What’s New & News in the U.S. Virgin Islands This Fall

WHAT’S NEW & NEWS IN THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS THIS FALL
Openings, events and special accommodation deals

U.S. Virgin Islands (September 23, 2013) – Fall has arrived in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with exciting new tourism product developments and enhancements, signature events and accommodation deals. Take a break from the chilly fall weather and come to the warmer climes of the Caribbean, where no passport is required for U.S. Citizens. As an added incentive, two current promotions offer added fall travel savings:

  • The Intimate Treasures” package offers $100 in savings, including $50 in dining certificates and $50 in attractions and activities vouchers, as well as a gift bag with island goodies.
  • The “Delta Island Time Getaway” package allows you to save more than $450 when you book any Tuesday or Wednesday flight to the U.S. Virgin Islands through Delta Vacations. The package includes a $250 air credit, fifth night free, $50 retail certificate, $100 dining certificate and $50 activities certificate. Valid for booking through September 30, 2013.

DESTINATION DEVELOPMENTS

St. Croix – The Buccaneer Resort Debuts Beach House On Whistle Point

New in 2013, the Buccaneer Beach House on Whistle Point offers a two-bedroom main house with a full kitchen and a living room; a master suite villa with sitting area and bedroom; a two-bedroom cottage, and a one-bedroom cottage with a kitchen located a stroll from the 340-acre Buccaneer Resort. The Beach House can comfortably accommodate family reunions, wedding parties and corporate retreats. Smaller families, singles and couples can choose the main house, master suite or cottages separately. Guests at The Buccaneer Beach House at Whistle Point can enjoy all The Buccaneer’s services and amenities.

St. John – Caneel Bay No Longer a Rosewood Resort

Caneel Bay is going independent. The resort announced recently that – for the first time since 1993 – it will no longer be managed by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. When it reopens on November 1, it will simply be called the Caneel Bay Resort. CBI Acquisitions will remain as the owners of the resort. Additionally, a new restaurant called ZoZo’s Ristorante, a coffee shop called Cannella, and a gelateria will all open in November. Despite its new name and restaurants, not much else will change at Caneel Bay. It will remain a low-key resort with no televisions or phones in any of the rooms.

St. John Brewers Releases New Ginger Beer Soda

St. John Brewers has released a new beverage that is making things a little dark and stormy in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company’s enterprising local brewmasters Kevin Chipman and Chirag “Cheech” Vyas, a former physical therapist and a former NASA scientist,  have created a new ginger beer soda  that adds a kick to the popular Caribbean ‘Dark ‘n Stormy’ cocktail — a sweet and spicy combination of rum and ginger beer.  The duo perfected their recipe throughout the past four years at their St. John’s Mongoose Junction brewery.   Beer lovers can also enjoy the duo’s on-site batch brews such as their Amber Jack, Double IPA, and Frozen Cistern Winter Ale.  Since 2004, St. John Brewers has been bottling their Tropical Mango Pale Ale and other brews.    

St. John – Westin St. John Gets a $12 Million Makeover

The Westin St. John Resort and Villas is in the process of $12 million refurbishment. The makeover is currently in progress and due for completion in October 2014. An investment has been made to upgrade the interiors of the property’s 96 beach and poolside rooms. The resort will remain open during the project.

St. John – Bird Observation Pier to be Built at Frank Bay Marine
Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor de Jongh announced on September 13 an agreement between the Territory’s Government and the Audubon Society of the Virgin Islands to develop an observation pier for the territory’s bird lovers at the Frank Bay Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary on St. John. The Audubon Society will oversee the construction of the new wooden walkway and pier. When complete, it will create a unique vantage point from which to observe the diverse bird populations that inhabit the sanctuary. For the first time, birders can view the full Frank Bay pond without disturbing the fauna. Interpretive signs will also be added around the sanctuary to inform visitors about the diverse flora and wildlife on St. John.  

St. Thomas – Jimmy Buffett and Wyndham Launch Margaritaville

Musician Jimmy Buffett has partnered with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts to launch the world’s first Margaritaville Vacation Club, a timeshare resort on St. Thomas. Construction began in July 2013, with the first phase anticipated to be completed at the end of 2014. This 262-unit property will allow owners to purchase points that can be redeemed at any of the Wyndham’s timeshare properties.  Buffett has had a long connection with the U.S. Virgin Islands. He first visited St. Thomas in 1972 and his song “Boat Drinks” was inspired by the island.

St. Thomas – Bolongo Bay Beach Resort Announces New Chef de Cuisine and
New Conference Room Facilities

Renowned St. Thomas Chef Sally Darash, former co-owner of Craig & Sally’s Restaurant in Frenchtown, has joined Bolongo Bay as Creative Chef de Cuisine. A new 1,000-square-foot indoor conference room has also just opened, accommodating up to 60 guests for meetings, intimate weddings and receptions.

St. Thomas – Jetriders Lets Visitors Fly to New Heights

Soar through the air with St. Thomas Jetriders, soaring above Caribbean crystal blue waters by water-propelled jetpacks. Formerly a toy for the rich and famous, certified flight instructors can teach students the basics of flight within fifteen minutes. Introductory classes cost $200 for a 20-minute experience, while the 30-minute “Maverick” experience is $250.

St. Thomas – Flyboarding Rivals Jetriders as Exciting New Aerial Activity

If you want to fly through the Caribbean air without a jet pack on your back, try St. Thomas Flyboarding at the Island Beachcomber at Lindbergh Bay. After simply 10 or 15 minutes with the certified instructors, you’ll be flipping and flying up to 35 feet above the ocean and swimming like a dolphin. It’s the ultimate rush. To book your lesson and start flying, call St. Thomas Flyboarding at 340-514-8654.

St. Thomas – New Eco-Adventure Program by Jean-Michel Costeau

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas now offers eco-conscious travelers the opportunity to uncover the island’s extraordinary ecological treasures with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program. This innovative program, crafted by one of the world’s leading environmental preservationists, emphasizes education and respect for the local ecosystem, introducing guests to St. Thomas’ diverse marine environment through hands-on eco-adventures.

Designed for guests of all ages, the program is led by a team of Cousteau-trained naturalists who showcase the unique character and natural heritage of St. Thomas.

Available tours include:

  • Mangrove & Dinosaur Wonderland: Explore the mysterious world of St. Thomas’ mangroves and feed a dinosaur – the island’s indigenous Green Iguanas.
  • Beautiful Blue Beaches: Discover the unique diversity of marine and plant life found on St Thomas’ pristine beaches.
  • Ocean Kayak and Snorkel Adventure: Paddle and snorkel Great Bay to become immersed in its diverse marine life.

St. Thomas – Explore Water Island by Golf Cart

At 491.5 acres, Water Island is much smaller than St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas.  However, the island offers an abundant array of activities for visitors including relaxing days on the beach, kayaking, biking and hiking the remains of military fortifications.  One can even explore by golf cart to travel along the shoreline at Limestone or head to Honeymoon Bay for lunch.   For more information, call Apollo Golf Carts (302-540-4009).

SIGNATURE EVENTS

St. Thomas – UVI Set for 2013 Paradise Jam Basketball Tournament
The University of the Virgin Islands is gearing up for the 14th annual Paradise Jam tournament in late November. A total of 16 men’s and women’s teams will compete at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center in hopes of taking home the vied-for Paradise Jam title. This year, men’s teams from institutions such as Vanderbilt University, University of Maryland, and La Salle University will travel to St. Thomas. The women’s field is equally impressive – featuring teams from Duke University, Texas A&M University, and Syracuse University, among others. The men’s games will occur November 22-25, and the women’s teams will play November 28-30. The tournament is always a slam dunk for the territory, with fans from all over the country and members of the national media flocking to watch basketball in paradise. Don’t miss it!

ACCOMMODATION DEALS

St. John – Caneel Bay’s New Multi-Generational Family Package

The new “Greatest Generation Offer” package from the Caneel Bay Resort allows traveling families to book three rooms and get a fourth room free for stays between now and December 20, 2013. Parents and grandparents can relax while kids enjoy the newly renovated Turtle Town area that features arts and crafts activities, dinner and movie events, as well as themed activity days. Caneel Bay also offers U.S. Tennis Association’s “10 and Under Tennis” program for children to learn how to play using
kid-sized courts and equipment.

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