My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands

My very first partner was The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express 5 years ago. Since then I have been called an SPG Amex Star or an Amex Ambassador. It’s one of my most valued partnerships and I love the card! I literally use it every single day. I actually have 3 SPG Amex cards in my wallet as we speak: one personal card and 2 others for two of my different businesses. Each year I go on a few SPG Amex trips to show how easy it is to use the card and highlight some Starwood properties around the country and the world. I just got back from my SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, Welcome to St. John
The US Virgin Islands are a US territory so there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about. Even if there was, the SPG Amex card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees as I pointed out when I went to Mauritius with the new SPG Amex card last summer. This can save you a lot of money while traveling the world!
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, beach
In order to get to St. John and not have to use a passport, you will fly to St. Thomas. There are several direct flights from all over the US including New York. I am not a fan of St. Thomas at all so I recommend heading straight for St. John. I ended up having 2 nights in St. Thomas this trip as a result of a cancelled flight. My advice is avoiding taxi drivers in St. Thomas as I found them, meaning multiple drivers, to be very dishonest and even threatening. But that’s another story for another day. St. John is very nice.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, pool
I stayed at the Westin St. John and it’s the best hotel on the island. It’s about a 7-8 minute taxi ride from where the ferry from St. Thomas drops you off in Cruz Bay. Again, be careful with taxi drivers in the Virgin Islands and make sure to agree on a price beforehand.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, grounds
Once at the Westin, it is a sprawling resort with a large pool, multiple restaurants and a nice pool bar. There is also a private beach to hang out on and they offer several excursions. They even offers boats to the British Virgin Islands but remember to bring your passport if you want to go to Jost Van Dyke or any of the other BVI’s.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, pool, palms
Unfortunately, the weather in St. John was not very nice for most of my stay. Obviously, you cannot control the weather but you can make the best out of the situation as I always do! So instead of lazing at the pool and drinking tropical cocktails in the sun, we headed out around the island.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, Trunk Bay, Virgin Islands National Park, USVI
The best attractions on St. John are the stunning beaches in Virgin Islands National Park. Trunk Bay is the most famous and always appears on many top beach lists in the world. However, I did not include it in my 30 best beaches in the world post although when I redo it I will give it strong consideration.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, beach
Aside from beaches, we happened to be there during their Carnival or Festival as they call it. That means there are massive concerts, parades and late night parties all over town. It can get very loud so be prepared but it’s a great way to see the real culture of St. John come out. Of course many islanders from St. Thomas and St. Croix come as well to party and listen to famous Caribbean acts perform.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, chairs
But I must say that my favorite things about St. John were the fantastic restaurants we ate dinner in. The concierge at the Westin was fantastic and recommended some phenomenal restaurants. My idea of island food is usually pretty basic but recently some very high-end restaurants have opened in town.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, Extra Virgin menu
My favorite was Extra Virgin. If you know New York City, there is an excellent West Village restaurant of the same name that I go to often. They aren’t related. The St. John version is fantastic and is a great value. I got the short rib; which was massive and only about $35 or so. Additionally, they have an extensive wine list and happened to have my favorite, a 2011 Silver Oak Cabernet, at a very reasonable price at around $100. I know that may sound expensive but compared to what they charge in the US, it’s very cheap!
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, The Terrace, wahoo
I also loved The Terrace restaurant. It is located just off the main port overlooking the harbor. It’s a second floor restaurant with a great little happy hour bar, excellent food and tremendous value in terms of price and portions. I recommend the wahoo for a main and the foie gras appetizer.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, beach
Back at the Westin, we finally got good weather the day we had to leave so it was a short-lived pool experience but a lot of fun nonetheless. And for the experience I earned around 5000 Starpoints to add to my collection toward free nights at other Starwood properties using my SPG Amex card. If you don’t use it, I highly recommend you do. I believe it’s the best travel rewards credit card out there.
My SPG Amex trip to St. John, US Virgin Islands, St. John, Saint John, SPG Amex, Starwood, American Express, Westin, pool, toes
Disclaimer: I have a partnership with the SPG Amex card and receive financial compensation. I also partner with American Express and Starwood separately on other business ventures not related to the SPG Amex card. SPG Amex sponsored my trip to St. John by providing airfare and accommodation at the Westin St. John. I paid for everything else with my business SPG Amex card. This post was written by me based on my experience and has not been influenced in any way. I have had the SPG Amex card since 2001 and I am a lifetime platinum SPG member.

Comments

  1. I’m also not a fan of St. Thomas. I saw your Facebook post about the taxi drivers. I had a very similar experience. They were rude, dishonest and physically threatening when I said something. They also threatened to call the police when I did nothing wrong. Of course they likely are cousins with the police and will split whatever money changes hands. It’s a bit of a joke and a no win situation for the tourist. So you pay and allow their corrupt ways to continue.

  2. I did my honeymoon at the Westin in St. John!

  3. This sure looks like an interesting and relaxing place to be in.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experiences in the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. John! The VI National Park is a phenomenal destination. Aside from the beaches, there are also some great eco tours available that allow you to hike, kayak, and snorkel. There are great St. Thomas and St. John snorkeling tours and eco tours available through CaribbaConnect, which is a virtual concierge service on the islands. Also, to avoid some of the hassles and costs with taxis, I recommend booking pre-arranged private transportation in advance of your arrival and departure. You don’t get charged extra fees per passenger or for your luggage, and you don’t have to share your ride or haggle with drivers. Sorry that the taxis and weather weren’t more cooperative and welcoming, but I’m glad you had a great time anyway!

  5. What a cool looking Bay. Love the look of the ocean. Nice photos.

  6. St. Thomas is the worst place that I have ever visited mainly because it is over hyped and over priced. I didn’t take a taxi, but I did do a day trip there as part of an Eastern Caribbean trip I took years ago. Aside from Blackbeard’s Castle, there was nothing of significant interest for me on the island. I really had a longing for visiting St. John as I thought it would be more authentic as this post clearly points out. I am sure I will be at the U.S. Virgin Islands again in the future, though.

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