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“Wants to be 5 star but more like a 3”

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Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed March 9, 2014

Just returned from a week's stay. This was our second visit to St. Thomas. Last time we stayed at the Ritz. I will say that the public areas of the resort - pool, lobby,etc. are on par with the Ritz; the rooms & service clearly are not. Our room - located in the Ocean Tower, was in dire need of TLC - worn carpet, ants, mildew & cobwebs on the exterior door of the balcony, and mold in the bathroom. And speaking of the bathroom - I think it may have been slightly bigger than the one on our cruise a few years back. There was no way to fit 2 people in it at one time. My husband & I needed to schedule our bathroom time accordingly. The heating/cooling system in our room ran constantly. This might be a negative for some but since it was pretty loud, I enjoyed the fact that it drowned out the voices and noises from the hall and nearby rooms. That said, I could clearly hear the voices & conversation from the guests located in the room above us whenever I was in the bathroom.

The property definitely has a great location & a beautiful stretch of beach. I had read that back in July the elevator to the beach was out of service - well it's March & it still is. Plan on a good hike to the beach including about 110 stairs.

I used the gym - when it was available. Based on how packed it was, I don't think it's adequately sized for the number of guest rooms. I think there were 6 treadmills, a few ellipticals and a few bikes. The first day I arrived around 8:00 AM. Every piece of equipment was being used & there were a few people waiting. On day 2, I arrived at 6:15 (they are open 24 hours) and there were only 3 of us there but by 7:00, every piece of equipment was taken & 3 people were waiting in a line. Other than being overly crowded, the gym was fine. It's located in a "basement" feeling room with no views to the outside but each cardio piece has a TV & headsets are offered. On 2 of my days at the gym, they were out of hand/sweat towels - the opposite of the Ritz where an attendant walks through offering you a cold towel during the workout but again, this was not the Ritz. But honestly, how hard can it be to keep an eye on the Fitness Center?

I did use the spa 3 times while there. Service was fine with prices only slightly higher to what I normally pay. I did enjoy the fact that if you had a spa service, you had access to the private spa pool for the entire day. You could also purchase a pass for $25. I found that pool to be very relaxing and with only a few people using it. I did meet a couple of other people at that pool who were locals. They said that the Marriott lets them purchase a spa/fitness membership so they can use the spa & workout facilities. This might explain why the gym was overcrowded.

We ate at Coconut Joes a couple of times. Like others have said, service is beyond slow or island time and honestly, didn't seem very friendly.

Offsite, we had dinner at the Mafolie Hotel. I would highly recommend it. It sits perched up high overlooking the town & the water and offers a great view. It's located in a small hotel (about 20 rooms) and the prices are reasonable and the service was excellent. Delicious tuna and lobster. We also ate at Oceana. Wonderful experience! Definitely more pricey and fancy than Mafolie but a great romantic spot on the water's edge in it's own cove. We also tried to dine at Room With a View for happy hour - ate there last time. They were closed for a private function when we arrived, so I recommend calling them first before spending $$ on the cab fare there.

All in all, we had a wonderful vacation in St Thomas. If I were to return, I'm not sure I would choose the Marriott again. Great beach and public areas but the Ritz has better rooms and much better service. I guess choose accordingly.

Stayed: March 2014
1  Thank amlubenow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 8, 2014

We spent one night at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morningstar Beach Resort before departing for a week on St. John (22 Feb. 2014). My husband booked the room with points.

We checked in at 4PM and our room was not yet ready. No worries; we found a table overlooking the amazing views and had a delicious late lunch at the hotel restaurant (forget the name). We returned to the front desk an hour or so later and were asked if we would be interested in a free upgrade at Morningstar and we said, "Sure!" Had we known what shabby condition the "upgraded" villa was in, we would have waited for a room at the main hotel. The villa was clean, the location to the beach convenient but the bed was uncomfortable and the furnishings worn and dated. What's more, the walls are so poorly insulated that we could clearly hear conversations in the villa next door!

I should have done a little research before accepting the complimentary "upgrade" to Morningstar Villa. Good to know if we ever stay here again on our way to St. John.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank SebagoSue
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 reviewResponded March 20, 2014

Thank you. I am sorry to hear you were unsatisfied with your room assignment. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally through the hotel if another stay on St. Thomas is in your plans. I will make certain your room assignment aligns with your preferences. I am confident we can exceed your expectations!

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Reviewed March 7, 2014

This is a very beautiful location, probably the most beautiful location to stay on the island. The infinity pool was the highlight of this hotel and resort overall to us. Everything at the hotel however is ridiculously expensive. I know that St. Thomas in general is expensive but the hotel was over the top. Overall it was a wonderful location to stay, room was clean and the view was great but expect very expensive food and beverage prices on location at the hotel.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Diana M
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 reviewResponded March 20, 2014

Thank you for leaving this review and sharing your impression that Frenchman’s Reef’s location is the most beautiful that island has to offer. Also, we’re glad you enjoyed the infinity pool! Regarding the restaurant choices, we’re sorry if the pries felt out of line for you. Before your next visit, we would be more than happy to explore all your options. During certain seasons, we also offer packages which include our famous breakfast buffet. Please let us know if you plan to visit again in the near future. We hope to welcome you back!

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Reviewed March 7, 2014 via mobile

We were here with our family on a business trip. The hotel staff is friendly and accommodating! The business functions we attended were well put together and seemed to have no issues to the attendees. The room we stayed in was very nice and had a pretty good view - we were in the Sea Cliff tower. We had an issue with a bad smell coming out of our cooling vent, but the hotel offered a pretty hefty room credit when there weren't any other rooms available to move us to. They tried several things to make the smell go away, but we noticed it every time we turned on the air. The beds were comfortable and the bathroom was fine. Each room in our building has a deck or balcony that looks out over the ocean towards Buck Island. Beautiful!
There are several pools available at the hotel and a beach on site. All have fantastic views. Two of the pools are infinity pools. There is a sister property called the Cove where the snorkeling is pretty good because it is sheltered from the worst of the waves. I spotted a sea turtle while snorkeling there... Very cool. The kids enjoyed the different pools and the beach, and at the Cove there is a float that you can climb up and slide or jump off.
There are some on site shops if you are looking for high end jewelry or if you just need snacks or any essentials you forgot.
There are two reasons I did not give this a five star rating... There is not anything close to the hotel in the way of restaurants so you are stuck with what is on site, and those restaurants have AMAZINGLY slow service. This is beyond island time, it is like glacier time. If you don't have a rental car, a cab is about 10 per person each way to go anywhere. That adds up fast. There are several on site restaurants and they all have similar fare at prices you would expect for a captive audience. I reviewed the ones we are at which showed up on trip advisor... In short, Coco Joes and the Aqua Terra lounge were pretty good, skip the Aqua Terra buffet, and the sunset grill out by the pool is decent with SLOW service.
Another nice thing about the hotel is that they have an Adventure desk on site where you can book excursions. We took a trip on the Bad Kitty to the Baths on the British Virgin Islands (passports required) and did some snorkeling there, as well as a half day trip on the Cat to Buck Island to see the sea turtles that hang out there. I highly recommend both trips! Also, check out Coral World... Very up close and personal ... Just don't expect Sea World type shows and aquariums. Still, worth visiting.

Stayed: March 2014
3  Thank DRroadrunner
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 reviewResponded March 20, 2014

Thank you for highlighting all the ways you felt satisfied with your stay! We hope for the opportunity to earn that fifth star on your next visit. Feel free to reach out to me if there is anything I can assist with. We appreciate your choice of Frenchman’s Reef for your family business trip!

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Reviewed March 6, 2014

If there is anything I've learned in traveling, it is that competition is good for prices. And there is always competition at interstate exits. None here. The location is absolutely 5 star. And the cleanliness is to be commended. The pools are in tip-top shape - always. However, I walked away shaking my head. The elevator that some complained about last September? - well - it still doesn't work in March. And, the PRICES!! $11 for a simple glass of wine. A rum punch is $11. Compare those to a exotic tropical cooler with 3 shots of alcohol - $11. But one doesn't know, because no prices are posted. It is buyer beware... Add to that the meals. A simple presentation of grouper is $36. The surf and turf for 2 at Coco Joe's (Wed. night) comes to $130 with no drinks and no tip. It seems they added up the cost of a regular meal - then added cabfare out of the resort. Then you have their prices.

We learned a couple of things on this trip (our first). Buy your own alcohol when you get in town. Buy your coffee and muffins in the Star Market (on the 4th floor) Reasonable. If you want drinks delivered to your pool chair, realize that you will pay an 18% service charge (before tip).

I would get out of the resort and go to some really good restaurants. Ask the concierege, or better yet, ask your fellow beachgoers.

And a final note: they don't use cash at the pool or restaurants. Keep records of your purchases, and compare with your room bill. This place uses an "honor system" for charges. If someone uses your room number, it could get applied to your bill. It happened to us.

Room Tip: If you want a view of the ocean, make sure it is in your reservation. Don't expect to upgrade w...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank John I
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 reviewResponded March 20, 2014

Thank you for your review. We appreciate you bringing attention to the property’s location and our high standard of cleanliness. I am sorry if you felt our dining prices were higher than expected. Although it is true the cost of importing foods to the islands increases the restaurant prices, we feel that our resort is in line with comparable resorts here on the island. For the benefit of those planning travel and for your next visit, we invite you to contact our pre-arrival team to explore all your dining choices. We offer four restaurants and two markets for your convenience. We are here every day to answer your questions regarding all aspects your visit including sightseeing, spa services and transportation. We hope to have the honor of welcoming you back!

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Reviewed March 5, 2014

I've stayed at this hotel a number of times and while it's one of the busiest properties (line to check-in, line to check-out-- and you have to check-out to make sure your pool towel cards are appropriately accounted for otherwise you are charged!), it really is in a great location. And the pool renovations have really improved the property. The infinity aspect is amazing. Love the beach chairs in the water.

We arrived at 4PM and our room wasn't ready. We were also placed in a room in the worst part of the hotels (Harborside, I believe.) It' s a bit jungly, so the rooms are extremely humid smelling. Someone else in our party who booked the same exact room class was placed in the Morningstar area so if you can get that, so much better. Closer to the beach and less smelly.

Room Tip: Ask for rooms in the Morningstar section so you are closer to the beach. You get a better breeze an...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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Thank skohn
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 reviewResponded March 20, 2014

Thank you for making Marriott Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Resort your destination of choice on St. Thomas. Before your next visit, feel free to reach out to our leadership team at sttfrexperienceteam@marriotthotels.com so we can manage your room choices personally. We want you to be satisfied with every aspect of your stay!

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Reviewed March 5, 2014

This was my 2nd stay at this Marriott Resort. My expectations are always high when i stay here, and at a Marriott in general. To start with the great--First, the management staff was excellent. From Jennifer the night manager at the Frenchman's Reef, to Ted Cushman at the Sunset Grill.
Ted is the manager or Sommelier at the Sunset Grill and when he found out we had been waiting for 45 minutes with no waiter helping us he immediately came to our table to apologize. He then explained the mix-up in a professional way and then asked what wine we were thinking of having, and then got us a complimentary bottle. Jennifer was great in getting us the proper room when all the rooms were sold-out. I had pre-paid for beachfront and views and apparently they gave this room to someone else. After dealing with 2 other staff members, Jennifer came to save the day. (literally, because i was fuming at this point).
Besides the 2 hiccups we had everything else was great. The location of the hotel and it's amenities are fantastic. I wanted to write this review because of the problems that were addressed and fixed. At the end of the day this is what will make me come back....

Room Tip: they need to upgrade the Morning Star beach rooms as they are old. Stay at the Frenchman reef if pos...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Alexander C
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 reviewResponded March 20, 2014

Thank you for sharing the details of your rating decision and the way our team handled the issues you experienced. I will certainly let Ted and Jennifer know they made all the difference for you. We are grateful for your loyalty and look forward to welcoming you back for many more visits!

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Additional Information about 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:
Price Range: $310 - $595 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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