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First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

Long Island
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First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

My husband and I are both in our late 20s and are looking into booking a week long trip to St. Thomas. We love the look of the Ritz (and found an incredible deal!), but I was wondering a few things...

How is the beach? I'm reading conflicting reviews. Can you swim in the water or is it mostly coral reef? We are planning on going in the off season - will we be fighting for a chair every morning?

Also - can anyone tell me what the overall vibe of the resort is? It looks absolutely gorgeous, but is it comfortable too? I don't want to feel like I have to be all dressed up everytime I leave my room. Is it over-the-top fancy?

We like the idea of staying in an amazing hotel with access to the other islands for a few day excusions. The Ritz seems to fit the bill.

Thank you so much for an input you can give me!

Charleston, South...
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1. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

Have not stayed there but have been on site a few times with friends, beach is nice sandy in spots for swimming. I always thought the crowd was dressed fairly casually but nice. It does have a lot of steps to go from the hotel to the beach area but then you get more breeze up top that way. One thing I would definitely check out is a day sail to the BVI's I think they just started a new trip with a private catamaran that goes on Thursday's, they also have there own catamaran but the new trip uses a much newer boat that is nicely appointed.

St. Thomas
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2. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

I'm sure you'll love it. The food is excellent, service is good & you also have Elysian Beach Resort next door with their 2 good restaurants & a beach there as well.

Casual is fine.

Edited: 09 April 2010, 14:24
Philadelphia...
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3. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

Not sure what your "incredibile deal" is, but for probably half the price you can rent a two bedroom condo right next door to the Ritz on Cowpet Bay. Check out Cowpet Bay condos on www.VRBO.com. (Cowpet East, Cowpet West and the Elysian Beach Resort) .Wyndham's Elysian Beach Resort has all the same amenities the Ritz has (beautiful secluded beach, spa, gym, tennis court, pool, beach bar and 2 very good restaurants). I do not recommend renting from the Wyndham (which maintains several timeshare units at the resort, which are in desparate need of updating). Stick to the private owners' places on VRBO. You might also consider Secret Harbour which is close by as well.

New Jersey
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4. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

BruSue-

Why are you always trying to rent your condo here? Your answer to everyone is, "why dont you rent at Cowpet Bay" when you are clearly trying to rent your own condo. This is a website to give opinions and advice not to put up a virtual "for sale" sign.

Philadelphia...
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5. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

I recommend Cowpet Bay because I think it is one of the nicest, quietest beaches on St. Thomas. The cruise ship crowd doesn't go there and the facilities at the Elysian Resort, which are accessible to those staying at Cowpet East and Cowpet West, are well maintained, family oriented and among the nicest on the Island. I recommend Cowpet because I happen to think Cowpet is the best overall experience on the Island, which is why we bought there. I recommend Cowpet for the same reasons that several owners at Sapphire Beach post recommendations for Sapphire Beach. They own there, love it and know it well. After my initial couple of posts when I was advised of the TripAdvisor rules on postings, I have never touted my condo. I always mention the other condo complexes on Cowpet, in addition to the Elysian. There are 34 listings on VRBO under Cowpet Bay and there are 8 listings for condos at the Elysian. So how my recommendation of Cowpet Bay and VRBO can be viewed as trying to rent my condo is beyond me. Besides, our condo rents extraordinarily well so I don't have to try to rent it on Trip Advisor. In fact I have never had a rental inquiry from anyone who has viewed my postings on Trip Advisor. So if I'm trying to rent my place with my postings I have failed miserably! As for renting a condo through VRBO, we have rented through VRBO in the US and Europe. It is a cost-effective way to travel with a family and provides more room at less cost than a hotel. I doubt we will ever rent a hotel for a vacation of more than 4 days again. I believe that pointing posters to VRBO to rent a private condo is legitimate advice for those travelers that may not have considered that option. Cheers!

St. Thomas
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6. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

Condos are nice for those who want to rent them but staying at a Ritz property is a wonderful experience.

Long Island
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7. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

Thank you all for your feedback! We love condos too (just rented one in Feb in Aruba with my parents), but for this trip we were looking for a hotel experience - a romantic getaway for just me and my husband.

Thank you again for the advice everyone! We can't wait to go!

St. Thomas
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8. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

Be sure to report back how you liked it & have a great trip!

Washington DC...
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9. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

Cowpet Bay does not remotely compare to the Ritz. Sorry, but just a fact. The Ritz property is three times as pretty, the beaches nicer, the views less filled with boats and other paraphrenalia. And it's in a totally different class of resorts. In most places, at most times, you get what you pay for. If you can afford the Ritz and got a good deal, don't bother looking anywhere else.

The two beaches at the Ritz are both nice. We've been at various times of the year and never had a problem getting a beach chair. High season is definitely more crowded, but low season should not be a problem at all. There's great snorkeling right off the beach, especially the hotel beach around the rocks. A bit of rocky surface as you enter the water, but calm and clear. And they have all kinds of equipment/activities -- snorkel gear, water shoes, Hobie catamarans, kayaks, windsurfers -- all included in the resort fee. You can arrange (and pay extra for) sunset sails, scuba diving, etc.

The restaurants are excellent, but not cheap. You are only 5 minutes to Red Hook, however, for lots of variety in food and the ferry over to St. John. The Ritz also has a weekly free shuttle into town (ck on the day/time) for shopping, though you do have to taxi back.

The next best place to stay on St. Thomas, in terms of quality of resort, is the Marriott -- and there's a wide gap, in my opinion, between the Marriott and the Ritz. Also, if you're offered an upgrade to a suite (including meal presentations), it's worth it to take the deal as food is presented four times a day and you really don't have to go anywhere else to eat -- it's a ton of food. If you're looking for "amazing" as you state in your post, the Ritz is the only place you'll find it unless you head for St. John and stay at Caneel Bay or go to the British Virgins...

10. Re: First time to ST - staying at the Ritz

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