Aaand We’re Off to St. Thomas! There are so many reasons to love the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mr. Good Sport and I got married on this beautiful island…what a perfect setting to say “I do.” I can still remember every detail from that magical time 24 years ago and our three week honeymoon in this glorious piece of the world.
If you love shopping (and “I do” to that too!) then St. Thomas is your ticket to fun. So many places to check out—a market where you can barter on t-shirts, knock off designer stuff, beach hats, etc., downtown Charlotte Amalie, Yacht Haven Grande for Gucci and Louis Vuitton, and Havensight Shopping Mall by the cruise ships. It of course goes without saying, if you are in the market for jewelry, sky’s the limit. Hotel shops are also terrific. Duty free. No Sales Tax. This is the place to do your high end shopping.
Island Hopping is an added bonus when you visit St. Thomas. Twenty four years ago we chartered a yacht complete with Captain and Cook for a week of unique. Highly recommend this option. We ate lobsters (bigger and tastier than any I have ever had and I eat a lot of lobster) on Anegada, partied at Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke, snorkeled the Baths of Virgin Gorda, and had rum experiences in Tortola. However, they have ferry services to many of these islands too in the event you want to do it daytripping way.
Fly into Cyril E. King. Flight time from Miami International Airport is approximately 2 hours and 42 minutes. St. Thomas time is one hour ahead of Miami time.
Where to Stay
We love, love, love The Ritz- Carlton St. Thomas! A glorius 5 star resort located 35 minutes from the airport at 6900 Great Bay, Direct Line 340.775.3333.
Five restaurants on the property, plus a coffee/smoothie shop and the option of creating your own evening with Dinner on the Beach.
One of the leading spas on St. Thomas with a full array of services, including seaside cabana for massage as you enjoy the calming sounds of the sea.
State of the art fitness center with cardio and weight training equipment. Instructor led classes or hire a personal trainer.
Two Omni-synthetic tennis courts.
The beach is lovely but not what I would call a good walking beach…however the grounds provide many walking opportunities with lots of stairs!
Large Infinity Edge Pool and Jacuzzi.
Watersports on premise include stand up paddle boards, paddle boats, kayaks, hobie cats, windsurfers, and snorkel equipment.
Lady Lynsey, the resort’s own 53 foot luxury catamaran, picks you up right at the resort’s beach for a sailing adventure. Some of the options offered include: Sunset Cruise, Half Day Brunch Snorkel Sail, Dinner on St. John.
Rooms and Suites
We stayed in the Oceanview Club Level Suite which was 1000 square feet of awesome. Large Balcony with gorgeous view, large bedroom and master bath with a second full bath, living room and dining area. This room also included exclusive Club Level access and at this Ritz Carlton it is well worth the extra. Food offerings all day including fabulous full presentation breakfast, light lunch options, afternoon snacks, sweets, and cocktails, wine, beer, water, pop, coffee, tea and really anything else you request. Service is outstanding in the club.
All rooms on property are at least 450 square feet with balconies and lovely views of the resort or the sea.
Where to Dine
On site you have Bleuwater, Essenza (our favorite!), Sails, Coconut Cove, Palazzo Club and Zest. Nice to have all of these choices since the resort is secluded and there are no other restaurants within walking distance of the resort. Should you add on the Club Level, this will give you an extra layer of tapas like options.
Other ideas in St. Thomas:
Oceana—Romantic, scenic and wonderful crab cakes!
Room with A View—Spectacular views of Charlotte Amalie and the Harbour. Located at Bluebeard’s Castle. The Brie Almondine and Crab Stuffed Mushrooms are divine.
Havana Blue—Outstanding Service, Very Cool, and Oceanfront.
Tap and Still Redhook—Burgers under $10, killer fries!
XO Bistro—I just loved the name so had to go. Bottomless brunch drinks (just sayin!). Fun!
In St. John’s:
Zozo’s—atop the ruins of the sugarmill at Caneel Bay. One of our favs!
Where to Shop and Play
Can you say shopper’s paradise? St. Thomas is known for being the best place to shop in the Caribbean. No sales tax! Many duty-free bargains below stateside. Duty free allowance is $1600 per person. Keep your receipts handy because you will need them when you go through Customs in St. Thomas.
The Market Place in Downtown Charlotte Amalie is tons of fun. Perfect place to buy t-shirts, hats, caps, sunglasses, handbags, etc. Yes you can barter.
Downtown Charlotte Amalie is lined with retailers of every type. Be sure to take the walking tour of Charlotte Amalie while here…or send the men while you shop!
Yacht Haven Grande is a prestigious little area and one of my favs. A great place to buy Gucci and Louis Vuitton because…no sales tax! Nice restaurants too.
Havensight Shopping Mall is located right on the Cruise Ship Dock. Less crowded than downtown. All of the major retailers have well stocked stores and have the same merchandise as downtown.
You will see people saying, “I do”, all over this island. From the bow of a luxury yacht, to lush gardens, to the top of Bluebeard’s Castle, to a historic church, to the beach, and yes even underwater, this is a popular venue. Be sure to contact an online wedding planner or the Ritz Concierge to make sure you have everything in order. I’ve heard tell that there is now an 8 day waiting period.
So many islands to conquer in this part of the world.
The ferry system is fabulous and a very easy/inexpensive way to explore islands like St. John, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, and Anegada.
We chartered a Captain and a Cook for a week one year and went all over the place on a beautiful catamaran. Luxury power boats are available too so create your own itinerary and let an experienced captain do the driving. Two of the more reputable companies to check out are Nautinymph and Yacht Magic Moments. Always best to check with the Concierge at the hotel.
And don’t forget all of the options that leave right from the beach at The Ritz.
Other Must See’s
The Beaches of St. Thomas are gorgeous. Magens Bay is a must. Famous Delights has the world’s best milkshake…perfect stop after Magens Bay.
Coral World Ocean Park and Undersea Observatory
Even if you don’t golf (and especially if you do), go to Mahogany Run. Breathtaking views, more shopping, and great dining spot at the Grille.
Magic Ice—I have not been but people were raving at The Ritz. An ice sculpture gallery.
Mountain Top—home of the world famous banana daiquiri. Views 1300 feet above Magens Bay. See 15 islands from their deck.
We take a flight that arrives around 2 pm…just in time to grab one of the many offered free rum drinks at the airport and a cab to the resort. After a 35 minute ride you will find yourself at the entryway to the Ritz where you will be greeted with a yummy rum punch and delightful hellos. Check in at the open air lobby is wonderful and quick, and then you jump on a golf cart with your luggage and one of the conversational bellmen. Following an extensive tour of the Club Level Lounge and your suite, get yourself unpacked, change into walking clothes and go explore the grounds of this resort. There is a lot to take in so this will take a bit.
Shower up and dress for dinner. Start with an appealing drink at the Club Level and experience the wonderful appetizers.
Dine tonight at Bleuwater on site out on the terrace as you enjoy the coziness of the fire pits all around.
Enjoy a leisurely morning at the Club Level. They make made to order omelettes or eggs any way you like them. The entire spread is outstanding and they have a wonderful coffee, espresso, cappuccino, and tea selection too. The view on the patio is lovely and a great way to start the day.
You’ve paid dearly for this resort stay so today is a great day to enjoy all of your amenities. We took a nice long walk, went to the fitness center, and I even took the yoga class. The spa is lovely so try it out (I had an Island Oasis Facial! Magnificent!)
After a light lunch in the Club Level, spend the afternoon on the water—poolside is gorgeous, the beach is fun too, and there are lots of watersports included so why not grab a paddleboard! If you are reading or basking by the pool, at around 4 pm you will get to enjoy complimentary warm cookies brought around by the staff.
Havana Blue tonight for dinner.
After another leisurely breakfast, get on your shopping clothes, grab a cab, and get on down to Charlotte Amalie. I like to start at the Market, move on into the downtown streets, hit Yacht Haven Grande (have a little bite to eat here too) and end up at Havensight Shopping Mall.
Tonight we ferry over to St. John from Red Hook and dine at Zozo’s.
Today is a great island hop day after breakfast. Take the Lady Lynsey or the ferry over to Jost Van Dyke. Snorkeling is a must of course, and you must hit Soggy Dollar Bar and Foxy’s.
Dinner tonight is a tough choice since it is your last night if on a quick jaunt like we were this time. I love Essenza’s at the Ritz. The bar and the bartenders are so cool. You can sit outside on the patio and have a full on dinner, or sit in the bar and devour their yummy pizza. If you prefer to finish your trip strong then I suggest Room with a View or Oceana!
St. Thomas is a wonderful destination. We have visited multiple times for three days, a week, and when we got married we were around the area for three weeks. No matter how long you choose to stay, I promise you will not be bored.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY ST. THOMAS, SOON OR SOMEDAY!