Margaritaville St. Thomas will be a life-changing experience for most. St. Thomas itself is amazing, and this resort is near perfection. For Parrot heads, this may be your heaven on Earth. Yes, Jimmy Buffett fans! The man himself endorses this spectacular resort and the experiences it offers.
“The Virgin Islands, and the waters that surround them, netted me many memories that became songs and stories, and those memories are still with me today. That is why I am thrilled that Wyndham has brought Margaritaville Vacation Club full circle to St. Thomas,” Jimmy Buffett.
Let’s move beyond that amazing endorsement to get to know this perfect vacation location and what it offers to a traveler like you.
There are many ways to travel to the islands. For most vacationers, your journey begins with a flight. Of the Airlines traveling to St. Thomas American Airlines, Delta & Virgin Atlantic fly the most frequently from the United States to the U.S. Virgin Islands. My flight was about 6 hours from ORF (Norfolk VA) and was an easy flight. This made things very nice, and without any problems at all.
I landed in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands at (STT-Cyril E. King Airport). When flying into Saint Thomas, you touch down Cyril E. King Airport (STT). It is on Red Point about 4 miles west of Charlotte Amalie. St. Thomas is bigger than its neighboring St. John, but still only about 32 miles in size.
Video by Camilla Johannesen
Day One: Arriving in St. Thomas Headed to Margaritaville St. Thomas
When you first arrive on the island, everything seeps into your mind. You are really here and soon you will be at the resort. It is a strange sensation because you feel instantly relaxed yet excited, like a child rushing down to the Christmas tree to see the gifts.
Next, it was time to travel to Margaritaville St. Thomas. The resort is likely the most popular destination for travelers flying in. I instantly found my transportation and settled in with my bag for the ride to the resort. After a pleasant air-conditioned ride, we arrived.
Now if trumpets could have sounded, but somehow played a Jimmy Buffett song, it may have seemed appropriate. The resort itself is tucked into Water Bay on the East side of the island. The entrance has native stone walls that seem like they are calling your name as you pass through them. Then I hear the island music playing, and I know I have arrived.
I grabbed my bag and shuffled up to the front desk for check-in. The staff was smiling ear to ear. That kind of welcoming smile just shows you someone loves what they do. I was greeted warmly and given the normal check-in pleasantries.
Next, it was time to see my accommodations. Wow, just wow. Wyndham Margaritaville St. Thomas was up-to-date and perfectly clean. Not a single item seemed out of place. I am used to a 5-star experience, but this was over the top. The unit has a modern kitchen (which I planned not to use) but it was nice. The furniture all looked brand new. All had the nautical feeling of fun that I was looking for, but also refined somehow. Truly hard to explain.
I found my eyes getting heavy as I looked at the amazing local art on the walls. Paintings of Margaritaville and great photos of local fishing boats. I stopped in the restroom and did not want to leave once I looked around. It felt like a SPA, not just a typical restroom. I almost instantly took a shower in the spacious shower. You may not know this if you are a normal-sized person. But being 6’4”, when you find something spacious that you use often, it feels like you are pampering yourself. That sense of space just somehow takes pressure away. It is like it lifts a weight. Whether you or your loved one is a larger person, you will love the space.
After my shower, it was time for an early dinner and a few drinks. I hoped to find a friendly bartender to make a recommendation for a drink that involved great local rum. So, I put on some comfortable shorts and an island-themed shirt and headed for the Margaritaville® Restaurant. I just had the strong desire to live out the song Margaritaville and grab one of the legendary burgers.
Inside tip here folks. These burgers are worth writing two songs about. They may be so good, that you eat more than one to soak up some rum. There I was, being as much a Parrot Head tourist as there had ever been and loving it.
After my burger and first beverage, I had to move to the tiki-style 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar to see if I could find my ideal bartender to recommend the perfect drink. I do not know about you, but ever since I was young; I have loved Tiki-themed things. Maybe it was watching Elvis in Blue Hawaii and seeing the Tiki village or going to Disney and experiencing the Tiki Room at an early age. I do not know what the emotional trigger is, but I am a little crazy about Tiki stuff. That Polynesian style and mood just do it for me.
The 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar
This bar is one of the best Tiki-style bars you will ever go to. It is just enough, but not over the top. I was not in pain but the bartender recommended the drink, the painkiller. At this point, I said why not and had my first painkiller. It did not taste very strong despite the name, but I figured it was a sneaker. So, I took my time and enjoyed the view of the bay. As the sun goes down on the bay around the Somewhere Bar, you almost think you could write a song yourself.
Day Two: Margaritaville St. Thomas
I woke up late on day two, which for me was 9 AM. It was time to try the breakfast fare. I settled on eggs with cheese, sausage, and fresh fruit for my breakfast. The service was as good as the night before and at a pleasant island pace. I already felt that in order to get down to island speed, I had to decompress a bit more. We live such busy lives that I think we all too often take time for ourselves to slow down. In just a few minutes, I was stuffed and ready for the day.
After breakfast, it surprised me because my phone went off. I had not activated an international plan or anything for my trip. I was getting away, and I did not even worry about it. I later found out that if you are with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, your phone will work on at least some parts of the islands. Well, I fixed that. No, I did not throw my phone into the ocean, I just turned it off and left it in the room, unless I left the resort.
Headed out and about
To stay on the resort or to leave the resort for day two, is the question. The resort itself is amazing, but I thought I liked it so much that if I did not leave today, I was not going to during my trip. So, day two would be a day to visit some cool spots on St. Thomas.
I arranged for transportation with the front desk to Blackbeard’s Castle not too far from the resort. I determined that I would not rent a car for this trip. It would just be one less thing to worry about. The cabs are cheap and I like to learn more about the islands from the people of St. Thomas. I do not fear driving on the left-hand side of the road, and I had recently done so on my last trip to the islands. This time I just wanted to completely chill out and have no concerns at all, so I just used local transportation, which greatly worked.
This was not my first time to St. Thomas. So, in part, my vacation was a trip down memory lane. My first vacation that included St. Thomas had been a stop while on a cruise ship vacation. I loved it and always wanted to come back when I could have more time on the island. If there is one thing that staying at a resort offers that coming by cruise ship does not, it is time.
If you have not seen Blackbeard’s Castle it is neat to see and puts the timeline of the islands into perspective. The castle is one of five historic landmarks in the Virgin Islands and is a quick ride from the resort. They built the castle in 1679 and I find it amazing that this place had already existed for almost 100 years before the United States was just a concept.
Charlotte Amalie is the city that Blackbeard’s Castle is in, and it is an amazing little city. It too was founded in 1666 and originally called Tapus (from the term for beer hall). Knowing this significant fact now, I had to go into town to try a local brew. I mean, what was good enough for the men of 1666 must be good enough for me.
Charlotte Amalie has a good deal of Danish architecture, which you will appreciate as soon as you enter the town. Many streets you will journey on still have Danish names, and the buildings will definitely let you know you are in a place brimming with history. The feeling of that history is what is incredible about the islands. I grew up in Yorktown VA. History was all around me in my youth but this felt different, more alive, and still a part of the local’s day to day.
After a nice local brew, I grabbed a cable car and headed to the Charlotte Amalie Overlook, which gave me a spectacular view of the town and the harbor itself. It may be my favorite view of the island. Next, I headed back down on the cable car and walked a little further down the local streets.
Even though I was on vacation, this was the most walking I had done in a while, so soon I was mentally looking for a ride back to the resort. Finding one, I landed back in my room with enough energy for another great long shower.
Day two ended much as day one began a trip back for food and another painkiller. Just in time for sunset. If you have not seen sunsets on the islands, you have not lived yet. The sun seems to bathe itself in the ocean in the distance, and the colors of the sky get so full of life that you never want the view to end. This one reminded me of one of those classic movies where the scene ends with a perfect sunset. Well, except that the movie sunsets are never on the islands, so they have to paint them or make them digitally. Which never captures the feeling of it. It is times like these when you can understand why someone would come here for a weekend and stay for a lifetime.
Again, that question “Do I stay or do I go?”, today I stay at the resort itself. Tired from the day before but also really want to watch the sunrise and sunset today. I want to see both ends of the spectrum, so before I went to bed last night, I checked the time of sunrise and set my alarm. I also arranged room service.
You know breakfast in bed is great, but it’s even better to have breakfast in your own resort villa sitting outside with the weather a perfect 74 degrees in the early morning hours. Here I am in February, it is 74 in the AM and will only get to an average of 83 degrees in the afternoon. It’s nearly the perfect temperature for me. Also, later in the day, you discover that the 80s feel different on the islands than at home. It is pleasant, and the island breeze keeps it comfortable all day. If it was 85 back home and I came into the air conditioning, I would have a sense of relief. On St. Thomas, you feel the change but the breeze outside makes it seem less essential if that makes sense to you.
When you look at pictures of the water around St. Thomas, you can never understand the beauty. As I set myself up in a hammock overlooking the ocean as the sunrise began, the magic of it all struck me. It is not just one color of blue or green. The coral below the ocean’s surface makes it come alive like it was some special massive field of jewelry, put on display for the entire world to see.
It was not long after the sunrise that I said to myself, “you’re not at work, you’re at play, live a little.” That single thought made me develop all kinds of plans for the day. Not productive plans, mind you, but those that are the dreams of all who work hard.
One of my favorite movies crept into my mind. Defending Your Life, if you have not seen it, I recommend it. As a fun comedy, and just an enjoyable film. I won’t go into the movie much here, but the lead character is in a kind of way station in the afterlife. The weather is 74 degrees, the food is amazing, and you can eat all you want. You never get full, and you won’t gain any weight. Now, it had only been about an hour since my breakfast. I had gone light with room service and just had some fresh fruits and cereal arranged. Maybe I just smelled custom-made omelets on the wind or something. Because that is what I wanted, right then.
I found where the scent of freshly made omelets was coming from. I plopped myself down with a smile, and ordered some fresh fruit juice, and an omelet. Nothing too fancy, just ham and cheese, but the chef tricked me and put in 3 amazing cheeses. Something about one cheese made my insides happy. I fell into one of those moments in life where you feel like the food is so good you revert to your infancy and have to make some kind of agreeable sound.
After num-numbing, or umm-Gooding, moments, I finished my breakfast and headed towards the sea. I did not know what I wanted to do in the ocean, but I loved the look of it and wanted to be a part of it for a while.
The pools on site are amazing, and I will check them out in a bit, but first I had to swim in the ocean. The water was just as exceptional as I had hoped. But with the pools calling me, I stopped at an outside shower to rinse off, then hit the poolside to dry in the sun.
I could tell the day was heating some, but it was still very pleasant. After drying, I transferred myself back to the hammock from my sunrise experience. The next thing I know I am dreaming about an ideal island, warm waves, and an amazing warm breeze. I wake up to find none of that is a dream; it is where I am right now.
Well, I wanted to just stay in this spot forever if they would only let me stay. But I also realized this was my 2nd full day, and I wanted to see around the island more. From my room, I could see a point that seemed to go out into the water bay. They call it Coki Point, so I went to check it out. After a quick talk with the staff, I arranged quick transportation and also found out this was the home to several of the island’s best experiences.
There are several things to do on this point or at least that leave from here. There is a great aquarium and I like those but we have some back at home that are very nice, so I went to the Sea Trek Helmet Dive at Coral World Ocean Park. This was a neat experience. You go grab a large, fairly lightweight diving helmet of sorts that has a huge see-through cover on the front. For the first 3 minutes, you feel like your own mini-sub, but then you get used to it. The next thing you know, you are walking below the waves in the ocean just having a great time and getting a view that is not possible in normal scuba gear.
It was a wonderful experience and one I won’t soon forget. I will tell you one thing, however, if swimming makes you hungry then this is like swimming on steroids. Because I was starving, that and another great island drink crossed my mind.
So I returned to my room and took another shower, changed, and headed back to Margaritaville for dinner. Sure I could have easily gone into town to eat, as it is close by, but I really enjoyed my meal the first night here, and I have been happy with everyone since.
After a sumptuous meal, and some cool music, I returned to my room knowing that I was going to wake up early the next day before the checkout, and hit the area close to the airport. Before my flight out, I wanted to see Fort Christain, and Frenchtown on the way to the airport.
Checkout came early for me. Likely just because I did not want to leave. My heart now had a new home, a home on St. Thomas, which would always be my special place, my mental escape. That is the magical thing about memories. When you make them in real life, you can take them with you wherever you go.