Historical Traveller Reviews of Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina Hotel
Bad food, bad service, but great view!
My husband gave me a trip to St. Thomas Sapphire Beach as a Christmas gift (he is a great guy!), but said (as we prepared to leave yesterday), "I'm so sorry". This was our first trip to the Virgin Islands and it will be our last. The snorkeling was amazing, but other than that this a very disappointing experience. I'm not sure, how the trip would have turned out had we not stayed at the Sapphire Beach Resort. I would imagine, we would have been able to ignore the angry people we encountered everywhere a little better if the staff of Sapphire Beach had not been the rudest of all!The "Resort": First, hint, bad lobby, dead brown wreath over desk. Our first encounter with staff: No welcome, good evening, or hello, just some 'barked' instructions on returning the beach towels or paying $20.00 for each one, we did not return. The Room: Great view! This is really the saving grace here. The furniture all looked new and the room was relativity clean. The rooms are two floor apartments with small kitchens. The bedroom is upstairs. Something I would have liked to know in advance (as I am recovering from knee surgery and the steps were a bit difficult for me). Nevertheless, the steps were not as difficult as the bed! I am sure we were sleeping on a box spring only! The sheets were not clean. I am convinced they had not been changed before our arrival. Very bad nights sleep the first night! Sand in the bed. We asked for new sheets the second day and some old threadbare sheets were provided. The second night we took the mattress off the sleeper sofa and put it on top of the one on the bed to give us some softness. It helped, a little. Over all the room was not bad. No service to speak of however. The beach surrounding the hotel is not maintained at all. Too bad because this could be a first rate hotel. They would have to fire the entire staff first, though. The Food: We had dinner the first night in the resort dining room. Our waitress was very sweet (little did we know at the time, she might have been the most pleasant employee we would meet). The food was a BIG disappointment. It was expensive and not good!! The salmon I ordered had been frozen (for a long time) and was overcooked. It was very close to being uneatable. The salad was not cold, served almost after I d finished eating and the dressing tasted like melted strawberry marmalade. Lunch the next day was even worse. We decided then to go into Red Hook and buy food to prepare ourselves. Red Hook was another disappointment. It s just a block or two long with a couple of restaurants and a grocery store. The grocery store is well stocked. The staff here was unhappy and rude. A US transplant who runs a small gift shop in Red Hook recommended East West (a small Italian restaurant) for dinner. However, not before she told us how much she hated living in St. Thomas. She made us sad and we both felt she could have done us a favor by not sharing her obvious pain with us. My husband ordered Tuna seared medium. He was served rare/raw Tuna, not fresh. The kitchen fixed this problem by putting the entire plate in the microwave, so what he got back was dry over cooked everything . The whole meal was awful and expensive!! All the food we ate while on St. Thomas was bad and very overpriced. Dinner on St. John was not much better. Although, the service was better. We did have one nice dining experience. Off The Hook in Red Hook. The food (we ate light) was decent. The salad was very good and our waiter Fred was wonderful. He was without a doubt the most pleasant person we meet during our stay. How We Saved Our Vacation: We rented a boat 2x (90.00 for 4 hours and worth every sent) took our own food, bought in the grocery store in Red Hook and went snorkeling. It was beautiful! Great snorkeling. No nasty people to deal with! My husband (an experienced diver) said that the snorkeling here may be the best he s every seen. Was all the other stuff worth the wonderful visions we got while submerged in the beautiful waters of the Caribbean? No!! We will not go back. Instead we will find a place where the water is just as pretty, the fish just as varied, but where the people are not nasty, the streets are not as dangerous, the hotels understand they are in the hospitality business and bad food is not abundant and overpriced! Our advice: Do not go. Find another vacation location. Once last thought: My husband and I were very disturbed at the obvious disgust we felt from virtually every local we encountered. We tried really hard to be nice, but to no avail. While taking the ferry over to St. John on our last night we watched several tourists drunk, loud and rude. They made us both feel ashamed that we shared a home country with them. Our conclusion: Maybe they hate us because after years of experiencing drunk rude Americans they have concluded we are all like that. When we travel, we represent our country. Keep that in mind when you travel. Be nice and stay in your room if you want to get drunk and rude.
Saving Grace was the breathtaking view
from A TripAdvisor Member
We stayed at Sapphire Beach Resort from Dec. 25 to Jan 4th of 2004. Our room was on the third floor, and I found it inconvenient and tiring to constantly take these steps. I agree with many of the other viewers in that that room was not clean; there were these tiny little bugs on the walls, there were not enough towels, you practically had to beg for soap. Because the cruise ships stop at this beach, their passengers take all of the beach chairs. I met with hostility and rudeness witht the help in trying to obtain chairs(Do you want for me to steal one from a balcony?) was the nasty rsponse from one worker. The basic attitude of the staff went from nasty to nastiest. THey behaved like they were inconvenienced and didnt want to be asked anything. the food was good but very expensive. I think that if you have a room oon the main floor, where you merely have to walk out of you patio door to the beach and sand, if you enjoy a rustic camplike setting and know you will not be pampered in any way, then you may enjoy this. However, if you would like to be pampered, want to stay in a clean room(I doupt that the sheets were changed daily this is not for you. We went to the Ritz Carleton for a fabulous brunch one day and the view was gorgious and the staff treated us like royalty Also, the power went out at Sapphire on 2 occassions and there no use of any water facilities for 4 hours. NEED I SAY MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just came back from an eight-day stay at this "resort". It's more like "camping". Where to begin? We had a beachfront villa which supposedly sleeps six. However, four of the six have to sleep on sofa beds which have mattresses about two inches thick. There is one king size bed. The bathrooms are truly disgusting. There is no "housekeeping" to speak of. Someone came in once a day (often not until 4:30pm) to push a mop around for a few minutes. There is dust in the louvred doors an inch thick, rusty showerheads, tiny bugs in the kitchen. The staff was unfriendly and the housekeepers downright surly.
I was furious as this was Christmas week and I paid a fortune. I complained bitterly to the management and they refunded one night's stay. Small consolation. I have yet to speak to my travel agent. Though the island is pictureseque and the beaches lovely, I would never, ever go back to St. Thomas. There are lots of other lovely islands with friendlier locals and nicer facilities.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SAPPHIRE AND ST. THOMAS
THE LOCATION: The location was beautiful, the beach was phenominal, super blue water soft sandright out of a island magazine. Excellent swimmingwarm calm water!THE RESORT: The resort itself was not that great,it was dirty. Our rooms were visibly dirty, the was a spot where a microwave was supposed to go but we didnt have one, the sheets had sand in them every night i even watched the maid change the sheets????THE FOOD: The food in the main restraunt was not good, it doesnt matter how you order your meat cooked, it will come the way they feel like cooking it. The food at the pool bar was expensive but very good, thats where I ate the rest of the trip.The alchoholic beverages seemed to change price minute to minute bar tender to bar tender,I payed at least three different prices for a rum and coke from 4$ up to 6.50???? I didnt argue with the bar tenders since I could not understand a word they say!THE PEOPLE: Upon arrival our taxi driver gave us a welcome to st. thomas and was smilimg,this was the nicest person I would see for the next week.The staff at the resort very miserable and grim!(except for the steel drum player he was great,he let our kids come on stage and play steel drum very cool)they never ounce had a smile for me or my family,If I walked into my room while the maid was in she would not smile or say hi, she ignored me, so did the bar tenders I hated going back for another drink because it seemed like such a pain in the ass to serve me, I wondered why they were so craby, and at night when the locals, some pretty shady looking people, would come to the bar the bar tenders would serve them with a smile,and laugh and talk, and ignor me for as long as possible, I hate to be racial but if your white your gonna wait, and it doesnt matter how much you tip! about everything! I really felt like I was not wanted there, And the people really didn't careabout anything(lazy staff)!THE BOTTOM LINE: The bottom line is I would not go back, I think people can make the difference, some freindly smile's could go along way.
Beautiful beach, decent service, terrible food
St. Thomas is a beautiful, fun island. The Sapphire Beach is great. It has water sports and snorkeling. Our studio had a first floor patio that went right to the sand. There was a hammock on the beach under a beautiful tree. The problems...there were little bugs in the room, and the food was terrible. Not to be missed....Magen's Bay Beach, a day at St. John (the ferry ride is run too) a day of shopping at Charlotte Amalie. All in all, a great trip. Would love to go again!
Beautiful resort, visited 12-13 thru 12-20-2003
I read several of these reviews after booking a week at Sapphire Beach Resort, and became very concerned that I may have a miserable time. But to my surprise, our room which was in the F-building, facing the Marina and with St. Johns in the background was very clean, with an abundance of towels and linens and an excellent maid service. Our room was made up all of the 7-days, with fresh sheets and towels everyday. The restaurant at Sapphire Beach has a high quality of food, but like everywhere else that we ate, including Agav'e Terrace, which boasts some high profile customers like George Bush, Goldie Hawn, and Kurt Russell, the service was slow and less attentive than that in the states. What many of the people that previously wrote in fail to realize is that service everywhere in the Carribean is laid back. As far as the beach, I visited a couple of other beaches and Sapphire had the best snorkeling, and where in the process of adding new sand to the beach. If you're looking for a relaxing vacation in a well equipped clean room with one of the most breath taking views on the island, minus the luxurious 5-star room service this is the place to go.
Better than expected
My brother and I spent a long weekend at the Sapphire Resort. We had one of the harborview rooms in the F Building. After reading the reports on this sight I expected a lot worse than what we got. Mind you we got a killer internet deal so we did not pay much. The rooms are large and clean. They also looked newly rennovated. Their was a lot of work going on at the condos next door and it was noisy during the day. We were hardly ever there so it was no big deal. I would have been very upset if I had paid a lot of money and was staying there for a week. Local rumor mill has it that the palce was sold 7-8 years ago and the current owners don't like to spend money on upgrades and maintenance. There are certainly deferred maintenance items that need to be addressed. The onsite restaurant is pretty bad (service and food). The pool bar/restaurant is better. The beach is not groomed. The staff was okay. I would not go to this resort again unless it was basically free.
from A TripAdvisor Member
we just stayed there last week and left early. I have stayed there 5 times and this will be the last! each stay the place gets more run-down, don't be fooled by the promise of "recently renovated room" as we were. bathrooms are filthy, corroded fixtures, bug-ridden kitchens, grimy, old furntiture. when we complained manager's response was "sorry". beachtowels are so old and threadbare (when you can get them!)- the only thing you pay for is view and beach. spend the extra money and stay at the Ritz!
Do not bother
from A TripAdvisor Member
This place is first class, a first class dump. You could take the ferry from Red Hook to St. John buy beach towels and take a ferry back before this gave them to you. Others have written about the ornary staff, I did not experience that. Given the location of this resort on the island, the cost of cab fare to go anywhere (you will need a cab) just stay at the Ritz
Would recommend this spot to anyone
from A TripAdvisor Member
My fincee and I just returned from a great week in St. Thomas. We booked the trip on a whim, without even checking out hotels. There was a great package deal for Sapphire Beach Resort, that we couldn't pass up. When we arrived - the property was beautiful. Our room was on the corner - the beach was outside our sliding glass doors, and the quiet harbor was on the other side. The room had a kitchenette - which came in handy. The property was close to Red Hook (walking distance). We have decided that the first week of November this is our destination.
Top Local Tips for Charlotte Amalie
Get a Rental Car
A rental car is well-worth it for exploring St. Thomas (don't forget to drive on the left!) as taxis can be expensive if you'll be staying for more than a few days. A taxi to Red Hook (about 5 minutes from the resort) is $4 per person. It's not necessary to bring your rental car to St. John; taxis to take you to the north beaches (Trunk Bay is a must-see) are plentiful.
Rent a car
Rent a car and explore the Island and all the great places on it. Sightseeing, beaches and restaurants.
picking a hotel
I would stick with the established companies. Quality is likely to be higher and more consistent.