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“Potential for improvement but very good hotel”

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Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
GreenLeadersGold level
Clifton Park, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Potential for improvement but very good hotel”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2014

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 Many reviews for other wings complained of outdated rooms.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!!!

Room Tip: Stay in ocean tower. Harbor side view is beautiful but can be noisy if business convention is taking...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Paul V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
We’re delighted to hear your family’s experience at Frenchman’s Reef was relaxing and your exploration of the Virgin Islands was fun! Thank you for noticing Anthony’s efforts, recommending the Adventure Center for activities planning, giving our leadership team suggestions and sharing your tips for making the most of St. Thomas. We enjoyed having you as our guest!
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Nashville, Tennessee
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2014

Do not pay the extra $$$ to stay at the Morning Star Beach. Stayed my first night in the property next to the beach and was very disappointed with the lack of cleanliness and outdated rooms. I was asked to be moved up to the Fisherman's Reef and the accommodations were closer to what a full service Marriott should be. Recently updated rooms and lobby. With my Marriott status, we were upgraded to an ocean view and it was gorgeous. The food and drink are extremely expensive at the resort. It is worth the $10 cab ride into town to eat and shop. As a Platinum Premier Elite member with Marriott, I was disappointed with all the points I used on a category 8. It is in a beautiful setting, but not up to par with other category 8 hotels and resorts I have stayed at around the world.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Shepley H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Thank you for your review. All feedback is welcome and assists us in making the experience better. We understand that choosing between Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort is a personal preference and we are proud to be able to offer a variety in a pristine location. For those planning to visit, feel free to contact our pre-arrival team so that we can outline the benefits of each part of the resort. We also offer a complimentary shuttle that runs every 15 minutes so that no matter which area your room is located, you have easy access to our array of amenities. We are here every day to serve you!
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Crandall
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2014

The hotel grounds were great. Iguanas were everywhere which only heightened the "Caribbean" experience. The staff was what took our vacation from good to great. They seized every opportunity to help us with whatever we needed, from questions about the island to how to get beach towels.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank powerof526
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Thank you for acknowledging the hotel’s grounds (and our resident green iguanas) and the polite hospitality you experienced while staying with us!
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East Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2014

This is a resort with many amenities...tennis, pools, hot tubs, kayaks, paddle boards, restaurants, and of course...the beach!! Hotel is about 15-20 min cab ride from the airport and is right on the tip of the bay where all the big cruise ships come in. You have a wonderful view of that bay from the glass walled restaurant on site. You can take a boat ride from the hotel to the downtown shopping...by the cruise ports and the boat runs several times a day for the return trip. The beach is on the opposite side of the bay tip so the views are all water and sun!! There are many steps to get to the beach so im not sure about handicap access as I did not need to find it. I am planning another trip next January and have already stayed here 3 times...always great!

  • Stayed January 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AKEPIL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
As always, we never tire of hearing beautiful descriptions of Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort! Thank you for mentioning our many amenities, resort ferry to Charlotte Amalie and postcard view from Aqua Terra restaurant. We’re glad your visits have inspired loyalty to Marriott and we look forward to seeing you in January.
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Clinton, North Carolina
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2014

Wonderful experience!! Everyone went out of their way to please us. The pool area is great for people of all ages. There are also several wonderful restaurants on site. We spent a great deal of time just staying and enjoying the resort.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lauren S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, 28 July 2014
We appreciate you taking the time to describe your experience. The sentiment “everyone went out of their way to please us” sums up our service goals perfectly. We hope to welcome you back for another wonderful vacation!
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El Paso, Texas
Level Contributor
48 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2014

After reading other reviews I know I am not alone in saying that this Marriott is a disappointment to the brand. Although the location and views from this hotel are fabulous the hotel itself is in dire need of a "face lift" and had we not been there for business purposes we most likely would have gone elsewhere. The buildings (interior and exterior) are in desperate need of renovation and the front desk staff needs to have better training. As an example, I went to the business office to print our boarding passes, once the night before our flight and once the morning of. Both times the computer said there was trouble on the airline website--but when I accessed the site on my ipad-although very slow internet connections- there was no problem (except to print the boarding passes) so when I went to the business office the last day they sent me to the front desk. After waiting in line I was told they couldn't help me and to go to the business office! I repeated that the business office had sent me to the front desk. All she said was "Go to the business office, use your credit card to access the airline website (signs clearly said that there was no charge to print the passes) and if that doesn't work we will credit your card". Needless to say I never got my boarding passes and waited to get them at the airport. Another day I went to the towel desk to get towels for the pool (about 4:00 p.m.) and was told they were out and it would be 30 minutes before they would have more. Not impressed! However as I stated before the location of the property is fantastic and this could absolutely be a 5 star resort with some TLC.

Room Tip: better views from the upper floors
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lori D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, 28 July 2014
Thank you for your feedback. One behalf of our team here, I am sorry we were not able to deliver the warm and responsive experience that we and all of Marriott are known for. Your specific comments are very helpful to our leadership team and are appreciated. It is our strongest commitment that all guests feel their particular needs are heard and taken care of. In light of these issues, we are grateful you were able to recommend our prime location here on St. Thomas. If travel plans call for another stay, we would greatly appreciate the opportunity to provide an experience which exceeds your expectations.
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New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2014

This was my second time staying at this hotel. It is an amazing hotel with superb customer service! The bell boys especially Kendall and Roan were so helpful and pleasant! They answered every question I had in regards to dinner and activities. The housekeeping also did an amazing job room was clean everyday by 11am. The best bartenders are Jason and Brian! The chef in Aqua Terra (Lyndell) makes the food prompt and is very delicious. The buffalo chicken flatbread is amazing! Excellent resort if your laid back looking to just relax in peace. Frenchmans Reef will be the only hotel I stay at when visiting St. Thomas!

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jas619
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, 28 July 2014
We’re delighted to have exceeded your expectations in the areas of service, cleanliness, dining, and overall comfort. It’s important for us to understand how the resort feels from the perspective of guests, and that came through your descriptions very clearly. The team members you mentioned will all be recognized as well, for outstanding service. Before your next stay be sure to call ahead so we can welcome you back!
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Additional Information about Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort

Property: Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
Address: 5 Estate Bakkeroe, Charlotte Amalie 00801, St. Thomas
Region: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Thomas > Charlotte Amalie
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Charlotte Amalie
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 453
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

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