I'm a frequent business traveler and stayed at many Marriott properties. I researched this hotel before booking our family vacation. Fortunately we were able to get a high level room in the main tower building. Many reviews for other wings complained of outdated rooms. Ours was clean and very good value for what we paid. The location, pools, beach are great pluses for this hotel. Pools are great but the hotel needs to drop stupid policy of card exchange for towels. Especially since towel station closes at 6pm and people swim at night. This causes people bringing wet towels to room or dropping them off and asking for cards after the fact. This makes no sense. Not enforced so why bother? Who would want to steal and pack hotel towels?
The dining choices were plenty but the menus were mixed in terms of quality, variety and value. While a bit pricey ($25.99), the breakfast buffet at aqua terrace is excellent if you like big breakfast. Coco joes was way too expensive for simple lunch menu $18 for cheeseburger and fries. Simple dinner options very limited but we found aqua terrace again as best option. Staying a full week, I expected more take out options other than dominos. Why wouldn't the hotel be willing to offer a reasonably priced shuttle to close by alternative dining. I understand taxi service importance to local economy and did my part using taxis BUT spending $80 for round trip to dining off property is not a good experience. There was very limited opportunity to socialize with other guests and nice hotel staff. A one hour, once a week happy hour is much too limited for hotel of this caliber. While I don't have small children anymore, the activities for children was extremely poor in terms of being managed and promoted (by contrast, Hyatt resort in Chesapeake Maryland makes this a big part of the vacation experience for young families). The rum punch and water station is nice diversion for people waiting to check in but marriott should think a bit more about this experience. We waited several hours for our room. I think this was a missed opportunity for hotel to create a good 1st impression ( how about a video of things to do and tips for local attractions).
The adventure center was nice on property. We enjoyed night kayaking and sunset dinner sail on the cat. The process for signing up was simple and efficient. The staff generally provided good information but not always accurate. A trip to St. John's trunk bay was high on our list. When I asked for trade off between a rental car or taxi, best time and costs and how much cash to bring, I couldn't get same answer twice. For what it's worth, here is suggestion for a family of 4 with 2 children under 16. Inclusive service from hotel is $125 per person. While viable, 2x cost for convenience of traveling from hotel dock with a guided tour of St. John's and 2 hours at trunk bay (too short for paradise). Our family ended up doing the following. $80 for taxi ride to/from red hook and marriott. passenger ferry $56 for round trip for fam of 4. The safari taxi to trunk bay was $6 per person from Cruz bay so that was $24 each way for our family. The trunk bay fee was $8 for me and my wife and children under 16 were free so that was a bit of a break. The concessions and rentals at trunk took credit card which we were told they didn't. all in all, it meant having $200 for travel and beach fees (far less than $500 for guided trip). We probably spent $60 for lunch at trunk and $25 for rentals (snorkel fins and a couple chairs). While you can stay at trunk bay late, the concessions, rental returns close at 3:30 and the beach appears to really clear out at 4:30. Taxi were available but it was not clear if they would have been around if we stayed at beach much later (have a phone on you is good idea). Therefore my advice is get early start (8-9am). Have a great beach day and do a little shopping and light dining in Cruz bay before heading back. I did research renting a car at budget near hotel and taking it on barge to St. John's. If you do the math, you'll end up $150-$200 which is nearly identical to what we spent and you will need to navigate seriously challenging roads and take car barge ferry versus faster more luxurious passenger ferry.
In summary, the Virgin Islands are gorgeous, the marriott property is located in great spot and offers many amenities. While they have room for improvement as outlined above, you will have a great time and ask staff for help in you don't get what you want.
P.s. I noticed a few complaints about problems with printing boarding passes. I had same issues last week but Anthony at front desk took care of this for me directly from his computer. Thanks Anthony!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Surrounded on three sides by stunning Caribbean ocean views, the Frenchman's Reef Resort combines modern luxury and the unique Virgin Island style of St. Thomas. The hotel features clean, crisp large guest rooms with flat screen 50"TVs. Experience new resort features including an infinity pool, children's splash zone, adult infinity pool with bar; and private spa pool. Our Lazule Sea Spa is now open featuring extensive treatment rooms, salon, state of the art fitness center, and private spa pool with cabanas. Aqua Terra is one of three restaurants at Frenchman's Reef which features spectacular views of the Charlotte Amalie harbor. Our mission is to host you brilliantly... To make your every event and stay with us unforgettable and effortless. Come visit us at Marriott Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort and discover the most luxurious vacation destination in the US Virgin Islands. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott Frenchman`s Reef And Morning Star Beach Resort
- Marriott Frenchman`s Reef & Morning Star Beach Hotel Charlotte Amalie
- Marriott Charlotte Amalie
- Charlotte Amalie Marriott
- Marriott Frenchmans Reef
- Frenchmans Reef St Thomas
- Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort St. Thomas/Charlotte Amalie