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Just Got an Exchange / Frenchman's Cove St. Thomas

jojo777

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For folks who have stayed at Marriott Frenchman's Cove

1. Are Car Rental Places right at the Airport-Who do you recommend?
2. Any Suggestions on Restaurants
3. It sounds like folks take their cars over to St. John-Do you know the Cost
4. Favorite Grocery Store closest to what you would get in States
5. Is there anything you bring, because you cant get it there
6. How is Verizon Cell Service on St. Thomas?
7. No casinos correct?

We are really excited, it will be just the two of us.....We normally eat breakfast and lunch in and go out for a nice dinner when in Aruba. We will likely do the same here.
 

rickxylon

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I have friends who want to go there. What did you use for an exchange, when are you going and how long did you wait? Thanks
 

Fasttr

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For folks who have stayed at Marriott Frenchman's Cove

1. Are Car Rental Places right at the Airport-Who do you recommend?
2. Any Suggestions on Restaurants
3. It sounds like folks take their cars over to St. John-Do you know the Cost
4. Favorite Grocery Store closest to what you would get in States
5. Is there anything you bring, because you cant get it there
6. How is Verizon Cell Service on St. Thomas?
7. No casinos correct?

We are really excited, it will be just the two of us.....We normally eat breakfast and lunch in and go out for a nice dinner when in Aruba. We will likely do the same here.

Take a look at THIS thread I started when I was there in May. Many of your questions are answered in my posts....at least from the perspective of our experiences. :D

Car Ferry to St. John was $30 one way....$50 round trip.

For Groceries....we went to Pueblo first....then found Gourmet Gallery and preferred that. They also have a K-Mart for other items.

We had a great time....enjoy!!!!
 
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jojo777

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thank you both. I will check your post. I used Sheraton Broadway plantation and I only had the exchange in for 2-4 weeks maybe
 

saxman

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jojo777,

We were there from August 21-28 and had a great time there. To answer your questions

1. There are multiple car rental agencies at the airport, though we rented from the Havensight location of Avis. The Havensight location was about $95 cheaper than the airport. Having a Costco membership also helped as they have a coupon that for some reason was not accepted by the airport location but was accepted by this off airport location. We took a taxi from the airport to the Havensight mall. For the 3 of us, it was about $30 including the cost of luggage. I believe the rate per person is about $6 or $7 and then some charge for the bags.

2. There are a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from the very very expensive to the average fast food places. We went to "Fresh Bistro", which I believe is run by the same lady that runs Oceana. The food was excellent and the prices slightly on the higher side, if you include the cost of drinks, a dinner for the 3 was about $95. Being vegetarians, we also tried a couple of other places, there is one right opposite Havensight, called "Barefoot Buddha" and another one called "Natural Livity & Kulcha Shop". The ginger beer at the Natural Livity place packs a lot of punch. Natural Livity is near Dronnigans Gade, don't have the exact address.

3. I believe Hertz is the only one that DOES NOT allow their cars to be taken to St. John. Cost of a roundtrip is $50, if you decide to take the barge, unless you have done prior reservations, you will have to pay cash. A one way ride is $30.

4. Pueblo is a decent place, Gourmet Gallery is pretty good, though prices are a tad bit higher. Also look for The Fruit Bowl.

If you are looking to pick up alcohol, I think prices at K-Mart are probably the cheapest for a decent amount of stuff. If you are looking for really expensive stuff like Johnnie Walker, Blue Label or something along those lines, it will probably be better to go to Dynasty Dazzlers or perhaps one of the shops in Havensight. I believe the K-Mart does not carry that stuff, as I could not see it, maybe they have it somewhere else, did not ask. The local Cruzan rum was about $8 for a litre bottle(flavored), the single barrel was about $25(750ml) and the 5-12 year was $17(750ml). The blackstrap molasses rum was around $12(litre).

Maybe somebody else can chime in as I am not sure what is the airlines policy on checking in a full box of alcohol. I know at K-Mart they give you a very sturdy box to carry all the bottles. Also found out that as long as one bottle is a local USVI product, you can carry upto 6 litres of alcohol per adult.

5. No ideas on what might be missing there..there are ways to improvise.

6. No idea as we have ATT and St. Thomas is pretty well covered, and parts of St. John, though be careful in St. John as the northern side latches on to signals from BVI.

7. No ideas again.

Other thoughts, there are a decent number of activities to do at MFC, from Saturday-Thursday, they have BINGO where the prize is usually a bottle of rum. The same goes for Table Tennis. You can also walk from MFC to the Marriott hotel and use the facilities there, though not sure if you can actually get umbrellas and chairs at the Morningstar Beach without paying.

Venturing into town, if you are interested in snorkeling, Coki Beach is where you want to head to, the snorkeling is amazing, the fish come right upto your feet in ankle deep water.

I'll make a detailed trip report and post it..
 
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GregT

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jojo777,

We were there from August 21-28 and had a great time there. To answer your questions

1. There are multiple car rental agencies at the airport, though we rented from the Havensight location of Avis. The Havensight location was about $95 cheaper than the airport. Having a Costco membership also helped as they have a coupon that for some reason was not accepted by the airport location but was accepted by this off airport location. We took a taxi from the airport to the Havensight mall. For the 3 of us, it was about $30 including the cost of luggage. I believe the rate per person is about $6 or $7 and then some charge for the bags.

2. There are a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from the very very expensive to the average fast food places. We went to "Fresh Bistro", which I believe is run by the same lady that runs Oceana. The food was excellent and the prices slightly on the higher side, if you include the cost of drinks, a dinner for the 3 was about $95. Being vegetarians, we also tried a couple of other places, there is one right opposite Havensight, called "Barefoot Buddha" and another one called "Natural Livity & Kulcha Shop". The ginger beer at the Natural Livity place packs a lot of punch. Natural Livity is near Dronnigans Gade, don't have the exact address.

3. I believe Hertz is the only one that DOES NOT allow their cars to be taken to St. John. Cost of a roundtrip is $50, if you decide to take the barge, unless you have done prior reservations, you will have to pay cash. A one way ride is $30.

4. Pueblo is a decent place, Gourmet Gallery is pretty good, though prices are a tad bit higher. Also look for The Fruit Bowl.

If you are looking to pick up alcohol, I think prices at K-Mart are probably the cheapest for a decent amount of stuff. If you are looking for really expensive stuff like Johnnie Walker, Blue Label or something along those lines, it will probably be better to go to Dynasty Dazzlers or perhaps one of the shops in Havensight. I believe the K-Mart does not carry that stuff, as I could not see it, maybe they have it somewhere else, did not ask. The local Cruzan rum was about $8 for a litre bottle(flavored), the single barrel was about $25(750ml) and the 5-12 year was $17(750ml). The blackstrap molasses rum was around $12(litre).

Maybe somebody else can chime in as I am not sure what is the airlines policy on checking in a full box of alcohol. I know at K-Mart they give you a very sturdy box to carry all the bottles. Also found out that as long as one bottle is a local USVI product, you can carry upto 6 litres of alcohol per adult.

5. No ideas on what might be missing there..there are ways to improvise.

6. No idea as we have ATT and St. Thomas is pretty well covered, and parts of St. John, though be careful in St. John as the northern side latches on to signals from BVI.

7. No ideas again.

Other thoughts, there are a decent number of activities to do at MFC, from Saturday-Thursday, they have BINGO where the prize is usually a bottle of rum. The same goes for Table Tennis. You can also walk from MFC to the Marriott hotel and use the facilities there, though not sure if you can actually get umbrellas and chairs at the Morningstar Beach without paying.

Venturing into town, if you are interested in snorkeling, Coki Beach is where you want to head to, the snorkeling is amazing, the fish come right upto your feet in ankle deep water.

I'll make a detailed trip report and post it..

Holy cow -- that is great information, I can not wait for the detailed report.

Do you mind copying posting a copy of your detailed report onto www.vacationpointexchange.com? More specifically, the "Things to Know" board?

That is great information. Thank you!

Best,

Greg
 

jojo777

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Saxman,

Thank you for taking the time to write this up for me. I really appreciate it. We go to Aruba so often, that this is a whole new experience for us. I have only been to St. Thomas on a Cruise. This is very helpful.

Many Thanks,

Jo
 

SMHarman

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Airlines allow a box o booze to be checked. Or a case with it in which is often better as you can pack towels and clothes around the box.
Pay attention to weight though.

Sent from my LT26i using Tapatalk
 

jimf41

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The only things I bring back from the USVI are memories and photographs. The only item they sell there that is a fantastic saving is tobacco. It's up to 70% cheaper than the US. Table cloths are a good buy not so much for the price but the wide selection of styles and sizes. Zora's sandals are pricey but where else are you going to have each foot measured for a custom made quality sandal.

Alcohol is maybe 10-15% cheaper than the US but if it breaks or goes missing you are in the minus column. You can only bring back 6 1 ltr bottles and one must be produced in the USVI ( Cruzan or Capt Morgan etc.) so how much can you really save? Not worth the hassle IMO. They will check it for free and not count it against your baggage allowance on most airlines.

There are several casinos on the Island but they don't have tables, only video slot machines.

AT&T and Sprint are fine. All others roam international.

I would add Food Center and Moe's in Redhook to the grocery store list but only if you are going out that way.

My favorite restaurants in no particular order are;
Mafolie
Oceana
Fresh
Grand Cru
Thirteen
Virgilio's
Hook, Line & Sinker.
Amalia Cafe
Shipwreck (for a burger)
Amici's (for pizza, open for lunch only)
Bella Blu
Island View
Banana Tree Grill
Fish tails (Redhook)

There are more but that will get you started. Go to tripadvisor for pics and menus of each one.

Kudo's to SAXMAN. An excellent review.
 

jojo777

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Thank you. I have been reading up on Trip advisor. Im still not sure about renting a car because its is just the 2 of us and we may want to drink and not drive.

If we don't rent..

1) What is the best way to get groceries--Just the staples

2) What about visiting St John without a car. Is the beach right there? Do you need a taxi to get to the beach. Do they rent chairs at the beaches? Any suggestion on which beach?
 

bazzap

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We didn't hire a car when visiting St Thomas.
We took taxis whenever we went out. They can get expensive if you use them a lot (they charge per person) but for just 2 of you it could be a good solution unless you want to be taking many trips.
Supermarkets are less than 10 minutes away and the taxi fare is reasonable.
As for St John, we took a taxi then crossed as foot passengers, then took a taxi once there.
You would be missing the best of a wonderful island and some very special beaches if you did not travel around once there, although you can walk to nearby beaches.
We absolutely loved St John..
 

jojo777

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thank you so on St. John you took taxis to different places to see the island?
 

bazzap

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thank you so on St. John you took taxis to different places to see the island?
We just hired one taxi for 3-4 hours for a tour of the island and a couple of swimming and sunbathing stops at Trunk Bay and Maho Bay.
The rest of our time, we spent having lunch in and exploring in and around the main town of Cruz Bay.
For a first visit, this worked very well.
Next time though we will definitely look to stay a few nights on the island and hire a car to spend more time in different, more isolated National Park areas.
It is difficult to escape the attraction of all the beautiful beaches though!
http://stjohn-beachguide.com
 

jojo777

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Thanks everyone

We have decided to rent the car so that we can get groceries, go to St. John and get around to go out for dinner.

Is there anything special we need to know about Frenchman's Cove itself, location requests, floor, buildings etc.

Only 3 more weeks!!
 

Fairwinds

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Thanks everyone

We have decided to rent the car so that we can get groceries, go to St. John and get around to go out for dinner.

Is there anything special we need to know about Frenchman's Cove itself, location requests, floor, buildings etc.

Only 3 more weeks!!

Request a high floor and your all set. St. John bldg will require an extra elevator ride or stairs to and from the the pool area but I've stayed in and enjoyed every building on the property except the Crown bldg. I usually bring a suitcase of frozen meats, special dietary requirement items, condiments, foil, baggies etc. But we get 3 free bags. I think you'll be happy you have a car.
 

jimf41

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There is one thing that has not been discussed that you need to know. The sun sets on Pacquereau Bay about 6:15 PM every day. It is important that you arrive on the beach with sufficient liquids at about 5:30 PM so that you can drag a lounge chair to the waters edge and let the waves lap at your feet. Remember to hydrate properly and frequently.
 

TUGBrian

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such great info, shall use most of it on my own trip next month! (also thru an II exchange)
 

pedro47

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This is some very good information shared by our fellow tuggers. Thanks to all.
 

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Folks,

I know I was supposed to finish this a long long time ago, but due to some unexpected medical issues, there was quite a bit of a delay in getting this out, hopefully this is still helpful.

As promised in an earlier post, here is a detailed trip report

We were in St. Thomas from August 21 - 28. This was our first time to the Virgin Islands, so were quite excited. We live in a suburb of Philadelphia, so accordingly our first choice of airport was PHL, but lo and behold, the flights from PHL to STT for the above mentioned dates were an eyewatering $780 per person. So looking at alternatives, found flights from BWI for about $430 per person.

Our plan was to leave PHL on Thursday evening around 18:00 to 19:00 and then stay for the night at a hotel near BWI, park and then catch the 06:00 out of BWI to ATL and then ATL to STT. However, because of some work related issues, we did not leave PHL till about 22:30, reached BWI around midnight. Not sure what was the reason, maybe a sixth sense, before trying to catch some winks, I checked the DL site about wait times for security and found out that DL recommends keeping about 75 minutes for security out of BWI. I was like great, for a 06:00 flight, first plan to be at the airport latest by 05:00 and add on top of it, another hour atleast, so I probably got about two and a half hours worth of sleep. The snippet on the DL site about security at BWI was very helpful, we probably spent atleast 45 minutes going through security. The additional half an hour was a bonus, allowed us time to get something in our tummies.

Thankfully, earlier on, I was able read a lot of the trip reports posted on TUG so was a little bit prepared, but the novelty of driving on the left and the steep hilly terrain was quite interesting to say the least.

To make a long story short, all three of us, myself, the better half and our six and a half year old are at the airport sleep deprived. We make it to STT by the afternoon. We go by taxi to Havensight, pick up the car, go to the Pueblo nearby, drive to MFC, check in and crash......

That was our arrival at MFC...

One point, a 4-wheel drive is not a must in St. Thomas, as long as the tires are in good condition and the vehicle has enough horsepower to go up the hills you can do without a 4-wheel drive.


We were allocated 321 in Tortola for our stay. The view out of the balconies was outstanding. A higher floor either in Jost Van Dyke or Virgin Gorda might have a slightly better view. Additionally, during our stay at MFC, I noticed that two units in Tortola, 301 and 302 are ones that need to be avoided. The walkway/stairs from the Marketplace to Tortola allow you to pretty much see whats going on in these two units. I also noticed that the occupants in 301 were smoking even though the resort itself in non-smoking.

The parking lot for Tortola is all gravel, has only one access point on the 5th floor. The gravel is not friendly for anything with wheels, so accordingly, try and get a parking spot near the access point if you have a lot of luggage to schlep.

MFC has a mid-week tidy service included as part of the stay. The complimentary tidy service includes a cleaning of the unit, replacement of the towels and additional beach towels are provided. The linens are not replaced. I am not sure if the bathrooms are cleaned as part of it or not.

One thing that struck me as a little bit odd was not seeing any recycling containers anywhere at MFC. My guess is that the resort and hotel do have recycling programs but just don't make it public knowledge.

The sand flies were quite a bit of pain, just be careful. That's all I'm going to say. My legs below the knees lost their battle with the sand flies..

Separately, watch for the Iguanas, they seem to be docile, but be careful. Saw a few in the parking lots. There is a location in the Marriott hotel near the tennis courts where a family of iguanas have made their home, that place is crawling with them.

The Sunset Cove Bar has a happy hour(4pm-6pm), where the drinks are buy one get one free. That being said, they have a cocktail called the Voodoo Juice that comes in a Cruzan plastic tub, costs about $14, but packs a solid punch. The best thing about it, if you save the tub, refills are only $10. The tub holds drinks for 2 people.


More details to follow.....
 
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