The other day we noted that jetBlue is now offering new direct service to the U.S. Virgin Islands — a chic, stylish and uncomplicated destination that’s perfect for quick, carefree getaways.
The flights arrive at St. Thomas’ Charlotte Amalie airport, from which many travelers continue their journeys. However, one of the USVI’s most luxurious, landmark resorts is also relatively close to the airport, making it even easier to begin relaxing right away. The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, is situated on 30 acres featuring a perfect, private white-sand beach, and an incredibly elegant main building dubbed the Palazzo. With lush gardens leading to an inviting infinity pool overlooking the beach and turquoise bay, the Italianate edifice is indeed like a private palace, and houses reception, the concierge desk and a luxe boutique.
From the lavish Presidential Suite — which has played host to Barack Obama and family, and features a kitchen, dining area and fitness room — to the well-appointed guest rooms, each of the resort’s 180 accommodation options features a private balcony or terrace. Of particular note are the Ritz-Carlton Club rooms and suites which come complete with access to the private Club Lounge, located in the same building, with a large outdoor terrace, offering artful culinary presentations throughout the day, a selection of cocktails and a dedicated Club Concierge. Call it a "hotel within a hotel."
Also available at the property is the The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, an equity-based members-only luxury vacation club for the most discerning, affluent travelers who want the benefits of vacation home ownership without the burdens, which feature their own section of beach and world-class amenities.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, St. Thomas is the ultimate in soothing seaside tranquility, with 11 Mediterranean-style treatment rooms, a beachside cabana, salon and boutique, all inspired by the West Indies. Caribbean-infused treatments and Eminence organic skin care and body products set the tone. There's also an adjacent fitness center with amazing ocean views. For Valentine's Day getaways, the indulgent four-hour His and Hers Spa Getaway, featuring a seaside couple's cabana massage, His and Hers signature facial and His and Hers hands and feet pampering, finishing up with a complimentary glass of champagne, is an ever-popular option. Special accommodations can be made for a moonlight massage and dinner as well.
There are four dining options at the property, ranging from evening elegant to poolside casual. The marquee venue is Bleuwater, an upscale oceanfront eatery. Innovative local seafood creations, delectable meat dishes and an inspiring wine list are the hallmarks of a casually elegant dining experience. The restaurant's private dining area, Oasis at Bleuwater, is available for intimate gatherings. Other culinary options include the Great Bay Lounge, with creative Asian-inspired food; Coconut Cove, featuring authentic Caribbean cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients; and Sails, a casual ocean and poolside spot for grabbing a bite during the day, especially when returning from an outing with one of the resort's many watersports activities.
For a truly intimate dining experience, you can order a private four-course dinner on the beach, featuring selections from Bleuwater or Coconut Cove. The attentive staff is always willing to accommodate requests for special occasions, afforded by the wealth of culinary options. When it does come time to depart, the resort will even pack you a lunch to take on your flight. Of course flying isn’t the only way to get to the USVI, as yachts are frequently seen arriving at the property for dinner or an overnight stay, mooring near the resort's own luxury catamaran, Lady Lynsey. The Lynsey offers daily sails centered on snorkeling, sunset cocktails and everything in between.
The $190 million, 268-foot megayacht Alfa Nero, which is available for charter at about $1 million per week, was also recently seen at anchor at St. Thomas. That’s hardly surprising, as St. Thomas is a renowned destination for yachtsmen. Every spring it is host to the International Rolex Regatta, one of the world’s greatest yacht races, sponsored by the famed Swiss watch brand. Sailors from around the world converge on the tropical paradise for three days of unparalleled competition, while spectators also appreciate the wealth of duty-free shopping options on the island, a favorite with cruise ship passengers as well. Visit RitzCarlton.com to learn more.