Ok, the wife and I stayed at Scrub Island (BVI) last year and decided to stay closer to St. Thomas airport this year to cut down on the ferry rides and taxis. Overall, I'd say that Marriott's Frenchman's Reef and Morningstar Beach Resort is ok, but nothing to write home about. We found ourselves wishing we had booked at the Ritz-Carlton.
First, for those that have not stayed here before, there are three distinct Marriott resorts clustered together: Frenchman's Cove (MGVC - full condo units), Frenchman's Reef, and Morningstar Beach. Of the three, I'd rate the Reef the least desirable. First and foremost, Frenchman's Reef is clearly the oldest of the three properties (followed by Morningstar and then the relatively new Cove). They've done what they can to refurbish the Reef area, but it's still very clear that this resort is old. We stayed in the Sea Cliff wing, but the Harbor wing (adjacent to the Cove and looking out on the same harbor as the Cove) is even older than the Sea Cliff wing. The nicest units at the Reef resort appeared to be the Ocean tower.
First the pros/cons of the Reef units.
->mid-way between the main pool area (next to the Ocean tower) and the Morningstar Beach area
->rooms are of decent size and appear to have been updated in the last several years
->a bit of no mans land . . . between the beach and the pool . . . nothing is really AT the Sea Cliff units
->food at the resort is not very good and over-priced. Please note: we're used to Caribbean food, which typically lags most mainland food in terms of quality and price, but the food at the Marriott main building (both the Sunset Grill and Aqua Terra) was below even Caribbean "average". Interesting enough, the food at the Morningstar restaurant (Coco Joe's) was noticeably better
->only one elevator in the Sea Cliffs tower for what appeared to be 80+ units
->we stayed here during the busiest of the busy season (Christmas week), but the pool lounge chair situation was out of hand . . . not nearly enough lounge chair space for the number of folks staying at the hotel (this was true for the Cove MGVC resort too) -- on top of that, there did not appear to be any "policing" of people saving lounge chairs by putting their towels on them (we got up at 6:30 a.m. on our last day here to go down and save a couple of lounge chairs and many were already taken . . . and remained vacant for *HOURS*)
->the same over-crowding issue existed in the gym . . . again, may be a function of the week we were here, but while the gym was above average in terms of equipment, it was far too small, square footage wise and very crowded
The Morningstar beach area was actually quite nice. We spent several days down in that area and if we returned to this resort (which, I don't think we will) we'd probably book a room at Morningstar portion of the resort.
I would recommend this resort for families (there were a lot of kids around and a section of the pool had a "play area" including a water feature / fountain). I would not recommend this resort for couples looking for quiet time or a get-away . . . . at least not during this particular week of the year, maybe it is different during less peak portions of the season.
We took two excursions and they were ok -- the 1/2 day snorkel with the Turtles and the dinner cruise . . . both on "the Cat". The crew on the Cat were great, but the snorkeling at the turtle preserve was . . . "meh" (compared to our experiences in the BVI an Hawaii).
Our only good "on property" meal was at "Havana Blue" at the Morningstar. Interestingly, Havana Blue is not associated with the hotel, so you can't charge the tab to your room, BUT the food, ambiance, and presentation were far, far better than anything at the resort, and only marginally more expensive.
Overall, the Marriott Frenchman's Reef is not a resort I would recommend to friends, nor will we probably return to. We would consider coming back to Morningstar, however.
Get the Ocean Tower or stay at the Morningstar portion of the resort. Avoid the Harbor wing and Sea...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
January 2, 2013
Thank you for your review. If another vacation should bring you back to St. Thomas, please contact me through the hotel so that our leadership team can assist in your room style choice at Morning Star. Our highest goal is your total satisfaction. We look forward to showing you the level of service our reputation us built upon. Happy New Year!
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