Splurging and Snorkeling at the Ritz

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1. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being worth every penny), how would you rate your stay at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas?

Michele and I both feel that our stay was worth a 10. We did a lot of research on where we should stay, and the Ritz offered everything we wanted in the Caribbean---luxury, amenities, a beautiful location, great service, fine dining, and great snorkeling. Though some people had mentioned that the service at the Ritz might not be as good as what you'd expect from a Ritz on the mainland U.S., we found it to be great.

It should be noted though that we got a great package shoulder season deal off their website. I think the rates practically doubled starting the following week. We initially really wanted to stay on St. John, but the options are limited to two major resorts. The Westin and Caneel Bay. We took the time to visit both on our trip and both of us felt that we would return to the Ritz next time we go back to the USVI.

2. Your wife spent some time on the island just over a decade ago. Was it as she remembered?

Yes, though she felt the snorkeling on Trunk Bay was much better 10 years ago. Nevertheless, the feel of the islands is much the same. The big difference for her was the trip itself. Whereas the first trip was more of a budget experience, this time we really splurged.

3. Some Caribbean islands are known for their party-hard reputation, while others are just plain quiet. How would you describe the social scene among USVI?

USVI is great because it has both aspects if that is what you are looking for. For example, while my wife and I were having a nice dinner at Agave Terrace, another couple we met later was just below us at Funghi's partying and drinking. We ended up having a great time going out partying in Red Hook one night during an otherwise mellow vacation. We weren't there to party, but learned that it's there if you want it and that there are certainly people that go to the USVI to party and have a wild time.

There are fun places to go in Red Hook on St. Thomas, and definitely in Cruz Bay on St. John. And of course you could spend your entire time in fairly serene solitude if that's what you want as well. I think this is one of the main reasons why we would go back to the USVI next time we go to the Caribbean.

4. Parasailing, snorkeling, boating---you two packed a lot into one week. Which was your favorite activity?

Snorkeling was definitely our favorite, especially around St. John and Waterlemon Cay. Though we saw some remarkably good sea life in the bay right at the Ritz! My wife and I love the water and could spend hours just snorkeling around, checking out even the little fish and coral. The Pirate's Penny boat trip was also a really fun daytrip.

5. Your trip report details several delicious meals---was there one that
stood out?

This is a tough call, as every place we ate was very good. Our favorite food after much debate was probably at Paradiso on St. John. Asolare had our favorite atmosphere, though the food was a little disappointing. We should also say that breakfast at the Ritz was great---we ate breakfast there every day outside looking out at the water.

6. You decided not to rent a jeep for the entire week. Would you advise others to do the same?

I would definitely advise renting a car for a day if you want to explore the island. For us, having a car on St. John was essential because we really wanted to see more of the island then just a taxi ride to a popular beach. I think if we stayed on St. John we probably would have rented a car for the week, but since we were going back and forth between St. Thomas and St. John, taking taxis was easier then dealing with parking the car in Red Hook and Cruz Bay, where parking is really difficult.

Wish you had been there? Check out Ken and Michele's full trip report for more details.

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