire island...even some non-paved roads. However, the roads were dry.

While in St John, we stayed at the Westin. I'm a Starwood Gold member and upon checking in at the Westin, we were upgraded from a garden view room to a two story, two bedroom/two bathroom suite (building 24 room 2433). The location was at the top the hill which was great for us as you had a view of the grounds as well as an un-obstructed view of the bay. The suite was nicely appointed, grounds were beautiful, and the service was good. The only meal we ate at the Westin was the breakfast buffet ($20 per person) one morning. The food was average. I would stay at the Westin again.

We spent most of our time exploring the island, beaches and snorkeling. Both of us were impressed with the beauty of St John, but have experienced better snorkeling elsewhere. I got a kick out of all the goats, donkeys and pigs roaming the island. What a place to be a wild goat.....

While on St John, we ate at the following restaurants. Lime Inn (good), Morgan's Mango (good), Fishtrap (average), 10 Tables (EXCELLENT!!!), Chilly Billy's (good) and Mongoose Restaraunt (good).

After spending 4 days on St John, we headed to St Thomas where we stayed at the Marriott Morningstar in a beach front room. The room was of average size (we were spoiled at the Westin) and very clean, but could use an update. The view was incredible. I really enjoyed hanging out on the balcony...people watching...seeing the cruise ships come and go. I was not that impressed with the service. I felt the bartenders at Coco Joe's (on the beacdh) were rude...I'm a polite guy that greets people with a smile and courtesy, so it was not my attitude. I also felt the front desk people were lacking. I had made all of our dinner reservations prior to leaving on vacation, so the only request I made from the hotel were directions to a couple of restaurants. We were never given clear directions and the thought of calling the restaraunt and getting directions for us never seemed to cross their mind. The grounds were nice. Parking at the Morningstar became an issue a couple of times as it seemed the hotel was having some sort of new employee orientation and they were taking all the spaces. If I return to St Thomas, I would stay at the Ritz.

In St Thomas, we explored the island, hung out on the beach and shopped. I did get a great deal on a new timepiece. We took a daytrip to the BVI's aboard the New Horizon II. This was my favorite day of the trip. The BVI's are stunning, New Horizon II did a wonderful job (Linda was awesome) taking care of us and the scenery was just spectacular. I'll never forget this day and highly recommend it to anyone. By the way, the size of our group was 12 people.

We started getting a little tired of eating out, but tried the following restaurants: Romano's (good), Old Stone Farmhouse (very good), Gladys's Cafe (good), Hook Line and Sinker (good) and a handful of others.

This was my second and probably last visit to St Thomas. I would return to St John and would like to base myself on one or two of the BVI's next time I return the Virgin Islands.

I guess this was not so brief after all, but I hope it helps.
mjz is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 09:45 AM
  #2  
 
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Hi - thanks for the great report! We recently returned from our first trip to the USVI - stayed on St. T. but spent a lot of time on St. J. We thought the snorkeling was incredible on St. J. You mentioned that you thought snorkeling was better elsewhere. Where have you been that was better - we are planning next year and would love the input. Thanks, sue.
sueoz is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 01:11 PM
  #3  
mjz
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Hi sueoz. We've experienced some really great snorkeling in Aruba and Hawaii (Big Island). I was really suprised with the Big Island as I did not expect the snorkeling to be that good. Right off Hapuna Beach we saw a ton of green sea turtles, a couple of octopuses, a barcuda and all sorts of tropical fish. The snorkeling was also good in the BVI's, especially Marina Cay.

I think we will try Crand Cayman this Summer and maybe Belize next January. I've heard good things about both.
mjz is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 02:24 PM
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I was on this beach Morningstar beach only for one day. (yesterday) from the cruise ship. I saw the Marriot and yes it looked a bit tired but there other places down from there. They were yellow and blue cottage like places. These places looked lovely. Are they part of the Marriots property? We would love to spend more time in St. Thomas. It is our favorite Island. Not sure from your report that the Marriot would be the best place.
diann is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 02:51 PM
  #5  
mjz
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diann - the yellow and blue structures you saw on Morningstar Beach is the Marriott Morningstar. The hotel you probably saw from your cruise ship is the Marriott Frenchman's Reef (big pink hotel). This is Morningstar's sister property and it sits up on the cliff. If you really like St Thomas, then the Morningstar would be a good option as the location is ideal, plus it's right on the beach. Personally, for the price, I felt the service was off. But that was just my experience. You may love it.
mjz is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 09:24 AM
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Great trip report, thank you. I am going on my honeymoon to STJ and Virgin Gorda is 265 days (but who is counting)

What type of food does the 10 Tables have??? Since you said it was excellent I figure we should consider eating there. If you dont mind telling me what you ate, I love to hear a good meal re-cap. We plan to eat on this honeymoon so food is a big thing for us.

Any other tips you have are appreciated
jkurtiak is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 12:33 PM
  #7  
mjz
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10 Tables serves seafood/steaks/lamb etc., great desserts and a nice wine list. The food is prepared in an eclectic style. We had a cheesecake appetizer (baked blue cheese topped with artichokes), both had salads, my partner had a seafood casserole...I had lamb chops, both had chocolate bread pudding topped with blueberry carmel sauce and homemade vanilla bean icecream as well as a nice bottle of Pinot Noir.
mjz is offline  
Feb 8th, 2004, 05:26 PM
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Hi, saw your report and wondered if you had any thoughts that might help us. We are a Starwood member also and planning our first rip to the caribbean in June, we are debating on either the Westin on St. John or Harbourside at Atlantis in the Bahamas. Thanks for you help.
sandwl is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:14 PM
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Hi mjz:

We, too, just got back from a long weekend at the Westin, St. John and had a similar suite...LOVED the double jacuzzi and the incredible view. Had dinner at Chloe & Bernard's on site and the meal was incredible...so much so that the next night we ate at Paradiso in Cruz Bay that is also owned by the same chef and that meal was just as good!! Going back probably in November and can't wait!!!!
Morgan is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:53 PM
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mjz - great recap - thanks!! We leave for the Westin SJ in a couple of wks... we'll have two little ones w/ us - I've requested a pool/beach view room so we don't have to climb the kids up and down the hill. We're using Starwood pts as well - do you think they have upgrades (i.e., larger rooms) in the non-suite areas down below??
Your day trip to the BVIs sounds terrific. Is that something we should save for a different trip - or is it something worth bringing the kids on? They're great on boats, well behaved, etc... but it might be an adult oriented day? Did you see other little ones? Would love your thoughts on all. Thanks much!!
buckingham is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 06:50 AM
  #11  
mjz
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sandwl - I can't compare the Westin STJ to the Harbourside at Atlantis as I've never been to the Bahama's.

buckingham - I'm not sure if there are suites poolside/beachfront, but I would think so. You might want to call or email the hotel and ask...perhaps even put a request in for an upgrade. Regarding the BVI day excursion, in my opinion, I would not bring children...there were none on our excursion. This is a small group of people...8 to 15. The alcohol flows freely all day. To me, it's a perfect day for the adults to unwind and just enjoy themselves. THIS IS JUST MY OPINION, so people with children, please don't start barking at me.

Enjoy your trips as you will enjoy STJ and the Westin!
mjz is offline  

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