We had a lovely time on St Thomas and enjoyed meeting some nice people while we were there. The best part about the Ritz was the unit itself and the regular housekeeping. The other great part of the Ritz was the heated pool. This was the warmest pool I have encountered in the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii. The kids played for hours at a time in the ocean and pool even though the weather wasn't super hot. This is what made the trio so enjoyable and why I rated it 3 stars instead of 2. That said, I will provide some critique of the Ritz.
Overpriced and nothing special. I got a pedicure which was fine but certainly not luxurious. The spa was a little nicer than a massage envy but for 4 times the price. I was shocked at how many people found it worth the money though bc they were pretty booked up and I noticed people frustrated they didn't have better availability. The obnoxious thing about the spa is the charge an automatic. 22% gratuity "for your convenience" then emphasize afterward that your service provider only gets a portion of it and encourage you to add even more! Ridiculous. I have been to the Four Seasons spa in Costa Rica and it was so much nicer that this wasn't even in the same category and I think the prices were lower.
Food-expensive and just not that good, buy liquor at the store and make your own drinks
We ate at all of the restaurants on the property and were least disappointed with the Great Bay Lounge. We liked the Caribbean Seafood Market next door better. The food was so much better and expensive but in line with what you expect in the Caribbean and at least it was good. It also had a nice relaxed atmosphere right on the beach. Our server said the chef at the Ritz left maybe a year ago to go to another Ritz that was struggling. I am not sure if this is true, but maybe it explains the mediocre food currently. I was shocked that the worst pizza I have had in my life was the jerk chicken pizza at Coconut Cove. It must have been a frozen pizza that they just heated up. Nobody would eat it, including my three pizza loving children.
I also found irritating that drinks were so overpriced there. My father just bought a bottle off gin at Kmart and even though we only used a tiny bit of it, the gin entire bottle was not that much more than a drink at the bar. Soft drinks were even $5 without a refill. Other nice resorts that supposedly care about the environment have you buy an expensive souvenir cup and the let your refill it. That would be a better option than having those plastic cups blowing everywhere.
We just bought a lot of our own food and drinks and kept them in the condo. Interestingly I think most people came to this conclusion bc the restaurants were only half full at nights even during ad busy week.
Housekeeping and engineering were very prompt and responsive. The concierge at the residences were not helpful. Surprisingly, they didn't even know about the restaurants at the hotel in terms of special food on certain nights-For example Great Bay lounge has an Asian night on Monday. It was as though everything at the hotel was at a completely different resort. It was very odd.
Snorkeling-I think the Ritz now excludes all outside charters from their beach and won't give you any recommendations even if they can't accommodate you. I was shocked that when we asked if we could do a half day snorkel trip sometime on our vacation the answer was no. They have one half day trip on Thursday afternoon and that is it. We preferred a trip during the morning before nap time and had to wander around Red Hook to find somebody. We were so happy with Liberty Charters. They were more reasonably priced and could accommodate our schedule. Unfortunately they aren't allowed to pick up at the Ritz beach (I am sure they would cite liability or some sort of "quality control" standard) so you do need to take a cab or car to Red Hook.
Child care-forget it
As of the end of December they don't have a normal child care program. You can sign your child up for certain activities but the only one that interested my kids was full two days ahead of time. It is also for older kids. If you want better child are options then go to a Westin. We stayed at the Westin on St John last night of our trip and they had much better choices. Also, for babysitting at the Ritz they charge $50/ hour!!!! I posted an ad on sittercity.com a week ahead of time and found a terrific sitter who we paid $16/hour. Again, I am sure the Ritz would cite liability and that their sitters are thoroughly check out for you-I did my own research and felt better about it.
Overall, wonderful trip but the Ritz could use some improvements.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Breathtaking natural beauty right on the beach. A bounty of outdoor adventure with perpetually perfect climate are just a few of the reasons why St. Thomas attracts the savy traveler from around the world. Everything the Ritz Carlton is famous for but raised to a higher level in these stunning private residences. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas Hotel u.s. Virgin Islands
- The Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands