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Trip Report: St Thomas, USVI

November 2006
Bill Chittick

Lest any of you get the wrong impression, I did manage to squeak in some time between meals to visit the villas, which are scattered in 2 or 3 main locales, notably Magens/Peterborg on the North shore, Skyline Drive in the central heights, & East End in the…well, East end. My favorite was “Indochine,” a fabulous Old-World villa with up-market plantation décor, and sequestered in a verdant, tropical hillside with dizzying views over nearby islands and the distant horizon. Redolent of a 1930’s movie set in the tropics, with interior screened doors, lazy fans, handsome polished wood floors, and oodles of charm, the mise en scene is capped by the services of warmly exuberant and ever-talented Gustavo, resident caretaker & chef extraordinaire. Hailing from Santo Domingo, he is a self-taught master and prepares 5 meals a week (all from scratch) – all the client has to do is pay for groceries. “Indochine” will appeal to the most discerning tastes.

Another classic is “Infinity,” perched high atop Skyline Drive with intoxicating double views over Charlotte Amalie harbor to the south, and Magens Bay to the north. Rooms are spacious and exquisitely decorated, with flower-bedecked courtyards & patios at every turn. Again, this villa is a charmer that I wouldn’t hesitate to offer to the most discriminating traveler.

“One Beach Road” is a modernist villa directly on the water in the vicinity of Coki Beach near Red Hook. Cool, hip & vibrant, this villa works ideally for 3 couples, and there’s a neat little pocket beach directly in front (changes with the tides).

Also on the eastern end of St Thomas is a new villa called “Blue Serenity,” just steps away from the beach at Secret Harbour. Crafted in the Old-World style of stone veneer, working plantation shutters & broad verandahs, this family-oriented deluxe villa is a charming addition to McLaughlin-Anderson’s cache.

For sheer exotica, “Secret Garden” is the whimsical playtoy of its owner, a high-profile sports agent from Texas. This 2-bedroom villa, created in stone & rich dark woods, features all-encompassing murals depicting tropical scenes and idyllic jungle landscapes. This is not a kid-friendly house, despite the curious plethora of iguanas sunning on the neighboring sea rocks below.

A real winner for all of us was “Seabright,” a charming, whimsical villa that would please 2 couples as much as it would a small family. Variety accounts for this mass appeal – whether it’s the odd layout, interesting décor, carefully chosen materials, or the spectacular view, “Seabright” exudes all the atmosphere of a super-fun and friendly no-fuss vacation villa. Plus we saw an unforgettable waterspout from here!

As a melting-pot of Caribbean culture for centuries, St Thomas has a worldly charm that is at times elusive and often underappreciated – yet this spectacular island is one of the most sought-after travel destinations for North Americans because of its benign climate, ease of access, and well-honed tourism infrastructure that is a model of excellence. With proper interest on the part of Wimco, we should be able to capitalize on this boom and increase our on-island visibility as many of our competitors have already done.

Thanks to my illustrious travel cohorts - Doug, Barbara & Steve - we can definitely make that happen. Thanks, guys! You were terrific traveling companions!

Ah, villas, this is the life…!

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