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The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

The resort has 180 guest rooms and suites, each with a private balcony or terrace. The ocean front location provides easy access to the beaches of Great Bay and Coconut Cove. The Comprehensive Aquatic Center features numerous non-motorized water activities free of charge including paddle boats, kayaks, Hobie cats, windsurfers and snorkel equipment. Guests can use four dining establishments, as well as have the option to have a four-course meal directly on the beach.

Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort

Its 479 hotel rooms makes Frenchman's Reef the largest Caribbean vacation resort in the U.S Virgin Islands. The Frenchman's Reef Hotel in St. Thomas offers views of Charlotte Amalie Harbor. Amenities include five restaurants, six bars and three swimming pools.

The Westin St John

This resort offers 146 villages on a 47-acre property on Great Cruz Bay. On shore, the resort offers a full-service spa, on-site shopping, tennis with instruction on lighted turf courts and a fitness center. Golf is available at the nearby Mahogany Run course on St. Thomas. It also offers a kids club to help engage younger guests with indoor and outdoor supervised activities.

Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa

The St. Thomas resort features 294 rooms with private balconies. The resort has its own secluded beach with access to various water sports activities. On site activities include miniature golf, tennis, scuba, snorkeling, sailing or kayaking. Guests also can use the three interconnecting pools and waterfall. Dining options include four restaurants and three lounges/bars.

Secret Harbour Beach Resort

Secret Harbour is located on the East End of Saint Thomas. The resort has 60 suites, of which 42 are beach front. On-site amenities include a large crescent-shaped, palm-lined beach, three tennis courts, fitness center, freshwater pool, dive/water sport center and a seaside restaurant.

Point Pleasant Resort

This is a villa-style resort with 128 suites on St Thomas. It is located on Pineapple Beach and is near Sugar Beach, which has a nature trail on a 15-acre preserve. Guests can eat at two restaurants -- The Agave Restaurant and Fungi's On The Beach. For water sports and fun, the resort includes three pools, complimentary snorkel gear and introductory scuba lessons.

Caneel Bay

Caneel offers 166 accommodations. Complimentary services include use of Sunfish sailboats, kayaks, snorkel gear and fitness center. The resort offers an introductory scuba clinic, and, for an additional charge, scuba diving and instruction. Dining options include four restaurants, one with a wine room.

Maho Bay St John

In the US Virgin Islands National Park, Maho has its own beaches and offers a variety of water sports. At Maho Bay Camps, stay in tent cottages or in the apartments at Harmony Studios. Each has its own comfort level, but all are built on the same green philosophies. Guests may choose from many daily programs and activities including National Park tours, yoga, sailing trips, hikes and music. Dining options include three restaurants.

The Buccaneer

Founded in the 17th century, St. Croix's Buccaneer is the Caribbean's longest-running resort. It is a destination resort for golf, tennis, water sports, weddings, honeymoons and family vacations. Guests receive complimentary use of ocean kayaks, snorkeling gear, floating mats, beach toys and games. Tether ball and beach side basketball also are offered. Learn-to-scuba classes are available for guests 10 years old and over. Five restaurant options are available.

Carambola Beach Resort & Spa

Guests can swim along the 1,000 feet of beach front or in the freshwater swimming pool. They can work out at the fitness facilities or play night tennis on the lighted tennis courts. Dining options include four restaurants, which often have live entertainment, or the poolside bar and grill. A total of 150 guest suites are available.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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December 15, 2008

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