Marriott Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort
What We Love
- The infinity pool with swim-up bar, tailor-made for sunset cocktails
- Ocean-inspired treatments at the recently upgraded Lazule Sea Spa and Salon
- The photogenic iguanas that wander the grounds
- On-site beach access; plus it's a short water taxi ride to the shops and restaurants in downtown Charlotte Amalie
What To Know
- Parking on-site is free, although entrance roads are steep and difficult to navigate
- Rooms that face sidewalks pick up pedestrian noise
- A $45 resort fee per night will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Thanks to its recent renovation and several fresh coats of paint, the resort’s look reflects a laid-back but contemporary Caribbean vibe (think: clean lines and cool, watery colors). An airy, stone-tiled lobby has panoramic views of the harbor, and exterior passageways link the separate whitewashed buildings, allowing tropical breezes to waft through public spaces. Outdoors, sleek, dark wicker furniture is upholstered in the resort’s signature aqua palette, while warm globe lighting adds a romantic touch.
Bed and Bath
The 478 rooms and suites that make up Frenchman’s Reef and the adjoining beachside Morning Star Resort come in a soothing array of aqua, sage and ivory. Frenchman’s Reef’s guestrooms (some of which have sea views) are an expansive 400 square feet, while all rooms at the Morning Star include a 40-square-foot balcony that are steps to the sand. Suites start at 710 square feet and come with outdoor balcony space and separate living rooms. Contemporary creature comforts — ergonomic work spaces, high-def LCD TVs, luxury bath products and rainfall showerheads across the board — come standard.
The 2011 renovation added an abundance of facilities, from the pampering spa and salon to two new pools (including an infinity pool with the swim-up Azul Pool Bar). The 4,000-square-foot spa welcomes overtaxed guests with a slate of sea-inspired services, a private pool, a cold plunge, a Jacuzzi and a steam room (book a seaside massage in one of the cabanas for a truly relaxing experience). In the main Frenchman’s Reef wing, the Aqua Terra Oceanfront Grill serves up a daily breakfast buffet plus American favorites and harbor views. The open-air Sunset Grill slings the usual array of frozen cocktails and lunch bites, while Presto’s Marketplace, a gift shop/snack bar/café, is convenient for quick bites or picnic provisions. At the Morning Star Beach Club, guests can dine at hip Havana Blue, a Cuban-Caribbean restaurant with a distinctly exotic vibe (and delicious fresh-catch ceviche with yucca). Of course, they can also just hit the pristine sands of Morning Star Beach and leave all the mod cons for another day.
In the Area
Downtown Charlotte Amalie and its assemblage of luxury shops, restaurants, and historical sights is just a short cab ride away. Yacht Haven Grande, a marina cum shopping center perched alongside the harbor, carries outposts of posh labels Coach, BCBG and Louis Vuitton, plus jewelry shops and uber-expensive art galleries. Nearby, restaurant Grande Cru dishes up suave French-Med fare; try the mahi and mussels in billi-bi as you gaze at the million-dollar yachts docked outside. Farther into town, legendary Gladys’ Café awaits with the warmest welcome on St. Thomas (and top-notch island food), perfect for a bite after a stop at Hublot. Back at the resort, the front desk’s Adventure Center can help guests arrange outdoor excursions, from full- and half-day snorkel trips to sailing to the neighboring BVI, to a stop at St. Thomas’s Coral World to get up close and personal with the resident sea lions.
How to Get There
Trip Advisor Reviews
So this was our 3rd trip to St Thomas. We love it there. I’ll admit to being a bit nervous to commit to a 2 week stay since we haven’t been there since the hurricanes. I have to say I needn’t have worried at all! Although there were definitely some losses for sure, some of our favorite restaurants are not reopened yet, and some will not reopen at all, for the most part, St Thomas is definitely open for business!
As usual, we stayed at the wonderful Marriott Frenchman’s Cove property (Time Share). The Marriott Reef is still being rehabbed (looks like a massive job!) but they have a banner that claims that they will be re-opening in 2020. Many of the Cove units have been rehabbed as well. Our unit was completely updated and up to the usual high standards Marriott Vacation Clubs maintain. Yes, you will see crews working on getting the property back to 100%, but they are mainly unobtrusive and always unfailingly polite and pleasant.
I’d like to give a shoutout to Shatelle who was very helpful when I had a booking glitch. Thank you for caring and being so helpful! Also to Margo in the activity center. She has more energy in her little finger than I have in my whole body! She got people involved and enjoying themselves every day! Good job! And Terri in the restaurant took extra special good care of us when ever we ate there. Thank you Terri! Alecia Green, Master Chocolatier gave a very informative and delicious class. I learned a lot about chocolate from her! Then I went to the Belgian Chocolate Factory and bought some yummy chocolates to bring home as gifts! I wish I had the recipe for that delicious hot chocolate she made!!! Finally, Julian West in the time share office was extremely knowledgeable and personable. Thank you all for making our stay so pleasant.
The beach at Sapphire used to be our favorite. This trip it was rocky/shelly. We were told that a lot of the sand washed away with the storms. They do have a newly renovated restaurant and bar that looked like a fun place, but we didn’t bring water shoes, so we moved on.
Lindqvist beach, located just beyond Red Hook was gorgeous! It’s the next cove over from Sapphire beach. There is a fee to enter but I don’t recall how much. It is more low key, doesn’t have any restaurant or bar, but they do have rest rooms and you can rent chairs there. There are some sea grape trees that are good for some shade. The water is an amazing array of colors! Turquoise, sea foam, aqua, deep marine blue, and many others I can’t even name! Smooth bottomed and clear as can be, you can stand up to your neck in water and see your toes! It was quite calm the day we were there. Waaaay less crowded than Mageans Bay. Bring some drinks and snacks. Highly recommend!
Now on to the restaurant reviews!
Have to say Vergilios was our favorite this trip. Old style Italian food served in an eclectic art lovers grotto! The restaurant is small (like maybe 12-15 tables) and outside it is easy to miss, but inside is a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth! Art Nouveau next to Harlem Renaissance, next to Ballet paintings, next to fat lady nudes with a sense of humor. You never know what you’ll see when you look around the place. Service is a bit slow, but that’s island time mon! Hubs had the Osso Bucco. By the time we were done we were calling it AWESOME Bucco! I had the Roasted Lamb with Fettuccine. The lamb was good, tender and with a lovely sauce, but the Fettuccine was the best I’ve ever had! Highly recommend this place. Reservations are recommended. $$$
We also loved Mafolie. Halfway up the mountain, we highly recommend going by taxi or during the daylight hours. Going up those steep roads on the left, with a left side driver seat around hairpin turns, in the dark is... challenging to say the least! Once you get there, go down the stairs and you’ll reach the bar with the best view ever! When we were seated, the table was right next to the railing, beyond that is just... VIEW! You can see half of the island and the harbor from your table! The sunset was spectacular! And then the lights came on and it looked like velvet with stars poured out on it. Beautiful! The food was delicious too. I had the stuffed Caribbean Lobster Tail. It was huge! The chunks of lobster were large and succulent and the other end of the tail was stuffed with crabmeat stuffing. It took up most of the plate! I’m sure there were vegs, but they weren’t as memorable as the main event! Hubs had the Blackened Salmon. Again, large portion of very tasty fish and veg. Definitely an experience we would like to repeat! Reservations are recommended. $$$
The Smoking Rooster BBQ. We did a night of takeaway from this Havensight restaurant/bar. We both had the Sampler Platter dinners. The Ribs, Brisket, Sausage and Pulled Pork were all delicious! The sides were good too, we loved the slaw and the biscuits. The bar looked like a fun place but we took our food to go. Maybe next time? $$
The Greenhouse Restaurant, right across from the harbor was another fave. They have daily specials so make sure you check what’s on the night you are there. They have an extensive menu. I’m sure you’ll find something to your liking. I had the Tuesday Lobster Mania. Caribbean lobster tail which they price by the oz. from 6 ozs ($19.99) all the way up to 12 ozs ($40.99) comes with 2 sides of your choice. the lobster was sweet and tender. Hubs had the Baked Stuffed Grouper Which he said was, ok, but too much cream sauce. It was more like a casserole with chunks of fish in it.
We went back on Prime Rib Thursday and he was much happier. The prime rib was tender and didn’t have a lot of fat. Cooked to his liking at Med Rare. Queen cut is $21.99, King cut is $29.99. Oh, and happy hour drinks 2 for the price of 1! Win, win! $$-$$$
We did go to the east end of the island for dinner one night. Caribbean Fish Market in Red Hook is upstairs in the strip mall by the marina. A cross the street from Duffys Love Shack. There is an elevator. Lovely views of the boats and the pelicans diving for their dinner. There is an open air bar, but we opted for the indoor (air conditioned) restaurant. Again, I had the Stuffed Lobster (hey, I like lobster, ok?) that came with mashers, asparagus and drawn butter. I think I’ve almost decided that I like Caribbean lobster better than cold water lobster! No claws and more meat! The stuffing was good and the lobster was grilled in the split shell. Very tasty, but no crab was apparent. Hubs had the Filet Mignon and liked it just fine. The waitress was very sweet, but I can’t remember her name... all In all an ok restaurant but not the best in the area.$$ - $$$
Now for my only negative review. Blue 11 in Yacht Haven Grande. They have lovely pictures and great reviews so we were looking forward to an awesome experience. The Painkillers were great, they were the best part. The food was all delicious. It was artfully plated and beautiful. I do appreciate the Chef’s vision. At the end of our 7 course tasting menu, we had about, maybe...14 bites of food. Now, I’ve had tasting menus before. I realize they don’t give you a full serving of each of the plates. But. After we paid $250 for the 2 of us, we both looked at each other and said, “Wanna go to Wendy’s?” We left there hungry! The largest plate of food we had was desert and it was a Small cider doughnut with some whipped cream and passion fruit purée and chocolate drizzled over it. I mean, Really? The “salad course” was 3 pieces of (I think it was) Sorrell, 2 slices of paper thin cucumber and 1/2 a cherry tomato. Also, when we were 1st seated they asked if we have any dietary concerns. I asked for no chili’s or pepper. They said, “oh, well.. most of the food has been prepared already. I don’t know what we can do.. maybe we can give you a lamb chop with no pepper on it.” I said no problem, just do what you can. The food ALL had pepper in it. The lamb chop was paper thin. 1 rib chop, sliced in half. So thin the bone was actually sliced in half!!! Why bother to ask if you already prepped the food and can’t do anything else? In any case, the food was very tasty and presented beautifully, but at this price? No thank you. I felt scammed when we left. There was another table celebrating a birthday that night. My hubs figured if they had the 7 course tasting menu, it would have been over $1200. For that table alone. You couldn’t have filled a single grocery bag with the food we and the other table combined ate! So to sum up this long review, unless you only weigh 12 lbs and get filled up by chewing gum, don’t waste your money. There are lots of great restaurants on St Thomas that will feed you well for way less! $$$$
Ballerina Jewelers. I highly recommend them. They treated us like family. We purchased Earrings from them on our last trip. This time a beautiful blue and white diamond ring, to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary. This ring was designed in house in 18k gold. Their designs are beautiful and well priced. They also sized another ring for me. They couldn’t have been nicer. They gave us a wonderful price and backed it up with an appraisal for our insurance. Champagne all around! Then they led me into 2 other shops in the back of the store where they told the cashiers to give me a discount. I purchased a lovely cut work tablecloth & napkins there for a very good price. When we finished they lead us to another store where they sell Lladro figurines. I recommend going on a day when there aren’t many cruise ships in port. You’ll get great service and prices cause there isn’t as much business!
This family-owned restaurant is terrific. Located in a shopping center right next to a grocery store & post office, you can eat, get supplies and mail cards back home at the same place.
Try their ‘famous’ pink sauce with the spaghetti (Mariana, white wine & mushrooms) it’s amazing. We also loved the deep dish pizza (small just 12.95)
We added Italian link sausage to the spaghetti. Grate meal plus lots of left over pizza for under $33!
The rooms were like condos with a living room, dining table, fully stocked kitchen, washer/dryer in the unit!! Plenty of towels! Extremely spacious! The stationary floaties in the ocean were the best!