A string of islands dotting the Caribbean Sea are easily accessible to vacationers from the United States — and they don’t even require a passport to do so! St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix are the three islands that make up the U.S. territory of Virgin Islands. Among the Caribbean islands, St. Thomas has the most resorts and is a major cruise ship stop, whereas St. John is significantly more serene and home to magnificent villas. While St. Croix is the largest (and farthest away), it also offers the best dive locations and the most intact indigenous culture.
Most of the resorts on the islands are not all-inclusive, although there are a few exceptions. For those seeking all-inclusive resorts in the United States Virgin Islands where they can forget about their purses and wallets, there are a handful of excellent options.
All-inclusive resorts in the U.S. Virgin Islands have their own distinct personalities, and as a result, they differ from one another.
1. The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas
It’s the island’s most luxurious hotel, with marble floors, Grecian columns, blooming orchids, big French doors, ornate chandeliers, and ancient urns spread around the massive open-air complex. Its only major advantages over the Marriott are its pool and beachside drink service, standard room balconies, and proximity to Red Hook’s cuisine.
The Ritz is located on a designated marine-life reserve, which means it is close to some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the US Virgin Islands. The hotel bought trees from all over the world to provide an exotic, global image. Among them are African sausage trees and coconut palms (which are less common on the island). Wooden plaques indicate the flora. But the Caneel Bay resort, with seven isolated beaches inside a national park, is simply stunning.
The 180 guest rooms are spread out around the Ritz’s core building, which houses the lobby, reception, jewelry store, and gift stores (I stayed in the Begonia building). While employees use golf carts, visitors must walk 10 minutes to the beach, pool, restaurants, and other destinations — not appropriate for people with little children or mobility issues. Although personnel occasionally offer a lift, I found this unreliable (especially at night). They often drove right by me.
The Ritz is big enough that most groups don’t have to interact directly. Generally, guests must have fun. Nightlife is limited at the Ritz, and most guests retire by midnight. Live music is rare. A popular wedding location, the resort’s restaurants, such as Sails on the Beach, frequently close for wedding celebrations.
2. Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove
This Marriott branch has gone to great lengths to make customers feel like they are in the Caribbean. The buildings boast vibrant exteriors, Juliet balconies, and other traditional decoration that sets them apart from Marriott’s sometimes cookie-cutter offerings. The scenery is magnificent, with palm palms and verdant grass in every direction, and attractive fountains and stone work. The interiors feature red clay tile floors, a grand staircase, and arched doors with ornamental iron gates. Tropical accents like a thatched roof and river stone behind the reception complete the look.
The hotel’s setting on a rocky peninsula facing Morningstar Bay is unique on St. Thomas. However, there are no nearby attractions. Downtown Charlotte Amalie’s shops, restaurants, and ferry terminal (to St. John and the British Virgin Islands) are 15 minutes distant. 99 Steps, Magen’s Bay, and Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge are all within a 20-minute drive.
As a four-pearl facility, guests can expect practically every resort feature. There are four restaurants and 24-hour room service (fee). Three pools, including two infinity pools, and a soft sand beach provide plenty of water-centric relaxing area. The full-service spa and salon also has a private pool for spa customers. The hotel’s resort fee includes parking and Wi-Fi, but it’s expensive.
The hotel has four restaurants. Aqua Terra Oceanfront Grill serves breakfast and dinner in the Frenchman’s Wing. The room features dark wood furnishings, nautical colors, and elegant tropical elements, with views of Morningstar Bay. The a la carte and buffet menus are standard Western fare. Sunset Grill, on the Frenchman’s side sundeck, serves lunch and dinner on a spacious open-air terrace. The menu includes Western-friendly cuisine as well as Caribbean seafood delicacies (baked lobster and calamari). The food at the listed eateries is subpar at best and expensive at worst.
A great stone staircase leads from the entrance to an expansive sundeck in the Frenchman’s Wing. Two infinity pools offer breathtaking views of the bay. The reasonably large main pool is the focal point for most water-based activities. The atmosphere is energetic but not raucous. A few yards away is an adults-only pool with a private hot tub deck.
Long steps descend from the main Frenchman’s Reef building to the hotel’s large soft sand beach. There are a few wooden picnic tables and lengthy rows of basic lounge chairs for seating. However, a scarcity of umbrellas makes shade difficult to come by. However, Coco Joe’s adjacent serves light lunches and has a full-service bar. A cabana near the beach’s far east end rents out non-motorized and powered water sports equipment. The beach is big enough for the hotel, but it’s also open to day-pass holders from cruise ships, who can easily overrun the place.
The LAZULE spa is decently sized yet feels modest in comparison to the resort. Natural rock walls, smooth, milky marble, and delicate tropical-inspired Zen touches make up the design. The spa offers massages (couples massages and private poolside cabana massages), body wraps, body scrubs, and facials. The nearby salon offers nail, hair, waxing, and makeup services. The spa offers steam rooms, private plunge pools, and a full-size pool for spa clients alone.
3. Carambola Beach Resort St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
The Renaissance Carambola is surrounded by lush tropical gardens and boasts a magnificent beach set among verdant hills. The hotel’s beautiful natural setting draws a wide range of visitors, including families and honeymooners. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a fruity rum drink with a little umbrella. There are palm trees all across the grounds, and many of the communal areas are open-walled and breezy. The lobby’s neutral color tone is complemented by creative, sculptural chairs and huge bamboo banquettes with fashionable decorative pillows. Paddle fans and carved wood panels adorn the walls. The on-site restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, as well as weekly entertainment.
St. Croix Renaissance Carambola Beach Resort and Spa is located in St Croix, on the northern border of Frederiksted and Christiansted estates. It’s in the tropical rainforest and has its own private beach. The resort is only accessible by automobile, and it takes at least 35 minutes to get to downtown Christiansted. Luckily, there are a few nice options nearby, such Waves at Cane Bay or Rowdy Joe’s. While visitors must drive 40 minutes to the nearest marina for boat tours to Buck Island or sailing activities, the resort has its own dive shop where guests can snorkel or dive the Davis Bay Wall. Golfers may drive to Carambola Golf Club in under 8 minutes. Point Udall, the country’s easternmost point, is roughly an hour away by car, while the resort is about 20 minutes from the airport.
4. The Westin St. John Resort Villas
The Westin St. John Resort Villas is the island’s largest resort. The Westin brand is known for its exquisite landscaping and sophisticated, upmarket décor. A huge pool, two beachfront restaurants, and a full-service spa and salon are included. Lots of fun for youngsters. The 226 modern villas include complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, kitchens or kitchenettes, and some even have pools. Sadly, surcharges like a high daily resort fee can get old. For a more private setting, the adjacent Gallows Point Resort offers stylish villas with full kitchens at comparable rates.
The largest resort in St. John is a reliably premium refuge in the southwest portion of the island. The outside and grounds are meticulously maintained, while the interiors are sleek and modern. Expect breezy architecture, delicate cream tones, warm wood-veneer surfaces, and light pinks, yellows, and blues. Wicker brings the island indoors.
The resort is huge, so golf carts are available for free for guests. The hotel has one of the island’s largest pools, which is clean, well-maintained, and seems private (though it is technically semi-private). Guests congregate in both sections throughout the day, despite the outdoor complex’s vastness. Bar cuisine is available at the seaside Snorkels Bar & Grill. The area is busy until shortly after dinner, when the property becomes very peaceful. The atmosphere is energetic yet not raucous, attracting both families and couples.
5. The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort, Trademark St Croix USVI
The Buccaneer, a four-pearl resort outside of Christiansted, is one of St. Croix’s most popular large-scale resorts. An abundance of on-site activities and amenities (including a golf course) make for a genuinely luxurious vacation. They are all enormous, with beautiful wood ceilings and tropical features, but some are more contemporary than others. The Buccaneer and Renaissance Carambola Resorts provide similar amenities, although the Renaissance’s remote rainforest environment may be more romantic for honeymooners.
The Buccaneer, built in 1947 in a 17th century portion of St. Croix, has endured the test of time and discerning travelers alike. The magnificent foyer welcomes guests with towering ceilings, beautiful furniture, and an open-air bar and lounge. The vast facility has four outdoor pools with poolside bars, a serene spa, and three sandy beaches for guests to relax, mix, or be active. Families are especially welcome at the resort, which offers a kids’ camp, several watersports and beach activities, and children’s menus at all on-site restaurants.
The Buccaneer is only accessible by car and is located on the east coast of St. Croix, between Martel and Beauregard Bays. The international airport is 25-30 minutes away, while downtown Christiansted is approximately 7 minutes away. From there, jeep and boat tours depart for Buck Island and other St. Croix attractions. Point Udall, the easternmost point in the US, is roughly 20 minutes away. The Galleon, an elegant restaurant and lounge near Tamarind Marina, is about an eight-minute drive away. From here, it’s a 20-minute drive to
6. Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort
Surrounded by nature, this upper-middle-range timeshare complex is just outside of Philipsburg. The resort has 235 rooms, three pools, four restaurants, shops, markets, and a long beach. The rooms are attractive and modern, with almost all having ocean views, despite the chain-like design. Prices are usually greater than comparable properties.
Divi Little Bay Beach Resort features the ambiance and ambience of a large Caribbean resort, with a diverse choice of activities. The uncommon free kids’ program for kids four to 12 is a key lure for parents wanting uninterrupted beach time. At night, the Casita and Infinity pools are calm and relaxing while the Seabreeze pool and Gizmo’s Grill are noisy and popular.
The resort has three-story hotel buildings along the beach, townhouse-like structures by the bay for suites, and more units by the Casita pool for time-share rooms. Sand-colored buildings with red roofs and white balconies. The grounds have winding pathways, palm palms, a gigantic chessboard, hammocks, and even two parrots. Arrive prepared to stroll.
The open-air lobby is filled up with quirky purple lights at night. The back has a long line of reception desks and two lounge spaces with couches. The activities desk is located in the market, not in the lobby. Divi is a timeshare, but this is not emphasized.
The Divi Little Bay Beach Resort lies on the Dutch side of the island, along a short path off the main road. It has views of both Little and Great Bays. Walking downtown Philipsburg takes about 20 minutes up a steep slope.
7. Point Pleasant Resort
Set on a 15-acre hilltop preserve, The main road leads to the resort, which then drops to the water on the other side of the hill. The home features stunning mountain and sea views. The resort has many stone walkways, steps, and hills, making it difficult for anyone with mobility impairments.
The property’s size makes it never seem crowded. Many people report having one or two of the three pools to themselves.
Point Pleasant offers a good mix of privacy, resort-style amenities, and a restaurant. Couples, families, and groups mix. They have fully-equipped kitchens and large living areas.
The East End of the island is famed for its beaches and snorkeling. Just five minutes away is Red Hook, a charming town with fantastic restaurants and shopping. Driving time from the airport to Charlotte-Amalie varies from 20-25 minutes.
The resort’s units are independently owned and managed, thus the décor and upkeep varies. The villas are quite huge and lovely. Colorful cushions, wicker wood and colorful embellishments make the furniture look beachy and not too modern. The kitchens have marble counters and new appliances. Each unit has a private balcony with ocean views.
The resort features three pools on various levels. The top pool is reached through a steep stone walkway (carved into the natural rock). This pool has lovely views of the hills. Two sides of the pool are shaded by trees while the other two are sun-exposed. The pool is calm and relaxing with lounge chairs set up. The middle pool is equally calm and has a nice terrace with loungers. The bottom pool is more open and less manicured, yet it provides fantastic bay views. The restaurant and bar are just a few steps away, making it easy to enjoy beverages by the pool.
8. Gallows Point Resort
Gallows Point offers it all: it’s close to town but feels more remote and serene than any other hotel in Cruz Bay. Gallows sits on five acres of coastal property. Its western exposure offers some of St. John’s most stunning sunsets. Guests can see St. Thomas’ lights across the bay at night. The facility is peaceful throughout the day because most guests are adults. Children are welcome but not catered for, and flats only have one bedroom, making them unsuitable for families. The lobby is dull and uninviting. Just a breezeway with a reception desk, chairs and computers for visitors. The unconnected restaurant is open for dinner every night and is a great site to see the sunset.
Gallows is a 6-minute walk or 2-minute cab ride from the ferry terminal. Most shops, pubs, and restaurants can be reached on foot in ten minutes. The hotel’s own beach is rocky and not suitable for swimming. The nearest national park beach, Honeymoon, is a 30-minute trek or a 5-minute drive away. The motel offers free parking.
The Gallows’ 60 rooms all contain one bedroom, a full kitchen, living and dining areas, plus a furnished balcony or patio. Booking accommodations at Gallows requires familiarity with the hotel’s layout. The property has 15 structures, each with two upper and two lower units. The Ocean View Rooms in buildings 1-9 and 15 feature west-facing balconies with views of St. Thomas. Buildings 10-14 are known as Harbor View Rooms and front Cruz Bay. Some customers complain about late-night bar noise in Harbor View Rooms. Each building’s upper units are duplexes with a loft-style bedroom and 1.5 bathrooms. They have one level and one bathroom.
The property’s decor differs widely. Some flats have sleek subway tiles, spa-like bathrooms, and modern furniture, while others have wicker sofas, white appliances, and patchwork blankets, like the 1980s beach house your parents rented. The issue is that you can’t tell which unit is which when booking.
Other Cruz Bay hotels in this price range lack Gallows Point’s wonderful features. For a price, the hotel can pre-stock kitchens with food and beverages. Unaffiliated with the hotel, a seasonal restaurant serves dinner and Sunday brunch. The hotel provides complimentary shuttle service to and from the ferry pier. The hotel has free and reliable Wi-Fi. There’s a community barbecue, but it’s hardly used. Gallows’ outdoor pool is tiny but provides lovely sea views. Each of the property’s sun terraces has a modest hot tub and lots of lounge chairs. The beach is rough and not ideal for swimming, but superb snorkeling lies just offshore. A plank walkway leads from the beach into the water, eliminating the need to navigate the rocky shore.
9. Lindbergh Bay Hotel
The Lindbergh Bay Hotel and Villas (previously Best Western Carib Beach) is a handy and cheap option for short-term or return travelers. The rooms are typical of a mid-range hotel, having coffeemakers, hairdryers, and TVs. Renovated restrooms, pool, restaurant and grounds were visible during 2014 renovations. The on-site Oceanside Bistro serves delicious food and the bar is a popular place to meet. But the beach is small and you can’t swim.
The rooms are typical of a commercial hotel — plain and basic. Light green comforters with floral bed runners, light wood furniture including a desk and dresser, tile floors, heavy drapes, and no art. A flat-screen TV with cable channels is provided in each room.
It has clean tile floors and walls, contemporary white vanities with new fixtures, and glass storage. The bathrooms were renovated in 2014.
The rooms are in three structures. In the cottages, there are only a few rooms on one level. Rooms in this building offer smaller patios with better bay views. The lobby is located in the main structure, which has two stories. From the Seawing building’s balcony, guests may enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding land.
The pool is on the resort’s lowest level, facing the bay. The pool is tiny but has lovely water views. There are a few loungers around the perimeter. Just a few feet down from the pool is a small patch of sand enclosed by a wall. No true entrance to the water means no swimming. Only a few lounge chairs on the beach. Guests can take advantage of the complimentary shuttle to Emerald Beach, which offers considerably finer sand. A magnificent beachfront hotel, the Island Beachcomber Hotel, is next door.
Hotel restaurant Oceanside Bistro is near to the pool. In the evenings, many customers come to the bar to redeem their free rum punch. Affordably excellent Caribbean-inspired cuisine Outdoor dining with a view of the bay.
10. Tamarind Reef Resort, Spa & Marina
Tamarind Reef Resort, Spa & Marina is great three-pearl resort 10 minutes outside of Christiansted. The 40 rooms are modest, but clean and large, with balconies or patios overlooking the lake. The resort has some of the best snorkeling on St. Croix, but the beach is rough and not the nicest we’ve seen. The resort also has two casual restaurants, nightly entertainment, a beachside lap pool, a modest spa, and a harbor for Buck Island boat trips. However, Palms at Pelican Cove includes a sandy beach for swimming and snorkeling.
This resort’s casual poolside restaurant and secluded beach with hammocks and tiki huts are perfect for St. Croix’s calm island ambiance. The low-slung yellow buildings with turquoise accents pop against the beautiful blue water and have an effortless charm. Closer scrutiny reveals some flaws. We found broken trellises and places that needed painting. Although not one of the island’s largest resorts, the lobby is small and utilitarian, with a few tourist pamphlets for the taking. The beach (albeit not ideal for swimming) and the on-site restaurants and cafes are fantastic places for couples and families to unwind. Locals frequent the Deep End Restaurant for beverages or meals, adding to the relaxed environment.
Tamarind Reef and Spa is three miles east of Christiansted, St. Croix. Downtown Christiansted has many restaurants. As a base for exploring St. Croix, guests will need their own transportation as there is nothing nearby to see. Boat cruises to Buck Island Reef National Monument and sailing excursions are available from the hotel’s marina. Buck Island is a 100-acre natural preserve featuring uncommon birds and breeding turtles. The resort has a lengthy and vibrant reef just off its own beach (but pleasure swims along the sand aren’t very pleasurable). The resort is around 25 minutes from the airport. Point Udall, the United States’ easternmost point, is about 20 minutes away by automobile.