I stayed at both Wyndham Sugar Bay and the nearby Ritz-Carlton so my view of each place is colored by the other. On a scale of 0 to 100, I'd give Sugarbay 70-80, and the Ritz about 10 points higher.
Sugar Bay had a nicer ocean-side view than the Ritz (The resort-facing rooms are significantly cheaper.) More specifically, the man-made portion of the beach at the Ritz was more luxurious, and the deck chairs and surrounding architecture was nicer, but the Ritz hotel rooms were farther away from the beach and separated by a small utility road. The beach at Sugar Bay was smaller and seemed to be about 10 years out of date, though its small size is partly why the ocean-side view was prettier there.
But even though I give Sugar Bay good marks, in most every other way except the ocean-side view, the Ritz was even better. The staff at the latter were more numerous and more attentive. The overall architecture of the Ritz (think Italian villa) was of a higher quality. There was a musty smell outside my room at Sugar Bay unlike anything I smelled at the Ritz (though the inside of my Sugar Bay room was quite nice, and only slightly lower in quality than at the Ritz). The nightly list of activities at Sugar Bay (for example, a movie night, or a karaoke night) was designed to appeal to a different kind of consumer than the kind that typically chooses to stay at a Ritz. My biggest complaint about Sugar Bay was that they make you wear (and swim and shower and sleep in) a wristband like the kind you get at a nightclub, and I believe there's a $70 charge if you lose it. The mattresses in both places were too soft, but they were clean and not lumpy.
However, there's the question of whether the higher quality is worth the significantly higher price. In my case, the price of my Sugar Bay room was about half of what I paid at the Ritz (though the Ritz room included a delicious breakfast and what amounted to a room service meal for two). For me, that made Sugar Bay a better bargain.
I would recommend the Ritz only if you really need to impress the person you're with (and you're willing to pay a significant amount of money in order to be around people like yourself or else to avoid having to associate with budget-conscious people like me). A final caution: the Ritz-Carlton hotels in St. Thomas is not going to have the same level of excellence as the Ritz-Carlton in New York or Chicago. So even though the scenery in St. Thomas is much nicer, you should adjust your expectations accordingly.
One last note apropos of nothing: if you're planning an oceanside wedding in Saint Thomas, I highly recommend sprinkling rose petals up and down the aisle and on the veranda. If you're lucky, an iguana or two will crawl out of the shrubbery during the ceremony and start munching away. Awesome!
- 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