Resort Pools

Planning Your Trip

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Brimming with history and ringed with white-sand beaches and spectacular snorkeling destinations, St. Thomas, known as the gateway isle of the U.S. Virgin Islands, offers visitors a wide array of activities from historic tours to watersports. Here’s what to bring to take advantage of the best of the island.

A built-up shore overlooks boats on the water
A built-up shore overlooks boats on the water
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
What To Pack

U.S. citizens traveling to St. Thomas are allowed a duty-free shopping quota of $1,600 — significantly larger than anywhere else in the world. If you plan on shopping, consider bringing an extra carry-on to bring home your purchases. If traveling to the British Virgin Islands, a valid passport and customs fee is required for entry.

Beach Vacation

With 30 acres of pristine oceanfront, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas is ideal for swimming, sunning and generally relaxing on the water. Pack these essentials to make the most of your R&R:

  • Bring a few bathing suits. It’s best to have a fresh suit waiting while the suit from the morning’s dip is drying.

  • While the weather is generally in the 80s during the day and averages in the low 70s at night, it’s wise to bring a light layer or pashmina both to shield yourself from the sun and to ward off any chill from the air conditioning inside.

  • Be prepared for lots of sunny days on St. Thomas — bring sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen with SPF.
Resort Essentials

Life on the property is largely quite casual — bathing suits and flip-flops are de rigueur — so pack your favorite summer staples made for relaxing.

  • A fun caftan to throw on over a bathing suit or cotton or linen shorts and shirt outfit are good versatile items that will take you from a beachside cabana to a casual poolside lunch.

  • “Resort casual” is the dress code at Bleuwater and Essenza restaurants — meaning bathing suits and, for men, sleeveless shirts are not permitted — so bring an easy change of clothes if you’re planning on a dinner reservation at either spot.
Outdoor Adventure

There is a lot to do both on- and off-site, from sailing on the resort’s private catamaran to a day of private island hopping. Here’s what to bring to take advantage of every opportunity:

  • For hiking to hidden beaches as well as exploring shorelines on private isles, bring a pair of sturdy, nonslip and water-resistant shoes.

  • While snorkeling gear is included on any snorkeling activities, consider wearing a rash guard to protect skin, particularly children’s, from the sun.

  • Rainfall peaks in May and again around September. While the total rainfall often isn’t significant, it’s wise to bring a light waterproof layer.
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
What To Reserve

It’s no wonder that St. Thomas is the most well-known of the three major U.S. Virgin Islands — pristine white beaches, elevated dining experiences, exciting outdoor activities and year-round sunshine make it an ideal destination. Here’s what to schedule before you visit to make the most of your time. 

There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors while at the resort. Plan on spending a day trying out the resort’s stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, Hobie Cats, or snorkel equipment for a day on the water, or hop on the Lady Lynsey II for a day sail on the Caribbean Sea. For a bit of R&R, reserve one of poolside cabanas or the exclusive beach gazebo for the day.

Reserve ahead at Bleuwater for Asian-inspired cuisine with local sashimi, stir fry and an Asian take on the fresh catch. At Alloro, enjoy authentic Italian fare and an extensive wine list while dining indoors or eat alfresco to the soft Caribbean breezes. Dine beachfront at Coconut Cove, with St. Thomas specialties and Caribbean influence.

Indulge in a day of pampering at the spa. Of particular note are the Seaside Cabana Massage, performed to the soundtrack of gentle waves and the sea breeze, and the Island Indulgence Massage, an aromatherapy massage combined with a hydrating foot mask and hot coconut oil hair treatment.

Spend a day off-site experiencing the history of the island with a visit to the picturesque “99 steps” (actually 103) that cut through the hills near Charlotte Amalie harbor; the nearby Blackbeard’s Castle dating back to the 1600s; or the St. Thomas Synagogue with its unique sand floor. Take a scenic drive to Mountain Top — the highest point on St. Thomas; visit 11 acres of private botanic gardens nestled atop the island’s volcanic peaks; or visit Coral World to enter the Undersea Observatory Tower — an underwater viewing gallery that allows visitors to see marine life up close and in their natural habitat.

A pool appears to lead into the ocean at sunset
A pool appears to lead into the ocean at sunset
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

As the gateway island to the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas is ripe with history and dramatic scenic beauty. Its capital city, Charlotte Amalie, was founded by Dutch explorers in the 17th century and is now a major cruise ship port, as well as a popular destination for snorkelers, scuba divers, eco-tourists and beachgoers. With vibrant blue water, pristine beaches and plenty of museums, landmarks — including a pirate watchtower — and fine bars and restaurants to explore, St. Thomas is primed for both relaxation and adventure. 


Start fresh. At lattes in paradise in the red hook area of the island, you’ll find fresh, delicious mango, banana and other tropical smoothies. They’re a light, refreshing way to start your day. And, should you want something a little heartier, lattes in paradise offers delicious breakfast entrees as well — all served with stunning views of the harbor.

Take to the trees. As the only zip-line canopy tour in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Tree Limin’ Extreme takes visitors to a lush tropical rainforest atop St. Peter Mountain. From there, you’ll cruise six zip-lines, two sky bridges, and eight aerial platforms. It’s an adrenaline rush and an opportunity to experience a beautiful bird’s-eye view of the island. In all, your excursion will take between two and a half and three hours.



Fuel up. After you’ve flown across a portion of the island, refuel by finding Stone House Cafe, a slightly hidden restaurant off the side street of Main Street. This island favorite dishes up fresh catch sandwiches as well as Caribbean staples, tacos and bowls. Finish your lunch with a stop at St. John Brewers Tasting Room on Waterfront for a local brew while admiring the yachts in the harbor.

Find quiet on a kayak. Just off the eastern end of St. Thomas is Cas Cay, where you will travel through the narrow mangrove waterways, home to a unique ecosystem. With Virgin Islands Ecotours, you can kayak, hike and snorkel around the island with a visit to the tidal pools, volcanic cliffs and a geological blowhole.



Unwind. You’ve packed so much into one day, unwind with dinner at Bleuwater at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. Asian-inspired cuisine with local sashimi, stir fry and an Asian take on the fresh catch are paired with an extensive wine list and exclusive handcrafted cocktails. Start with the yellowfin tuna and watermelon sashimi, follow with the golden tempura grouper, then finish with your favorite dessert.


Find your fish. It’s no secret that, on st. Thomas, you’re surrounded by water. Take to it to catch some fish of your own. Ocean surfari offers four-hour sport-fishing tours that depart at 7:30 a.M. And return at 11:30 a.M. Get lucky, and you might catch one of the island’s huge, famous yellowfin tunas.

Soothe sore muscles. If the idea of fishing isn’t up your alley, consider gearing up for an afternoon of adventure with a trip to the resort spa at the Ritz-Carlton, st. Thomas instead. An island indulgence massage is a great way to treat your body and includes a full-body aromatherapy massage as well as an exfoliating, hydrating foot mask.



Snag a sandwich. A person can work up an appetite fishing (or relaxing), but Northside Grind makes it easy to fill up. With a full service deli, smoothies and coffee, this local favorite on the Northside of the island offers the freshest ingredients, guaranteed to fuel you up after an eventful morning.

Walk it off. The Magens Bay Trail is a favorite on St. Thomas, starting in a mixed-dry forest, moving through tropical forest, then descending onto a stunning beach. Of course, you’ll have to climb on the return, but the bit of extra work is worth it. This trail runs through pristine nature conservancy property and affords hikers sweeping views of the bay.



Flavor fusion. Relax at the Resort with an evening on the terrace of Alloro overlooking the moonlit waters of Great Bay. Allow your taste buds to transport you to Sicily with imported staples accompanied by locally sourced seafood. Polenta e Tartufo or Bruschetta make an amazing appetizer. Treat your pasta dish as an entrée with the Gnocchi alla Carrettiera or go for seconds with the grilled catch of the day. You get the idea. Alloro is elegant, intimate and delicious.


Eat in. Enjoy an in-room breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas as you prepare for a day of adventure. Plan ahead to have fresh fruit, savory eggs or delicious pastries delivered straight to your door.

Go under. Known for some of the best snorkeling in the world, st. Thomas’ clear blue waters are home to sea turtles, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo and barracuda. St. Thomas Snorkel & Scuba Adventures offers a four- or five-hour multi-beach adventure that includes drop-off on a thriving reef in the Atlantic Ocean and a sea turtle haven in the Caribbean sea. Because the tours are private, they can be customized to your specific needs and desires.



Lunch with locals. For more than 20 years, Gladys’ Cafe has been St. Thomas’ go-to spot for local Caribbean cuisine. Jerk wings and conch fritters are a favorite dish, along with local snapper. Aching for a sandwich, instead? Try the jerk chicken sandwich with a side of peas, rice and plantains.

Stand up. Now that you’ve been under the water, stand atop it on a paddle board. Explore the beauty of Great Bay and the underwater reef just off the shores of the Resort. With paddle boards and snorkel gear available at Hotel beach, enjoy the afternoon admiring the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.



Dine at an estate. The first danish governor of St. Thomas, Jurgen Iversen, built a stunning beachside estate in the late 17th century. Now, that property is home to Oceana, a romantic island restaurant that serves the finest in local cuisine. Anchored by fresh-caught seafood, the menu is elegant and reserved, while the setting is nothing short of extraordinary.


Load up. Enjoy breakfast at Bleuwater, the Ritz-Carlton, st. Thomas’ signature restaurant. You can build your own omelet or enjoy smoked gravlax on a bagel. Bananas foster french toast is so rich and decadent, you’ll crave it again later.

Feel the burn. After breakfast, head to the town of Charlotte Amalie. On one of its side streets, 99 steps lead up, up, up to Blackbeard’s castle, a 17th-century watchtower named for the legendary pirate Edward teach. From the hilltop, take your own (or a guided) walking tour of old manor houses and enjoy the incredible views.



Treat yourself. Shopping on st. Thomas might mean that you pick up a beautiful new piece of jewelry — for which the island is known — or perhaps a bottle of rum or a piece from a local artist. In charlotte Amalie, try the pirate’s chest for kitschy souvenirs or grand jewelers for something a bit swankier.

One for the road. Before returning to the Ritz-Carlton, st. Thomas, grab a bite at Greengos Caribbean Cantina. This local favorite features southwestern and Latin-inspired cuisine, as well as a bright island atmosphere.



Beach it. After your morning trip to charlotte Amalie, relax for a while. The resort is on the white sands of Great Bay, a blue flag beach thanks to its environmental standards and water purity. If you’re not one to sit back and read a book, try your hand at a water sport. The resort offers stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, hobie cats and snorkel equipment.

Paddle out. Should you prefer a little adventure, instead of lounging by the beach, virgin islands ecotours offers a guided kayak tour through the mangroves and into the wildlife sanctuary & marine reserve winding shallow waterways. Keep your eye out for local marine life, including tarpon and stingrays while exploring the nature of St. Thomas. A 2.5-hour tour and a 45-minute snorkel make for an exciting way to explore the island’s unique ecosystems.



Eat well. Travel the short distance to Red Hook Plaza for dinner at XO Bistro. This casually elegant restaurant features an award-winning wine list and an extensive dinner menu of salads, surf (local, of course), turf, and pasta. After dinner, consider a cocktail — the pomegranate ginger sparkler is a light, refreshing way to end the evening.

Morning — Midday

Set sail. Climb aboard the resort’s luxury catamaran, Lady Lynsey II, into the virgin island’s national park to discover the wonders of snorkeling with sea turtles. After a sail towards the iconic Maho Bay on St. John, immerse yourself in the calm, turquoise waters to snorkel with green and hawksbill sea turtles. After the first snorkeling stop, enjoy a full picnic-style lunch on board and a selection of beverages from the open bar before the boat sails the shores of the national park for a second snorkel stop.



Find a photo opportunity. Drake’s Seat affords visitors a panoramic view of Magens Bay and the U.S. And British Virgin Islands. According to legend, Sir Francis Drake used this spot to spy on enemy Spanish ships passing through what’s now known as Drake’s passage.

Mind the Pain Killer. Magen’s Bay Beach Bar is known for a lot of things — its friendly service and beautiful location among them — but it’s best known for its Pain Killer, a delicious blend of Pusser’s rum, four parts pineapple juice, one part cream of coconut and one part orange juice. It’s served over ice and garnished with nutmeg. In a nutshell, it goes down easy.



Catch the sunset. According to locals, the best place to watch the sunset on st. Thomas is on Water Island. Ride the ferry from Tickles Dockside Pub, then climb the hill to watch the sky fill with stunning streaks of pink, purple and orange and reflect in beautiful turquoise water.

Tickle your taste buds. Return to Tickles for dinner and enjoy a laid-back atmosphere, American-style pub food and an extensive beer and cocktail menu — all with incredible views. Fresh desserts typically include mango cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter pie and key lime pie.