In the Throes of Caribbean Luxury

by Ilona Kauremszky

It was at the posh, airy reception of The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas where it all started. “Can I offer you a rum punch?” asked the head porter.

Could he? I was already bowled over by the view of Great Bay, one of the prettiest bays in the Caribbean. A rum-laced cocktail was my ticket to heaven. This welcoming reception to the 30-acre, secluded resort was only a precursor to the amazing amenities and services on offer.

That evening, I signed up for a sunset sail aboard the Lady Lynsey, a 53-foot catamaran, and was treated to tasty canapés and a choice of beverages. The boat excursion sails by privately owned islets, some of them sprouting mansions — like 72-acre Little St. James Island, nicknamed “Little St. Jeff’s” after owner Jeffrey Epstein, a Wall Street tycoon.

The next day I explored the spa, and treatments infused with tropical ingredients like cocoa, Shea butter and even avocado. The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas is not just ideal for those craving luxury; it will also appeal to fitness buffs. The Fitness Centre, overlooking the bay, truly has rewarding views as you work up a sweat, and there are classes in yoga, Pilates and water aerobics.

A special highlight of the resort is the resident artist program. The hotel’s artist-in-residence offers watercolour classes to guests.

And there are absolutely loads of sport and leisure activities, as you would expect. Water sports of all kinds are available; you can try paddle boating, kayaking, snorkelling and windsurfing. Great Bay Beach is perfect for swimming or relaxing — the pure white sand stretches for miles. In fact, the beach won the prestigious Blue Flag Beach status in December 2011.

Tennis and golf are popular, too. The island’s 18-hole championship golf course, Mahogany Run, was designed by George and Tom Fazio and features the famous Devil’s Triangle.

If sailing is your thing — or even if you’ve never sailed before — you can hook up with resident sailing expert Paul Stoeken, a former Olympiad, who now leads a team of U.S. Sailing Certified Instructors at Island Sol.

Or, you can do nothing. Nothing but soak in the infinity pool, admire the view and enjoy the gentle island hospitality. Does life get any better than this?