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“Despite Several Problems, I Would Consider Staying Here Again”

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Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
GreenLeadersGold level
River Hills, Wisconsin
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Despite Several Problems, I Would Consider Staying Here Again”
Reviewed June 24, 2013

My husband and I spent 5 nights at this property last week. I was in town on business, and my husband came along, as it was our anniversary week. Pros and cons are listed below.

Pros:
The most friendly staff that I have encountered anywhere in the world.
Beautiful property and landscaping.
Breathtaking location, high atop a bluff, with stunning ocean, city and harbor views.
Easy and quick transportation options into town and beyond.
15 minutes from the airport.
Delicious food and drinks.
Beautiful room in the Seacliff tower.
Outstanding fitness and spa facility.
Very clean pools with comfortable lounge chairs.
Beautiful beach area.
Nice, grass tennis courts.
Convenient water shuttle to shopping area.
Very thorough cleaning of the room each day.

Cons:
I paid for a deluxe water view room, and was given a first floor room with the water view largely blocked by trees and bushes. Front desk personnel refused to reaccomodate me. (I hold Marriott Platinum status).
I never received my complimentary Platinum rewards amenity that I was asked to select at check-in.
We were told that CoCo Joe's would have a prime rib and lobster buffet on Wednesday night. When we arrived for dinner, there was no such buffet.
CoCo Joe's was closed on Thursday night for a private event. This was our anniversary, and we really wanted to dine on the beach. We were forced, instead, to wait a very long time for dinner at another resort venue. We ordered surf and turf cooked to medium. When the food arrived much later, the steak was well done and the lobster was rubbery. Very disappointing anniversary meal!
On three mornings, the main breakfast buffet was closed to accommodate conference attendees. A smaller buffet was provided for the rest of the hotel guests in a less desirable location.
The outdoor restaurant above the main pool is overrun by birds that swoop in, looking for scraps, when diners leave their tables. The staff tries to shoo them away, but they still land on many tables. We were very concerned that the tables are wiped off only with a dry paper towel or napkin between diners. The tables should be sanitized after each party departs, given the constant landing of the birds.
The small restrooms above the main pool deck were never serviced during the days we were there. By noon each day, the trash bins were overflowing with paper onto the floors.
Elevator service in the Seacliff Tower was painfully slow.
Overall, I did not feel valued as a Marriott Platinum member.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank diconsultant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. It helps us to understand our guest’s perspective and what is important to them. We appreciate your generous compliments of our staff, rooms and cleanliness, amenities and location. That being said, I am so sorry that you encountered problems and felt your Platinum status was not recognized. Regarding the restaurant issues mentioned, I am directing your comments to our Food and Beverage Director for immediate correction. You also mentioned you were disappointed with your room location. I am truly sorry we were not able to offer you an alternative room assignment during this stay. If you would like to discuss this and/or any other issues you had (with me directly), please send an email to sttfrexperienceteam@marriotthotels.com and reference this review. Before your next stay, definitely reach out to me through the hotel so that our leadership team can manage your reservation is a more personalized manner. Thank you for again for your feedback and willingness to return!
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DC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed June 24, 2013

My wife and I have been staying at this property since 1979, back then it was a Holiday Inn. In changed to a Marriott in 1980 and has been our favorite hotel in the caribbean. Like most caribbean travelers we've been to almost every island in the caribbean, it doesn't matter where else we go on vacation we always allow a week to stay at " Frenchmans Reef". Looking back it's now been 34 consecutive years in staying at the Marriott, don't get me wrong there are other nice hotels on the island, however there are a few advantages no other hotel has in the caribbean. The Marriott Frenchman's Reef Staff.
Joyce Dore Griffen who use to be in charge of reservations and is now now Director of Sales for this property has been here for close to 20 years. Anyone who knows Joyce knows if they have a problem Joyce will do everything in her power to resolve it. Antwonitte who works the front desk hs also been here a long time , she also makes you feel like you're coming home. Saida Wade Housing Coordinator goes out of her way to meet everyones needs. No other hotel I know of has this type of service.

The Reef sits out on the point and offers great water views and at night on the lobby balcony with all the lights on in town you feel how lucky you are to be in the caribbean.

Five years ago when the Marriott Cove (Time Share) became available we bought a 3 bedroom unit which we really enjoy however we still go down early every year to stay a few extra days at the Reef.

Through out our 34 years of traveling our kids have traveled with us and now have families of their own who now travel to St. Thomas and stay at the Marriott. We're headed back to St. Thomas and the Marriott again this July this time with 3 generations who will once again enjoy our time together with our friends at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel.

Room Tip: Always ask for water view it's worth the exra money
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Joe F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Thank you for the heart-felt sentiments! We’ve sincerely enjoyed having the opportunity all these years, getting to know and serving your family. We look forward to many more wonderful visits in the years to come!
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Paris, France
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2013

I have been 3 times to this place and i enjoyed it. Location is nice and service and restaurant are good! The only point i could make is the long corridor to rooms could be better renovate.

I like:
The gardens around the hotel and the wedding chapel
All the swimming pools and facilities
The open bar lobster buffet at night yummy!!!
The newspaper in front of your door every morning
The decoration of lobby and bar
Excursions desk

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Bkmaryann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Thank you for your compliments! It is so nice to read your favorite things about staying at Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort. It’s our goal for your list to get longer and longer with each visit!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cookeville, Tennessee, United States
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 19, 2013

I used to despise going anywhere in the Caribbean due to slow service. On all but one occasion of this trip, the service was good to very good for service in the States much less the Caribbean. My slow meal was comp'd by the hotel, so it was made right (I didn't ask for it).

I thought the food was too expensive until I went to the grocery store in town to buy lunch meat, bread, etc. All of the food on the island is expensive.

I think they have 5 sets of free snorkels and masks. They were never available. The beach has small rocks in places. It's not bad, but if you plan on boogie boarding, you'll get some scrapes. There were plenty of chairs and it was not crowded.

It was a great trip, and I can't wait to return.

Room Tip: The resort view rooms aren't bad. We had a great ocean view.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jay D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, June 26, 2013
Thank you for this review! I am very happy to hear you found the service at Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort to exceed your expectations! We work very hard to anticipate the needs of our guests and when hiring team members, we always look for people that genuinely care. We’re glad it shows! Also, thanks for the note about snorkel equipment. It is helpful. Before your next trip, please call ahead so we can greet you as a returning guest!
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Boston, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 19, 2013

WEATHER: My boyfriend and I visited Frenchman's Reef the second week of May and couldn't have had better weather. 86 and sunny everyday, despite the forecast showing 86 with rain everyday. (Don't panic if you see this!!)

GETTING TO THE HOTEL: Getting from the tiny outdoor airport to the hotel is easy- they have vans right outside waiting to take groups of people to their respective hotels. The ones they stop at on the way to Frenchman's Reef are a bit scary - don't let these other hotels or the poor area fool you, it will be ok! When we arrived at the hotel, we were welcomed with rum punch or something delicious in the lobby. We checked in pretty quickly and though we had reserved a "not so water view," the woman at the front desk upgraded us to a room with a balcony and harbor view! Our room down the Harbor Wing was beautiful, but if they try and put you in the Harbor Wing, get ready to walk about 50 miles a day total going back and forth alllll the way to your room! (Yes, we were on vacation so we were lazy!)

ROOM: The room was nice and we wound up not even enjoying the balcony because we were down hanging around the resort all day and night. If you don't get a balcony room, don't fret.

FOOD: There are many restaurants on property at the hotel and they have something for everybody! Read on...

CoCo Joe's right on the beach has a nice jerk chicken wrap and cold beers, but their staff is pretty cold too... Definitely on island time there and did not feel welcomed when we sat at the bar. We moved to a table on the beachfront and had great service by a gentleman I want to say was named Angel? Despite the nice service we decided not to eat there again.

AquaTerra on the lower level was by far the best! We ate there probably 5 of 6 nights. The staff there is incredible - especially Jason, Fran, and TED on the bar! They were so welcoming and always remembered our names, especially Ted the manager. They would ask how our day was and what we did. So fun to be able to chat with the staff when on vaca. The food on the bar side is fabulous too- they have apps like chicken quesadillas and flatbread pizza. They serve more formal options on the other side of AquaTerra and I got an incredible rib eye there.

Sunset Grill which is up by the pool is alright. They have a good burger - staff not as friendly as AquaTerra but it gets the job done when you're lounging outside and want a quick bite. There is also food service from Sunset Grill down by the pool all day everyday! Deidre the cocktail server/waitress was incredibly attentive and made sure our glasses and stomachs were always full! Justin (I think) and Fran at the swim up pool bar are great to chat with and are very accommodating!

Havana Blue is the pricier restaurant on the resort. You can snag a quick Marriott shuttle from the lobby down the hill to Havana Blue. I had the filet mignon with jalopeno creamed spinach and my boyfriend had the chicken - both incredibly delicious and the prices weren't bad at all for the great service and on-the-water atmosphere!

TOWN: Charlotte Amalie is the "town" area and you can snag the ferry from the resort for just a few bucks. We went early in the morning and it was far too hot to enjoy town. In retrospect I wouldn't go into town again because I later realized we drove through it coming from the airport! Unless you're seeking cheap jewelry and not so quality t-shirts, you can honestly skip town and not miss anything. If you do go to town, look out at the harbor and make sure the cruise ships aren't in or you'll be swarmed by the crowds!

Best Part of the Trip? Visit the Adventure Center located in the Marriott lobby. Book a British Virgin Islands excursion on the Bad Kitty 2 with Captain Jeremy, Moose, and Kaelee. This was the greatest trip I've ever experienced! You take a cab to Red Hook (the east side of the island.. about 15 minutes) and snag the Bad Kitty 2 power catamaran there. They offer continental breakfast on board and offer open bar all day, take you to Spanishtown for customs and you can do some light shopping. Then you go to the Baths at Virgin Gorda. INCREDIBLE. The boat let's you swim off and you swim about 60 yards to the beach. You then crawl through caves and see all the beautiful hidden pools where Maxim and Sports Illustrated do all their swim suit shoots! Bring a disposable waterproof camera for this part (or two!). (This trip maybe not so suitable for elderly or ppl not so swift on their feet- seemed kind of dangerous, not for me at 25 but for older folks who could slip?) Then you emerge on the other end and swim out to the boat. From there you go to Cooper Island for lunch at Cooper Island Beach Club. Great food and views you'd only see in a Corona commercial. Then you go to Norman Island for snorkeling! Incredible fish can be seen, but beware the super tall coral that's just under the surface of the water - I swam into some fire coral and that made for a nasty burn the rest of the trip! After snorkeling you head to Jost Van Dyke where the famous Soggy Dollar Bar is located! Load up on some Painkiller drinks or just enjoy the view since Painkiller drinks on the Bad Kitty 2 are FREE all day :) The views from Soggy Dollar Bar are really what's awesome there. The crew then asked if anyone wanted to get off at St. John rather than going back to St. Thomas. My boyfriend and I and the other 12 people we met on our trip all got off there and did a bar crawl! I'd recommend Joe's Rum Hut and Castaways (the only Boston Bruins bar in the VI!). You can snag the ferry back to St. Thomas for a few dollars as long as you get it before midnight! This trip is $150 plus $30 for customs so yes, it is pricey, but I promise you it will be worth it!! (Don't forget your passport and to tip the crew!) If you do ONE thing while at Frenchman's Reef, do yourself a favor and take this trip. Trust me.

Another fun spot was going to Iggie's Beach Bar a short taxi ride away. They have live music most nights, outdoor cornhole games going on, and you're right on the beach! No shoes? No problem. Only issue was trying to get a cab to pick us up late at night which was quite scary... I'd recommend going around sunset and not staying until close to play it safe.

Speaking of cabs- they charge per person, not per trip like they do on mainland US. Cabs can get very expensive round trip, so luckily the resort has a lot to offer to avoid going off property all the time.

Tips and Tricks?
--Buy breakfast at the gift shop daily- they sell bagels and pastries really cheap as well as breakfast sandwiches. You can also get beers there for $3.00 and they are $7.00 at the pool bar! Stock up and bring them to the pool or beach with you!

--Verizon phones won't work at the hotel or on the island. AT&T will.

--Make friends at the pool during the day - we were lucky to meet so many awesome couples to do the boat excursion with and hang out all week!

All in all staying at the Frenchman's Reef was better than we ever could have imagined! As a Marriott employee myself, I have high standards and was very impressed by this hotel. Can't wait to visit again... Big thanks to all the staff who made our trip so memorable for all the right reasons!!

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the main tower with the ocean view. It's easier to just come down the elevator...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JL7869
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockville, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
123 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2013

What better way to end a bareboat trip in the BVI then to spend a night at Frenchman's Reef. The staff was delightful, the room a luxury (love those linens) and the food was fabulous. Great views and the infinity pool and pool bar staff were great - will definitely return!

Room Tip: Pick an ocean view (and there are lots of them as this hotel is perched on a cliff)!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DRPMI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, June 26, 2013
We’d love to see you again soon! Thank you for enjoying a night at our property and sharing your great experience with others here on TripAdvisor!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 16, 2013

I stayed at the Marriott Frenchman's reef in May 2013 for the wedding of a friend. The location was lovely; the quality of the building not quite as nice as what I would have expected of Marriott from experiences on other islands (e.g. Hawaii), however it was nice enough.

What really disappointed me about this experience was the slow service and the expense of the meals; our first night, we ate at a restaurant along the beach, and the cost of the buffet was something like $75 a person! In addition, the hotel staff never seemed to be in a rush to help us.

To speak to a receptionist, I had to wait 10-15 minutes each time because there was never more than one or two people staffing the desk (despite four workstations). Furthermore, when I called to request help fixing our in-room AC at 9pm, the front desk clerk said sure, then no one came and I received a call at 2AM asking if they could come at that time!

When comparing this hotel to resorts in Puerto Rico, which are cheaper, have more to do, and operate more under U.S. standards of expediency and customer service, I would take a resort in Puerto Rico, hands down.

What I will say is that the beds were very comfortable, the rooms were quiet, the pools were lovely (even though the jacuzzi was so scalding hot no one would go in it the entire time I was there), and the gym is one of the best I've seen on an island. Oh, and the native drinks prepared by the bartenders were among the best I've had.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Al S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joyce G, Director of Sales at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this review, June 26, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review about your recent stay with us. We sincerely appreciate your feedback and we apologize for the service delays you experienced as our guest. We will take these comments under consideration as we continually work to improve our guest experience. Based on your satisfaction with our beds, pools, exercise facility and location, we hope you will consider staying with us again in the future.
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Additional Information about Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort

Property: Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
Address: 5 Estate Bakkeroe, Charlotte Amalie 00802, St. Thomas
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Thomas > Charlotte Amalie
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Charlotte Amalie
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 453
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surrounded on three sides by stunning Caribbean ocean views, the Frenchman's Reef Resort combines modern luxury and the unique Virgin Island style of St. Thomas. The hotel features clean, crisp large guest rooms with flat screen 50" TVs. Experience new resort features including an infinity pool, children's splash zone, adult infinity pool with bar; and private spa pool. Our Lazule Sea Spa is now open featuring extensive treatment rooms, salon, state of the art fitness center, and private spa pool with cabanas. Aqua Terra is one of three restaurants at Frenchman's Reef which features spectacular views of the Charlotte Amalie harbor. Our mission is to host you brilliantly... To make your every event and stay with us unforgettable and effortless. Come visit us at Marriott Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort and discover the most luxurious vacation destination in the US Virgin Islands. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Marriott Frenchman`s Reef & Morning Star Beach Hotel Charlotte Amalie
Marriott Frenchman`s Reef And Morning Star Beach Resort
Marriott Charlotte Amalie
Charlotte Amalie Marriott
Marriott Frenchmans Reef
Frenchmans Reef St Thomas
Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

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