One word, Summertime. You know what I’m talking about. If you live in the Virgin Islands, this is the game changer. The mad rush of tourists dwindles to a trickle. The water warms up and the people slow down, way down.
If you work in the tourism industry (and who doesn’t), then you are either gearing up to leave the island or easing into the drowsy, humid days of July.
Hopefully, you are flush with cash from a busy and productive high season. Why not spend some of that hard earned money enjoying all the luxuries of the superstars and jet-set but for less!
If you don’t know it already, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Starting in July, many of those beautiful resorts with Jacuzzis, swim-up bars, room service, and towels folded into swans are available to locals at seriously discounted rates.
So, get ready for the ballin’ days of summer! Grab an umbrella drink and join me by the pool.
On St. John
I’m going to call this one the “you only live once” special. Why not fork over the price of a new MacBook Pro for long weekend’s lodging?
Consider this; most people don’t get to experience the lifestyle of those with bodyguards and the little blue checkmark next to their names on Facebook. For a mere $469 per night (a late July rate published on the Caneel website), you can live like the top 1%. This is considerably less than the high-season rate, so relatively, it’s a good deal.
This “Escape” rate is universally available in July and August BUT (here is the local’s part) with proof of residency, you get a free room upgrade. Locals also get 50% off ferry transfers from St. Thomas, normally $110 per person.
A three-night minimum stay is required. Price includes a full breakfast buffet and is based on single or double occupancy. Offer is available on new bookings only.
I’m tempted to book my room right now. I see myself as Lauren Bacall, lounging in a beach chaise, shielding myself from the sun with my enormous hat. Retro chic!
Okay, I gotta be up front here, no pool. It’s being resurfaced over the summer. However, Gallows is so much more than the pool. This resort is a romantic getaway with morning and sunset yoga, espresso drinks and pastries at the on-site cafe, and complimentary Champagne for special occasions
The rooms are gorgeous; the grounds are like a midsummer’s night dream; and resort restaurant, Ocean 362, is in my opinion, the best and most creative on St. John.
Best of all, although completely removed and secluded, the resort is only a five-minute walk from the shops, restaurants, and fun of downtown Cruz Bay.
Local’s rate of $179 double occupancies (regularly $295) is offered from July 8th to October 27th. Additional guests are $50 per person; rooms accommodate up to five.
Here are the rules, You must show valid VI license or voter card, the maximum stay is three nights, you must mention the locals discount when booking, and must make your reservation within three days of your intended stay.
If you’ve gotten this far, and you don’t live in the VI, I’ve got a persistent reader special for you – 30% off all rooms though summer including additional guests.
While composting toilets are not considered luxury to most, you can’t deny that the eco-cabins at Concordia are the height of sustainable architecture and the green lifestyle. This is the utopian dream come to life. Each cabin is beautifully appointed with a kitchen, solar shower, and stunning views.
Concordia is the perfect place to read, write, paint or just relax. Digital detox, here I come! (Yes, WiFi is available for you diehards.) Reboot your spirit at the tranquil pool overlooking Salt Pond Bay, Ram Head or Drunk Bay. Hike down to the beach, which is nearly deserted this time of year, and take a dip. Align and unwind in the yoga pavilion (classes are limited during summer, but mats are always available). If peace and quiet is your goal, this is the local’s getaway for you!
Through December, get 1/2 off on standard eco-cabins with valid USVI, BVI or Puerto Rico ID or proof of residency. This comes to about $80 + tax for a double with $12.50 for each additional person. You must request the special rate when making your reservation. Eco-cabins accommodate up to five people. The resort is closed for the month of September.
On St. Thomas
Rise above it all at the Mafolie, a historic gem perched over downtown Charlotte Amalie. Founded in 1952, the Mafolie Hotel has, “the most unequivocal views,” raves The New York Times. The owners of this updated, eco-friendly paradise love the island as much as you do. They get extra points for employing 100% energy efficient everything from low flow toilets to solar panels.
Locals receive an extra 20% off the already affordable rates, and each room has “panos” of Hassel Island from their private balconies, plus you get a free a breakfast buffet – win!
Drink yourself into oblivion at the pool bar, enjoy the four-star restaurant, then retreat to your room for a comfy pass out in the guilt-free AC!
Not feeling drinkie? Then go shopping! Hundreds of stores await you below offering cool threads, perfume, art and much more. Browse the open air market in Emancipation Garden or take a tour of the newly opened Fort Christian.
Book it on the weekend so you can enjoy the Mafolie’s amazing Sunday Brunch. It’s a giant buffet including a prime rib carving station and bottomless bloodys, mimosas or tequila sunrises, in case you want to pretend you’re in Mexico.
Be sure you try the starfruit syrup drizzled mango avocado salad to remind you why you live on an island.
Ready to go all in? Sugar Bay invites locals to enjoy an extra 30% off the already low summer room rates, plus a $75 spa credit, double-plus a $75 gift certificate to use in any of the resort’s restaurants or bars! If you want to do the whole shebang, their Summer Centennial Gold Special can’t be beat. Rooms start as low as $179 per person per night for an all-inclusive plan.
Named one of the best Caribbean all inclusive resorts by USA Today, Sugar Bay is a true tropical treasure. The resort boasts 31 lush hillside acres, views of St. John, and is a completely self-contained oceanfront oasis… Hello welcome cocktails!
Bring the whole family to enjoy the three pools, jacuzzi, fine dining, friendly iguanas that you can feed, and a lending library, in case you want to read something besides this article.
Drop the kids off at the onsite kids’ program while you enjoy mountain views from the luxury spa. Tapping, hot stones, cupping, essential oils and tropical island fruits are combined in “unique ways” by the best spa therapists on the island.
I recommend the three-hour package with aromatic salt scrub and detoxifying seaweed wrap. By the time you pick the kiddos up, they’ll be exhausted, you’ll be super-relaxed, and you can all not speak a word to each other while you house an amazing meal at your choice of one of the four award-winning on-site restaurants.
If the spa day isn’t your thing and you just want to party, hit the beach with unlimited “bevys” or play hooky in your room while enjoying complimentary On Demand movies. All inclusive at Sugar Bay is the ultimate local’s staycation experience.
On St. Croix
On St. Croix hit up Divi Carina for local rates starting at $137 a night, and dropping all summer long. Divi Carina is an all-inclusive waterfront resort and casino with two pools and multiple restaurants featuring cuisine from around the globe, daily specials, kids menus, and nightly entertainment. Bet it all at the tables (oh yeah, they have blackjack, roulette, craps or all kinds of poker like Mississippi Stud and Texas Hold’em) or indulge in their giant list of activities – get your PADI certification, swim with the dolphins, try every motorized water sport ever invented, take a gaming lesson, enjoy a spat on their Olympic tennis courts, or go on a guided tour… you name it!
It doesn’t matter if you live here or not, summer is a wonderful and less crowded time to enjoy the Virgin Islands. You don’t have to take our word for it, ask Lisa Hamilton, President of the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association.
“The best thing about summer in the USVI are all the great rates being offered by the hotels, resorts and villas. It’s a great time to visit for those customers looking for a deal.”
USVI Hotel and Tourism Association
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About Catherine Turner
Catherine Turner spends her time sailing in the Caribbean, blogging from her MacBook Pro on the beach, and sipping coconut water from the nuts that drop on the sand next to her. Before tuning in and dropping out Catherine was a nightclub owner and a resort showgirl. A lifetime ago, she spent a decade chained to a desk as a computer programmer/data analyst. She loves to write, paint, snuggle, and to practice yoga. If she doesn’t answer her phone, she is probably in the middle of the ocean somewhere. Leave a message.
Lindsay is a Texas girl at heart and a veteran of the fashion industry who left LA and NYC after 8 years to pursue her dream of island Life. She is a certified Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga teacher and a boat captain in training. She loves to discover new islands, feels most connected to Spirit near the ocean and in nature, and loves to be in the water every day. She treasures time with her girlfriends, can’t help her gypsy ways and can be found meditating somewhere in the jungle or singing to her plants alongside her chihuahua, Dali Llama.