Home News Local news Ritz-Carlton Reopens on Limited Scale

Ritz-Carlton Reopens on Limited Scale

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Nov. 22, 2006 — The Ritz-Carlton on St. Thomas has begun opening its doors following a $40 million renovation that began in June.
Hotel manager Andrew Rogers said Wednesday the hotel has 70 of its 180 rooms and suites open, with another 47 coming online by mid-December. The rest should be open by early spring. "We'll be fully opened by March," spokeswoman Jenny Wills said Wednesday.
The hotel closed in May for the renovation, which included painting and landscaping the property and adding 28 new rooms and suites. Rogers said four of those suites are considered presidential suites and are located in a separate building.
"They even have their own treadmill," he said.
Additionally, Rogers said all the rooms were refurbished with top-quality items like 400-thread count sheets, new bedding, new artwork and flat screen televisions.
He said the infinity pool and surrounding areas also got an upgrade. The number of treatment rooms in the spa went from six to 11, and a new fitness center is in the works. Rogers said the hotel also developed a new Kids Club area.
The hotel also has a new employee dining room and lounge.
Rogers said the hotel won't accept new bookings for dates before mid-December, but people can book now for stays after then.
He said the hotel opened last week to accommodate guests who had already made reservations.
Rogers said the hotel planned to reopen in early November, but was just a few weeks late. He said that, except for the concrete shortage that plagues all St. Thomas construction projects, things went quite well.
Beverly Nicholson, president of the V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association, said the Ritz attracts an upscale clientele that wants to spend money.
"Anything they can do to attract this type of visitor is good for the destination and good for the economy," she said.
Rogers said all of the hotel's 600 employees are back to work. He said the company paid employees throughout the closure, putting those not needed at the hotel to work on the construction project and at community projects. He said some employees spent a month at other Ritz properties to enhance their skills.
As part of the upgrade, the Ritz hired new chef Jasper Schneider. Born in England, Schneider grew up in New York City and graduated in 1994 from the French Culinary Institute in New York.
His first job was creating new menus for the resort's four restaurants. Three of those restaurants were spiffed up as part of the renovation job.
Bleuwater is the resort's signature restaurant. It features both indoor and alfresco dining with a menu that runs to local seafood dishes like swordfish nicoise and lobster. Other dishes include a wine-braised Kobe beef.
Another restaurant, Great Bay Lounge – Spirits, Wines and Small Plates, features a variety of street-type foods found around the world. The choices include dishes like Japanese-inspired beef yakitori and Indian potato pea somosas with tamarind dipping sauce.
The bartender at Great Bay Lounge also conjures up tropical concoctions like an island spice martini and a mangrita.
Those two restaurants are open now, and the third, Sails, will open mid-December. Wills said Sails will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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