More about Crystal Cove Beach Resort on Sapphire Bay
Snorkel at Coki Beach
We disembarked from our cruise ship in Charlotte Amalie at the Havensight shops. We walked a few blocks to the taxis - safari buses - and asked the drivers congregated there where to find good snorkeling on St. Thomas (we'd already tried Magen's Bay and Sapphire Bay with little success on previous trips.) The driver had no hesitation in telling us he would take us to the great snorkeling at Coki Beach. The taxi ride was $12 one-way and was a beautiful, scenic experience. When we got to Coki Beach, however, the outer area where we were dropped off looked a little sketchy -- but not to worry, it's all just atmoshere. Wander through the merchants to the beautiful sugary white sand beach. Someone will rent you a chair for $5, or an umbrella, or snorkel gear, or sell you fish food -- whatever... The water is crystal clear and very calm. Of course, as you look across the bay you see that the water is the vivid blues, greens, teals that we all love about the Caribbean. At the right end of the beach, as you face the water, you can walk out just a little and be surrounded by fish - sergeants majors and parrotfish for sure - waiting to be fed. The snorkeling is easy and the fish are abundant in this area. Back on the beach, there are lots of nice, friendly (not pushy) waiters walking the beach and taking orders for the eateries there. We had conch fritters from Uncle Buddys and were very pleased. This is not a well publicized beach but if you read Trip Advisor, Cruise Critic, and/or Virtual Tourist, you'll find that most of the folks who find it are crazy about it.
I stayed at the Sapphire Beach Resort, and quickly discovered that few beaches matched that which gently curved along Sapphire Bay. The sand consistency was very fine, the sun often baked down upon it, the waters were crystal clear, and the view was spectacular. My only complaint would be the hordes of cruise ship tourists who make the occasional trek to ruin it for the rest of those attempting to enjoy the scenery quietly. The beach offers everything from gentle sands to coral reefs to pounding waves on rocks.
Beach is best Part
Be warned that these are individually owned condo's so the condition for each will vary. Try to book directly or through bestbeach rather than Hotels.
My wife and I stayed in B-15. On the negative side, it was old and lots of cosmetic defects. Beds not comfortable.
On the plus side, it was big and the AC worked great. Plus we didn't spend any time in it except to sleep. It had 2 bath rooms and could sleep 6 people. Had a full kitchen
We checked in on a Wed's and left on a Sunday. A maid came by Thursday morning to drop towels off and we never saw her again. Room wasn't cleaned. But since just 2 of us, didn't get too nasty.
Sapphire beach is awesome. Truly one of the best on the Island. Great for snorkling.
The Sapphire beach resort next door has resturant and a good little store. For breakfast, all they had was a $15 sub par buffet.
Go into Red Hook to the Marina Market and get food, especially breakfast. Food is expensive. Drink is cheap. In fact I found that the Marina Market had the best prices on liquer, even better than the markets in town.
We went to St John for a day and hiked the Reef Bay trail. (3 miles in and 3 miles uphill back) But well worth it if you are into hiking. They have placards describing trees, etc, there are ruins, and even some ancient rock drawings. Plus nice secluded beachs.
We did not rent a car, and had no problems getting around via Taxi. THIS IS NOT A WALKING PLACE! No sidewalks and streets are narrow. On St. Thomas, you can catch an open aire taxi for $1 per person. Go up to the main road and flag it down. Only runs clockwise! We would take into Red Hook for a $1 each and then taxi back for $3.
Natives are super friendly and helpful.
Great resturants we would recommend; Duffys Love Shack, Off the Hook in Red Hook.
www.bestbeach.com wins hands down!
My husband and I spent our honeymoon in St Thomas 24 years ago and this was our first time to return. We were going to spend a week at the Island Beachcomber which is where we stayed way back when. Something came up though and we were forced to look for other accomodations. I did a lot of research before I picked the condo in Crystal Cove. There are four buildings in the cove; building A is the closet to the ocean. BestBeach manages several units in building A. We stayed in A8 which is on the second story which is really nice because no one walks back and forth in front of your unit.
We loved the balcony which is only about 30 feet from the shore. We had coffee and breakfast outside there in the morning and barbecued most nights for dinner. It was very relaxing. Our two guys really enjoyed being able to walk to Sapphire Beach Resort and have access to all the water sports. They went scuba diving twice and rented a jet ski on our last day.
We rented a car which was interesting and brave. They drive on the left and somtimes it is a little hard to tell which way to go. One thing you DON'T want to do is rent a car from HERTZ. They don't allow you to take the car on the ferry to St. John. The ferry leaves out of Red Hook which is just a mile or so down the road and taking the car is the way to go. Other rental agencies do not have this policy. So be aware.
If you rent a car and want to go shopping in Charlotte Amalie, drive up to Bluebeards, leave your car and take a taxi down to the shopping. My husband would drop us off and then go up there and it would cost almost nothing for him to come back down and meet us. There is NO parking in Charlotte Amalie. It is a kind of racket for taxi drivers.
Other places we enjoyed were Cuzzins Restaurant on Back Street and Cardow Jewelers. But, none of it would have been as fun, if we had not had our Unit in Crystal Cove to come back to.
Stay the adjacent resort for the hotel, come for the beach
We stayed in 1BDR unit C-33 booked through tripadvisor.com's link to lodging, a unit which is managed by Antilles Resorts Group.
First thing to note is that the management is not located on site; you have go to their competitor's trailer and ask them to call the management to come and check you in. Among other things, this separation means that you will not get wake-up calls, conceirges, or other things that you expect from a normal hotel. You will not get phone messages, either (as there is no answering machine nor phone answering service).
We had an early check-in and they accomodated that request by allowing us to drop off our bags in the room while the maids were servicing it.
The first inklinking that something was different with this condo was when they required that I sign a form pledging not to take things -- like the blender (and required that I give them a credit card number just in case something like the blender went missing).
One thing I found troubling was that the room did not have a normal "hotel type key-card", but an actual honest-to-god key. I wondered how many, if any, other people had made copies of that key (and could thus enter at any time)...
The entire C-33 facility needs a good thorough refurbishment; our unit had dirty chairs inside and no working AC. When we told management (only open during business hours and not located on site) about the AC problem, they simply thanked us for the information- it was not corrected during our stay and we were not reaccomodated in another condo. We had to just grin and sweat it out. The patio windows were non-existent, which made locking the patio door pointless (someone could just reach around an unlock the patio door (there was a separate door to inside the condo)).
While in Maui 7 months ago, I stayed in a Condo resort managed by Aston. There, everything was operated like a normal hotel (with a concierge, front desks, wake-up calls, etc), but each condo was individually owned. This is NOT the case with Crystal Cove.
Use the "dollar safari" open air taxis to get into town (Red Hook or Charlotte Amalie) and to get to the ferry to St John. Note though, that the "dollar safaris" only operate clockwise- you'll pay normal taxi fares for your trip back ($3/per person from Red Hook).
Having said all of the above, the beach is just incredible here! The amazing part is all of the water colors plus the 24 hour _constant_ breeze (that has to be some freak of gealogy which you don't get on other beaches!)
There is an adjacent Sapphire Beach Resort. If you are planning a trip here, I'd recommend staying there instead fo Crystal Cove; the beach is the draw here, not the Condo (at least not unit C-33).
What a disappointment!
I always think it's helpful to know a little bit about the person writing the review as a 44 year old, married woman with an 11 year old son tends to have a different view of things than a 20 year old single man (I am the former). On to my review. After reading other reviews on trip advisor for Crystal Cove I couldn't wait to get there. I booked our trip through Expedia and their rating of **1/2 stars was too high. Upon our arrival, we had to wait 30 minutes for someone to meet us at the gate because the rental company did not have an office onsite. The landscaping was attractive, the beach is the best on St. Thomas, and the condo was a dump. The furniture was stained, the wallpaper was peeling off the walls, and the bathroom fixtures were cracked and corroded. The people at Expedia were very helpful in getting us a room at the resort next door, The Sapphire Beach Resort. The room was more in line with my expectations.
On to the more positive aspects of our trip.
Best beach: Sapphire
Best restaurant: Latitude 18 in Redhook (you must ask a local how to find the place because it's in the middle of no where but it's worth it! We went on open mic night and it was such fun!)
Best attraction: Coral World - Sea Trekking adventure (you have a divers helment and walk on the bottom of the ocean - it is excellent!)
Sight Seeing: You must rent a jeep! You can also take the car ferry from Redhook over to St. John and tour that island)
Even though I was disappointed in Crystal Cove, Sapphire Beach Resort was very nice and had the best beach on St. Thomas. We had a wonderful time!
The Best Vacation Ever!
My husband and I vacationed at Crystal Cove the week of July 24th-29th. We stayed in Building A and
our unit could not have been any better. Norma, our maid, was very helpful and very informative. She had lots of information about the island. I was so sorry to read of others that had bad experiences and negative reviews. To my understanding these units are individually owned, so some might not be as good as others. I saw other units in Building A besides ours and I'd stay in any of them. They are
all equally nice. Besides the wonderful accomodations, the beach had to be the nicest on St. Thomas. If your planning a visit to Crystal Cove, book your trip through bestbeach---, it's the only way to go!!
Loved Unit 5A
We rented condo 5A from Bestbeach and absolutely loved it. WE walked into an all white, sparkling livingroom , kitchen and continued on to an immaculate bedroom. We were soon to meet the woman who was responsible for this spotless condo, Norma. She couldn't have been any nicer or friendlier. We felt like we knew her forever.
The beach was spectacular and we actually enjoyed having some conversations with some Crystal Cove residents who have been there over 30yrs. We enjoyed the stories they told about the area and its development.
Renting a car was beneficial because we were able to try out the most beautiful restaurants on all parts of the island.
We can't wait to go back next year to bring the rest of our family.
Deluxe accomodations and superb beach
You will not find Deluxe Suites at Crystal Cove at web sites like hotwire but value and quality of service do stand out when dealing with bestbeaches.
We stayed at A4 August 9-14,2004, and found our condo clean and attractively furnished. Our beds were very comfortable and the views of the beach from our condo were spectacular. Norma our housekeeper was accessible for questions and any of our concerns on a daily basis; she was frequently in view of Building A. Our unit had a mulfunctioning coffee-maker which was promptly replaced when Norma was notified.
Even though Sapphire Beach is one of the best on St. Thomas, we found it nice to explore the island with a car rental from Dependable Car Rental; the location of Red Hook near Crystal Cove made it especially convenient to do a day trip to St. John by barge vehicle carrier. The views off St. John beaches and the crystal clear torquoise waters with baby soft sand were both memorable and refreshing.
Our First Trip to the Caribbean!
We took a budget one-week trip to St. Thomas with one day on St. John. Stayed at Best Western Caribbean next to the airport. The larger resorts were of course larger and nicer, but for the price we were treated nicely and found our location very convenient to shopping in Charlotte Amalie. It only took us a few minutes to be shopping. Charlotte Amalie is very scenic and nice to shop in with enough choices to keep you busy for a week. You feel very secure there and if you are not experienced travelers abroad you will enjoy being able to deal in English.
Regrets: 1) That we did not rent a car for the entire week - the tour books tend to make you somewhat fearful of driving there. If you can deal with driving on the left and you have driven on some narrow roads in your life - you can handle it fine. When you drive downtown there is a four-lane on the waterfront - if you do not venture into the interior streets you won't have a problem (God help you if you do - they are very narrow and congested). If you go downtown early you can find parking on the main street or find parking East of town. 2) The island is not large - the water is of course gorgeous, however being small with no inland water source it is not lush at all except around the resorts. If you're looking for jungle or forested countryside look for larger islands.
All-in-all if you love to shop, snorkel and love beaches and can get a good rate - it's still a fun place to go. St. John is more rustic and scenic since most of it is protected.(Take one of the sailing cruises from Sapphire Bay - we enjoyed Nightwinds)
The food is great, but don't go there expecting exotic fruits and vegetables the island isn't large enough - everything is brought in. If you like rum - it's a steal about $4-$5 a bottle and you can carry six bottles home if some of it is Cruzan (produced on nearby St. Croix)
We are now planning to travel to St. Lucia with rain forests and production of bananas and fruit. We ain't rich, just sharing a villa with family - We leave May 13th and return May 19th. I'll report on that when we return God-willing. We're plain folk so if you want a down-to-earth report of St. Lucia or any more info on St. Thomas we'll give you the basic redneck tourist point- of-view concerning food, fun, romance, adventure and the benefit of all our inevitible bumbling mistakes so "you" can act informed and refined! God Bless all! Photos later!