The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
Overlooking Great Bay, far from the bustling port town of Charlotte Amalie, this lush 30-acre Mediterranean-style resort with terracotta roofs and sunshine-yellow-washed walls stands apart as one of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ most tranquil and civilized oases, thanks to a $40 million renovation in 2006. With only 180 guest rooms, the property is more like a private estate than a big beach hotel complex, and nothing—the infinity-edge pool, white sand beach, aquatic center, restaurants, tennis courts, spa—is ever far away. Generous accommodations, the bulk of which enjoy water views, feature Carib-Colonial touches—dark carved woods, crisp cottons, and cheery color accents. As with many fine hotels, the property’s true appeal lies in its excellent (and warm) service, and in so many of the resort’s special details: a mangrove sanctuary where iguanas roam free; a sushi bar that serves local catches; and moorings for guests who arrive by boat. A barefoot breeziness lies beneath the resort’s sophisticated veneer, and families, as well as couples, will feel at home here.