I’m just going to say it right at the beginning: we’re not Ritz-Carlton people. I want to be a Ritz Carlton person, but I’m not and I don’t think I ever will be. I’m the kind of person who will say “Screw it!” and book a really expensive hotel room for no reason other than I like to treat myself sometimes. And believe me, the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas is a huge treat. But staying there causes a few problems if you’re not “one of them.”
Arriving at the Ritz-Carlton is like arriving at no other hotel. We pulled up to the entrance and were met immediately with damp towels and drinks. Our luggage was taken and our car whisked away. We were checked in and brought on a small tour on the way to our room.
This was without a doubt the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Our room was fantastic,
our balcony was huge,
and the view was breathtaking.
It was the bathroom, however, that made me not want to leave.
I’m that person who leaves every hotel with as many toiletries as possible, and the toiletries in this bathroom almost caused me to pass out.
At some point during check in we had been asked if we were here to celebrate anything special, and the answers were “No” “No” “No” and “I’m turning seven in only ten days!!!” Which of course was not why we were in St. Thomas, and was not happening while we would be at the Ritz, but nevertheless this appeared in our hotel room later:
It was Rice Krispies Treats made to look like coral, and it was delicious! A great way to start our stay.
The pool area was just perfect. There were thick, lush chair covers and big, fluffy towels, and lots of floating lounge chairs that the kids loved piling on top of each other to make big rafts.
The gorgeous beach is just steps away from the pool, with more comfy chairs.
The hotel’s resort fee is mandatory, so take full advantage of it. On the beach it covers snorkel gear, paddleboards, and several kinds of small watercraft. You just have to sign them out. Be aware, though, that there is a “rescue fee” if you take out more boat than you can handle.
We took out paddleboards. That’s my husband in the picture below, the only one of us who was able to successfully stand up for more than a few seconds. He was actually quite good at it.
I was not. I mostly paddled around on my knees, because if I even thought about standing up, I would fall over. And let me tell you, heaving yourself back onto that thing and getting into a kneeling position half a dozen times is worth about an hour in the gym. Plus, the waves kept pushing me towards a big patch of coral and rocks, which we were warned to stay away from. I tried! I paddled in the other direction as hard as I could! But I ended up running my paddleboard into a big rock and getting thrown off into a bunch of sea urchins. If you’ve never seen a sea urchin, imagine a big chestnut with spikes that break off in your skin.
So there I was, trying to hold on to my paddle board, trying not to move my legs at all because they were touching the sea urchins, and trying not to panic. The waves were pushing me harder, so I had to give myself one good push off of the coral (I know! I know! I’m so sorry!) so that I could start kicking and get myself away from that spot. Finally I got far enough away to get myself back on my board.
When I got back to shore I examined my legs and found a few spots on my ankle where the sea urchin spikes had broken off. This had happened to my sister before, and she told me there’s nothing you can really do except wait while they get absorbed into your body. It took about a month. Fun.
Service everywhere at the hotel was exemplary. Even the kids’ souvenirs were taken good care of.
The trouble we ran into though, what I was alluding to at the top of the page, was that the hotel was just a bit too formal for us. During the day it was fine, but after 5pm I felt out of place. The first night I took the kids around to the different restaurants trying to get something to eat. There was not a single casual place open for dinner. We didn’t have clothes with us that were nice enough for a couple of the restaurants, and even if we could’ve sat down, the food was just too fancy for my kids (and, honestly, for me too). We ended up ordering room service for dinner twice. I love room service, but it’s kind-of a bummer when it’s not your first choice.
This is a first-class hotel and if your family is used to that kind of atmosphere, you will absolutely love it there. But when I go on a beach vacation I like to relax as much as possible – I don’t want to worry about what I’m wearing to dinner. Other than that, though, we had a thoroughly enjoyable time in one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever visited.
Next up: Easter at the Ritz
Thank you to the Ritz-Carlton for upgrading our room to one with a water view, and to the USVI Department of Tourism.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.