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The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
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Reviews (1,087)
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Reviewed 10 July 2014

Enjoyed the service level of the Ritz and friendliness of staff. Nice room with nice amenities of hotel. Quite a few activities were included in the room rate. Lots of water activities: paddle boarding, snorkeling paddle boats and more, all included. Nice restaurant for breakfast, although a bit pricey.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Hugh S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2014

I've got mixed opinions of this property. The property itself is gorgeous with a stunning location on a sheltered bay. But the lackluster (though friendly) service and the many fees and services charges makes this a bit of a tough sell. However, I will say that this was our second stay despite the negatives solely because of the property's catamaran.

The Good:
Imagine sitting on (padded) beach chairs beneath a shading tree sipping a cool drink. White sand under your feet. The warm, calm waters of the Caribbean sea not even 10 feet from where you sit. Turquoise blue water as far as the eye can see, and in the distance, the Island of St John beckons. This is not an exaggeration. I mean, seriously, the beauty is insane. And being in a sheltered bay, the water is very calm with a perpetual breeze.

The property also owns several boats. The one to experience is definitely the Lady Lynsey which is the catamaran. This and the beach are the reasons to come to the Ritz St Thomas. And it's worth it despite all the negatives below. There are multiple sailings available on the Lady Lynsey. These include afternoon snorkles, evening sunset cruises, cruises to St John for dinner, and an all day cruise to Jost Van Dyke. It's a little pricey, but considering the fairly small number of people on any given cruise and how wonderful the staff are, it's totally worth it.

The property has lots of water equipment to borrow. Cost is included in the resort charge, so no extra cost. Things available include pedal boats, kayaks, windsurf boards, paddle boards, hobie catamarans. Nice, but lessons in use cost extra.

There are 4 restaurants at the property. We ate at all of them at one point or other. Food ranged from good to excellent. We never had a bad meal during the stay. Pricing was reasonable for dinner. Lunch was overpriced, but typical for what you'd expect at a 5 star property.

The rooms are nice and spacious. Bathrooms were a bit weird. There was a shower only. No tub was present, but there was plenty of room for one. This left a strange empty spot in the corner. Rooms were clean and well maintained. No complaints, but no gushing from me either.

The Bad:
Location is a mixed bag. On the one hand, being out in the far east side of the island allows for seclusion. On the other hand, private cab rides (versus shared rides that may stop at 5 other hotels) costs $90 one way to/from the airport. Pretty much to do anything off property requires a cab ride which is not cheap in St Thomas. You can drive, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Service is friendly but slow, and sparse. Some of this may be just the Caribbean mentality, but if you're expecting typical 5 star service, you'll be disappointed. For example, out of 4 days at the pool/beach, there wasn't one day that an attendant made our chairs (which is typical for this level of property). Every single day I went up to the pool desk and got towels. 3 out of 4 days, they gave me towels with a smile, but absolutely no attempt to help make the chairs. One day (the last day) the attendant halfheartedly asked if I needed help, but obviously wasn't too interested, so I didn't bother. Contrast this to pretty much every other Four Season or Ritz I've ever been to (including Mexico and other Caribbean islands) where the moment they see you enter the pool area, they walk up with towels and chair covers without being asked.

Poolside amenities were pretty much non existent. Typically, at 5 star properties, attendants will come around with snacks, smoothies, cool towels etc. Nothing here. In beachy/warm location properties, I've also typically had attendants come with water periodically (just so people don't dehydrate). Not here. If you want water, you go get it yourself.

Restaurant service was attentive and friendly. For the prices, I would expect multiple servers, but typically there was one server for several tables. Despite this, orders were taken quickly, food and drinks came out promptly, and the water glass never went empty. Not exceptional service, but adequate.

The Ugly:
In short... Price and value. Hidden fees and mandatory charges are also a huge pet peeve with me and this property has them. The "bang-for-your-buck" at this property is pretty abysmal. Don't get me wrong. I have no problem dropping $400/day at a five star resort, but I expect exceptional service in return. You don't get that here.

There is a $60/day/room resort charge which is the highest I've ever seen. Now resort charges always irritate me since I just find them to represent false advertising. If I can't decline the resort charge (and you can't), then just roll them into the room rate instead of posting a (falsely) lower room rate. For the resort fee, you get usage of the beach side water equipment, internet, pool, spa, etc. Doesn't matter if you use any of that stuff or not, you have to pay the fee. For that price, the beach/poolside service should have been outstanding, but it wasn't. Heck, for the price, there should have been daily free lessons for the water sports equipment, but nope. If you want to learn how to windsurf, that'll be $85 please.

The Lady Lynsey has a mandatory 22% service charge included on the bill. I always tip, but I take exception to being FORCED to tip. How about you just pay your employees a decent salary instead of making me do it (assuming the staff even get the service charge)? That way I can reward (or not) the service that I actually receive. To top it off, we and the other people on the cruise were not informed of the charge at booking, so it came as a surprise to everyone.

If you're not used to luxury resort pricing, the food costs will give you a heart attack. Heck, I'm used to it, and it gave me a little pause. $5 for a can of coke at a restaurant. $18-22 for a hamburger. $14 for the cocktail of the day.

Tips:
If you're a coke-aholic like I am, the gift shop sells coke for 'only' $2/can, which is cheaper that at the restaurants... or buy some before you get to the property.

Do not accept a first floor room if you've booked an 'ocean view' room. I'd call it partial ocean view at best due to a lot of ground level vegetation.

And the best advice I have...
Consider getting a Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card before your stay at this property. I didn't and wish that I had. The annual fee is high ($395), but it entitles you to a complimentary upgrade to the club level and amenities at booking, so you'll know before you get there. I normally don't bother with the club level, but it's totally worth it at this particular property because the food is so expensive, and it's such a pain to go elsewhere to eat. The club level has food and snacks throughout the day including a warm breakfast (with omelet station). You'll save a ton of money. For example, the breakfast buffet is $35/person, and when I looked through the window, the club level area had a pretty similar spread. We never spent less than $40/person with tip for any meal we ate at the hotel.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
11  Thank dayztrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
STTRZGM, General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, responded to this reviewResponded 12 July 2014

Dear dayztrip:

I enjoyed reading your comments about our stunning location, your beach experience and the picture you painted of enjoying our white sand beaches and gorgeous Caribbean waters. You hit the mark with your descriptions, our resort and the Virgin Islands are amazingly beautiful. Our Catamaran, Lady Lynsey is truly a highlight of any vacation, our crew members are passionate about extending the island treasures and Ritz-Carlton experience from the water and sharing the beauty of other islands including St. John and Jost Van Dyke. This provides a truly unique experience for our guests.

The vast majority of resorts in the Caribbean have a separate resort fee to be able to provide all of the extra services and amenities our guests expect as one charge instead of individual charges for hobie cats, windsurfers, paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel gear, fitness center and classes and internet.

I am disappointed to learn that your pool service experience did not meet your expectations, we will continue to train our team in those areas to ensure an exceptional experience.

One of the few downsides of living on our beautiful island is the high cost of food overall due to the fact that all of our food items are either shipped via boat or air. With the exception of some tropical fruits like mangos, papayas and coconuts we do not have the abundant food sources available in the States.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your experience in further detail and I invite you to contact me personally at rc.sttrz.gm@ritzcarlton.com at your earliest convenience.

Again, thank you for sharing your feedback. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Kind Regards,
Bernd Kuhlen
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2014

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton years ago when they first opened. The property looked as good as it did then, the upkeep was top notch and the service was even better. I had hip replacement surgery 2 months prior to this trip and thought it might be difficult getting around as it is very spread out. Not the case...the staff was available with golf carts whenever I needed them, to the pool, lobby, restaurants, room, etc. the grounds were gorgeous and the public areas were very clean and attended to. The food was good on the property and the bars were lots of fun. Will definitely return to the Ritz!!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Linda1152
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2014

This was our first time at St. Thomas. We had a great time. I booked this hotel through Hotels.com, and got a really good deal. Every hotel staff member we encountered were friendly and very helpful. We took a 18 year old and 16 year old with us, and they had a great time too. Couples and families were at the hotel with us.

Taxi service from the airport to the hotel was terrible. The driver was rude and changed the price on us when we arrived at the hotel. We found another taxi service - Maurice's Reliable Taxi Service. Maurice was awesome. His prices were fair and he knows his way around the island. He was our taxi service the rest of the time. I highly recommend him. His number is 340-344-6509.

We also recommend the Tree Limin' Extreme Zipline Adventure. It was worth the money. The views were breathtaking, and the adventure was lots of fun.

Room Tip: There were no bad rooms at this hotel. All of them had a view of the ocean and the pool area. Great setup.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Cindy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2014

For a second consecutive year, our family rented a three-bedroom unit at the Ritz Carlton Club in St. Thomas, in June 2014. The rental unit was fabulous! It included a fully-equipped kitchen, washer-dryer, 3 1/2 baths, three balconies overlooking the ocean, and much, much more. The unit was clean, well-maintained. The staff and concierge at the Club were courteous, friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. The daily maid service staff were equally pleasant and efficient. Staying at the Club gave us full access to all the amenities and restaurants at the adjoining Ritz Carlton Hotel -- a wonderful bonus. Our family of six adults and two small children returned here because of the positive experience we had last year. Again, we were not disappointed.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank SriLankan101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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