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St. Thomas and St. John Shopping with Shop Talk
Recent Comments from Shop Talk Guests

July 26, 2008

“Overall Loved the Experience”

2ThumbsUpTraveler

I OVERALL LOVED IT. WOULD GO BACK AGAIN. TO SEE MY UNBIASED REVIEW, read below:

have recently returned from a stay in St. Thomas and ultimately The Ritz for 5 days on vacation. I read the reviews prior to choosing and was honestly going back and forth between The Ritz and The Marriott (in which I have a close friend who's stayed at the Marriott/St. Thomas several times over the years so I had a valid trusted inside scoop of how the amenities/services/rooms were).

Based on what she told me about the Marriott compared to what I was looking for and my gut feeling and despite some of The Ritz reviews, I booked The Ritz. So here's my review ....

I must premise this review that I AM an above average traveler both for business and for my own pleasure -- spending about 50-60 nights/year in hotels . So, I've ran the gamut in the last 11 years of bad hotels to top notch. In addition, I am VERY ANAL when it comes to hotels re: cleanliness and being updated/renovated.

Saying that, I definitely would stay here again. The experience overall was great.

Staff: GREAT - from the time we arrived to the time we left, the staff treated us with much care. When we arrived the first day the bell stand got our luggage, a staff was waiting to assist us to the check-in counter, gave us their traditional rum punch, we checked in and then she gave us a quick tour of the main grounds. From that day on, each of these people, the bell stand, the woman who assisted us and the check-in staff knew us by name, called us by name, always checked to see if we needed anything and it goes on. Everyone on the grounds knew us by name and greeted as we were walking back and forth. I really do not understand the others review that the staff was distant /etc -- maybe it's because they are too distant. I will make some exclusions on things I did not like about the staff later in things to change or improve on.

Room: As I've mentioned before I've stayed at dives for quick business trips to 5 star hotels who are on par with the reputation of The Ritz. The room here, was immaculate, cleaned, updated and comfortable. There have been times I've stayed in hotels where I dread going back to the room. Here, I found myself spending much more time than I usually do in a hotel room. I would say that I had the Ocean Front Suite for reference. Tiled floors (definitely a plus in my book), water closet, separate tiled shower and garden tub, furniture was comfortable and clean.

Beach/Pool - There were a lot of "bad" reviews about the beach which really made me leary and was part of struggling to book b/c I am a beach person but, I would have to say that it was far better than what the reviews said. Yes. the shore is a bit bumpy but, it is built on a bay much like a lot of the other hotels. So, if this is your first time to St. Thomas, I saw that it was quite comparable with the others. Pool/Beach side service were good. I met many guests there and though I did not go snorkeling there, they said that the Great Bay where the beach is at was one of the best snorkeling on the island. I will put in the Improvements section, areas I thought should improve here.

Food/Pricing: We ate at BlueWater for breakfast 3 days and Sails one night. Honestly, the one thing I would improve about the resort is the selection of food. Ok Bluewater is the only or probably 1-2 of the restaurants that serve breakfast. I am not a big breakfast person, so I thought the menu had too many entree items and not enough a-la-carte/quick items such as smoothies / cereal /etc. They did have a cold buffet but, for the price, I did think this was useless. The cold buffet included cereals/breads/cold meats such as smoked salmon/fruits. I would love if they had a make your own yogurt parfait section which I've seen in some of the other hotels or just that on a menu where I could just buy a bowl of cereal or a fruit bar /etc. The food that we did get here, was wonderful I would say. Must try the French Toast.

We went one-night to Great Bay Lounge for Sushi and honestly I sat down, looked at the menu and the peoples plates around me and got up and walked out. I am a big sushi person but, the price was just unreasonable for the roll ~ 18 or so.

Sails was good. We ate there during a "special entertainment" night -- had a buffet and Carribean dancers so I can't really compare if the food/service would be the same on any given night. That night the food was great / fissh was cooked well - not over done/nice West Indian dishes/good desserts/etc. For, the price of the buffet, drinks should have come with this though.

Overall thought, I thought the pricing of the food was comparable to restaurants on the island. Overall, I think the island food is overpriced. It would be good to stay in a villa/condo and have access to a kitchen or refrigerator.

Ammenities: Great Fitness Program and Fitness Center. I'm very active and an avid runner so I was pleased to see that they had a Running / Walking Program at 7AM during the week. I did that twice and the personal trainer is sooo nice, we had great conversations on our runs.

My mom used the Spa (I didn't) but, she loved it. When I did go in to check her in and meet her afterwards, the staff there was lovely -- great honest discussions about what to do on the islands / etc.

Shutttle (via golf carts) to take you anywhere on the resort. This is ran by the bell stand. So, for those that complained about walking and the size of the resort, I don't understand them. First, this does not apply to the handicapped or those with children or senior citizens who are more fragile but, I actually enjoyed the walking b/c it gave me exercise to off-balance all the food I was eating on vacation :-). We used the shuttle probably 1% of the time we walked back and forth and that probably lend itself to why I didn't gain any weight on vacation :-) Many times as we were walking, the bell stand team would drive by for whatever reason and would remind us that we can call them. Of course, we always turn this down, my family is pretty active and enjoyed the walks.

Other ammenities that we used and enjoyed were the "Sunset Sails on the Lady Lyndsey" -- LOVED THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, we did the "Shop Talk" which you with a discussion about St. Thomas / St. John shopping, give you a list of preferred/guaranteed businesses in the area, and there's then a shuttle to take you to the location of the day. At that location (whether it's Charlotte Amalie, Yacht Haven, St. John), there's a host store to assist The Ritz Guests with everything, including catching a cab/etc.

September 15, 2007

Carolyn,
Hi. I am a travel agent, and met you a little over a week ago now in St. Thomas at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef for your Shop Talk. I have to tell you that I saved so much money based on your advise. I would never known where to go for what. I am so grateful that you do what you do. I am going to refer all of my clients to your website (with your permission) and ask that they email you if they are looking for anything in particular. You were so well informed of what specials were where. Not only did I save money, most importantly, I saved time. And, that is invaluable.

We had time to enjoy the island and beach because we were not shopping all over town to get the best deals.

The handbags at Sibella were among the most unique and most beautiful I have ever see.

THANK YOU  THANK YOU  THANK YOU.

Have a good day.

Shannon R. Haynes
SRH Travel

June 28, 2007

Carolyn,
My husband and I just returned to Syracuse, N.Y. from our wonderful vacation on St. Thomas. We were guests at the Ritz-Carlton and we spoke with you several mornings.

We listened to your Shop Talk on Tuesday morning.

We purchased Duty Free Liquor and check it at the airport as you suggested we do. The problem is our box did not arrive and U.S. Air has told us they are not responsible.

They said that these packages are in no way guaranteed if they do not reach the destination. We are very upset to say the least and wonder what our alternative is. You said in your talk that liquor was guaranteed to arrive.

The purchase we made was for Johnny Walker Blue Label costing $125.00 and Ciroc Vodka costing $28.95. Totaling $153.95.

Thanks so much for any help you can give us.

John and Betsy Wilson

Carolyn,

Just wanted to let you know that we received a check for the full amount ($153.95) from U.S. Air today. Thank you for your time and efforts in this matter.

Sure wish we were on Island Time.

Betsy Wilson

 

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Carolyn S Smith
PO Box 538
St. Thomas, VI 00804

Carolyn@ShopTalkVI.com

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