The mid-range Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, located in the southern part of St. Thomas, is a humble beachfront property that's popular for weddings, honeymooners, and families. The resort offers a nice selection of activities, and features include a wide, clean, soft sand beach with calm waters, a pool with a swim-up bar, and two open-air restaurants with a low-key beach bar vibe. The 74 rooms are bright and tropical, if a bit dated, with free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, wet bars, and private balconies -- many with ocean views. There's not much within walking distance, but the shops and restaurants of downtown Charlotte Amalie are only 15 minutes away by car. For something with amazing views, but no beach or restaurant, Mafolie Hotel has charming tropical rooms at only slightly higher rates.
Humble beachfront resort with pleasant style, popular for weddings and honeymoons
With it's setting right on a clean and calm beach, this family-owned resort has been drawing destination weddings and honeymooners for decades. All in all, it's a pleasant enough beachside getaway, so long as guests don't expect sleek, island style. The architecture is reminiscent of an older, motel-style property with three floors and exterior hallways, but everything is well kept and clean. Tropical design elements abound, including bamboo columns, thatched roofs and walls, and plenty of tall palm trees dotting the grounds. Inside, expect to see rattan and wicker furniture alongside warm colors like tan, burgundy, and gold. The wide beach area seamlessly blends into the pool deck, adjacent Lobster Grille restaurant, and beachfront bar to form a large, outdoor social space. The atmosphere is low-key, though still lively -- like that of a tiki bar -- and events like the snorkeling booze hunt are a popular way for guests to stay entertained. Children are allowed on the property and some families do pass through, however the overall vibe feels more geared toward adults and couples.
On a bustling street, 15 minutes from downtown Charlotte Amalie
The resort is situated in the southern part of St. Thomas, on Frenchman Bay Road -- a bustling route that runs east to west along the island’s famous Frenchman Bay. There's not much to do in the immediate area, and guests will want a car -- or will have to hire taxis -- to do any exploring. Charlotte Amalie’s tourist-friendly downtown district is less than 15 minutes away by car, and is home to dozens of restaurants, shops, and attractions. The ferry terminal in town also provides direct access to St. John and Tortola. The island’s famous Magen’s Bay is located on the north side of the island, a 30-minute drive from here.
St. Thomas’ international airport -- Cyril E. King Airport (STT) -- is 30 minutes northwest by car. As hotel-provided shuttle transportation is not allowed anywhere on the island, guests need to make their own way to and from the airport. Several brand-name rental car counters in the terminal provide daily rates that are comparable to other Caribbean tourist destinations. Alternatively, shuttle and taxi service are easy to arrange and provide the island’s most affordable modes of transportation.
Bright rooms with mini-fridges, wet bars, free Wi-Fi, and private balconies
Rooms at the Bolongo Beach Resort are bright and tropical, with dark wood rattan furniture, colorful red textiles, and light hues like white and cream throughout. That being said, the look is a bit dated, and the style is simple -- black-and-white beach-centric wall art adds some modern style, but design elements like bamboo pull-curtains to close off closets, or misaligned tilework in some rooms, look less polished.
Each of the hotel’s three room categories is similarly in style, with the main differences being the bed configurations and views. Entry-level Value Rooms are the most compact, but still roomy enough to have a seating area in addition to beds. Upgraded Oceanview and Beachfront Rooms both offer 371 square feet of space (34 square meters), with private balconies with water views in the former, and direct beach access from a private patio in the latter. All rooms feature flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, mini-fridges, safes, air-conditioning, irons and ironing boards, and wet bars. Free Wi-Fi is also included, and service is fast and reliable. The hotel's Sealy Posturepedic beds are well liked.
Bathrooms in all categories are virtually identical, and are a bit small. The decor is plain -- off-white tile flooring, beige walls, and massive countertops -- with few design flourishes of any kind. A stand-up shower stall and generic pump-style bath products are standard. Hairdryers are also provided.
Two open-air restaurants, a lovely pool with a swim-up bar, and a wide, soft sand beach
There are a solid number of features at this resort, as well as a good amount of activities and entertainment to keep guests busy. Two open-air restaurants, a small but lovely pool deck with a swim-up bar, and a wide, clean beach with free water sports and live music round out the highlights.
The hotel’s two restaurants are casual and open-air, with sea and beach views. The two-story main restaurant, Lobster Grille, serves a buffet breakfast with a selection of standards including omelets and French toast. The a la carte lunch menu features mostly bar food (fish tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, and deli sandwiches) while dinner offers seafood-centric dishes such as stuffed lobster, conch fritters, and shrimp scampi. Just down the beach, Iggies Beach Bar & Grill provides a la carte lunch and dinner menus with items like sliders, spinach and artichoke dip, and fried Mahi Mahi sandwiches. With a thatched roof, regular live music, and a number of televisions, the vibe is an equal blend of sports bar and tiki lounge. The food and drinks at both restaurants are very well reviewed, and all-inclusive rates are available.
The hotel’s only pool is clean, well-maintained, and steps from the beach. A collection of plastic lounge chairs and patio dining sets line one edge of the pool, along with a handful of umbrellas for shade. The adjacent Lobster Grille provides a swim-up bar with a full liquor menu. Overall, the vibe is relaxed and low-key, but still lively. The beach is likewise clean, and surprisingly large given the hotel’s relatively small size -- in fact, it stretches for more than 1,000 feet (304 meters). Ample picnic tables, lounge chairs, and palapas line the sand to provide plenty of shaded relaxation space that's rarely too crowded.
On the pool end of the beach, the hotel offers free water-sports equipment including kayaks, paddle boats, and catamarans. The small, on-site dive shop provides all guests with a free introductory scuba lesson as well, and can arrange snorkeling and dive trips. A second waterfront stage in front of Iggie’s provides additional space for live entertainment, and the hotel organizes free cocktail hours, plus adult-fun events, like snorkeling for hidden bottles of rum.
A large, off-street lot guarantees plenty of free parking, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort.
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