Reprinted from Travel Agent magazine
Article by James Olearchik

Westin St. John Resort and Villas, USVI

The anticipation of any trip is half the fun. But when you travel to the Westin St. John Resort and Villas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the anticipation is even greater when you know that your arrival is only a taste of what is to come. As the ferry docks at the Westin, you are greeted with a welcome drink. St. John--two-thirds of which is protected national parkland--exudes a peaceful charm unmatched in the Caribbean. And it is immediately obvious that the resort has embraced its natural surroundings and complements the island.

Target Clientele: The Westin entertains a wide range of guests. Families with children will be kept busy with individual and planned activities, as well as the Westin Kids Club. Couples, newlyweds and soon-to-be-weds will also enjoy the opportunities offered here as quiet and solitude are easily found along the 1,200-foot long beach of Great Cruz Bay.

Accommodations: Rooms and suites at the Westin are decked out in vibrant Caribbean colors and themes, with fresh flower accents. All rooms feature a balcony or patio, air conditioning, dual-line telephones, the Heavenly Bath (custom-designed dual showerheads, bathrobes, bath sheets, special shower rods and spa amenities), coffeemaker with Starbucks coffee, hairdryer, work desk with data ports, cable television with in-room movies, a safe, and iron and ironing board.

The best part of a room at the Westin is the Heavenly Bed, which features a custom-designed pillow-top mattress set, down blanket, high-thread-count sheets, a comforter, duvet and five pillows. (Heavenly Cribs are also available.) Among the 282 guestrooms, which offer one king-size bed or two double beds, there are also seven one-bedroom king suites and 13 two-bedroom townhouses; vacation villas higher up on the hill offer accommodations that range from studio to three-bedroom layouts. Room categories vary, depending on size and view.

Public Areas: The centerpiece of the resort is the 13,000-square-foot swimming pool. Six lighted tennis courts, watersports equipment, 10,000 square feet of meeting space and a full-service fitness room are available.

The Spa at the Westin is a small facility offering treatments for men and women. The spa features individual treatments, as well as sample packages. The popular LaStone Therapy uses 54 hot basalt stones and 18 chilled marble stones to massage every part of the client's body; a 50-minute session costs $120 per person. Other offerings include various massages, reflexology, facials, body scrubs, mud wraps and body waxings. Reservations are a must, as spa time slots fill up quickly.

Dining: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served buffet style at the Beach Cafe and Bar. Lighter fare can be found poolside at Snorkel's Bar & BBQ. Open 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Snorkel's features light meals, snacks, tropical drinks, barbecue delights, salads and desserts. The Pool Bar is open until midnight with drinks and snacks for that late-night craving. For a more Upscale and romantic evening, suggest that your clients dine at Chloe and Bernard's above the lobby. The restaurant theme revolves around two fictional characters and their world travels--hence the varied international cuisine. Other dining venues include Mango Deli for picnic/takeout items, groceries and deli items. Guests can also take advantage of the 24-hour room service.

Service: You are almost guaranteed a smile, nod or hello when passing any staff member on the property. Service is always top-notch.

Could Be Improved: At night, the pathways can be quite dark and could benefit from ground lighting that would prevent guests from tripping without detracting from the starry nights.

Strongest Selling Point: The symbiotic relationship between the natural surroundings and the manmade property is ideal. You can get everything you need here--including the daily dose of Starbucks--and yet still feel very close with Mother Nature.

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