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All reviews john building marriott hotel next door tortola building bedroom villa sea urchins st thomas full kitchen jost van dyke the pool and beach area gourmet gallery reef hotel washer and dryer marriott properties floating mats rented a car trunk bay per person
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Reviewed April 16, 2012

The Villas at the "Cove" are exceptional. The St Johns building is the newest of the group and has the most recent updates. You do have to to take 3 different elevators to get down to the pool, so getting to the pool is not convenient. It is because it is built on a hillside and the pool is right on the beach, next to the sparkling blue ocean. Snorkeling in front of the cove is pretty good. There is a reef out in front that has lots of beautiful fish and the "Painful" if stepped on Black Sea Urchins. Also did "The Cat" dinner cruise, Way fun, great tunes and food, and Captain Joe does a great job of taking you around the water island (the one directly in front of the Cove) and into the harbor to see the Mega Million Private Yachts. The marketplace was very slow for service and the server was very inattentive to the request for "tall, no ice", and when we went down for happy hour and asked if the "Pain Killer" was at the happy hour price of buy one get one, he said "yes", and of course it was not. Friday, Saturday, Sunday Breakfast Buffet was good, but pricey at $20 a person. Had to keep asking for the "Mimosa's" because they are not out. Definitely controlled here! Adventure Desk did a great job changing out our "Snorkel with the Turtles" when we found out from other guests, that the snorkel trip is done in a group, and everyone "MUST" wear a life vest, they felt it was very controlled also.. The free shuttle service between the Cove, the Reef and the Ritz was very reliable and we never had to wait long. Beach at Morning star up by the Havana Blue was Great, hardly any rocks, and increadible fun tunes. "Mia" at the Marketplace was fun and funny and was always helpful. We kept going in for more "Rum". We bought the $19.95 Frenchmans Reef Soda Cup and then added our own Rum to suit, because of our bad experience at the the Cove. We found incredible restaurants in town. Try "Oceana", Cuzzins (only open for lunch but really good), and Craig and Sallies, Mims. Without exception the food service was 200% better than at the Marriott Cove. The Ferry into Town that picks you up right on the dock at Frenchmans Cove and brings you back afer a day of shopping was really cheap $14 rund trip. Less expensive than taking a taxi into town.

Room tip: If you choose the St John Building it is newer and has most recently been updated. It is at the top of the hill and you have to take 3 elevators in 3 different buildings to get down to the pool, but you can't beat the 5th and 6th flloor views of the Cruise ships coming in, the incredible sunsets that set behind water island. The Double balanconies are really nice also.
Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
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9  Thank susan b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 11, 2012

We recently returned from a trip to Frenchman's Cove. I will start with the things that went very well. We had several maintenance issues with the villa. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary, just things one might expect (broken ice maker, leaking coffee pot, non-locking door) when dealing with a time share. Each and every issue was handled expediently and professionally ... very well done! The villa was smaller than many other Marriot timeshares we've used before, however ample for our family and I liked the dual balconies on the 2 bedroom unit. Thank you for being able to purchase 'water shoes' in the Marketplace, I couldn't find them beforehand and K-Mart on the island didn't have them either. The water slide was a HUGE hit with our three kids and we appreciated the Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday. We also liked having the opportunity for a 'Kids Night Out' on Wednesday. That said, our 3 children were extremely disappointed (8,8 & 5 yrs). Their response was that they basically watched movies the entire time and didn't get to make crafts. The employees' response was that they 'don't always get to that'. Unfortunately it soured our kids to the Kids 'Club itself. Also my husband and Dad attended a session with the children and mentioned the staff was very inattentive.

We found the breakfast buffet very good and also had a good server that day (wish I could remember her name, it was Saturday April 10th), she did a very nice job. The same can't be said for food service we received on property the rest of the time. While the quality of the food was worthy, the service was incredibly, incredibly slow. I know people mention 'island time', but let's not confuse that with plain old bad service. From a restaurant operators perspective this means less food and beverage sold. I know in our case we would have ordered more ($9.50) drinks on one occasion, but didn't even get them until after our food arrived. Unfortunately this bad service was also experienced at Marriot's Frenchman's Reef at the Sunset Grille and at CoCo Joe's at Morning Star. The experience was so awful at Coco Joes earlier in the week our entire meal for 7 people was comped. Every dish was cold and didn't arrive until a solid 50 minutes after we ordered it. We were also disappointed with the Sunset Grille, not only was the service below average, the kid's menu consisted of Chicken Fingers and Mac & Cheese ... that was it. They did however agree to a child sized portion of pasta and shrimp. All adults in our party were surprised at how poor the Marriot food/beverage service was. Our service off property was so, so, so much better!!!! We enjoyed meals at The Banana Tree Grille, Iggies, Havana Blue (at Morning Star, but not Marriot owned from my understanding) and other smaller establishments.

In general we felt the service at Frenchman's Cove (food service staff and Kids' Club staff) could be greatly improved upon and would have made our stay not only more enjoyable, but easier - traveling with 3 generations adds another level of complexity.

The beach is small, however we traveled around the island to other beaches and also used the beach at Morning Star. As others have mentioned, be aware of the rocks and sea urchins - I got stuck on the side of the foot - ouch! There were a few maintenance things around the resort that needed attention - one of the water features at the kiddie pool did not work the entire time we were there, the ladder by the slide had a broken step for at least the latter part of the week and I know my husband brought this to the attention of staff and there appears to be an old 'foot bath' by the kiddie pool that is defunct and simply looks bad. The cleanliness of the women's bathroom by the pool was somewhat spotty and if you looked around too long you didn't feel good about it! That said, on Saturday we did bring it to someone's attention that it was horrible and they sent somebody to clean it right away.

Thank you and I hope future guests and the Marriot find this information helpful.

Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
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15  Thank hampshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 7, 2012

Our experience was nearly 5 star, with just a few quibbles. The check in process was fairly easy. As hotel guests, and not owners, we were housed in the main building. This has great ocean views, but requires 3 separate elevator rides to get down to beach level. This was not a huge inconvenience for us, but may be an issue for some. The rooms are beautiful, clean, and convenient, with a huge family room, and 2 bedrooms. There is a full kitchen with all dishes, utensils, appliances that you would use at home. The beds and mattresses were fantastic, the climate controls are fairly effective, so everyone was comfortable during the night. There were more than enough TVs to keep the kids entertained and quiet in the evening. There was maid service every day, but no room service.

The hotel restaurant on the beach serves good food, but on 1 occasion took over 1 hour to prepare a simple meal. The beach area is nice, clean, not too big, but big enough to have fun. There is fairly decent snorkeling on the beach, but we saw more fish at Koki Beach. There is no beach side food or drink delivery service, so you have to go to the restaurant bar to order drinks. The pool area is very nice, with a small water slide for kids/teens, and LOTS of beautiful deadly iguanas walking about, looking for a delicious morsel, like a toe :)...

There are a few good restaurants in the nearby Marriott (easy to walk to), but you'll be better off renting a car and going to some of the top 20 places recommended on Tripadvisor (which was an indispensable help).

I STRONGLY advise to rent a car if you have more than 2 guests in your party. The taxi costs $10-12 per person one way everywhere. So obviously a roundtrip for a family of 4 is $100. Yet a midsize car costs about $45 per day at budget, and allow very good flexibility. Driving is fairly easy, due to low speed limit, but requires an adjustment for the left side of the road. I used the TeleNav GPS app on the iphone, which was able to find most restaurants and places to visit without any problem whatsoever. (even helped to locate the Oceana Restaurant easily, although it calculates the shortest route, which may include hairpin turns on small streets). There is great grocery shopping at the Gourmet Gallery, nearby K-mart, and others.

The most impressive places we saw were Magen's Beach, Koki Beach, the downtown Charlotte-Amalie shopping area, 99 steps, Havensight Mall, Grand Yacht Harbor. The best restaurants were Oceana, Grande Cru, Fat Turtle, Blue Orchid.

Remember to leave 2 hours to check in at the airport on the way back, due to huge security lines.

Overall we had a wonderful time at the hotel, especially after we rented a car, and were able to visit places easily. The hotel itself will satisfy all of your vacation needs.

Room tip: Higher floors for a good view. Lower level buildings for nearness to the beach.
Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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5  Thank bobster123Chicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 7, 2012

Four tanned and tired travellers just back from a really enjoyable stay at Marriott Frenchman's Cove.One of us was a timeshare owner who had never been before.I had read every blog before going and REALLY took on board some of the suggestions.Despite the 22 hour trip from Edmonton ,Alberta...we still were totally impressed by the very beautiful suite of rooms allotted to us.#524.Arriving late,in the dark,checkin was quick...finding the rooms was a bit perplexing(ditto to other travellers we noticed during our stay.....google and get your spot located before you arrive so you "get" the expansive layout)Just caught the poolside restaurant before they shut at 10pm.Good fare,family-oriented.Incredibly nice lady served us...it was way past shutting but she still patiently answered questions,dug out maps of the island etc for us.Awoke to a gorgeous view of the harbour,mammouth cruise ships circling way out in the ocean waiting to come in around 6.30am.Thankfully they all disappear behind Hassel Island never to be seen again(unless downtown)then slide back out around 6pm.Note:St. Thomas buisinesses are all geared for the ships...only one came in to the old Naval dock on saturday so a lot of shops and restaurants don't bother to open ....don't plan on gift shopping that day if it's your last.The little puddlejumper water ferries that run from the dock near the resort are a great way to get downtown...Charlotte Amalie.Lots of joking around and fun times meeting the captain and fellow passengers.We were on a mission to have sun,a good time,great eating experiences and not spend a bomb.We allowed ourselves one restaurant meal a day then self-catered the rest.Shopping was as expected except for the in-your-face taxi drivers,seemingly endless diamond/jewellry shillers out on the sidewalks trying to entice one into their place of business.Explore the narrow alleys of Royal Dane Mall with different merchandise....antiques,shark skin wallets,Billabong clothing etc.The local tarp-covered market at the end is fun for silly little gifts for your pet-sitter....especially good is the "singing lady"....IMPORTANT STUFF.....the good restaurants we experienced:Gladys' Cafe, hidden in the labarynth of these alleys(old sugar wharehouses) is wonderful.Try the ginger beer and take some of her hot sauce home with you.We tried to go to Craig and Sally's(highly touted by another blogger...shut on sat....pity as the true Caribbean color and look of the place was special)Went next door to a packed happenin' joint..Bella Blu....serving only brunch but it looked excellent.Plumped for another Frenchtown ace nextdoor...Hook Line And Sinker...wonderful ambience,dockside location and terrific service.We were going to go as a special treat on our last night to the rather far-flung Old Stone Farmhouse,had to return our jeep ....it was sat. afternoon as they shut shop early like everyone else...so no Farmhouse.A local told us that the main chef was now running Oceana Restaurant in Frenchtown so I guess the highend dining can be had a litle closer....but the driveway(vertical like so many on the island)down to Old Stone Farmhouse looked enticing to say the least.....hate to enjoy a drink there and drive back on those hairy roads...even well under the limit.Heading out east to Red Hook we had two other memorable meals....Iggies right on the beach by the best scuba diving outfit.Would have liked to have tried it at night....lots of action by the sounds of it.Nice location.On to Red Hook proper...another memorable meat at Fish Tails overlooking mangroves and the busy harbour.Had a drink at the locals' favorite...Molly Malone's.Good vibe...watch the multi million dollar oceangoing craft jockeying for position in the berths and the various ferries to the other islands...one complete with palm trees waving madly in their pots on the deck...very Martha Stewart- O.T.T.but fun.Before leaving culinary advise for St Thomas behind....where to shop for good stuff to selfcater.....the dock in Frenchtown around 7am..observe the resident nurse shark and various fish awaiting gut-feeding time.... local fishermen come in after a long night...they go way out to where the seabed drops off sharpely for the tastiest catch.We paid about $5 per fish...snapper etc.get them to scale and fillet for you...knives in the resort kitchen are not adequate...plus messy chore.They promised lobster for 11am if we came saturday AM.Pueblo Market at the bottom of the hill is OK for most stuff.The Gourmet Market(5% savings if you show your door swipe)is actually a one stop shop...the steak we bought there was outstanding.Booze from Cohen's Market was decently priced.Talking of steak ,make the effort to take the elevators down to the beautifully presented BBQ areas at the resort...remember the tinfoil to keep it warm on your return and watch oneself become the most popular person on the elevator on your return trip..........#1 TIP....rent a jeep ! Without wheels your vacation will come to a screeching halt.We went with Biz Rentals...www.rentamotion.com for $395 for the week.It had a few dings,floor rust spots etc. but all good-you should see some of the residents' vehicle damages!Roads are not for the faint of heart...deep dropoffs,hairpin bends,impossible- angle private driveways etc.DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER A SCOOTER OR MOTORBIKE.There are more angles on these narrow roads than a protractor!There was a major tropical rainstorm one evening but our trusty jeep was squirrelled into one of the many driveunder garage spaces at the resort.Excellent Smithers!St. Thomas is busy,bustling,pushy.We escaped the ratrace to explore the island.Magen's Bay was heavenly...as are most of the whitepowder beaches.HOWEVER...we were seduced and fell totally in love with St. John Island.Although only down for a week we were over there twice...couldn't get enough.The ferry is a breeze at $50 for a return trip inc. passengers plus $4 fee(total per vehicle) to get onto the dock.St John is so unspoilt,laid back,clean,stunning architecture,well-maintained....a toned-down speed about the whole place.Trunk Bay was out of this world gorgeous...wonder what it is like on a saturday without the "boat people"....even better.Red flag warnings for heavy swell were up on second day...a lot of the yachts were taking shelter in Maho Bay...swam and snorkelled there....incredible.Outstanding food on that island too.....Skinny Legs was great....wild burgers that melt in the mouth(excellent shopping there as well)also in the Coral Bay area but a ways out along the coast is the outstanding Miss Lucy's....probably our fave meal of the trip.We watched the Rolex Regatta in the far distance...streaking sharkfin-like triangles of taunt canvas seemingly hardly touching the water they were going so fast.Checkout Mongoose Junction for some highend cool shopping before you depart the island.All in all it was a great experience.I should like to thank the blogger who said "take an extention cord"The lovely balconies off both bedrooms have no lights or plugins.We never ate inside at the dining table.....our mad Yahtzee tounaments went on late into the night with the aid of a bedside lamp...plus we took battery operated little centrepiece lights.Cool.(Ikea)There were quite a lot of youngsters around but they busy themselves on the beach/pool all day.Beach,with a few iguanas,is just fine....just go in near the dock....no rocks.Beach is extremely well groomed with lots of loungers.Shower to washoff the sand before coming back into the big pool area.At night it was as quiet as a tome.Staff in golf carts glide around like ghosts.The individual washer and dryer combo in house was invaluable....beachtowels could be washed etc.our dishwasher acted up....maintenance was there immediately.Mid-week housekeeping was sketchy....not much in evidence of a cleanup.Watch the base of the shower when entering for the first time....really slippery...then you know.We took tennis raquets...the coolest courts in the world at the Marriott Reef over the hill.....right by the ocean with sailcraft whipping by.As for the comment that the staff /Island inhabitants seemed nonchelant.....rubbish.People react to you as you to them.If one marches through life with a frown looking for something to complain about...you will find it...loosen up.Island pace is good for the soul and disposition.

Room tip: #524...high enough for good view.Low enough for fast elevator service everywhere
Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
19  Thank Sophie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 6, 2012

We have stayed at the Frenchmans Cove three times. Each year you can see the wear and tear on the time share. Why are they not keeping these units up. The couch looks dirty, worn, and should be thrown out. I had to cover it with a sheet in order to feel comfortable to sit on. The bathrooms were very dirty...hair and yucky stuff all over the floor...just gross. The kitchen floor didnt look like it had been washed either. My husband had to ask for a vacume so he could at least clean up the crumbs on the carpet that were left from the last guests. I guess its hard to find good help. It looks like the maids have done just the bare minimum. Over all I'm not to impressed with the resort. I dont think I will ever come back here again. Its really too bad because the location is beautiful.

Room tip: I hope you dont get stuck on the first floor because you won't be able to see the water...only roof tops of the next set of villas.
Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank Dawn L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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