Contributing editor Laura Sutherland grades a popular family resort that has changed management on their effort and accomplishments, and notes what needs improvement.
Located at the east end of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as far from the hustle and bustle of shopper frenzied Charlotte Amalie as you can get, is the Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina, formerly known as the Doubletree Sapphire Beach.
This is one of the moderately priced Antilles Resorts catering to family beach vacations that have cropped up on a few Caribbean isles; others in the company’s “family-friendly” portfolio are the Club St. Croix and Colony Cove on St. Croix, and The Anchorage, Crystal Cove, Point Pleasant Resort, and Sapphire Village on St. Thomas’ Sapphire Beach.
The seagrape-fringed Sapphire Beach is the site of some serious sand castle building and shelling by the younger set. Older kids can snorkel, windsurf, sail a Sunfish (all complimentary), or get roped into some fun by the staffer whose job is to play beach volleyball with guests throughout the day.
The resort’s spotless suites and villas (all with complete kitchens) are in six unassuming three-story buildings, each with a view of the beach or yacht harbor and the islands of St. John and Tortola beyond. The concierge service is comprehensive, with staff to cater to guests in any type of unity.
Enjoy the magnificent beach steps from your door, or take a 10-minute taxi ride to Red Hook to hop the ferry to idyllic St. John, an unspoiled island that has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Oterh amenities include a full dive service on site as well as boat charters and excursions. A quarter-acre swimming and wading pool overlook the bay and the 67-slip marina.
Because the complimentary children’s program for ages 4-12 is operated on a drop-in basis, young guests peek in throughout the day and are quickly engaged by interesting activities and the promise of new friends. Evening care is offered for a fee. Children under 12 eat free in any of the resort’s three simple cafes or two formal restaurants, including the Seagrape, considered one of the island’s best.
By the way, if you reserve any suites through the company’s website, and select the Point Pleasant or Sapphire Beach Resort, you can add a second suite for 50% of the price of the first unit. Overall, this is a top value, if basic, condo resort.
Resort Report Card
|Name:||Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina|
|Address:||Rt. 6 Smith Bay
|Seasonal Rates:||$ – $$|
|Choice of Activities:||B+|
|Quality of Amenities:||B+|
|Bonus:||Casual and friendly complimentary drop-in kid’s program; connecting suites are 50% off.|
|Note:||Well priced, easy to get to for a long weekend, action-packed enough for a week-long stay.|
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