Frenchmen's CoveGoing to St. Thomas for the 1st time in September & staying @ Marriott's Frenchmen's Cove. Does anyone have any tips for the island--places to see, things to do, restaurant suggestions, etc.? Should I get a car rental? How is this facility? Thanks in advance!
Which has the better rooms and beach, Morning Star or Frenchman's Cove?
Our timeshare is at the Cove, it's beautiful. Rooms and balconies are awesome and every room has a great ocean view.
We always rent a car because the taxi fares really get expensive. It's $10 per person per one way trip. I did hear there is a $2 taxi but I think it makes a million stops so you have to have the time to find it and ride it. They drive on the left side of the road so prepare yourself for that if you have never done it before. We also always rent jeeps because the roads are pretty rough and the SUV type vehicles don't bottom out if you hit a pot hole.
As far as places to go, you should check out:
Coki Beach - crystal clear water where you can feed the fish dog biscuits (you can buy the dog biscuits from the vendors on the beach)
Sail to Buck Island for the turtle snorkel trip (can get tix and get on sailboat right at the Cove's dock)
Take water taxi to Charlotte Amalie to shop for the day
Megan's Bay - nice beach
Sapphire Beach - nice beach
Take Red Hook taxi over to St John's for the day
Take water taxi to Jost Van ****, gorgeous beach and check out Soggy Dollar Bar
Oceania - expensive but fabulous (go there as your one time fancy meal)
Hook Line and Sinker - fun local place, very casual, at the marina (Frenchtown)
Pie Hole - fabulous pizza and one of the best beer selections on the island (Frenchtown)
Hope that helps!
Awesome and helpful response, riverchik!
Additionally, welcome to the Insiders forum. Awesome to see a new member jumping into the mix here. This is what the Insiders page is all about!
I found some threads that might be of some use to you regarding St. Thomas:
Re: My husband and I will be traveling to St Thomas in October and would like to use points. We're undecided where to stay..... The Marriott Frenchmen s Reef or The Ritz Carlton, is the Ritz Carlton worth the extra points? Thank you!
Hope these are informative.
Another important thing to know is where to shop for groceries since the Cove has beautiful fully equipped kitchens. Our favorite is called The Food Center on rt 32 about a mile before you get to Red Hook. You can get everything you need there (produce, meat, alcohol, etc).
There are a couple of fancier smaller markets that are nice as well, they are: Marina Market (Red Hook), Gourmet Gallery (pricey but higher end stuff in Havensight Mall), and The Fruit Bowl (Charlotte Amalie). I would avoid the Pueblo markets.
I've never been to St. Thomas, but one advantage is you can fly there directly from Atlanta and other US ports of departure. With some of the other nearby islands, you have to take a commuter from St. Thomas. I gave one of my grandsons honeymoon trip to Frenchman's Cove last year and the couple thoroughly enjoyed it.
After talking with the locals there ahead of time, I suggested they hire taxi from the airport instead of renting an auto. If you decided you wanted access to rental car while at resort, I believe they have rental desk there.
Also, I've heard that driving into the nearby town is not too safe, but this is only what I heard.
Believe you'll also have to pay a daily resort fee of some $25.00, but this affords you access to several resort amenities.
Hi riverchik. My trip to Frenchman's Cove was just OK. The resort itself was fine. We had a great room with a wonderful view of the harbor & watching the cruise ships come in was fun (all rooms face the water, but our building was right on the water). The problem became after mid-day as the building was facing west. We could not use our balcony as it was too HOT--the furniture & railing was all metal--quite uncomfortable. The pool was fine--a little small 'tho. They are expanding the property & there will be another pool. It was nice to be next to 2 Marriott hotels. So we could use their pools & restaurants as well. That being said--I was fine if I stayed on property. I disliked going off property as the windey/up & down roads made me feel like I was on a roller coaster & scrambler @ the same time! We got lost several times & did not feel safe in certain areas. The island is not very attractive--except the beaches are beautiful--to get to them 'tho was another experience. We went to buy food for our timeshare & food was very expensive & not too fresh--several items needed to be thrown out. We ended up using the food we had brought for breakfast & lunch/snacks & ate out for dinner @ either of the Marriott restaurants. The iguanas @ the resort are everywhere. We went to St. John's for a day, which was OK, but expensive to take the car ferry. There were bugs biting us in the restrooms there. The staff @ Frenchman's Cove were nice & helpful. All in all, we liked the resort, but not the island & will probably not go back there.
I keep telling you folks here on Insiders......BVI Luxury Villas | Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection is the place to go in the Caribbean to get a spectacular Marriott property.
My wife and I own a week at the Cove and simply love going there. We just got back two weeks ago and had another fabulous time. If you aren't used to paying Caribbean prices for groceries and restaurants, then naturally you will be shocked. But having been to a dozen Caribbean Islands, I find St Thomas to be among the least expensive. Try staying on Aruba or St. Kitts for a week!
Since St Thomas is one of the few mountainous islands in the Caribbean, of course the roads are going to be hilly. How else could you get pictures like this? Although the general population are fairly poor and parts of the island don't look great, St Thomas is very safe. Since tourism accounts for 99% of their economy, the government works hard at keeping crime to a minimum.
Great shot, mikiegfla! Do you have any recommendations on what to do in the area?
My number one activity in St Thomas is eating (although you would never know looking at my 135 pound body), and there's no shortage of restaurants there. We like sitting on the beach so that's what we do best. Morning Star Beach, which is where the Marriott hotel is located, is among the best on the island. But the beach that everyone comes to see is Magens Bay, which is in the picture I posted above as driving down from the road.
No trip to St Thomas would be complete without a trip to neighboring island St John via an hourly ferry. Most of the island is a national park, originally owned by the Rockefeller family who bequeathed it to the Dept of the Interior. Now called Virgin Islands National Park, the beauty is something you just have to see to believe.
That sums up my ideal week on St Thomas. Since we are not golfers, I can't comment on the one course there (Mahogany Run), but listening to others around dinner makes me believe it's a worthwhile outing.
We are owners there too and love it! There are so many great places to eat and swim and relax and people watch, haha. For eating:
Hook, Line and Sinker (very casual, at a marina so right on the water next to the boats)
Pie Hole (casual, excellent pizza and the island's best choices of good beer)
Fish Tails (a little more pricey but right on the water and fresh fish)
Oceana (very pricey but amazing view and very good food, atmosphere on the water)
Gladys' Cafe (casual, good food, very personable staff)
Havana Blue (same as Oceana)
What's on your list?
The resort is very nice and we love that every room is ocean front, so we have never been disappointed. The island is very hilly and the roads are not very wide, so yes, you need to be careful driving around. I love to drive and think it's a blast exploring all the nooks and crannies of the island. As I mentioned in my first post, you have learn which are the good grocery stores to go to, there are many that have very good choices. Our first couple of years we took some of our own food to help with the cost (like seasoning, a few canned goods, etc) but found the prices in some of the grocery stores were just slightly higher than what we are used to and wasn't worth loading up our suitcases. Now that you have seen it, I would hope you would consider going back. I also appreciated IAHFLYR's comments about the BVI Luxury Villas on Scrub Island. I've heard it's fabulous, The Points Guy wrote up a very positive review of it as well.