st thomas resort beach
The new Buoy Haus resort in St Thomas.

St Thomas’ New Beach Resort Has a Private-Island Feel

By: Bob Curley - March 18, 2024

The Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort is about the closest you can get to a private island atmosphere without ever having to leave St. Thomas.

Partly that’s a function of geography: located at the foot of a massive cliff guarding Charlotte Amalie Harbor, the resort feels particularly isolated despite its close proximity to both the capital city of the U.S. Virgin Islands and its sister resort, the Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef, which sits atop the cliff.

But style also plays a role: the hotel lobby, with its open walls and flowing curtains, establishes a sense of laid-back elegance that extends along the shoreline to the resort’s equally chill (and open-air) restaurant, a pool area that gives off a beach club vibe, and 94 guest rooms arrayed in a village-like gathering of modern, low-rise buildings.

st thomas resort beach
The oceanfront pool.

Relaxing on a lounge chair by the small (but right-sized for the resort) infinity-edge pool is an obvious move, but guests will also find the lobby area a surprisingly serene spot with its marine themed board games and cozy couches that seem perfect for curling up, book in one hand and a scratch-made cocktail in the other. As evening settles in, so do couples drawn to outdoor fire pits surrounded by more comfortable seating.

Newly opened, the hotel’s Isla Blue restaurant attracts guests from both on and off property; both the a la carte menu and an eight-course chef’s tasting menu can be enjoyed in the breezy dining room or, for special occasions, a beach cabana. The Isla Blue menu skews toward fine-dining options like grilled Caribbean lobster and imported tomahawk steaks, and yes you can start your meal with caviar here; Spanish tapas and small plates offer a lighter and more affordable option at the adjacent Sandbar bar/eatery.

st thomas resort beach
A room with a view at Buoy Haus.

Located by the pool, the Salt Shack is a bright and cheerful space under a bamboo roof that serves three meals daily; island influences find their way into dishes like the ground provisions risotto made with local pumpkin, greens, mushrooms and coconut milk, chicken roti that hits the spot as a quick lunch grab on the beach, and a local take on eggs Benedict that’s built around johnnycakes and salt fish.

The Buoy Haus has kayaks and Hobie sailboats reserved for guest use, as well as a nicely equipped fitness center that’s blessedly air conditioned. If a bit of restlessness sets in, the benefits of staying at this Marriott Autograph Collection resort includes full access to the amenities at the Westin, accessible via a stroll down the beach and an elevator (or a shuttle bus) that takes guests to the top of the cliff. Other than the restaurants, however, all Buoy Haus amenities are reserved exclusively for guests of the beachfront boutique hotel.

buoy haus

Guests who want to wake up to a view of the Caribbean Sea can do so, but even the garden-view villas at the Buoy Haus are no more than a few steps to the sand and shore. There are two, two-bedroom suites, but the majority of accommodations are 335-square-foot, one-bedroom suites with a maximum occupancy of three guests.

All rooms have private balconies, flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, and high-speed internet access.

Like the Buoy Haus as a whole, the guest rooms are designed for maximum comfort and minimal stress in a quintessential St Thomas setting — one that makes if feel like you have an entire little island to yourself.

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