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First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

Northern Virginia
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21 posts
1 review
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First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

My daughter and I are attempting to spend her break by using some of my husband's frequent flyer miles. Hotel and airfare booked, now I am experiencing a little anxiety. It will just the two of us. I really DO NOT want to rent a car. My best vacations involve a lot of walking. : ) I know we want to spend at least a day over on St John. Any advice on how to start planning activities? We do not need to be booked solidly. We both enjoy sitting on the beach and reading a good book, as well as splashing and seeing the sites.

How expensive are the restaurants? groceries? getting a glass of wine or a bottle to keep in the room? Standard touristy US beach mark-up or significantly higher?

Any thoughts or advice will be greatly appreciated! : ) Now to get in a few ab crunches! ; )

MPR
Virginia
6 posts
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1. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

I'd highly recommend that you rent a car. You cannot walk from the Sapphire Beach Resort to anywhere. Taxis are a pain in the a$$ in that they stop constantly to pick people up in order to fill up the van. For what you'll pay in taxis, you can rent a car for not much more and have the flexibility to come and go as you please.

Go to the Marina Market in Red Hook to stock up on groceries, beer, wine & particulalry booze. They have the cheapest prices for liquor than any place else on the island (e.g., 750 ml Tanqueray is $5.99). Beer and wine are slightly higher than here in No VA.

The beach at Sapphire is one of the best in the entire Virgin Islands (including the BVI). The coral along the point is fantastic. I'd do a day sail (2 leave right from the marina at Sapphire) or if you know anything about boats, rent a power boat in Red Hook and go over to the beaches on St. John on your own. Definately go to St. John, at least for dinner. It's only $3 by ferry from Red Hook.

Don't eat at Sapphire except for lunch. Off-the-Hook in Red Hook is great as are several restaurants downtown (Herve, Virgilios, Craig & Sally's are probably the best). Restaurants are what you'd expect to pay in D.C. for food, and like here, the markup on wine can be rediculous. But, there's no sales tax.

Best advice: RENT A CAR - you can't walk anywhere, go to St. John for dinner, do a day sail or rent your own power boat, have dinner at Off the Hook (Red Hook), Herve, Virgilio's, Craig & Sally's (all downtown), or La Tapa (St. John).

Northern Virginia
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21 posts
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2. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

MPR - Thank you. Despite my initial unwillingness to do so, I will take your advice and go ahead and reserve a car. : ) Left side driving will be a challenge.

I appreciate all of the information you shared. I have thrown this trip together very quickly and am a little nervous about some of the reviews on our hotel. But I have read other reports to yours reporting that the beach in that area is quite lovely. So, I am trying to concentrate on the fact that the beach and the sun are why we are there.

MPR
Virginia
6 posts
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3. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

I know, some of the reviews on tripadvisor.com are pretty scary for Sapphire Beach. We're pretty picky travelers, and yet I'd have to say that Sapphire is worth the few quirks. If you have a standard suite, request to be on the 2nd floor. They have a better view and are more secure than an entrance at ground level. If you have a villa, request to be in Building D. It has the best view of both the beach, St. John and the BVI in the distance.

Northern Virginia
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21 posts
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4. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

I have already reserved a car to pick-up at the airport. However, after reading the thread about driving, I am a tad nervous. I do frequently do some mountain driving in the Blue Ridge. I realize that this is different, but can I handle driving in St Thomas?

Northern Virginia
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21 posts
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5. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

just wanted to add to my previous post - my plan is to do little or no driving at night. My daughter is only 11, so I imagine our dinners will be early and I will probably save my time to enjoy a glass of wine when we get back to our room or at our hotel poolside bar. So, this should help my driving ability. : )

MPR
Virginia
6 posts
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6. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

Driving on the left is really no big deal. Besides, the most you can realistically do is about 35 mph, so there's plenty of time to react. I haven't found driving at night to be any different from daytime driving on the left. Actually, there's less traffic at night.

MPR
Virginia
6 posts
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7. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

Just one more comment about driving on the left. The first 10 minutes as you drive away from the airport will seem weird, but after that, it will come natural. It's not like England/Ireland where you drive on the left and sit on the right. The cars are normal American cars with the driver side on the left. The real strange thing is that once you get back home, driving on the right will seem strange for a few days. Don't worry about it - you'll do fine and the freedom that the car will give you over the cabs will more than make up for it.

Just to be clear, when you take the ferry to St. John (which you must do) don't take the car. Park it in the lot in Red Hook. Going to St. John from St. Thomas is like a vacation from the vacation. Fun restauarnts for kids on St. John are Cafe Roma (great pizza) and Panini Beach (good Italian food right on the beach). In Red Hook, Molly Malone's is fun/kid-friendly as is Off-the-Hook. Both are right on the water along the docks.

Northern Virginia
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21 posts
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8. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

Thanks so much. I really appreciate all of the info. I am getting quite excited about this trip. : )

Nashville, TN
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48 posts
33 reviews
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9. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

cabiba - My family has stayed at several resorts on St. Thomas and, while not the most luxurious, Sapphire Beach Resort was our favorite. Our daughter was 11 and had a BLAST. They have karaoke a couple of nights during the week and encourage the kids to participate too. She made her stage debut there and we haven't been able to drag her off of it since. :) The beach is fabulous and clean. The locals come to Sapphire Beach one afternoon a week - it seems like it was Sunday. It's an all-you-can-eat feast for $10 with music, dancing, and plenty of local flavor. Well worth the price. If your daughter wants to have her hair braided, we found the best price for that at Coki beach as opposed to the flea market in Charlotte Amalie. Also at Coki beach is Coral World, an aquarium built around a natural ocean reef. Your hotel should have some coupons for discounts on admission if it sounds like something you'd enjoy.

We saw more iguanas at Sapphire Beach than at anywhere else we've stayed. They're EVERYWHERE.

We usually take a day trip to St. John and take our rental car along. They do have lots of mopeds that you can rent over there but the island is just too large and too hilly to try walking.

The prices for liquor (Crown Royal, at least) we only about 60% of what we pay in TN but I thought the grocery prices were high. We usually get a unit with a kitchen and take a box of food along with us. I prefer to call that being "practical instead of being "cheap". ;)

Hope you have a great time!

columbus ohio
4 posts
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10. Re: First time in St Thomas - Staying at Sapphire Beach Resort

Traveling down March 23-30 and staying at crystal cove--right beside Sapphire. I wil have my 3 kids 11 (neighbor) 9 and 3. Hope you'll be there same time---your daughter can hang out with them. One more thing...buy snorkling gear before you come- even a cheap set-rentals are nasty and you will use them all the time. Have fun and I will look for you. Save me a glass of wine :) RS

Sapphire is really fun and don't be worried...stayed many times but no rooms for this trip so I booked the condo next door. Just remember, keep left. We actually rented an Enterprise car from sapphire for just a few days at a time. It was fun and them other days we would take a taxi when we would be spending the whole day- like St Johns or downtown. Just an idea. My friend lives there and is a photographer. If you want some photos taken, e mail me at ohiostateronda@yahoo.com.

have fun!