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“Great beach but rent with caution...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sapphire Beach Resort

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Sapphire Beach Resort
2.0 of 5 Resort   |   Rte. 6 Smith Bay | Smith Bay Road, 00802, St. Thomas   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 5 hotels in East End
Illinois
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Great beach but rent with caution...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

We went for two weeks and stayed in building B arranged through vrbo.com. The unit was very, very nice and the owner very attentive and organized. We usually stay in houses on St Thomas, but they are not on the beach, so we re-visited this place after being here about 25 years ago when it was a very posh place. Most of what you read in these reviews is true: great beach, great snorkeling and you'll see rays and turtles and tons of beautiful fish, but the units rented by the management are usually in poor condition. We asked folks who rented through the management and their descriptions were not pleasant - basically units long overdue for renovation. The exterior is weathered and the wood needs a fresh coat of stain. The pool is very clean and large and heated. Yes, the "commercial" parts of the resort are pathetic. The former restaurant is in shambles as is the cafe/bar at the pool. The thing is, it's fairly easy to not notice these places in dis-repair as well as the weathered exterior. Go to the web cam and you'll see EXACTLY what it looks lie. Every day cruise ship tours drop off folks who enjoy a day at the beach from about 10-4 and one day when there were 6! ships in port, it got crowded, so we went down closer to the pool and it was nice and quiet and security kept it so. If you weren't staying there, you got chased away pretty promptly. Red Hook is literally a 3 minute drive away and there are many, many places to eat, but you won't want to walk there - too far and hilly and next to traffic,

Room Tip: My ratings are ONLY for units rented out by owners, not by the managing company.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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514 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (103)
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English first
Kewanna
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

This was our first extended stay on St. Thomas after visiting last year by cruise ship. We came to celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary Our goal was to visit beaches and snorkel. After doing a lot of research, and with some apprehension based on mixed reviews, I booked directly through the owner for a one bedroom condo in Building D. The reviews are 100% accurate with regards to the beautiful beach and views. The snorkeling was good too. (We ended up visiting 7 different snorkeling spots throughout St. Thomas and St. John.) The condo was very clean, comfortable and well appointed. We had no issues. The owner was available throughout our stay to answer questions or concerns. That being said ,and I don't want to speculate, but apparently there is some conflict between owners and management because there are areas of the resort in sad neglect (ie. tennis courts, pool bar , general maintenance ,etc ). They may be working on resolving some of the issues. All that being said, we would definitely stay at Sapphire again. We loved the privacy and being able to relax on the balcony with our morning coffee or evening cocktail. The only conclusion I can come up with from the bad reviews are from people who did not rent directly from the owner? There are units managed by the resort that must be in horrible disrepair according to some of the reviews so please book directly through owner and ask for pictures. We had a wonderful time, thank you Sheila for sharing your condo with us.

Room Tip: Building D and E are quieter. Views of St John and surrounding islands is wonderful.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Everywhere
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

We rented thru VRBO and stayed in building E. One note of caution to reviews on VRBO. They are filtered by owners so you are not likely to see much bad info there. Building E is on the quiet end of the resort next to the marina. The beach is not very nice as it is rocky but when we were leaving they were hauling in sand which I assume was to put there. The views from here are beautiful. The resort and most of the rooms are in dire need of updates. Old TVs, missing remotes, AC barely working, doors don't close etc. They are currently doing updates at the main lobby. The tennis courts should be bull dozed. All driveways to rooms and parking areas are dirt and stone.
The marina gets a fair amount of traffic during the day as quite a few charter boats run out of there. After dark go see the school of tarpon swimming around the fishing boats.
The main beach is very busy during the day as it is a public beach and they bring bus loads of people from the cruise ships. Before and after they come the resort is pretty quiet for as large as it is.
There is no restaurant on the property. Just a snack bar. There is a Bar and Grill up the hill at the condos next door. It is worth the hike up the hill as the food was excellent and the staff was very nice. We ate there several times it was so good.
The resort has no Wifi. Just a pay internet connection that is spotty. It is $9.95 per day.
Overall we would consider staying here if we ever visited St. Thomas again (not likely). Be careful as to which room you get. We really liked the location of the resort and there are nice quieter beaches close by.

Room Tip: Choose your room carefully ! Read plenty of these reviews.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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.
Katy, Texas
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

As with any condos it depends on the unit as to how good or bad it may be. I have to say that this unit was EXCELLENT. The owner is very easy to work with and was great at communication. The A/C worked perfectly, all appliances worked and seemed like they were taken care of. The bathroom was really nice, better than my own at home! It even had super thick beach towels that we loved. We looked out on the marina which was fairly quiet. The bed was super comfortable and I could have slept all day. The unit was just the right size for myself and 2 other friends. One slept on the pull out and 2 shared the bed. Super close to Red Hook and the ferry. We rented a car and so we never tried to walk there, but it seemed physically possible with caution to the traffic as there is no sidewalk.

I definitely recommend this unit!

Room Tip: Get unit F206!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alabama
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

My family had 2 units next door to each other in the C building Christmas week. It really is the luck of the draw with units. One of our units was AWFUL, and one was great. The bad unit had no A/C in the downstairs at all and the shower upstairs wouldn't even turn on. The downstairs shower ran hot and cold so often it was challenging to say the least. That unit had rundown furniture and no outdoor furniture on either balcony.
The other unit was really nice, although the A/C was broken upstairs the first day we were there. Maintenance fixed both A/C units the 2nd day we were there. They never even bothered to try and fix the shower/bath situation.
The grounds are really pretty and the beach area is nice. But be warned, currently there are literally NO amenities to speak of there. No restaurant (there is a hut to get burgers and drinks, etc.), no pool bar (this area is really run down). We made at least 4 trips to the Food Center while we were there.
Out of the 4 places I have stayed on St. Thomas, this was definitely the worst.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
Shakopee, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

As is mentioned in other reviews, each condo is owned by different people, and some are owned by the resort itself. My party rented 3 different condos, and we all were pleased with our units. E106 (ours), A102 and D104. You can tell that some of the units are in need of repair from the outside. As you look up at the decks you can see many are well maintained and have been kept up with wood treatments and paint or stain, while others look like they need work.

Some good news, it seems that the resort owners have started to put money back into the buildings themselves. There were workers there doing paint and stucco on the buildings while we were there which is a good sign.

General info about the location and amenities: The pool and pool area are nice, but the hut near the pool is closed and needs a lot of attention. Someone told us that the previous resort owner still owned this and isn't interested in putting any money into it.

The beach was raked and combed each morning when we were there (Dec 2012), and there was always security walking around the beach area. The dive shop has some drinks (soft drinks mostly) but the banana cabana is between A and B buildings and has wait staff walking the beach and will serve various beach fare like burgers, konch, and appetizers. We ordered several lunches with them and they were all good.

Also the restaurant at Sapphire cove sometimes had people on the beach taking orders too and they delivered it to you at the beach. I think there were a few other places farther down the beach that were doing food/drinks also, so the beach is well served for this.

The beach itself was very nice for swimming (which we didn't do much) and snorkling, which we did a lot of! Depending on the day, winds, and tide level, there are some excellent spots with lots of things to see. I saw a turtle 20 yards from shore on my way in, eating the grass in the shallow water. I saw a good size ray in the area straight out from the E building, as well as various fish and coral. The elk horn coral out from the E building is quite spectacular. the difference in the scenery between the 2 beaches provides a nice variety.

There is a difference in staying on one side of the resort vs. the other. F building overlooks the harbor, and I wouldn't recommend it unless you are used to the boat noise. We stayed in the E building and could still hear it somewhat, but not enough to really bother us. The beach in front of E is much more quiet so its a good place if you prefer a bit more seclusion. However, E is a LONG walk from the main beach, pool, food, etc. The A building is right by the Dive shop, and the main beach, so its a really short walk to those things, but it also makes it the busiest. If we went back I would probably look for something in B or C to be a bit more central.

The resort staff was varied in their helpfulness/friendliness. At the main desk, sometimes the person was very friendly, other times, not so much. The times I did ask about some things, they didn't seem real knowledgeable, but I never tried the concierge desk (not even sure if it was open since it seemed like it was "under construction".

Also, when you rent, be sure you are clear on what services you're getting with your unit, as this varies depending on if they are paying the resort for them or not. For example, beach chairs, which you may or may not think is important, but carrying 1-2 chairs from your condo to the main beach area is not a lot of fun if you're trying to carry anything else like coolers or snorkel gear. Its nice to be able to go up to the dive shop, give them your room number and have them bring chairs to where ever you're sitting. Also only one of the units we rented had a phone. Didn't think about it until after we got there, but cell service is expensive depending on your carrier, and having a local phone for things like restaurant reservations, boat trips, etc. is handy.

One other snorkeling tip. Since we were there in December, the wind was from the North, making some pretty good waves several of the days we were there. On the worse days we went other places to snorkel. We found Secret Beach (on the south side, just outside of Red Hook) which provided some of the best snorkeling we've ever had. It was calm, not crowded and provided many sea creatures we had not seen before. We even saw a turtle in the same place 2 days in a row. Lobsters under the dock, a hermit crab, angel fish (tiny, but they were there), and some people we met in the water said they saw an eel.

Overall it was a good place to stay but if we went back, we'd probably find someplace on St. John's or maybe stay at Secret Harbor simply because the snorkeling is better.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
North Pole, New York
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
160 helpful votes 160 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

We've stayed twice at the Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina (not to be confused with the Sapphire Village on the hill behind the marina and Crystal Cove at the north end of the bay). Beautiful beach and exquisite water along with gorgeous island views. We've stayed in buildings A and D, A is closest to the full-service dive center, while D is near the freshwater pool in a quieter spot.

The SBRM is a condo resort rather than a full-service resort and you can rent through the resort itself or directly through the condo owners. Renting through the owner either through VRBO or another source is very much preferred as you then know the condition of the condo and what is included. If you rent through the resort you don't know what condition your condo is in and you may not have an enjoyable stay. That is a very important part of renting at condo resorts, the vast majority of negative reviews are from folks who did not know what their condo looked like until they arrived. Many condo units have been remodeled recently but some have not been remodeled in 20 years so there can be a drastic difference.

The restaurant and pool bar have been closed for some time due to conflicts between the condo association (owners) and the resort management company. A new management company has come into the mix but there are still some major issues that need to be resolved before any progress can be made. But it's a gorgeous spot to stay with a marina right there and close to great restaurants and bars in Red Hook as well as the ferry to St John and the BVI. Definitely recommend spending time at Sapphire, whether at the SBRM or Sapphire Village on the hill behind the marina.

Room Tip: Book directly through a condo owner via VRBO so you know exactly what condition the condo is in, whe...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
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 Sapphire Beach Resort

Address: Rte. 6 Smith Bay | Smith Bay Road, 00802, St. Thomas
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Thomas > East End
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 hotels in East End
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Sapphire Beach Resort 2*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spectacular beachfront villas and suites are directly on beautiful Sapphire Beach by the crystal-clear Caribbean. A full-service restaurant is easily walkable from the beach. Families with kids will enjoy the sand, pool, fishing off the dock or boat, and pirate history. Active vacationers will find plenty of hiking, scuba diving and bicycling to keep on the go. There is something for everyone. Sapphire Beach, Saint Thomas is the perfect vacation island. Book your dream visit today! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sapphire Beach Hotel East End
Hotel Sapphire Beach
Sapphire Beach Resort St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

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