by Lissa Poirot
Note: This resort sustained damage during the 2017 Hurricane season and is currently closed for renovations and repairs. It is expected to reopen the end of 2018.
Not to be confused with the highly rated Marriott Frenchman’s Cove, the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef and its smaller resort-in-a-resort, Morning Star Beach Resort, stands on a rocky point overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor. While families were rampant during my visit, the resort has closed its kids’ club and is not certain when or where it will reopen. Instead, the only offerings to children are the Morning Star Beach, in a calm cove, and a pool that may or may not be closed for special events. Of the accommodations, the Morning Star Beach Resort is better suited for families, as it rests along the beach and does not require a shuttle or lengthy stair walk to get to the sandy shores. The rooms here are better suited to families, with more options for connecting rooms and fitting larger families.
To learn more about Marriott Inclusive Vacations, please visit Marriott Inclusive Vacations.
Our Editor Loves
- Unlimited non-motorized sports
- Morning Star Beach
- Water Sports
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The hotel provides a total of 478 rooms and suites, 96 in Morning Star and 382 in Frenchman Reef's Tower. At Frenchman's Reef, choose from an Island View, Water View, Harbour Suite or Royal Suite Resort View. Island and Water View rooms are 400 square feet in size and offer a king or two double beds. Harbour Suites are 850 square feet in size and feature living areas separated by a privacy wall with a king bed in the sleeping area and a sofa bed in the living space for a maximum of four. Royal Suites are loft rooms with a king bed in the loft and a sofabed in the living area and two bathrooms. The suites are 700 square feet in size. In Morning Star, garden view or beachfront rooms are available with king or two double beds; both styles are 400 square feet.
All rooms include a bathtub/shower, coffeemaker, hair dryer, flat-screen TV's and small refrigerators. Rollaway beds and cribs are available.
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!
It's unfortunate that the kids' club has been closed. During my visit in November, they were hopeful it would reopen in late December, but when I asked where it would reopen, they were not sure. It's also unfortunate that the hotel features three swimming pools but two are for adults, including one which is only available for spa guests. During my visit, the main pool was closed due to a corporate event. With as many families who were visiting the property, I'd like to see them offering more for children, which is perhaps why such a beautiful, convenient location and trusted hotel name only has 65 percent of families recommending it to other families.
The resort feature tennis courts with lessons, and a water sports booth with sailing, jet ski and kayaking opportunities. An Adventure Center in the lobby will help arrange daily catamaran sails and snorkeling adventures, as well as sunset cruises and kayaking excursions. (Try the nighttime kayak, which takes place in glass-bottomed kayaks with lights so you can see the aquatic life at night. We saw sea turtles, sting rays, and plenty of fish during our adventure.)
At Frenchman's Reef, enjoy breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. at AquaTerra, which is also open for dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. The open-air, poolside Sunset Grill is available for lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and then dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. Lunch service is also provided through the Azur Pool Bar from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Presto Market offers a grab-n-go option for pastries, sandwiches, snacks and beer and wine.
At Morning Star Beach, one of St. Thomas' most popular restaurants can be found for dinner. Privately owned and operated, Havana Blue provides oceanfront dining from 5:30 to 11 p.m., with fare that combines Latin America and the Pacific Rim. For tapas and light bites, the also privately owned and operated SandBar is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. CocoJoe's is the Marriott's breakfast, lunch and dinner spot, located on Morning Star Beach and open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Planning & Tips
Resort fees include Wi-Fi, two bottles of water per room, per day, shuttle service throughout the resort, coupons off of resort amenities, and unlimited use of kayaks and paddle boats on Morning Star Beach, as well as unlimited use of snorkels, flippers, masks and floats.
The Lazule Sea Spa & Salon provides eight treatment rooms and three poolside cabanas for body treatments, as well as a hair and nail salon, steam room, and private, adult-only spa pool.