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“Good, except the restaurants are a real problem” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

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The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   6900 Great Bay, 00802, St. Thomas   |  
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Ranked #3 of 22 Hotels in St. Thomas
Brooklyn, NY
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Good, except the restaurants are a real problem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

Let me say that we were a little underwhelmed by this property until several days into our trip when we visited a few other options. I was expecting beautiful and pristine, and it was just okay. The pool is nice but small. The grounds are nice but not without imperfections. For what we were paying, I was expecting perfect.

However, the Marriotts on St. Thomas are gigantic and sterile feeling, like you would expect from a Marriott but even more. The beach is a long walk from the hotel. There aren't enough chairs to go around. Other guests were rowdy. We would only stay here if we had points and the whole thing was free. And even then, maybe not.

We also visited the uber expensive Caneel Bay on St. John. It would be nice if you're a celebrity or otherwise in need of privacy. it's very secluded, a lot smaller than the Ritz and with beach access from most bungalows. However, the beach was small, the chairs didn't look particularly comfortable and we didn't spot a pool. You're close to some amazing beaches but pretty isolated from restaurants and the like.

So, after sizing up the other options, we returned to the Ritz much happier and fully enjoyed our 10-day stay, with the exception of the Ritz's restaurants. They're a real problem. But I'll get to that in a minute. Here's a summary:

THE GOOD

Beach chairs: After exploring a lot of beaches we decided the chairs are what set the Ritz experience apart. They are padded and then lined by a porter with a fresh beach towel for each guest. Each chair also has a canapy you can pull up for shade. The first row of chairs is feet from the water. The view is stunning. We never had issues getting a first row chair in November.

Room size: Don't go in expecting anything modern and swanky, but comfortable, the Ritz can do. We got the lowest room category and it was still much larger than a typical hotel room -- king bed, loveseat, desk, large bathroom, foyer, large porch.

Water sports: Sure you pay a pretty hefty resort fee, but that's standard operating procedure at these sorts of places. What you get for it is nice. Unlimited use of snorkel equipment, kayaks, paddleboards, peddleboats, windsurfing stuff, hobies, etc. Basically, anything without a motor is free. The equipment is in good shape and there's plenty of it to go around. The bay is calm and pleasant to explore by boat or board.

The pool: Though not huge, the infinity pool is nice enough and has a great view. I wish I had realized before my last day that there's a bench around the edge perfect for sitting in the pool and reading. You live, you learn. There are also small non infinity pools you can use over by the timeshare units. They advertise a kiddie pool but it's probably five feet wide; I'm not sure it really counts.

THE BAD

Restaurants: The resaurants are a real problem and why we might hestitate to stay at the Ritz again. First of all, they aren't any good. (We took a sushi making class and saw firsthand that the fish they use is bought frozen in bulk at the grocery store, despite being on a tropical island with ample fresh fish.) Second of all, they are ridiciously overpriced. For breakfast your only option is Bluewater, which is a $35/person buffet. You can get the cold buffet for about $10 less which we did a few times. For lunch there's Sails by the pool and Cococut Cove which is a short walk over at the timeshare proprty. Both are your typical pool lunch fare and decent, but $20 for a sandwich and $5 for a soda. For dinner there's Bluewater again, at least $50 a pop for seafood, and another Asian fusion type restaurant with sushi and such for just as much. After the first day or two we went offsite for all meals. Thank goodness we rented a car. Restaurants at nearby hotels Elysian (walkable) and Secret Harbour were good and reasonably priced. The community of Red Hook is also a five minute drive and has some decent options. The best meal we had was a 30 minute drive at 13. Try it -- you won't be disappointed!

The nickle and diming: When you pay a certain amount for a hotel room you expect to not be constantly asked for more money. However, more fees were everywhere. Want room service? That'll be $5 for delivery on top of your inflated food prices. Want your lunch delivered to the pool? That'll be $3 per item. You'll be asked to tip every employee you have a five second conversation with. It gets tiring (and expensive). The spa was so outrageously priced that I couldn't bring myself to use it even though I wanted to.

No Marriott perks: My husband is a platinum Marriott member but this didn't get us an upgrade at check in as the website told us it would. (The Ritz sometimes honors this, and sometimes doesn't.) The hotel was definitely empty so that wasn't the issue. Consider yourself warned.

Golf carts: In theory they stop and give you a ride to your room, which, depending on your building, can be anywhere from a several minute to a 15 minute walk. No one ever offered us a ride. In fact, we almost got hit multiple times by staff members speeding by.

Lack of attention to detail: Again, when I think of the Ritz I expect immaculate. That was not our experience. We had dead lightbulbs in our room upon arrival. Our coffee machine didn't work. None of the phone numbers in the directory are accurate. These aren't huge things, and they were fixed when I asked, but it's vacation and I don't want to have to ask.

THE OKAY

Lady Lynsey: We did one of the sailing excursions. It was a little pricey but still a nice experience. It was convenient to have an excursion leaving right from the beach outside your room.

The gym: Hey, it's a gym. Nothing fancy but perfectly fine. I liked the idea of the free exercise classes but they were always at times I wanted to be doing other things. Why do they think people want to exercise mid-day while on vacation? Bummer.

Location: While the Ritz is located in a beautiful bay, it's a little bit of a hike from anything else on the island. Red Hook is a small community about a five minute drive away, but it's a good half hour to larger Charlotte Amalie which can be kind of a pain.

All in all we had a good experience, and it would have been great with better restaurant options.

Room Tip: Buildings are alphabetical and get further from the lobby the lower in the alphabet you go.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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1,170 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (235)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Augusta, Missouri
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

I have stayed at this Ritz four times over the last eight years. It has always been a great place and still is however, they have gone down a notch. The rooms are kept up well but are in need of a facelift. The staff as always is the best, they could not be more friendly. I thought the best food on premises was at Sails the pool restaurant. I have a problem with the breakfast buffet at $40.00 per person, it really is not worth it. The first time we went to the Ritz the buffet was much more extensive then what they have now. I also was a little upset as they had only two body floats for the pool. When I inquired with the pool man he said they were on back order, really!!! this is the response you expect from the Ritz. I don't think anyone would be disappointed if they stay here, it is just not what it once was. For the price they charge it should be better. One final note, the old manager Mark was the best. He was always on site and asking us if everything was alright, great guy. On this visit we were there ten days and never once saw the new manager.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cape cod
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

Stayed for 7 nights over Thanksgiving in a gorgeous, corner suite in the club level building. Ate breakfast, lunch, appetizers and cocktails and dessert daily in the lounge. The presentations and quality of food served was amazing. The staff of the lounge, from the concierges to the wait people, could not have been more pleasant and helpful, going out of their way to assist in our every need. Went off property twice to eat dinner, as we were there over a week and there are only a few restaurants in the hotel to chose from. Had an awful dinner at Coconut Cove! The others were just mediocre and very expensive. Lots to do on the water, from snorkeling off the the beach to sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking and wind surfing. Lots to keep teenagers entertained and adults too if you enjoy the water. Chartered a boat for the day with Nauti Nymph. Be sure to bring passports, as we headed to the BVIs for the day. Best day of the week. Ask for Captain Mike! Took a day sail on Lady Lindsey also. Loved the crew and the snorkeling and
shopping on St. John. Slightly disappointed with the beach as you are not able to walk it and exercise. Enjoyed a massage with Stephanie. Spa just OK, but my service was well worth the money. Will definitely return someday!

Room Tip: Stay on the Club level and spend the extra money. In the long run, you'll save on food and cock...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Sacramento, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

Back from honeymoon and we spent a week here, and then a week at Casa De Campo on Dominican Republic. Facility and location are amazing, we are struggling to decide if we should just come back here or try a different tropical location for next year. The staff are awesome. Some standouts: Al @ Coconut Cove, Amber @ Great Bay Lounge, and Chris Jones @ BlueWater. Don't forget to try a Bushwhacker, and if in season or available, Corvina. 3 stars on spa - not applicable, as we didn't get a massage while on the property. Thank you Chuck Gruber and Mr. Kuhlen, for making our stay/trip memorable.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Woodlands, Texas, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

Stopped here one night on the way to Anguilla and are suppose to be back next week for one week's stay and we have to say for the nightly price we are paying we are not looking forward to coming back! The hotel is run down and in desperate need of a "face lift". We were at the outside bar near the beach and the buildings where the restrooms are located had paint peeling, the doors are dirty and in need of fresh paint and the beach cushions are dirty. Maybe we are spoiled as we have been to many other Caribbean islands like Aruba and Turks and Caicos that were spectacular, but paying over $600/ night, I would expect nothing but 5+ star and this is definitely not the case! A glass of wine at the beach bar will run you $26 which is a rip off. No wonder their cancellation policy is 90 days, otherwise they would have no business at all. After staying at the Viceroy in Anguilla, this will certainly be a disappointment to come back to!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carmel, Indiana
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

We recently stayed here for a girl's trip and I was certainly not impressed. This felt like it may have been a beautiful resort at one time and then it was forgotten about and slowly started to deteriorate in quality and service.

Service: The staff was pretty friendly for the most part. The one thing that seemed pretty consistent was that they were all on island time aka very slow. Nobody seemed to be in any kind of a hurry. Yes, vacation is a time to relax but waiting for 20 minutes to even be greeted at breakfast is not acceptable.

Room: The rooms seemed very old and run down. The furniture was straight out of the 80s and the beds were not that comfortable. As many others have commented, we also had issues with the air conditioning. I am also pretty sure that there was black mold on the shower ceiling. We also had a smashed bug on our wall for the whole trip. Attention to detail is not something that exists at this hotel.

Food: The food was very average tasting and VERY overpriced. I get that you are paying resort prices but when it doesn't even feel like a resort, it is hard to cough up that kind of cash.

Activities: I did like that you were able to use the paddle boards, kayaks, etc. at the resort since they are included in your resort fee. The hotel does have a beautiful bay area where you can explore on their water crafts.

Overall, I would not stay at this hotel again and I would not recommend it to anyone who is expecting a real Ritz experience. Who wants to pay resort prices for a 3-star hotel experience?

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Nov 1-6 for a 10th Anniversary trip. Overall, we enjoyed our vacation. If we ever return to the island, however, we will likely stay at a different hotel. There are certain things a person expects when paying for a room at the Ritz-Carlton. This hotel seems to be a Ritz in name and quality of service, but the rooms are more on par with a 3 or 4 star hotel.

First, the hotel grounds are lovely. Lots of local floriculture around and the resident iguanas are fun to see, if not a little creepy when they are crawling all over the middle of the walkway. There are many separate buildings on the property, so it is a little bit of a walk to get anywhere, but this didn't bother us.

The hotel staff are all excellent, with the exception of Scott at Sails. We nicknamed him "Snotty Scotty". One has to wonder why someone who clearly dislikes people would choose a job in the service industry. But I digress. Everyone else was fantastic. Melanie at Sails was always lovely and the people at the towel stand were always eager to help us feel as comfortable as possible on the beach or at the pool. The food was excellent everywhere we ate on property, albeit expensive. But hey...when you choose to stay at the Ritz, you have to expect the prices to be high. We were not all surprised or put off by this. The concierge, Elgitha, was extremely helpful.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Lady Lynsey as well. The boat is sparkling, the crew is outstanding and the sailing was really fun. We took two trips out on the boat and both were highlights of our trip. Jolene was our personal favorite among the crew, but they all were top notch. Also, the water sports equipment that was included in the resort fee was a great bonus. We had lots of fun kayaking and using the Hobie Cats.

And to the negative...The room was awful. We booked a resort view room, so we expected a room with little to no ocean view. What we got was a room down on the first floor in what felt like a cave with no other guests in sight. We overlooked a shed. The room was just okay looking inside. The furniture looked old and the bed was AWFUL. I returned home with quite a backache and I usually don't have any issues with hotel beds. The air conditioning wasn't functioning properly and our room couldn't seem to cool down past 76 or so. And there was NO AIR CON VENT IN THE BATHROOM. Ladies, hear me. Getting ready to go out to dinner in a bathroom with no air conditioning stinks! It felt at least 80 degrees in there throughout our trip. I've never stayed in a hotel where this has been the case, but will now feel the need to ask whenever we travel anywhere tropical.

Housekeeping was hit or miss. For some reason they couldn't seem to get the coffee right. Each day we had to call for coffee, condiments, cups or something else. Something was refilled each day, but something was always forgotten. And when we had to call, we usually had to call a couple of times before someone finally brought it...an hour or two later.

There are 6-7 cats that roam the property and visit the outdoor diners in the evening. We are not cat people, so eating dinner with cats circling our feet and staring at us was a bit disconcerting. Had they been dogs we wouldn't have minded so much. ;-)

Overall, we just didn't feel like we got a lot of value for our dollar at this resort. We paid more expecting to receive everything that the Ritz-Carlton delivers at their other properties. The service was on par, but the rooms were not even close. Next time we will try the Marriott or the Westin on St. John.

Room Tip: The club level was closed during our visit, but other reviewers raved about it. We would have chose...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

Address: 6900 Great Bay, 00802, St. Thomas
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Thomas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in St. Thomas
#2 On the Beach Hotel in St. Thomas
#3 Top resorts Hotel in St. Thomas
#3 Spa Hotel in St. Thomas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas 5*
Number of rooms: 200
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Also Known As:
Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Hotel St. Thomas
St. Thomas Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands

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