The US Virgin Islands are the ideal getaway to get your tropical fix. These islands may be US territories, but they feel worlds away with a sensory experience that includes reggae rhythms, curried meats and unlimited sunshine. Geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago in the Leeward Islands, USVI is made up of three very different islands with their own distinct personality. St Thomas is a cruise ship favorite that’s often seen as the gateway to the US Virgin Islands with luxe resort life, sophisticated culture and an abundance of exploration. Take a quick ferry to St. John, which offers a plethora of stunning landscapes, environments and sublime shores that are prime for hiking, snorkeling and uninterrupted beach days. St. Croix is the largest of the bunch and offers some of the most exciting doses of culture in the Caribbean: diving sites, scuba sites and rum factories. Between the pristine beaches, fascinating history, world-class gourmet scene, stylish accommodation, ideal temperatures and outdoor adventures, the US Virgin Islands have all the makings of a great Caribbean vacation. Whichever island you find yourself on, it’s a great escape from the mainland. Dig a little deeper beyond the surface and you’ll discover that USVI is perfect for those seeking precious moments of peace and relaxation.
Where to Stay
Tucked away at the base of a hill overlooking the calming waters of the picturesque Pacquereau Bay, the Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove makes for a scenic getaway on the island of St. Thomas. While already set amidst a vibrant landscape, the colorful architecture takes inspiration from Danish and British influences and only adds to the surrounding natural beauty. The spacious two and three bedroom villas take note of the stunning scenery, each with their own private balcony and patio to complement the separate living and dining areas and fully-equipped kitchen. The resort makes for the perfect oasis with its own private strip of beach and outdoor fun available at your fingertips. The beachfront resort is located near the historic town of Charlotte Amalie and makes for the perfect base of exploration for those who want to dive into the cosmopolitan culture and fascinating history of St Thomas. When it comes to enjoying the polished luxury available on the resort, you can keep up at the fitness center, relax at the sparkling infinity pool and even dine al fresco at the poolside restaurant. Check out the Luxury Hotel Guide to the US Virgin Islands for a complete list of first-grade accommodation.
Where to Dine
The US Virgin Islands are filled with small, family-run restaurants. Housed in a rustic stone building in the heart of Cruz Bay, St. John, The Terrace Restaurant is the establishment that brings this warm approach to the art of fine dining. Led by chef Erica Miner, the French-influenced menu features fresh local and flown-in seafood, meats and premium ingredients with a variety of refined, classic and contemporary plates. The family-run restaurant has built great relationships with local farmers and fishermen, and this unwavering commitment to quality shows up in their Caribbean lobster, naturally-raised beef, lamb, local greens and herbs. The eclectic wine list is simply the cherry on top with an award-winning selection of over 130 bottles available mainly from California and France, but also Australia, South America, Spain, New Zealand and Italy. The warm staff are more than knowledgable while the breathtaking waterfront views provide the perfect setting to enjoy an all-around elevated experience, especially at sunset. Take a look at the Restaurant Guide for the US Virgin Islands for an expanded list of exquisite eats.
What to Do
Between the sublime salt-kissed air that whisks you away from reality to the peaceful atmosphere that sweeps across the coastline, US Virgin Islands offer a once-in-a-lifetime nourishment that not only recharges your batteries, but shifts your perspective on life. Take this relaxing to new levels with the abundance of excellent outdoor spas scattered throughout the islands and most upscale resorts. St Thomas is the most commercialized islands of the bunch with a cosmopolitan culture, local shops and internationally influenced restaurants at the palm of your hand. Don’t miss out on the famous 99 Steps to the summit of Government Hill while Magens Bay is widely considered one of the most pleasant beaches in the world. Take the ferry over to St. Croix and head over to the St. George Botanical Garden to really enjoy the diverse landscapes of the island. The snorkeling on St Croix is some of the best in the Caribbean, especially at the Virgin Islands Coral Reef Monument while you can also dive head-first into rum making. It’s also worth checking out the imposing Fort Christiansted, which rises above the waterfront. Over 250 years ago this was the spot where ships landed with slaves and set off with sugar or molasses. Today this wharf is not only a must-see among those interested in the history of the island, but the wharf is a beautiful boardwalk of restaurants, bars and local shops. Not too far away, the island of St. John is well-known for its untouched natural beauty as the US Virgin Islands National Park takes up more than two-thirds of the area. There are no cruise ship docks or airports on the island, while luxury resorts are few and far between, so head here if you want the enjoy top-notch tranquility within nature, especially along the north shore where you’ll find snorkeling and swimming hotspots, as well as some excellent hiking trails.
What to Wear
Designed in a simple yet eye-catching two-tone style, this Tori Praver Deja Two-Tone Bikini Top and matching Tori Praver Macie Two-Tone Bikini Briefs make for a playful statement in the sand. The two-piece bikini is fitted with a classic scoop neck, wide shoulder straps and secure under-band to maximize comfort and fit. Drenched in a flowing floral print, this Mara Hoffman Diana Floral-Print Midi Slip Dress is the perfect day dress to take you from the beachside to the streets of St Thomas with ease. Constructed from a breathable linen fabric, this Onia Eddy Solid Mandarin Linen Shirt is the ideal companion that will take you from under the Caribbean sun to cocktails on the beach come night. It’s a relaxed take on the traditional button-up shirt, while the overall construction is lightweight, keeping you cool in more ways than one. Pair the swim shorts with these Alexander McQueen Square-Frame Acetate Sunglasses for a winning combination. The glasses are not only 100% UV protected to shield your eyes from the harsh rays, but also make for a chic look with its stylish gradient lenses. For a complete breakdown on staying on top of your style, check out the Style Sheet for the US Virgin Islands.