At the end of July (2014) we enjoyed one of the best vacations of our lives, 8 days and nights in unit E-15 at the Point Pleasant resort.
E-15, located near the top of Point Pleasant, is a cozy, clean and updated studio-sized condo with a very comfortable king bed, full kitchen equipped with utensils, plates, glasses and cookware, and a separate seating area with a satellite flat-screen TV and DVD player. There is free wi-fi. The upper swimming pool (one of 3 at Point Pleasant) is a short walk away. And what a view!
Normally I am a late riser, but I was up early every morning to gaze at the vistas and plan the day. To the side of the wrap-around balcony is the bay, where Jimmy Buffet's new resort Margaritaville is set to open in the next year or two, and across the bay, Coki Beach, famous for its snorkeling and Coral World. From the front of the balcony, you can see St. John and, in the distance, Tortola and the BVI.
Point Pleasant itself, with units rising steeply from the bay to the top of the hill, is beautifully landscaped and well-maintained, with a pleasant, courteous and eager-to-please staff. The cab ride from the airport to Point Pleasant is about $15 per person. All cab rates are set, and published in the free magazine "This Week" which you can pick up at the airport.
At present at Point Pleasant, there is a bar on the bay, Panga, which serves casual food (burgers, tacos, etc.) and superb tropical cocktails; the restaurant Blue Agave, once one of the top-rated on St. Thomas, will hopefully re-open soon.
There is a small beach at the bottom of Point Pleasant where you can snorkel, adjacent to the Sugar Bay resort, which holds a carnival party you can attend on Thursday nights.
Only minutes away from Point Pleasant on the East End of the island is the village of Red Hook, which offers the best variety of dining and drinking establishments on St. Thomas. I highly recommend the Italian restaurant Pesce, and a stop for a drink at Duffy's Love Shack is mandatory. A mile or so past Red Hook is the Food Center supermarket, which sells a tasty array of delicious steaks, fresh fish and live Caribbean lobster. Also, wine, beer and a wide range of liquors, including the excellent local Cruzan rum, which is a real bargain. We saved ourselves quite a bit of money cooking and eating breakfast and dinner at the condo.
At Red Hook you catch the half-hour ferry to Cruz Bay on St. John. The ferry leaves on the hour and costs $14 round trip. From Cruz Bay, take a cab (inexpensive) to Trunk Bay, one of the best beaches in the world with legendary snorkeling. There is a $4 entry fee, it's $5 to rent snorkeling gear, and when you're done beaching it, take a shower there, change back into your street clothes, and take a cab back to Cruz Bay for drinks and dinner. Try the "oyster happy hour" at The Terrace.
As mentioned, Coki Beach is right across the bay; besides the snorkeling, they serve fantastic fresh Mango daiquiris (and beer) as you sit on the beach. Also close by is Sapphire Beach, which has good snorkeling and plenty of shade trees. At the entrance to Sapphire (with limited hours in the off-season) is the highly recommended barbecue truck Off the Grid.
Also at Sapphire, you can catch a day sail to St. John and various snorkeling spots aboard the 57-foot sailboat Nightwind (340-775-7017). For $115 (if paid in cash), you sail from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., make at least two stops, with an open bar all day, fresh fruit and pastries when you board, and a delicious lunch. They take up to 15 passengers, but there were only six of us the day we sailed. I have been on many day sails to go snorkeling, in St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys and Barbados, and the trip aboard the Nightwind was the best.
Point Pleasant offers complimentary transportation to Coki, Sapphire and Red Hook. (Be sure to tip!) And avoid Coki after dark.
Another caveat: When the cruise ships are in port at Charlotte Amalie (as many as 9 a day in-season!) the beaches – Coki, Sapphire and Magen's Bay on the other side of St. Thomas – can be overwhelmed with people from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The magazine "This Week" and the local paper the St. Thomas Daily News publish cruise ship schedules so you can avoid the crowds.