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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We stayed in room 245. Spectacular view and most convenient location.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.