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First time in USVI, St. John or St. Thomas for lodging?

My husband and I are visiting the USVI for the first time the first week of November for a week. Any recommendations for places to stay and things to do would be greatly appreciated! I would love to stay right on the beach, but understand that St. John beaches are mostly national parks.

Posted by
21876 posts

One thing to be careful about is that some of these areas were very hard hit by the hurricanes last summer so check carefully on current status.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for your response. What is the best way to find out what areas/ facilities were damaged?

Posted by
6818 posts

Not much response yet. I'll say that we've only been once, about 12 years ago. It seemed to me that most of the nice beaches in either island were public. Places that advertised private beaches on St Thomas (like the place we stayed) were not as large or pretty as appeared in photos. So look carefully. St John's was beautiful, but there was purposefully little tourist infrastructure there.

Posted by
5595 posts

There are tradeoffs on price, comfort, desalinated water taste, distance to attractions, FAP food vs. access to restaurants. It's not a simple choice. We stayed at a B&B in Charlotte Amalie, which was cheap but a poor location except for shopping and boat access. We had come by resort boat from either Caneel Bay (maybe not reopened yet?) or Little Dix Bay (they are affiliated.) We've also stayed at the relatively private Pools & Pavillions which was kind of a newlywed or gay couples place, with a street walk to a public beach at another resort. Caneel Bay is very expensive, but has some of those landmarked beaches within it. But (long ago) we found the property (and the guests) kind of dated. The desalinated water ruined both tea and coffee service. New technology may have improved that by now. The size of Caneel Bay provides a hint of the quiet you can't get at one of the busy places on a smaller property. But it has a lot of rooms!

Your departure flight time affects the Subject Line choice, too.

Posted by
5775 posts

Huh?

Get your mind out of the gutter, joe! :)

I suspect they were referring to "Full American Plan" - ie resort accommodations where all meals are included in the package price, aka all inclusive or "AI".

Not a good way to go anywhere, IMHO, unless you're on some remote flyspeck island where there's literally no other option to obtain a meal and the alternative would be to just do without food altogether. When you're captive of an AI resort, food quality can vary tremendously.

Posted by
5595 posts

This is a travel newsboard, right? I might have even rented a car for a few days at Caneel Bay, because St. John is so lightly improved an island. But if you have to take an expensive cab to get to a restaurant, you are a captive of the resort, whether you signed up for FAP or not.

I agree that the beaches on St. John are legendary. I'm pretty sure legal access other than water has to be provided, including on Caneel Bay property. But the USVI were not our favorite Caribbean vacation.

A surprising defect in the (no question ... ) luxury Caneel Bay was that we got a quiet, isolated multi-guest building beside a lagoon. But the combination of the wooden ceiling and the nice tile floor made the echoes of the adjacent lapping water deafening, all night. We both had to put in earplugs to get to sleep. (By now, I'll bet many rooms at Caneel have air conditioning. There was none when we went, "The Old Caribbean", with open windows and ceiling fans.)

Posted by
3 posts

All great information!

Interested in a quiet, upscale, close to beach accommodation. Most likely would like to spend time in the more commercialed areas too. Not interested in all you can eat format.

Thanks for all the tips, please keep them coming!