Oyster reporters headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands to explore the destination’s top hotels. We slept in the beds, lounged by the pools, ate in the restaurants, and even sampled the nightlife, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s a list of our favorite kid-friendly hotels in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Westin St. John is the best kid-friendly resort on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Children receive personalized amenities like coloring books and bath toys and are treated to complimentary beverages at mealtimes. The supervised kids club ($60 per day) -- for ages three to 12 (it's four-and-up at other hotels) -- offers daily activities like sandcastle contests, movies, and swimming. And teens' interests aren't neglected: They can keep busy at the 1,200-square-foot Westin Teen Center, or with activities like parasailing, kayaking, tennis, and salsa lessons.
For a serene and rustic vacation even the kids can enjoy, head over to Caneel Bay. They may lack an elaborate pool and TVs in the rooms, but has great activities for children. Kids three to 12 can spend the day participating in arts and crafts, treasure hunts, and nature walks through the activity center,Turtle Town. Plus its location -- in the midst of the Virgin Islands National Park -- offers ample hiking and outdoors activities.
The Wyndham is a great choice for an all-around awesome family vacation. Amenities like a cool grotto-style pool, bumper boats, and other fun water activities, and the "Kids Klubs" scavenger hunts, snorkeling, and iguana feeding ($95 per day) make the Wyndham Sugar Bay the best family resort on St. Thomas, especially since families can easily fit into the large standard rooms (available with two double beds or free rollaways).
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, making it a good pick for families. The hotel's beach is small and rocky, but guests are free to use the beach next door at Sugar Bay Resort.
The Ritz doesn't exactly target families but it's still an attractive kid-friendly option in St. Thomas. There's a small, shin-deep kids' pool behind the infinity pool and the beach at the Ritz is exclusive, clean, and has some of the best snorkeling in St. Thomas. Large standard rooms, with either two double beds or a king bed plus a pullout sofa bed or one and two-bedroom suites are good for families. Occasionally, programs for kids are available.
A clean, modern resort with stunning views, this 478-room Marriott is a solid pick for families. The pool complex includes a kiddie pool and play area and there's a wide stretch of the beach. Standard guest rooms have either one king bed or two doubles; all can fit a rollaway bed and a crib; one-bedroom suites with a sofa bed are also available.
The Water Island Campgrounds is located a quick ferry ride away from St. Thomas. The campground is natural and lush, in keeping with the environment and vibe of this small island. The property provides an elevated camping experience, or “glamping,” as the staff calls it. There are six tented, screened cottages with queen-size beds as well as an indoor suite with a private living room, kitchen, and bedroom with a king bed. There are shared toilets, shower, and cooking facilities for the cottages. It’s not for everybody (it is a campground, after all), but it is a special place for those families who enjoy laid-back, quiet nature.
The Best Western Plus Emerald Beach has distinctive upgrades from its neighbor, Best Western Carib Beach. This mid-range property has a lot to offer, including a beautiful beachfront with turquoise blue water, an on-site restaurant and bar, and a large pool. The 90 rooms have a few slightly dated tropical touches (floral curtains, bamboo furniture) but updates included flat-screen TVs, modern bathrooms, and iPod docks; all units have outdoor space and face the beach
Situated on gorgeous Sapphire Beach, the Crystal Cove Beach Resort's stretch of sand is one of the best in the Virgin Islands -- clear, turquoise, and calm, with great snorkeling and lots of sea life. The property also has a large pool and tennis courts and offers condo-style living at an affordable price. However, this is an older property and many of the units are dated with cheesy wicker tropical furnishings, floral bedspreads, and old kitchens.