Marriott Just Opened This Long-Awaited Resort in St Thomas
It might be the most remarkable thing about the US Virgin Islands’ booming tourism industry in the years since the onset of the pandemic: the destination has been having all of this success without its largest resort.
That is finally changing, with this week’s debut of the new Buoy House, Autograph Collection at Frenchman’s Reef in St Thomas, one of two Marriott-portfolio resorts set to open at the iconic site, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma back in 2017.
Now, the transformed site is back, a new fulcrum for the tourism industry in St Thomas and a much-needed injection of room stock to satisfy the US Virgin Islands’ sizzling travel demand.
“We are excited to announce that the Buoy Haus is officially welcoming guests,” the property announced in a statement on social media.
The 94-room resort is a reimagining of the former Morningstar Beach Resort.
“On behalf of the Department of Tourism, we want to congratulate the many people, including local workers, who helped bring the Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort at Frenchman’s Reef to fruition. The addition of an Autograph Collection property expands the territory’s luxury offerings and helps to welcome a new caliber of travelers. We look forward to working closely with the on-site team to include them in our ongoing national and international territory marketing campaigns.”
So what will travelers find at the newest Marriott resort in the Caribbean?
There are four dining concepts: the Salt Shack, a beachfront eatery with tacos, small bites and rum infused on-site; Sandbar, what the hotel calls “our oceanfront beach and beverage experience”; Tide Pool, a bar and cabana hotspot at the property’s signature sand-side pool; and Isla Blue, the resort’s fine-dining eatery with a focus on seafood and “island flavor.”
The new Westin is the first of two resorts at the Frenchman’s Reef complex, comprising the largest collection of hotel rooms on the island.
Its neighbor, the equally-anticipated Westin Beach Resort, is planning to open at some point this summer.
“This moment has been a long time in the making and it reflects the immense dedication of our development team, who worked diligently to craft a brand-new island experience for travelers filled with bespoke amenities, striking design, delicious culinary journeys, and plenty of adventure. We look forward for guests to discover the experience within,” said Curt Wikstenn, managing director of the Frenchman’s Reef project, which is owned by Fortress Investment Group.
Both resorts are being managed by by Aimbridge Hospitality, and both will likely have a significant impact on St Thomas’ tourism fortunes going forward.
But much has changed since March 2020, and even more has changed since the fall of 2017.
This is a new US Virgin Islands tourism industry, and the hotels are no longer just a necessity — they’re here to help springboard even more growth for the territory.