Surrounded by the scenic waters of the Caribbean, this oasis perfects the modern concept of a beach getaway, with outdoor fun and polished luxury
If it’s done right, some island getaways appear like something from a dream. Oceanic scenery and sublime sea air can whisk you away from reality, giving you one-of-a-kind nourishment that not only recharges you, but also shifts your perspective on life a little.
That’s how we felt on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. When we stepped on the sandy stretch belonging to the Ritz Carlton, we entered a dreamscape. St. Thomas is so beautifully scenic that it was hard to believe we were still in the States. You don’t even need a passport for this escape (although you should bring it anyway, in case you want to hop over to one of the British Virgin Islands).
When we set out to explore the Caribbean and tour the Virgin Islands, we knew we wanted to commence the experience with the Ritz Carlton St. Thomas. We are big fans of the Ritz Carlton brand, experiencing their pristine luxury in Kuala Lumpur, Puerto Rico, and Barcelona to name a few. The service, food, and location are consistently fantastic! We always count on a superior vacation at Ritz Carlton, and the St. Thomas property continued the tradition.
Getting to Know St. Thomas
Aside from being scenically impeccable, (think postcard perfect) St. Thomas is an island with unique North American history. Christopher Columbus discovered it in 1403, on his second voyage west. Prior to his discovery, native groups, the Ciboney, Arawaks and Caribs, inhabited the island. After the Europeans learned of St. Thomas it became a popular dock for pirates and other traders.
Positioned only 50 miles east of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas is the most popular of the four U.S. Virgin Islands. It is now home to some of the world’s most exquisite hospitality and dining, as well as adventurous outdoor activities surrounded by waters so photogenic our eyes could hardly believe it while our camera clicked incessantly.
Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas Style
Ritz Carlton St. Thomas is remarkably private, tucked into a bay that lends breathtaking views at the neighboring island, St. John. Our arrival was a bit glamorous, with fresh Mai Tais greeting us in an open-air lobby, after which we were sent to our rooms by a golf cart with a friendly driver. Not only did the turquoise and blues signature to the Caribbean surround us, lush foliage and bright tropical flowers ensured that the whole property was bursting in color.
The hotel is really a massive resort geared towards families, but the design is thoroughly elegant and pretty spacious, so you can always find some private space. The design is tropical, with smooth beiges and cool whites maintaining an airy feel while wooden accents add an exotic component to the style. It’s like lounging around a sophisticated Tiki hut. Everything about the estate is pleasing to the eye and conducive for total relaxation. After an hour of lounging in the pool area, icy beverage in hand, you’ll feel the stress melt away.
Sailing Around St. Thomas
Once we got settled into the island vibes, water activities were at the top of our agenda. On one sunny day we boarded the Lady Lynsey (the hotels Catamaran) for a day trip around the island, ready for some gorgeous sightseeing and snorkeling. Cruising around the Caribbean in the Catamaran was super memorable, and the best way to get in the island spirit. The boat wasn’t private, but they kept the groups small so we all had our own space to relax in. If you’re into snorkeling, you have plenty of time to jump off the boat and take a peek at the life below...If you’re lucky you might even see some turtles!
No matter how you choose to spend your stay on St. Thomas, we guarantee you’ll have plenty to do. The island is brimming with water sports and activities, from kayaking and sailing to stand-up-paddle-boarding and windsurfing. If water sports aren’t your cup of tea you can sign up for island hopping trips or beach BBQ’s. The island also has it’s own world class golf course. If you’re anything like us you’ll find tons of pleasure in hanging out by the pool and trying to figure out who makes the best margaritas.
Our Ocean View Room
At Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas, we stayed in an ocean view room that featured another picture perfect view of the bay and surrounding islands. Our room was located right in front of the beach, which was possibly the best thing to wake up to each morning. Just a five-minute walk and our toes were in the sand — that’s our idea of paradise! It also helped that when we walked into our room, we were immediately faced with a bucket of IPA's and cupcakes on the deck...talk about making someone feel special :)
Our room was exceptionally comfortable. The beds were heavenly, and we had plenty of space to get comfortable in. The decoration in the room was elegant and gave our space a sense of sophistication. It felt just as easy to tuck in for a good night’s sleep as it did to sit down and get some work done before the views. The Ritz has luxury down to an art form, and we were happy to be the subjects of their masterpiece!
Dining at The Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas
The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas provides dining options for every taste. The hotel has four onsite restaurants, all with different vibes and offerings: Essenza, Bleuwater, Coconut Grove, and Sails. When we arrived at the hotel, it was almost dinnertime so we spent the afternoon sipping tropical cocktails on the deck of Essenza, a chic Italian restaurant. We tried the burrata, steak, and lobster pasta, all of which were definite winners. Come hungry, because the portions here are huge.
For lunch we would dine at Sails, for a more casual, beachfront setting. I loved the overall energy of Sails. My only wish was that they had real cocktails that didn’t involve pre made syrups — the drinks were a little too sweet. Which brings me to this: the best margaritas on the island are found at Coconut Cove, the hotel’s other laidback restaurant. I told the bartender I wanted a good margarita and he responded with a crooked smile. He winked and said, I got ya! And yes, he did! It was one of the best margaritas we’ve had. The chef at Coconut Cove is a new transplant to the island, and is serving up some phenomenal Caribbean and Puerto Rican inspired cuisine. His ceviche was to die for, and the flatbread was uniquely intriguing. To bad we discovered Coconut Cove on our last day, because I’m pretty sure, we would have stayed there, our entire trip!
A Quick & Easy Tropical Fix
Arriving at St. Thomas is much easier than some other islands we’ve traveled to. We were flying from Miami, and the flight was uncomplicated and quick. Once we arrived at the island’s airport, we were greeted by a driver from the hotel and were on our way. St. Thomas has a huge airport so flying in is pretty straightforward.
Our trip to Ritz Carlton St. Thomas was total beach perfection. Our only hang up was that we wished we could have stayed longer! It’s an incredible place to get your “tropical fix” in a hotel that knows what they’re doing. This is an especially remarkable destination if you’re traveling with kids. There are so many activities on and off on the island that you’re guaranteed to stay happily busy while getting a dose of the good life!
For more information about Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas, visit their website: