Boutique Hotels Abound in St. Thomas

St. Thomas is not all about glittery big-name resorts and cookie-cutter timeshare condos. Some of the best boutique hotels in the Caribbean can also be found on St.Thomas, from historic hotels in the hills around Charlotte Amalie to luxury bed and breakfasts. The best boutique hotels on St. Thomas come in a lot of different flavors.

Villa Santana tops the list because it hits all the marks in terms of view, history, location and service. Located on a hill overlooking Charlotte Amalie, the property belonged to General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana of Mexico in the 1850s and each room has been converted from a previous incarnation as library, slave quarters or pumphouse. Offering panoramic views of both the city and the harbor, the hotel has gorgeous decor, impeccable service and reasonable rates.

The Mafolie Hotel is roughly comparable to Villa Santana in terms of view, service and ambiance. Both have hillside locations overlooking the city, a small number of unique, well-designed rooms, excellent staff and an intimate feel.

The Villa Blanca is a more modest version of the Villa Santana. Located on Raphune Hill, about 1.5 miles out of Charlotte Amalie, it has less history and more basic decor but views over the harbor and toward St. John. As a family-owned hotel, the service is friendly and the prices moderate.


At the east end of Main Street, about a block from the main shopping area, Galleon House is accessible via a difficult climb, especially in sweltering heat. Nevertheless, its rates are among the most competitive in town, if you don't mind a place operated without state-of-the-art maintenance and a staff attitude that many readers have complained about. The small rooms, located in scattered hillside buildings, each have a ceiling fan and so-so air-conditioning, plus a cramped bathroom. If you want character, check into the older rooms in the main building. More spacious units with better views lie up the hill in a pair of dull apartment buildings.

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We really suggest this guesthouse only if the other recommended inexpensive hotels are fully booked, as is often the case. Bunker Hill Hotel is not in the safest district in St. Thomas, so caution is advised, especially at night. But this clean and centrally located lodge is suitable for anyone who will sacrifice some comfort (you'll have to put up with some street noise) for their budget's sake. Four rooms have balconies, and some offer a view of the lights of Charlotte Amalie and the sea. The rooms are small, with simple, if often threadbare, furnishings. One room has a microwave and sink, giving it a slight advantage over the others.

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This small, quaint B&B in the East End offers clean, colorful, inexpensive rooms and cheerful service. Rooms are as low as $95 per night in the off season and feature queen-sized beds, fresh linens, air-conditioning, mini-fridge, TV, and towels. The property, which overlooks American Yacht Harbor, also offers home-cooked breakfasts and free wireless internet access.

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The Inn At Villa Olga Hotel Saint Thomas
Photo courtesy of Villa Olga

Though it is owned by the same company that owns the Bolongo Beach Resort, this little hotel could not be more different. With just 12 guest rooms, the Inn At Villa Olga offers a boutique hotel experience in the heart of Frenchtown. There is a small pool and views over the harbor, but no beach. However, due to its relationship with Bolongo, guests at Villa Olga can use the beach chairs, sunfish sailboats, kayaks, wind surfers, and aqua tricycles at Bolongo for no charge, but no shuttle service is provided. Each room has a/c, cable television, air conditioning, coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave, telephone and complimentary wireless Internet access. The excellent Oceana restaurant is located next door, and several other excellent Frenchtown restaurants and bars are only a five-minute walk away.

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Mafolie Hotel
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

Mafolie is a unique gem among the many interchangeable timeshare resorts and conventional hotels. It is really just a small guesthouse perched 800 feet above Charlotte Amalie harbor, with stunning 18-degree views. It's run by proprietor Michael Sigler and his wife Helga, who insist on giving good service. Each room is different from the next, all decorated by Helga with a personal touch that you can't get at a chain. There is a free shuttle to the beach.

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Meet Karen Elowitt

Karen worked for several years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor before becoming a travel writer. She worked for renowned  travel expert Peter Greenberg before going freelance, and now...  More About Karen