St Thomas, St Croix & St John benefit from major tourism upgrades
More than $500 million dollars invested in new and expanded tourism projects
PRESS RELEASE - 2007
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (October 31, 2007) - As one of the most scenic and romantic destinations in the Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands continues to react to the tourism industry's impressive growth with responsible expansion and development investments totaling more than $500 million. The breathtaking islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas boast new and refurbished marinas, restaurants, hotels and resorts, further solidifying the reputation of America's Caribbean as the region?s top choice for travelers seeking a luxury vacation.
"Our three glorious islands are constantly benefiting from positive development projects that give our repeat guests and first-time visitors the best experiences possible," says Beverly Nicholson-Doty, U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism, referring to endeavors including the Yacht Haven Grande marina in St. Thomas, airfare credits to St. Croix and villa conversions at the Westin St. John Resort. "These ventures underscore how important the tourism industry is to our islands, and help to assure that America's Caribbean remains a top destination pick for sophisticated travelers from all over the world."
Among the exciting developments are the following:
Department Of Tourism Gives Visitors Airfare Credit To St. Croix The USVI Department of Tourism has introduced the St. Croix Fantastic Flight Promo, making America's Caribbean even more accessible to travelers looking for an easy getaway. Through November 13, 2007, the Department of Tourism is offering each visitor a $250 airfare credit for a minimum seven-night stay in St. Croix, based on double occupancy at participating hotels. The St. Croix Fantastic Flight Promo is valid for future travel dates: December 1-20, 2007; and January 2-31, April 1-30 and May 5-31, 2008. Guests will enjoy accommodations at some of St. Croix's finest hotels and resorts: The Buccaneer, Carambola Beach Resort, Chenay Bay Beach Resort, Club St. Croix Beach Resort, Colony Cove Beach Resort, Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino, the Hotel Caravelle, King Christian Hotel, the Palms at Pelican Cove and Sand Castle on the Beach. Reservations can be made through Apple Vacations, Classic Vacations, Festa Holidays, GoGo Worldwide Vacations, Island Resort Tours, The Mark Travel, Total Vacations, Travel Impressions and US Airways Vacations. For more information, visit usvitourism.vi.
Pond Bay on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands Pond Bay, a 15-acre development consisting of 50 exquisitely furnished three-bedroom cottages and villas, on one of the last beachfront properties is in development on the island of St. John. Scheduled for completion in December 2008, Pond Bay will be the sister property to St. Barth's highly acclaimed Isle de France Club and feature recreational facilities such as a large beachfront pool with gazebo bar and beach club. The heart of the Pond Bay project, both socially and geographically?will be the Pond Bay House, which will be home to an elegant yet comfortable 100-seat restaurant adjacent to the 16,000-square-foot destination spa designed by the internationally acclaimed E'SPA group and a gym featuring a wide array of cardiovascular activities.
In addition, Pond Bay is aggressively taking steps not only to protect the environment but also to enhance it. The Pond will remain untouched to maintain the natural migration of birds and other animals while planting additional mangroves to improve drainage. A Turtle Monitoring Program has been implemented to provide better beach nesting areas. Pond Bay is monitoring water quality both in the bay and the pond to enhance the health of the critical coral formations and sea grasses. For more information, contact Daphna Barzilay at (212) 683-2442.
Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas Since its debut in March 2007, the $150 million Yacht Haven Grande has claimed its rightful place as the Caribbean's most comprehensive and well-appointed marina. Specifically designed for mega-yachts and catering to those who own or operate them, Yacht Haven Grande is a mixed-use luxury lifestyle destination overlooking the largest natural harbor in the Caribbean. This world-class complex features a Yacht Club, extensive retail and office space, four restaurants and 12 three-bedroom condominiums with balconies facing the sparkling waters. From its Long Bay Harbor location, yachtsmen may dock vessels up to 450 feet in length, refuel in-slip and have in-slip access to high-speed communications connections. Gourmet provisions, catering, laundry and florist services are among Yacht Haven Grande other thoughtful amenities. Yacht Haven Grande is a project of Island Capital Group, LLC, a New York-based real estate merchant-banking firm. For more information, visit yachthavengrande.com.
Marriott Frenchman's Cove, St. Thomas Marriott Vacation Club International is constructing the multimillion-dollar Marriott Frenchman's Cove, its first timeshare resort on St. Thomas.. Adjacent to the 504-room Frenchman?s Reef Marriott Beach Resort and spread over 13 waterfront acres overlooking Pacquereau Bay, the timeshare resort's first phase features 28 Danish colonial-inspired villas with balconies, an Infinity pool and a fitness center. A health club and pool bar will follow soon. When completed, the property will comprise 220 two- and three-level vacation homes within seven buildings for owners and renters. For further details, call (800) 527-1787 or visit marriott-timeshare.com .
Upscale Cottage Campground Opens On Water Island, St. Thomas Visitors who yearn to feel close to nature without giving up the comforts of home will love the newly opened Virgin Islands Campground on residential, 500-acre Water Island, just a ten-minute ferry ride from Crown Bay, St. Thomas. Its eco-sensitive wood-frame-and-canvas cottages are nestled among lush foliage and have private terraces that overlook the sea. In order to maintain a minimal environmental footprint, cottages are equipped with wind-powered electricity, comfortable beds, linens and towels, lounge chairs and a cooler. Guests can sunbathe next to the solar-heated hot tub or take a five-minute walk down to beautiful Honeymoon Beach. They can also grill and eat meals at the nearby Pavilion (gas grill, cooking utensils and dishware provided) and wash up at the clean and spacious communal Bathhouse with solar-heated collected rainwater used for the sinks and showers. For those who prefer their own space, the campground rents one efficiency apartment with a king-size bed, kitchenette, private bath and an ocean view. The campground offers bicycle and snorkel rentals and a communications room with Internet access and satellite TV. Cottage rates start at $75 per night, double occupancy. For further information, call (877) 502-7225 or visit virginislandscampground.com.
At Home in the Tropics Bed and Breakfast, St. Thomas At Home in the Tropics, a delightful bed and breakfast in St. Thomas, recently opened on Blackbeard's Hill overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor. A gracious former home built in 1803, this intimate B&B features four sunny and spacious guest rooms, all with private baths and picturesque ocean views. Guests can relax on one of three decks, swim in the deep-water pool, help themselves to the honor bar and wake to a sumptuous breakfast each morning. For further details, call (340) 777-9857 or visit athomeinthetropics.com.
HOTEL RENOVATION PROJECTS $25 Million Renovation Complete At Frenchman's Reef And Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, St. Thomas This summer welcomed the completion of the hotly anticipated, two-year, $25 million overhaul, which has enhanced every public space in the 479-room Frenchman's Reef. Guests will enjoy Revive bedding, mahogany and granite furniture, new window treatments and new bathroom amenities in both the main hotel and the more intimate 96-unit beachfront Morning Star Resort. All 28 suites at Frenchman's Reef have been refreshed, with $100,000 spent on each of the four bi-level Grand Suites. The lobbies in both buildings have been renewed with brightly hued, contemporary Caribbean furniture. Morning Star Resort now boasts a more relaxed check-in area, while the attractive pod seating in the lobby of Frenchman's Reef is conducive to socializing and conducting business. And Windows on the Harbour, one of the resort's five restaurants, features new carpeting and booths as well as a revised menu, which includes a "Fit for you" section offering low-cholesterol, carb-conscious and low-fat meals. For further details and reservations, call (800) 524-2000 or visit frenchmansreefmarriott.com.
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas Consistently ranked among the finest resorts in the Caribbean, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, has completed extensive renovations and enhancements to its 30-acre beachfront property. The $40 million project includes the addition of 55 guest rooms, 16 executive suites, four presidential suites and two beautifully designed villas. The guest experience has been dramatically enhanced, with significant improvements in areas ranging from spa and weddings to dining. The Ritz-Carlton Spa has doubled in size, adding eight treatment rooms, open-air cabanas, an outdoor relaxation terrace overlooking the ocean and separate ocean-view exercise studios. Already a favorite setting for small weddings, the resort will add two outdoor gazebos for seaside ceremonies, as well as a meditation garden where brides can choose tropical flowers for their bridal bouquet and couples can plant a tree as an enduring symbol of their love. Culinary upgrades include reconfigured and enlarged restaurants, featuring Ocean's, the resort's eclectic seafood restaurant serving the island's freshest catch, and Sails, an oceanfront favorite with all-day open-air dining directly on the Caribbean. For details and reservations, call (800) 241-3333 or visit ritzcarlton.com.
Westin St. John Resort & Villas, St. John The Westin St. John Resort & Villas is converting 186 existing hotel rooms in seven buildings located within the resort's hillside section into 94 two- and three-bedroom villas for sale overlooking Great Cruz Bay. Construction of the first 54 villas began in July 2006 with an expected occupancy in late 2007, and the second phase of 40 villas will begin shortly thereafter. The Westin St. John Resort & Villas currently has a total of 92 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas. Owners and guests will enjoy full access to all amenities at The Westin St. John, including the pools, spa, fitness facility, beachside water activities, tennis, Westin Kids Club and hotel restaurants. For more information, call (866) 4-STAR-PR or visit westinresortstjohn.com.
Carambola Beach Resort, St. Croix Located on St. Croix's north shore, the oceanfront Carambola Beach Resort has announced that it will join the Renaissance Hotels & Resorts family. In conjunction with this important news, the 151-room resort will undergo a transformation thanks to a $20 million renovation and expansion of its accommodations, meeting spaces, restaurants and lounges and public spaces. In addition, the resort's lavish new 2,200 square-foot Larimar Spa has recently opened. For more details, call (888) 503-8760 or visit carambolabeach.com.
The Buccaneer, St. Croix The Buccaneer resort is undergoing a $4 million property renovation, which will include an overhaul of the lobby, Terrace restaurant and bar, room improvements, golf course re-design and more. The renovation project is expected to be completed by November 15, 2007, just in time for the busy winter season. The Buccaneer was founded in the 17th century and has been family-run for generations. The Caribbean's and U.S. Virgin Island's longest running resort, The Buccaneer blends old world charm with warm hospitality and the amenities expected by today's most sophisticated travelers. For more details, call (800) 255-3881 or visit thebuccaneer.com.
NEW/UPDATED CRUISE FACILITIES Crown Bay Center, St. Thomas Having recently opened on St. Thomas, the $28 million Crown Bay Center provides visitors and residents with an unsurpassed range of products and services. This upscale, waterfront retail shopping and commercial center, located on the southwest side of the island at the Crown Bay cruise ship pier, offers a range of new dining options, nightly entertainment, specialty retail and tourist-oriented retail outlets. For more information, call (340) 774-1629.
Frederiksted Revitalization, St. Croix The Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility, the main cruise ship port for St. Croix and the Frederiksted pier area have undergone a comprehensive transformation. Visitors and residents will now enjoy a lush park, fountains and cobbled pedestrian paths stretching one-quarter mile along the town's waterfront. The pier was upgraded to accommodate two eagle-class vessels and two mini-cruise vessels and now serves as a gateway to St. Croix. A shopping area with permanent vendors' booths is located within walking distance of the pier with space for additional booths on days when cruise ships dock. Taxis and tour buses regularly depart from the pier, taking visitors to Christiansted, the island's other main town, and to beaches, shopping and attractions throughout the island. Along the waterfront, an elevated stage provides the perfect setting for Frederiksted?s monthly Sunset Jazz Festivals, where residents and visitors enjoy music from locally and internationally acclaimed jazz artists against the backdrop of a spectacular Caribbean sunset.
NEW ATTRACTIONS New Visitor Center Opens On St. Thomas The Lucky Iguana Visitor Center recently opened its doors for business. Located at the corner of Main Street and the historic Rothschild Francis Market Square in the heart of Charlotte Amalie?s downtown shopping district on St. Thomas, the Visitor Center provides information and concierge services on attractions, restaurants, shopping, nightlife and the arts; maps; special event schedules; detailed information about hotels & public transportation; the Wifi Hot Spot Caf¨¦ & Ice Cream Corner with Internet & email services; a boutique souvenir shop; a Western Union Money Transfer booth; same-day luggage storage; phones and phone cards; an ATM; and video lottery games. The Visitor Center will be open Monday though Saturday from 9 a..m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call The Lucky Iguana Visitor Center at (340) 774-0450.
ParadiseGate, St. Thomas Recently opened on the West Indian Company cruise ship dock in St. Thomas, ParadiseGate is an exciting multi-use recreational center and club that includes a swimming pool, a full-service gym (offering both day passes and annual memberships) and a game room with pool tables, flat-screen TVs and an arcade. Guests will also find an espresso bar and two full-service restaurants, one of which specializes in local dishes. In addition, web-savvy guests can take advantage of a 30-station Internet kiosk, as well as a wireless phone center and a Western Union office. ParadiseGate is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For further details, call (340) 714-1400 or visit paradisegate.net.
Butterfly Farm Opens At Havensight Mall, St. Thomas The Butterfly Farm opened on the Cruise Ship Dock at Havensight Mall in St. Thomas last month. Visitors walk through a 10,000 square-foot atrium, which contains beautiful tropical landscaped gardens, exotic flowers and pools as well as 30 unique species of butterflies from all over the world that fly freely around the space. A twenty-five minute guided tour provides information on the evolutionary cycle of the butterflies from microscopic eggs to exotic caterpillars. The Butterfly Farm is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (the last tour is at 4:30 p.m.). Admission is $9 for children and $15 for adults. Admission is free for children under 3. For more information, call (340) 715 3366 or visit thebutterflyfarm.com.
Sea Lions Splash Down At Coral World Ocean Park, St. Thomas Earlier this year, Coral World welcomed four male South American sea lions to its facility at Coki Point. Romeo, Remo, Omar and Franco arrived from the International Sea Lion Search and Rescue facility in Koh Samui, Thailand, where they have lived for the last two years. Coral World has begun to invite small groups of visitors to interact with the sea lions. During an educational briefing, participants will learn about various topics including sea lion habitat, feeding habits, predation, reproductive biology, threats to longevity, and conservation. Following the orientation, participants will have an opportunity to see a demonstration of behaviors by the sea lions and then swim with them. For more information about Coral World Ocean Park, visit coralworldvi.com.
Grande Cru Wine Bar and Bistro Opens In Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas Grande Cru is the latest epicurean addition to the impressive roster of restaurants within Yacht Haven Grande, and its arrival only adds to the allure of this spectacular new waterside marina, entertainment facility and lifestyle destination in St. Thomas. Grande Cru, a sophisticated waterfront wine bar that specializes in wine flights, martinis and signature cocktails, also serves small, tapas-style plates of delicious Mediterranean fare-all with a tropical flair. For further details, call (340) 775-8278 or visit yachthavengrande.com.
Green Innovations, New Pavilion And Caf¨¦ At Estate Concordia Preserve, St. John Estate Concordia Preserve's latest addition includes a store, a caf¨¦ with alfresco dining and an event pavilion with a large open space boasting a 280-degree panoramic view. The Concordia Pavilion and Caf¨¦ features a 1,500-square-foot greenhouse-covered roof deck and an open-air restaurant overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Offering a stunning setting, the wheelchair-accessible pavilion can easily accommodate parties of 50 or more for meetings, retreats, workshops, weddings, receptions and yoga. St. John architect Glenn Speer used green building techniques throughout: The Pavilion deck was built entirely of rock-filled gabion baskets excavated from the site, which were then planted with native vines and hanging plants to blend into the natural landscape. Water is collected from the roof and made potable onsite. Glass blocks invite natural light and fixtures were crafted at Maho Bay Camps recycled arts center. Estate Concordia Preserve, on the less traveled southeast corner of St. John, abuts the Virgin Islands National Park's Salt Pond area. Salt Pond Bay's white sand and calm water are an easy 15-minute walk from Concordia along a scenic trail. Each of Concordia?s 25 eco-tents is solar-powered (shower, lights, refrigerators, electric fans) and includes a sleeping loft in addition to a first-floor bedroom area. For further details and reservations, call (800) 392-9004 or visit maho.org.
Information about the USVI For information about the United States Virgin Islands, visit usvitourism.vi. When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel including on-line check-in, making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.