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“Very good but not great.” 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
Bangalore, India
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Very good but not great.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Stay was nice; the grounds of the resort are well maintained and appealing. Room was a bit dated; definitely could use a face-lift with updated furniture and brighter colors, etc. Beach is spectacular and views from the room were breathtaking. Where the place suffers most is the service; ate on property 4-5 times and each experience was less then inspiring. Attention to detail is definitely missing in their restaurants. Overall experience was great and definitely recommendable.

Room Tip: Ask hotel to set up taxi service--otherwise the islanders may over charge you.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,168 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 (234)
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English first
Pittsburgh, PA
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

In spite of excellent service I am giving this resort only 3-star-rating because of their inferior food and poor child care program. The quality of their service is very good but service is improving across the board in almost all Caribbean in even in most Mexican resorts.
We are a family of four with one 6, and one 14-year-old. This 11 day vacation from December 21 through January 1 (2013) disappointed us. We stayed on the Concierge level.

Service
Beyond believe! The best, most customer oriented, warm, friendly and intelligent service I have ever experienced at any resort or hotel anywhere in the world. All their employees, from the gardeners, to waiters, to the water sports team are polite, cheerful and eager to please.
Here’s a good illustration: my wife asked the cocktail waitress on the beach to bring a few cocktail cherries for our 6-year-old. Those cherries arrived in about 10 minutes in a cute little plastic cup. 30 minutes later another waiter brought us another cup of cherries. About an hour later somebody brought one more cup of those cherries. All that was done with a smile, with admiration of how cute is our little girl…
You cannot get this kind of service just for the money. It is only possible when good training comes hand in hand with happy people. Indeed, the people of St. Thomas impressed us as friendly and kind. They are kind not only to tourists but to each other as well.

Water Sports
The Hobby Cats (sailing), windsurfers, paddle boats, sea kayaks and snorkel equipment - all are in top shape and available in abundance at all times. There are virtually no waiting lines for any of it and very few restrictions on how long you can use it. The water sports team is helpful and cheerful. In my experience this is the best equipped and best ran water sports operation ever.

Problems
Our major problem was with the food. It is mediocre at best and downright terrible most of the time. The Concierge level offers what they call breakfast, light snacks and hors d’oeuvres. We found most of their food inedible. With the exception of smoked salmon all the ingredients they use are of very low quality. Their salami, their ham, the cheese they offer - all that is just terrible. Even the breads, the mini croissants and the beagles are awful. I once tried their “Italian Salad”. It’s as Italian as I am Chinese.

The small plates and the microscopic canapés offered at Concierge level are supposed to suggest that this is only a little supplement to the fair offered by the restaurants. There are basically two restaurants offering lunch: The Sails and the Coconut Cove. Both restaurants offer the worst, most uninspiring and unhealthy food one could imagine. Their rather limited menu offers hamburgers with pre-frozen french-fries, pizzas, Buffalo wings, etc. No choice of salads, no prosciutto, no brezaula, no copa, no pate de foie gras, nothing like that. Moreover, they must use some low quality oil for cooking because I always got terrible aftertaste and heartburn. At Blue Water Restaurant we once ordered three dishes: a hamburger (a $30 hamburger!), a Sea Bass and a Grouper. No appetizers and no deserts, just those three dishes. $150 dollars later we left underwhelmed. It wasn’t terrible, it was just blah. I think that at the five-star resort with a venerable name such as Ritz Carlton and considering their prices, the food should be delicious.
At the Great Bay Restaurant, the maitre d' proudly told us that vendors bring fresh fish daily to the hotel. So, what is the freshest fish today? - we asked. He suggested the Snapper. So, my wife ordered the Snapper and ended up with a dry piece of poorly cooked fish. I ordered a steak. They use cheap meat. It was full of veins and although it was medium-rear it was still tough to chew.

Their website extols Fabien Gnemmi as the Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. Pardonnez-moi, Monsieur Gnemi, but where did you learn about Fish Tacos and Cheese Quesadilla? Was it Lion? Perhaps Bologna? If we would want Mexican food we wouldn’t come to you. We would go to some Mexican resort. But even there, I wouldn’t accept corn in my breakfast quiche.

Those of us who choose to come to Ritz Carlton are prepared to pay premium prices. But paying exorbitant prices in a place with “fried food and beer mentality” hurts. All in all, the senior management of this resort does not understand food, i.e. they have never met a food they didn’t like.

The few restaurants we tried on the island itself were not much better. We ate at Oceania in Frenchtown, at Pesce in American Yacht Harbor and at a few other restaurants… they all were expensive and mediocre.

Concierge Level
Upon arrival we were told that children over 12-year of age must pay full fair for the access to the Concierge level. So, we were charged additional $90 per day for our 14-year-old. However, our son (just as the rest of us) was not able to eat their food other than having a ball of cereal for breakfast. Upon departure, I pointed out that $90 is much too much for a ball of cereal and offered to pay $30 per day for my son. I felt that $30 for a ball of cereal for a young man would be more than generous. They objected and charged us to the full throttle.

Children’s Program (Ritz Kids)
A joke. At most resorts it’s free. Here it is $65 for half a day and $85 full day (until 4 PM). Children are supervised by one single woman, which means that if some child would need help with the paddy, the rest of the children would be left unsupervised. There is no vision and no program to speak about. It’s a few board games, a trip to the pool and a TV.
At other resorts children learn how to make cupcakes, they have fashion shows, the prizes are given to the winners with psychedelic lights and audiovisual hoopla (everybody win of course), but not here. Most parents do not come back and the place is usually deserted after lunch and sometimes the whole day.
We, along with some other parents went to see the General Manager. He was not available but we filed a complaint. So, we got a message with an apology. Big deal!
All in all, we didn’t feel that we’ve got our money’s worth. We will not come back and, with no exception, everybody we talked to felt exactly the same way.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 245. Spectacular view and most convenient location.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

Last February vacation week for New England schools we traveled with family friends from Boston to St. Thomas. Both families had two children and we could not have picked a more ideal spot! The Club Level one bedroom suite with a spectacular view and a wonderful staff that were wonderful with the children made us eager to come back this February. Kathryn in the club level is there to fill your every need, even if that means PB sandwiches or chicken nuggets. The one thing the adults were head over heals for was the curry chicken salad...Yum! Our family has been blessed to have gone to many other Ritz resorts in the past, and although this isn't the swankiest, it is truly picturesque with vast views of St. John. If you asked the kids (ages 9-13), nothing was better than the water sports available in the giant bay with gracious views, tons of space and calm waters. We are counting down the days to returning to the club level on February 18th. If you are looking for relaxation and your family is looking for elegance, not an amusement park, you really should look into this destination!

  • Stayed February 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scarsdale, New York
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

It is hard to review this property in isolation, because candidly, the property is just not that fabulous and it is extremely expensive.... The rooms need to be renovated, the flora is okay - not spectacular, the pool is pretty - not mind-boggling.

NEVERTHELESS, if you are looking for some peace of mind, quiet time, and relaxation without the rush/bustle/hustle of other Caribbean destinations, then this is an excellent choice. The property is set about a mile from Red Hook and feels isolated from the the rest of St. Thomas - it is extremely tranquil. Even though the resort was full, it never felt overwhelming where you needed to fight someone for a table for breakfast or lunch. The service, in general, was very good. The staff made efforts to go out of the way for the guests in all areas - the pool, the restaurants, the bellmen/women, and the concierge. Most water sports were included in the guest rates (like snorkeling, etc.).

A few tips:

> The restaurants (aside from breakfast/lunch) were a mixed bag and extremely expensive (even by NYC standards). I would advise venturing off the property for dinner - Caribbean Fish Market (which was in walking distance) was wonderful - also fro Sunday brunch.
> Kids club had extremely poor attendance - we saw one child being taken around by a staff member - so do not plan on leaving your little ones there - he/she will be with no other kids. The one "kiddie" thing was sand art on the beach - this was a "fee for service" activity - and a fortune at that. The resort should invest in some low budget arts and crafts activities for the children at the beach.
> Housekeeping - you need to stay on top of them to make sure they clean the room at a time convenient for you/your family. I had to follow up a few times.

Overall, my family had a wonderful time and we got to spend some excellent quality time together (which is sometimes lacking when your destination is overwhelmingly busy).

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012 via mobile

I stayed at the Ritz with my wife in early September 2012 for our honeymoon.

Positive:
- got an upgrade to an Ocean View Room
- hotel has a nice location

OK:
- rooms were clean and provided all you need and expect
- gym is big enough and provides all you need for a workout

Negative:
- all restaurants are completely overpriced. We ate there for most of the times since there were no other reasonable options outside (you would have to take a cab to get fo to closest restaurant outside the hotel). Depending on the restaurant at the hotel, the food is either ok or disapppointing.
- staff at the restaurant is most of the times very unfriendly and not very attentive.
-only one option available for breakfast
- the first day we ordered room service for breakfast. It was expensive but ok. The second day we went to the Bluewater restaurant for breakfast. It was terrible: host was unmotivated, did not even greet properly. We had to wait several minutes to be seated, eventhough there were not many guests at the hotel or restaurant. Other guests had to wait for 10 minutes, some left before that. Food was served more than 30 minutes after ordered. Again, restaurant was not very busy at that time. Toast was cold. No butter was served, after I asked for it, it took another 5 minutes till it was served. Some guests waited for more than 15 minutes till they could place their order. Immediately after this experience, we went to the reception and told them about our recent experience. A few hours later, we got a call from the restaurant manager. She apologized for the poor service and offered us to come again the next day for free. We accepted and went again. This time, the manager herself took care of us. Everything was ok - as it can be expected at a Ritz. However, the next day we went again and it was all as bad as the other day...
- one day we ordered food at the Coconut Cave restaurant. It took them 40 minutes to deliver the food (kitchen at the restaurant was closed). Flatbread turned out to be a thick pizza. It was not served hot, dough was burned, almost not eatable.
- other bad examples of poor service and overpriced food could easily be added here
- after our stay we were invited to take a survey. We told them about the bad epxeriences and answered the question if we want to be contacted with yes. Until today, we have not heard back from them...

Overall, we were disappointed with the poor service and the very expensive food. We were happy we did not have to stay any longer.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, NY
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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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 On the Beach Hotel in St. Thomas
#2 Luxury Hotel in St. Thomas
#3 Spa Hotel in St. Thomas
#3 Top resorts 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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