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“Missed opportunity to enjoy this island in Style”

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Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 16 September 2017

The hurricane makes this review trivial, but I hope it helps future travelers. Our stay started July 22, 2017. It seemed like every time there was an opportunity to show great service, they failed to provide it. Our trip started with a problem with what room was reserved for a Gold Elite member. They corrected the problem by putting us in one of the Morning Star buildings. These are old rooms, perfect for families or groups that want connecting rooms. The bed and pillows were not comfortable. Dirty fingerprints on doorways, poor paint jobs, tired light fixtures and the shower that hit so hard that it actually hurt. I could not adjust the water pressure.

The beach restaurant was open air and had a nice island vibe. The menu looked great for breakfast. My first meal was some amazing $11 French toast. Too bad it was undercooked. I was very hungry so I picked around to eat the cooked part. I showed the hostess and the waitress that it was not cooked. They took it to the cook. They offered to make me a new meal. I told them that I was full. They did not offer to take the charge off our bill. When I got back to our room, I threw up all of my breakfast. This was not a good start.

The beach was very nice. In the morning, there was a man sweeping the lounge chairs. From him, I learned where to get snorkeling gear, floats and beach towels. That information was not displayed in our room. Nor the information that this perk has an additional fee of $45 a day, nonnegotiable. BTW, this fee was not added to our hotel bill. His English was poor and I misunderstood where to go. I ended up walking twice as far as I needed. It would not have taken much for him to guide me to the spot that was 50 yards away. I am handicapped, so walking twice as far, was painful.

The shrubs and flowers were overgrown and butchered with hedge shears. This makes the place look tired and cheaply maintained.

As another reviewer noted, housekeeping could show up at our room anytime between 8 am to 4 pm. This was the off season. They were trying to accommodate all kinds of groups checking in.

Men working on the trees did not use safe practices. They could have easily fallen. Their ladders were not stable. They could have used helmets to reduce the chance of a head injury. The dreadlocks on these workers may need to be trimmed for them to wear a helmet.

Some servers and bellman staff had poor appearance. Their uniforms were stained and poorly fitted. A clean apron is not difficult to replace during the shift.

We met with a person representing the Vacation Club. I did not know that we were supposed to spend "2 hours" in one of their promotions. John had paid $1600 for a special package of 5 resort days. He added to it to make our trip 9 days. Well no big deal. They hand us a a gift bag on day 3. It had cheap, Bacardi Rum and a gift card that gave us discount at many places. The lady was very nice as she explained the different restaurants and shopping places. It would have been nice if we did not need a card to get the 10% discount and if we would have the card on the first day. Many times we left it in the room or forgot to present it. We charged everything to the room so it would have been easy for them to track it. We gave them back the rum. Corey, the Vacation Club representative, replaced it with some local island rum. He also grabbed 2 muffins after hearing the muffin story. Corey Abisdid, you did a great job, all the way to answering questions when we returned home. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, our room moved to the main Hotel. It was nicely appointed and housekeeping kept it clean. We never understood that staying at the Vacation club villas was an option. We were never offered a tour to a villa during our stay. There was a mixup on Sunday. We were suppose to take the van to the villas. That is when we expected a tour. Instead, we had to board the van back to the hotel where Corey was waiting. The two hour presentation ended up taking 4.5 hours. We started the meeting with all the failures that happened. Corey stated that he would present our complaints to management. We had the expectations that the points (45,000 per day) might be refunded or at least adjusted. Marriott Vacation Club is not affiliated with Marriott Hotels. They agreed that the location and not the quality of the hotel, rated it a 9. Marriott Vacation Club is not responsible. Hey, if your using the name Marriott and you are trolling Marriott guests to sell membership, your part of the company.

Thursday, we did not get up early. The restaurants stop serving breakfast at 11. They would not seat us at the outdoor restaurants, that left us with the expense buffet. It is still just before 11 and the hostess would not seat us. In fact, she was just leaning on the podium in a very casual way. I was very hungry at this point. She did not mention that we could find food in the gift shop. I walk past her and saw that most of the food was still out. The chef made John a fresh omelet. The waitress was very nice and told us stories about St. Thomas. My eggs from the buffet were old, but overall they had a great selection. The buffet cost $30 a person. The hostess needs customer service training.

On Friday, I discovered that the gift shop has a great variety of food, if you get there early in the morning. There was a $4.50 blueberry muffin that I gave to John for breakfast. It was great, with blueberries all the way through it. So Friday, I go to get another muffin for me. It had, 1 1/2 blueberries in it. I eat half of it, because I am hungry. Without the blueberries, it did not taste good. I take the rest of it to show the lady in the gift shop. She tells me that it appears that I have eaten most of the muffin. Really? This is all you have to say? I tell her no problem, I am taking this to a manager. Then she offers me another muffin. I said that it obvious that the others are not as good because they do not sell out. So I show the muffin to the manager. He immediately refunded the muffin and offered to personally bring me a muffin to my room on Sunday. I told him that was not necessary. He stated that more training would be provided to the staff. BTW their gift shop in the hotel is well stocked. It had everything you would need. Everything is more expensive on the island, so the food prices were not a surprise. A 12 oz can of Diet Mt. Dew is $2.25 in the gift shop. At a gas station it is $1.25. Alcohol is cheaper than soft drinks.

One day we spent touring various sites in St. Thomas. We finished a lovely day at the Ritz. EVERYTHING was handled with care and pride. From our entry at the front gate, to the concierge finding me some special shampoo and conditioner. Over and over, their staff showed formal training had been done. All the landscaping was hand trimmed and not overgrown. Facilities and gift shops were spotless.

The Marriott food and drinks on the outdoor patio restaurant was very limited. People were able to order food anywhere around the pools. The waitress we saw was very overworked looking. It made me feel guilty seeing this lady breathing hard and exhaustion on her face. Both John and I agree that the drinks tasted watered down. The pour looked correct. That leaves the idea that water was added by management. Others had the same comment.

Tiffany, was a great bartender. We saw her several days at different stations. She was very pleasant to everyone and she was very busy. Other staff were not so diligent. The lobby had drinks left behind. Some were spilled on a wood table. I tried to get a towel to clean up the spot. The bartender and waitress were chatting and could not be interrupted. When we returned from dinner, the same leftover drinks and spills were there.

Music around the pool was, at times, very annoying. Not pleasant island music. Sometimes, it was rap music. It was loud enough to coverup any conversation. Some guests just turned their phones on out loud. I should have brought ear plugs. If you paid extra, you could sit at the spa pool and spa cabanas that were spacious and uncrowded. The other 3 pools had views of the ocean. The deck area was redesigned and rebuilt after a previous storm. It was very nice.

The live band performers were nothing special. I was hoping for something above average bar band in a resort.

The lady that guided us in yoga was wonderful. I did that on two mornings overlooking the ocean.

We missed special reception was that was held for Marriott Elite members. I caught just the end of it. I grabbed the last bit of food for John. The staff went the extra mile and got me a large glass of wine from the bar when there was none left at the reception table. Later, I found the note that invited us. I was using it as a book mark. It would have been nice if there was a sign to remind us of the reception in the lobby. Other ads were present for activities in the lobby.

When one of the elevators was out on the weekend, I started using the stairs. That is when the staff started lying. I hate LIARS. Two floors did not have fire hoses (I have photos). I did not walk up all the floors to check them. Since I have been in hotels where fires happened, I asked the desk clerk, where was the fire hose. First they said, on a Saturday, that the fire Marshall was there. He must have removed the hose to "test" it. Okay, that didn't sound right. So I asked where the fire Marshall was at, "oh he left already" was their answer. Sunday I ask the desk manager where were the hoses? The hoses needed parts was Sunday's answer. They asked why I was so interested. I told them that I had been hotels that had a fire. The desk manager gave me that "father knows best look" and told be that I did not need to be concerned. Monday, I tell the on duty manager what happened on the weekend. He seemed unconcerned by missing fire hoses. There was a dusty paper that noted that parts were ordered in one of the hose boxes.

Having only one working elevator for a full hotel that has over 8 floors all weekend was not good. Apparently, they needed a part to be sent from the mainland. Fortunately for me, we were not high up. They told us that there was only one company to do repairs on the whole island.

We enjoyed the catamaran tour to see the sea turtles.

If you go to St. Thomas and can afford it, stay at the Ritz. I do not recommend the Marriott.

Room Tip: The hotel does not have beach access. The Morning Star rooms are beach front.
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  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank kuiltdiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MrChrisDonohue, General Manager at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 20 September 2017

Dear kuiltdiva,

I am personally very sorry if our hotel did not live up to your expectations during your July visit here. Clearly, in your eyes, we made a number of missteps that all added up to a less than stellar experience at our hotel.

It is never our intention to disappoint a guest in any way. We want everyone coming here to have a relaxed, enjoyable, fun time.

Please accept my sincerest apologies that our resort was not for you.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 - 15 of 4,423 reviews

Reviewed 14 September 2017

OK, it's the USVI - the water makes up for anything negative in this review...
Beautiful but remote location. Clean room. Ocean view room turned out to be a view of the harbor. but that was OK anyway. The restaurants are mediocre at best and quite expensive - even by resort standards. Staff turns on the charm if they know you will tip them, otherwise you're an inconvenience. Be prepared to walk up and down a lot stairs to get to the beach. I don't think we'll go back to this hotel.
Note: Get to the airport early for departing flights. You basically have to go through customs before the TSA security. The line is long and moves slowly.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Van I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MrChrisDonohue, General Manager at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 19 September 2017

Dear Van I,

We strive to provide a beautiful, relaxing, comfortable stay to our guests, and apologize if you were disappointed overall with our resort, and the service you received. Your review certainly helps us to see where we fell short, and areas where improvements, and enhancements can be made.

As a Marriott property, we realize guests have certain expectations when staying with us, and are sorry you were overall disappointed with your time here. Thank you for your review, and we do hope one day we can welcome you back.

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Reviewed 12 September 2017

One of the highlights of the trip was the night kayaking in the cove below the hotel. We had Paul, Sam, and Andy and everyone was great. The lights under the kayaks attracted the fish and we were able to really relax and enjoy our time without being "herded" from activity to activity.

The hotel itself was great and the dining options available were excellent as well. You really don't need to leave the resort unless you want to shop!

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank James P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MrChrisDonohue, General Manager at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 15 September 2017

Dear James P,

Thank you for not only your high praise for our night kayaking, but also for the resort itself!

We are glad you had a fun night kayaking experience, and that you really enjoyed your guides, and the sea life you were able to see. We area also glad that you found everything you needed right here for a very enjoyable stay!

We appreciate your review, and we hope to welcome you again!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2017 via mobile

Great room service, beautiful infinite pool with bar, giant balcony. And staffs here did an excellent job in Irma!
Highly recommend to book Marriott here , they got the safest building in this island,foods are good ( I like the fish the most).

Stayed: September 2017, travelled with friends
Thank Wen Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MrChrisDonohue, General Manager at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 15 September 2017

Dear Wen Y,

It is great to know that you felt very well taken care of at a very stressful time during the hurricane, and that you found our resort was excellent in care and accommodations while riding out the storm.

Thank you for letting us know that our staff and team rose to the occasion, and provided a wonderful experience under the circumstances.

We appreciate your review, and feedback, and hope to welcome you back for a relaxing stay to enjoy all that our hotel has to offer!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2017 via mobile

We were stuck in St Thomas during Irma. The staff at this hotel was amazing. Chris, the manager, worked for three days straight to get a ship off of the island. People on the staff would do anything they could to help you, all while they didn't even know if they still had a home. If we hadn't stayed at a Marriott hotel, we would still be stuck there.

Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
6  Thank fijijimt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MrChrisDonohue, General Manager at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2017

Dear fijijimt,

It is great to know that you felt very well taken care of at a very stressful time during the hurricane.

Thank you for letting us know that our staff and team rose to the occasion, and provided a wonderful experience under the circumstances.

We appreciate your review, and feedback, and hope to welcome you back for a relaxing stay to enjoy all that our hotel has to offer!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort

Address: 5 Estate Bakkeroe, Charlotte Amalie 00802, St. Thomas
Region: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Thomas > Charlotte Amalie
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 453
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surrounded on three sides by stunning Caribbean ocean views, Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort combines modern luxury and the unique Virgin Island style of St. Thomas. Our US Virgin Islands hotel in St. Thomas features clean, crisp large guest rooms with flat screen 50" TVs. Experience new resort features including an infinity pool, children's splash zone, adult infinity pool with bar; and private spa pool. Our Lazule Sea Spa is now open featuring extensive treatment rooms, salon, state of the art fitness center, and private spa pool with cabanas. Aqua Terra is one of three restaurants at Frenchman's Reef which features spectacular views of the Charlotte Amalie harbor. Our mission is to host you brilliantly... To make your every event and stay with us unforgettable and effortless. Come visit us at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort and discover the most luxurious vacation destination in the US Virgin Islands. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Marriott Frenchman`s Reef & Morning Star Beach Hotel Charlotte Amalie
Marriott Frenchman`s Reef And Morning Star Beach Resort
Marriott Charlotte Amalie
Charlotte Amalie Marriott
Marriott Frenchmans Reef
Frenchmans Reef St Thomas
Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort St. Thomas/Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands

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