Prevue July-August 2017 - 40
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
Exploring the many flavors of St. Croix & St. Thomas
[ON LOCATION] STEVE GRASSO
feast of Caribbean butter poached lobster, jerk lamb
chop tikka masala, and piri-piri-style Key West pink
shrimp welcomed our group to the Renaissance St.
Croix Carambola. The banquet was prepared by
Executive Chef Ron Duprat, a finalist on Bravo's "Top Chef," and
served beneath the stars just steps away from the beach.
Set in the foothills of a lush tropical rainforest, the property
offers 150 villa-style rooms and 12,000 sf of meeting space. An
extensive renovation of the property has just begun, which will
include a refresh of its guest rooms and all public areas.
"The U.S. Virgin Islands is a meeting planner's dream," says
Canika John, director of marketing for the USVI Department of
Tourism. "The three distinct islands-St. Croix, St. John and St.
Thomas-offer a range of experiences to meet any group's needs.
With many group incentives also available, it's easy to plan a
meeting in the USVI and it's 'real nice' on your budget."
GETTING CULTURAL IN ST. CROIX
Our first full day on St. Croix began with a walking tour of historic
downtown Christiansted. Originally built by the Danish West
India Company, a highlight for groups includes the imposing Fort
Christiansvaern, a well-preserved 18th-century colonial fort.
Traditional St. Croix fare was on the menu at Estate Whim, the
only sugar plantation museum in the Virgin Islands. The restored
18th-century Great House and sugar mill can be booked for
events. We were serenaded here with a performance of quelbe,
the traditional folk music of the islands, as well as a demonstration
40 | prevuemeetings.com
of quadrille folk dancing-and learned a few steps ourselves.
Our time in St. Croix ended with a site inspection and tasting
at the Cruzan Rum Distillery before island-hopping via seaplane
to St. Thomas.
ST. THOMAS' BRAND OF LUXURY
After checking into The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, we boarded
the Lady Lynsey, the resort's own 53-ft luxury catamaran for sunset
cocktails and gourmet hors d'oeuvres. The beachfront, 180-room
resort is set on a 30-acre tropical estate with 10,000 sf of indoor
and outdoor meeting space.
"One of my favorite group experiences at the resort is our
'Around the Caribbean' buffet directly on the beach, with bright
Caribbean decor and flavors," says Andy Cisick, senior sales
manager at the resort. "A group can even have the fisherman arrive
via boat with freshly caught fish and lobster, to be cooked onshore
in front of attendees."
Our final day on St. Thomas began with a culinary tour of
Charlotte Amalie that included island delicacies such as conch
fritters, kallaloo and rum cake. After kayaking out from Frenchtown,
we hiked around 135-acre Hassel Island as a guide pointed out
colonial ruins and the well-preserved Fort Willoughby. The last
part of our tour took us to a secluded beach for swimming and
the opportunity to snorkel out and see the remains of a sunken
shipwreck before kayaking back to St. Thomas.
visitusvi.com; marriott.com; ritzcarlton.com