Part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas boasts gorgeous beaches and equally gorgeous waters. While many tourists, particularly those arriving by cruise ship, choose beachside mega-resorts for their island stays, some of the best, most intimate accommodations can be found in tiny, family-run boutique hotels tucked away in the hills. These spots may seem small and basic upon arrival, but many offer absolutely breathtaking, bird's eye views of the islands and ocean from pools, porches, rooms, restaurants and surrounding grounds. Here are our seven favorites.
-- Jane Reynolds, Oyster.com
With only four rooms, Bellavista Bed & Breakfast is a relaxing and upscale hilltop retreat with personalized service from the owners, who live right next door. The property is charming and quaint, and the pool area, sundeck, and two of the rooms have gorgeous harbor views. The island-style decor is whimsical and fun, yet tasteful, and quirky touches such as a cactus garden give the property character and personality. Breakfast is one of the best parts of the stay -- it's two courses and feels decadent, but still healthy.
Opened in 2006, At Home In the Tropics Bed and Breakfast Inn is a small, four-room property in a historic part of town. Steps from Blackbeard's Castle, the Government House, and downtown Charlotte Amalie, At Home In the Tropics has a convenient and central location. The four guest rooms are charming, bright, and well-appointed with safes, flat-screen TVs, high-end toiletries, and private bathrooms. There are plenty of common spaces and the views around the property are stunning. It is not located directly on the beach, but the beach is never far away on St. Thomas.
Located up narrow, winding mountain roads, Magens Point Resort is a secluded hillside property that has magnificent views of Magens Bay and the surrounding area. The pool, bar, and restaurant are fun and lively, and the resort has an energetic, friendly atmosphere. Magens Point offers some unexpected perks for an upper-middle-range property -- an on-site deli and convenience store, two gaming rooms, a large fitness center, spa, and tennis courts. However, the rooms are basic and in need of some updating.
The upper-middle-range Point Pleasant Resort is a large, spacious hillside property on the East End of the island, a convenient, scenic location close to Red Hook's restaurants and shopping. Features include three pools, an on-site restaurant, and a spa. The villas are privately owned and managed, with varying decor, but each unit is spacious with a large living room and fully equipped kitchen. There is a small but rocky beach in front of the property that doesn't have much room for lounging, but guests are free to use the beach next door at Sugar Bay Resort.
Villa Marbella Suites is located on Frenchman's Bay on the south coast of the island. It's a tiny hilltop property with only four rooms, giving it a relaxed, intimate atmosphere, and every unit offers gorgeous views of the bay, Charlotte-Amalie, and the surrounding area. The rooms are stylish yet homey and all have fridges, microwaves, and coffeemakers as well as beach towels, coolers, and bags. Property features include a pool with terrific bay views and a gas grill, but no restaurant or beachfront.
Paradise Cove is a small 21-room property on the East End of the island. Around the corner from Red Hook on a quiet side street, the property is serene and peaceful. There are stunning views of Nazareth Bay throughout the resort and a distinctive tearoom is both convenient and delicious. While the rooms in the Escape building are nicely updated (and pricier), the other rooms are dated and in need of a facelift. However, the resort is still a good mid-range option for those looking to save some money in the pricey Red Hook area.
At 900 feet above sea level, the Mafolie Hotel is known for its incredible island and sea views. Mafolie is a landmark hotel in St. Thomas and has been in operation since the 1940s, with many people's grandparents having fond memories of vacationing here. A gorgeous pool area with a bar, cabanas, and loungers, as well as a popular restaurant, are the highlights of the hotel. The rooms are clean and island-style but not contemporary, and you have to drive to get to any off-site dining. However, the hotel is a great value for the scenery, atmosphere, and amenities.