Booked this place based on the strength of past Trip Advisor reviews for our first ever trip to the USVI. We had never heard Water Island before, but what luck!
This is a delightful place to stay if your vacation goal is to warm up and wind down. Friends and I planned the whole trip on a whim to get away from our Boston winter, busy jobs, etc. Here, in a nutshell, are ups and downs of our experience:
-Water island is much more peaceful than we found St. Thomas to be. There are no shops, few activities geared to tourists. It was exactly what we wanted (mostly we read, cooked, played games, swam, took walks, and relaxed on Honeymoon Beach).
-Water Island is tiny and you can walk everywhere.
-We liked being able to cook and make coffee in the pavilion each morning. Saved money, and was fun. Make sure you stock up your suitcase carefully before leaving home, though! Groceries are pricey on the islands.
-The other guests were all very friendly, and I think that is part of the culture of the place. Deborah kept asking guests to introduce themselves to each other.
-We had two nights in the Suite and two nights in a cottage. I think the cottage was more spacious, but having a private bath in the Suite was also nice. The cottage was very breezy and had a great porch for reading.
-Everything at the campground was spotlessly clean.
-Service and attention to detail were fabulous. All aspects of the setup (wait until you see your color coded dishes in the Pavilion) have clearly been carefully conceived and executed.
-Honeymoon beach, which is a five-minute walk from the campground, is beautiful, not too busy, and great for swimmers of all abilities.
-The two beach bars, Heidi's and Dinghy's, serve a plentiful array of cocktails and beer, as well as good and reasonably priced snacks/meals.
-The campground owners know everything about everything you might want to do in the area. And if they can't tell you, one of the locals who hang around the ferry dock can.
-The sailing trip we took with Karl (at Deborah's recommendation) was great. 1/2 day is the perfect length.
-With the help of four ferries, two 'safaris', a hitchhiking session, and a VITran bus, we made it all the way over the far end of St. John (hiked the Reef Bay trail down to Lameshur Beach and caught the bus back west from Salt Pond). Definitely worthwhile, but a big project, so make sure you get up early if you do something like this. We preferred doing it ourselves to the ranger-led tour.
-Water Island is, yes, an island. You have to take a $5 ferry whenever you wish to go to St. Thomas. It runs fairly regularly up to 6pm. You have to request a 9pm. And after that your options get limited (and expensive). That said, we only left Water Island once because we found it so pleasant.
-We had a few creatures in our cottage. Lizards. Spiders in the beds. More lizards. Also a nightly millipede in the bathroom. I think this comes with the territory and is not too big a deal, but we slept a little less soundly with so many friends around.
-Only two burners in the pavilion so sometimes we had to wait a bit to cook.
-Heidi's Honeymoon Grill's big Saturday night dinner was a bit disappointing. Very pricey ($28 per entree) for what it was. We loved all the food we had from her regular daytime menu, though!
FYIs (If you are a fussy traveler, take heed):
-Bathrooms are co-ed.
-Showers are solar heated, I think. They are not hot, but definitely warm enough.
-Cottages are close together and very open, so if you are on a romantic trip, see if maybe you can get one of the furthest out or the Suite.
-The island and the campground are both very hilly. If you have difficulty with steep slopes this may not be for you.
-Water Island and Virgin Island Campground are not for travelers who like to be entertained all the time. Again, there aren't any flashy tourist activities on this island and your cottage will not have a TV. This is for travelers who like to relax and take things very slowly.
Overall, A+. Exactly what we needed. A big thank you to Deborah & Co. for making us feel so welcome! I would recommend this place to anyone, and I hope I get a chance to return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Introducing the concept of Upscale Camping! A handful of roomy tent-cabins feature ocean view terraces and all the comforts of home. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Virgin Islands Campground Hotel St. Thomas