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US Virgin Islands
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People regularly note how few Americans have passports, but it's easier to understand when you hear that they can travel to the perfect, white-sandy topical island beauties of the US Virgin Islands without one. But this isn't the States but with better weather, the culture is West Indian, to a reggae backing track. The three islands in the group differ greatly from each other, ranging from cruise-ship mecca to camping-ground fringed national park, so the best places to stay in the US Virgin Islands are a very mixed bag as well.
St. Thomas is the main island in the group. It's been a trading port for centuries - first a favourite of pirates and now the cruise ship crowds. St. Thomas' shopping benefits from the extra visitors, and the main town, Charlotte Amalie, is quite famous for its boutiques. The extra visitors also increase the choice when it comes to bars and restaurants, and there are lots of a high standard. St. Thomas also has a number of exceptional beaches. This is where you'll find a lot of the large hotels, but it's also got some lovely, small, independent inns.
St. John isn't physically far from St. Thomas, but it couldn't be more different. Most of the island is untouched forest and national park, and only the fringes - read the beaches - are developed. Visitors arrive by ferry from St. Thomas, and stay in beachside campsites, large, but quiet, hotels or condos, in, or just outside St. John's two small towns.
St. Croix is 40 miles south, a larger, flatter, and even less developed island, with just two very pretty towns - Christiansted and Fredriksted - one at either end of the island. St. Croix has mainly smaller resorts, and almost all of its best beaches now come complete with a hotel, and the towns have quite a few charming independent hotels.
The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in the US Virgin Islands features properties on each of the islands from comfortable B&Bs to luxury resort hotels featuring every facility you can think of.
For a special occasion
- The Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas, is a large, top of the range, five star tropical estate for travellers looking for nothing but the best. 155 rooms share four gourmet restaurants, a large spa and health club, tennis courts, private yachts and a private beach.
- The Gallows Point Resort on St John has an enviable location, nestled into a rocky bay, with panoramic views of the bright blue seas around this national park island. The accommodation is generously sized and luxurious, and the facilities very comfortable. There are plenty of sun decks on which to enjoy a cocktail in the evenings, before things get a little fun.
- Caneel Bay is a luxurious hotel on a beautiful, remote bay on St John. Everything is done to make the most of the postcard perfect sea views, and there are large balconies and big windows. This is a larger resort, so you also have a choice of five restaurants, and plenty of options when it comes to facilities too.
- Pavilions & Pools, St. Thomas, is a collection of 25 villas, in a private, tropical setting. Each villa has its own BBQ area, pool, terrace, kitchen and living area, and all the mod. cons. a modern family needs. The hotel has its own restaurant, but there are also plenty nearby.
- Bolongo Bay is picturesque beach resort overlooking a beautiful bay. The accommodation is simple and comfortable and they've great watersports facilities, three restaurants, tennis courts, a pool and they also run sailing lessons. The two bedroom condos comfortably sleep four.
For a beach break
- The Tamarind Reef Resort near Christiansted is a charming hotel with its own private beach, landscaped gardens and two excellent restaurants.
- The The Buccaneer is a larger, four star hotel/resort right on the beach, offering a choice of rooms, suites and cottages, with elegant decor. The top of the range spa and golf course mean it's a great place to be whatever the season.
To hide away
- Carringtons Inn, on St. Croix, is an intimate B&B with just four attractively furnished, pastel coloured rooms, and a lovely pool and courtyard. You're in a quiet spot on a hilltop, with excellent views, but you're still just a short stroll to the beach, or the casino.
- Sandcastle on the Beach in Fredriksted, has 21 rooms - with private balconies and some lovely sea views, just a short stroll from the beach. Even though there are only a small number of rooms, this mini-resort still has two pools, and plenty of palm trees and hammocks. The food is supposed to be good as well.
- The Concordia Eco Resort is a collection of condos, tents and studio apartments set on a green hillside, overlooking a beautiful bay. Each room has its own kitchen, but there's also a rustic restaurant and the vibe is laid-back and friendly.
For great value
- The St John Inn is a colourful, ten room, beachfront guesthouse with all mod. cons. plus hammocks for appreciating the very best of the sea views. As well as easy access to the beach, you also have easy access to tennis courts and a golf course.
- Also right by the beach, Garden by the Sea B&B has just three, romantically styled rooms in a seclude spot. Peaceful, private and unfussy. And rooms start from just £99 per night.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in US Virgin Islands
Galleon House 14 rooms from $73St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
A comfortable yet great value B&B situated on Government Hill, boasting stunning views both of the town and harbour. Simple rooms, some with two double beds, restaurant with a verandah, bar, and a fresh water pool and sun deck for cooling off in. Near all the town's attractions.Views - Stunning views out to sea and over rooftops.Value chicSights nearby - Federick Lutheran Church, Virgin Islands Legislature Building, and Emancipation Garden.Swimming Pool - Fresh water pool and sun deck.
Bunker Hill Hotel 15 rooms from $87St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
A very pleasant hotel set in Charlotte Amelie's historic district, with sea views and stunning vistas over rooftops below. Charming rooms have attractive furnishings and comfortable beds. Excellent Caribbean restaurant with a terrace, indoor and outdoor pool, and easy access to the beach.Views - Stunning seaviews from balconies.Sights nearby - Haagensen House, Emancipation Garden, and Blackbeard's Castle.Swimming Pool - Indoor and outdoor.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.
Paradise Cove from $129St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
A collection of condos, cottages, cabanas, and suites within walking distance of Secret Harbour. Each accommodation has its own kitchen, living area, charming bedrooms, and sea views. Pool, massages, and easy access to beaches and the nearest town. An ideal spot for a family holiday.Families - Cottages sleep up to 6 and each have their own kitchenettes and living areas.Views - Fabulous views over Nazareth BaySights nearby - A few minutes away from Red Hook (town) featuring 19 restaurants and bars, plus many specialty stores.Great walks - A nature trail leads down to the beach
Carringtons Inn 4 rooms from $110Christiansted, US Virgin Islands
A really charming little Inn with B&B rooms and a two-bedroom condo (rental on a weekly basis). Pastel coloured cosy rooms with attractive furnishings and private balconies. Lovely pool and courtyard area. Lots to explore from the beach to the casino to small surrounding islands.Views - Its hilltop location ensures stunning views over the surrounding area and out to sea.Sights nearby - Holy Cross Catholic Church, Fort Christiansvaern, and St. Croix Government House.Restrictions on children - Adults only.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - Fodors
Sandcastle on the Beach 21 rooms from $149Frederiksted,, US Virgin Islands
A charming collection of rooms with private balconies just a short walk from the beach. Each room has all the mod cons, plus there are two swimming pools, hammocks swinging between palm trees, international cuisine and sea views. An ideal spot for pure beach life, and good value too.Beach LifeSights nearby - St Paul's Episcopal Anglican Church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, and Frederiksted Pier.On the beach - The hotel provides beach umbrellas, towels, and deck chairs.Swimming Pool - Two pools.Recommended by - Fodors
St John Inn 10 rooms from $150St John, US Virgin Islands
A colourful beach front guesthouse with rainbow rooms and excellent prices. Bright accommodations have all the mod cons and balconies with hammocks. Lovely breakfast and bar area with sea views. Tennis court on site, easy access to golf and beach activities. Ideal for families.Value chicSights nearby - Elaine Lone Sprauve Library and Museum.Views - Great views from hotelSailing - Can be booked nearby.
Garden by the Sea B&B 3 rooms from $160St John, US Virgin Islands
A beach chic B&B with romantic suites in colourful pastels. Four poster beds with attractive muslin drapes, verandahs with dreamy sea views onto white sands, all in a secluded location. Perfect for a romantic beach holiday with a book, lots of sun, and simple accommodation.Views - Beautiful views from verandahs out to sea.Remote - Off the beaten track.Four poster beds - For romantics.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - Fodors, Frommers
Concordia Eco Resort 48 rooms from $195St John, US Virgin Islands
A collection of condos, tents, and studio apartments set in the verdant hillside above a bay. Charming wooden built accommodation, each with private kitchens, balconies, and sea views. Rustic restaurant, beaches to explore, relaxed bar, and plenty of watersports. Ideal for a laid back holiday.EcoViews - Great views from hotelGreat walks - Bordeaux Mountain Trail, Ram Head Trail.Swimming Pool - Outdoor freshwater poolRecommended by - Fodors
Pavilions & Pools from $200St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
A collection of 25 villas nestled in a private tropical setting. Each has its own BBQ area, pool, terrace, kitchen and living area. All the mod cons including DVD players and sound systems. The hotel has a separate restaurant too for when you don't feel like cooking. An ideal spot for families.Families - Each villa is ideal for a family with its BBQ, pool, kitchen, living areas and terraces.Sights nearby - American Yacht Harbor and Coral World Ocean Park.Swimming Pool - All villas have their own private outdoor pools.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.
Tamarind Reef Resort 39 rooms from $200Christiansted, US Virgin Islands
A charming hotel on a private beach with fantastic facilities. Huge pool, gym, beauty salon, gardens, two excellent restaurants, beach cabanas and a tennis court. Rooms and suites in attractive pastel colours with private balconies and all the mod cons. An all round hotel.Beach Life - Beach cabanas and a short walk onto the beach.Views - Stunning beach views.Sailing - Marina with 154 slips for sailing and motor yachts + charters trips to Buck Island, sunset cruises, fishing and divingSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea with views to Green Cay island and Buck Island.
Bolongo Bay 71 rooms from $220St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
A fantastic beach resort set in a picturesque bay, ideal for families and avid beach goers who enjoy lots of summer sports. Simple comfortable rooms and suites, some sleep 4, all have balconies. Three restaurants, gourmet and beachy, tennis courts, pool, sailing.Foodies - Excellent restuarants offering a variety from Caribbean cuisine, seafood, and buffet dinners.Families - Condos have two bedrooms sleeping 4.Views - Great views from hotelBeach Life
Estate Lindholm 14 rooms from $225St John, US Virgin Islands
An intimate B&B set amongst the Danish ruins of the estate's original settlers. Stunning views out to sea and towards Cruz Bay. Set on a hillside, back from the beach and walking distance to restaurants and nightlife. Large rooms with balconies and attractive furnishings. Excellently placed.Views - Fabulous sea views from every room.Swimming Pool - Fresh water pool and decking area with views out to sea.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Fodors, Frommers
The Buccaneer 138 rooms from $285St Croix, US Virgin Islands
An all round Four Star property with its own golf course, ocean views, yoga centre, top of the range spa, restaurants, and immediate access to the beach. Chic rooms, suites, and cottages are elegant with sophisticated furnishings. Ideal for beach enthusiasts, golf lovers, families, and spa goers.Views - Stunning ocean views from suites and terraces.Golf - The hotel has its own golf course.Active Holiday - Golfing and watersports galore.Spa breaks - Top of the range spa.
Gallows Point Resort 60 rooms from $295St John, US Virgin Islands
A stunning setting for a luxurious beach hotel. Large rooms and suites with kitchenettes, balconies, and sea views are nestled into the bay. Wonderful pool and sun deck area, sea views from the verandah of the American restaurant, and a lively bar to enjoy a cocktail from in the evenings.Views - Panoramic island viewsRomantic BreakLuxuryBeach Life
Ritz Carlton 155 rooms from $419St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
A top of the range Five Star tropical estate for luxury travellers. Stunning suites in contemporary classic style, four gourmet restaurants, spa and health club, tennis, private beach and hotel yachts to charter. Expect nothing less than the best for a romantic beach holiday.Foodies - Four distinctive dining experiences include Bleuwater, Great Bay Lounge, Coconut Cove and Sails.Garden - A 30 acre tropical estate.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Recommended by - Fodors
Caneel Bay 166 rooms from $529St John, US Virgin Islands
A luxury hotel set on a beautiful remote bay. Large attractive rooms and suites have DVD players, balconies, and sea views. Five restaurants, health club and beauty treatments, tennis courts, candle lit dinners on the beach. Luxurious, romantic, relaxing.LuxuryBeach LifeRomantic BreakKids Club - Turtle Town is free for all children aged 3-11 and offers a wide range of supervised activities.Recommended by - Fodors