I checked into the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands just after noon on a Friday, and the hotel was bustling with people heading out for afternoon excursions or just coming back from a morning on the beach.
Skin was pink and glowing. Women carried oversized beach bags and their husbands dressed in Hawaiian-inspired garb. (What is it about the Caribbean and button-up shirts with big floral prints?)
It made me happy to see everyone else so happy—exactly what I needed after 14 long and exhausting hours of flying. As a guest of the Marriott during this year’s Blog Paradise, my job was simply to relax and enjoy the few days I had on St. Thomas.
One of the first things I noticed about the Marriott was that it was comfortable but simple. The building has been around since the 1960s, so it’s a bit rough around the edges with some outdated interior design, dark hallways and inefficiencies (for example, the current desalination process means that you never really get cold water), but it’s cute. I’m not normally hosted in something that doesn’t try to be the world, and it was nice to stay somewhere that wasn’t overwhelming yet didn’t feel like a standard motel. That said, there are renovations currently taking place at the Marriott, so what you see in the room photo in this post may not be what you see if you stay beginning in 2011. I’m sure the changes will be a welcome and more modern update to the resort, and I’m excited to check it out once they’ve been completed.
The resort is in an ideal location on an outcropping of the island that is surrounded on three sides by water. There are fabulous views from just about everywhere on the property, which include two pools, a private beach and a private dock, from which ferries take guests via water taxi to the main harbor several times a day.
I found the pool areas to be spacious and the staff kind though a bit thin across the property (one morning I had to walk for several minutes before finding someone who could get a beach towel for me). There are lots of iguanas on the property, and they frequently sun themselves on the pool deck. Despite what some people do, if you stay here, please don’t feed the iguanas.
My room was comfortable and simple (though the colors were a bit dark for a beach property). I had a fantastic view over the pool and the ocean beyond, and I loved being able to sit on my balcony in the evening watching the sun set. If you plan on spending any time in your room, I recommend you get a water view room. There are others that are tucked on lower levels of the hotel that don’t have nearly as good of a view as I had.
The food at the resort’s restaurants was delicious – lots of fruit and fresh seafood, and plenty of wine to pair with dinner. I especially recommend Havana Blue, but make reservations before you go. There is a welcome reception on your first night at the resort where you can mingle with other guests and sample several appetizers.
What more is there to say? The whole point of visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands is to chill out, and Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort made that easy. I don’t get the feeling that my stay as a guest of the resort was any different than anyone else’s. On my last day on St. Thomas, I took a quick stroll by the pool to funnel away that feeling of a place unhindered by stress, and I noticed something that I had noticed on my first day as well: Skin was pink and glowing. Women carried oversized beach bags and their husbands dressed in Hawaiian-inspired garb.
It really is a little slice of relaxation.
Prices for a water view room start at $253.00/night in the low season, which is in September and October.
My stay at Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort was compensated by Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean and Mexico as part of the 2010 Blogger’s Paradise, but all opinions are completely my own.