St thomas vs. St Croix/resort vs. villa?

Sep 21st, 2008, 07:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 4
St thomas vs. St Croix/resort vs. villa?

I just confirmed our plane reservations to fly in and out of St Thomas for the Christmas and New Years holiday. We are a family of five with three teenagers. Now we need some help to decide if we should stay on St Thomas or ferry/fly to another island. We also need your thoughts on a resort versus a villa. The obvious is true that we would have more space in a villa, spend less on food, and perhaps less on the overall accommodations (some villas are not cheaper than a resort); however, I am a little worried that I will be a camp director for 10 days. Does anyone have experience in staying in both types of accommodations? If you opt for a villa, is it difficult to access the public beaches? Is it difficult to arrange day trips, etc? Thanks for any suggestions. Lynn
bamafamily is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 05:40 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 416
One practical issue is that it may be difficult to rent a villa for 10 days during the highest of high season. Room availability at villas and resorts may drive your decision. I personally would go the villa route, if I could get the timing issue resolved (maybe combine with a hotel for three days?).
Jimmie is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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I agree with Jimmie. It's high season and the villa and hotel rates are at the highest. We always prefer villa rentals because we like the savings you get with the ability to cook some of your own meals, the sense of more privacy and much more room. It can cost less per night as well if you need to have more than one hotel room. You could look into a resort/rental situation like Secret Harbor where your costs can be managed better because you'll have the ability to do some cooking. Also, if you are planning to go to any other island, villa rentals, especially during high season will not rent out for less than a week. With 10 days, I'd imagine you'd have to spend 3 days in a hotel. I would look at some of the other islands such as Tortola and St. John for hotels/villas as well and compare availabilities. Perhaps you can spend the 3 days on another island? It sounds like you won't be able to escape the feeling of being a camp counselor, however, no matter where you go. But it'll be a really fun camp. Good hunting and please write a trip report.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
flight to st. croix from st. thomas would be on cape air and will run your family about $900. and you'll lose more of 2 vacation day traveling - so i'd take it off the list.
as tux & jimmie said many places want you to stay 2 weeks but not all.
you have 3 teens, and i'll assume they are normal active fun seeking kids who wouldn't mind seeiing some other young people while on this trip. as such i'd eliminate all the bvi's except tortolla. it's the largest and has the most going on.
if it were me i'd stay on st. thomas. (you can easily - 20 min from red hook by ferry ride - go see st. john as a day trip and a bit longer to each bvi) st. thoms has the most going on - shopping, sailing and power boat excursions, nightlife, restaurants and stuff to do. quite a few resorts - marriot frenchmans reef & morning star, wyndham sugar bay, secret harbour, bolongo bay, the ritz, etc and quite a few villas.
few villas on st. thomas or st. john are beachfront. you will need a rental car. all beaches in the caribbean are public. none of the hotels will prevent you from walking through their property to access their beach. some will allow you to use their bar/rest/restroom, some will not.
if you don't want to load up the crowd and all their stuff each day you should stay in a resort. secret harbour would be ideal. large condo style rooms with full kitchens. their largest is a 2 bedroom with foldout couch or futon in living room. good beach with snorkeling. great restaurant fun beach bar. or bolongo and sugar bay are all-inclusive, which could cut down on camp directing duties.
st. john is much more quiet. 2 main resorts are the westin and the fabulous and likely booked caneel bay resort. st. john has loads of wonderful beaches, many with great snorkeling. several nice places to eat. a couple fun bars but overall fairly quiet at night. most rooms on the island are in villas.
i have stayed at resorts and villas. i prefer villas on all counts. love the freedom and privacy. however, i always go beachfront and that will be very hard to find on us or bvi's.
the exception would be virgin gorda, which offers quite a few beachfront villas. very quiet island. very nice houses in mahoe bay area with beach snorkeling.
here are 2 good rental sites for vg:
my biggest suggestion is to gather the fam tonight and look on the puter to see what you like the looks of. then book it asap!! xmas and spring break are the most booked times in the islands - sometimes years ahead.
then start looking for excursions (other than ferry rides on your own) and book that now too.
you guys are gonna have a wonderful time. let us know what you decide.
virginia is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 06:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 4
Thanks for all the great advice. We are going with the villa idea, now we need to pick a location. We were concentrating on STJ and have been able to find some availability, but I will look into Tortola and VG. Would Tortola offer more activities than STJ or just a different location?
bamafamily is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2008, 05:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,532
Tortola and Virgin Gorda are both wonderful and different. As for activities, you should research each island to see if it has the kinds of activities your group will want. From my experience, St. Thomas probably has the most variety and many modern conveniences. Tortola is sort of a less commercialized version of St. Thomas. St. John and Virgin Gorda are less developed and offer some of the best natural beauty anywhere. Only you know what your family will enjoy most. The convenience of St. Thomas/St. John is that it's very quick and easy to get from one to the other. Tortola is a 35 minute ferry ride from either, and Virgin Gorda is an 60-90 minute ferry from the others. I love them all, but they are different.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2008, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 15
You may want to look at Cane Garden Bay on Tortola, if you can find a villa within walking distance of there they have lots of stuff to do along that beach. Check out Purple Pineapple villa rentals.
Nauticall is offline  
Sep 25th, 2008, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3
Do you have passports for everyone? If not, Virgin Gorda would probably be out.

I suggest St. John if you can find a villa -- they go fast at Christmastime. When we are there, we just rent a car and go to the beach everyday. No need to be a social director.

If you're looking for days jam-packed with activities, St. John is not for you. But, then again, I'm not sure any of the Virgin Islands are. They are super laid back.
laurajo521 is offline  

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