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You could spend a pleasurable week at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas without knowing you had at your disposal the skills of former Olympic windsurfer Paul Stoeken, but that would be a shame.
Along with members of his certified team, Stoeken, owner of Island Sol Water Sports, runs the Ritz-Kids Sailing Camp, held every weekday at the property for kids ages 8 to 13. You’ll pay $110 for the first child and $95 for each additional kid, and if you know what sailing lessons usually cost (a lot more) this is a good deal. Each lesson is tailored to your child’s skill and interest level. Kids can train on windsurfing equipment, a dinghy called an Optimist Pram (that your child will likely call Optimus Prime, if your child is anything like me) or a Hobie cat, the most popular craft among campers.
During camp, which goes from 10am to 4pm (lunch included), kids will learn such basics as wind awareness, points of sail, steering, tacking, jibing, navigation, seamanship, and safety, and at the end of the day will get a U.S. Sailing Level 1 Certification booklet that serves as a record of what they’ve learned – handy if they want to sail on another vacation or even the following day; although camp only lasts a single day, guests are welcome to attend as often they like during their stays. And if parents want to get in on the sailing, too, all water sport lessons are available at $85 per person per hour and $120 per two people per hour.
If you want to defray the cost of any lessons a bit, you could avail yourself of the Ritz’s Reconnect package, valid through April 30, which includes a $100 daily resort credit that you can put toward sports lessons, spa services, meals, and other resort costs. The package, starting at $519 a night, also covers daily breakfast for two adults.
But what about breakfast and meals for the kids? Consider the Ritz’s kids meal plan – $29 per day for kids 12 and under and good for select meals at certain restaurants; the resort has four. Covered daily are lunch and dinner off the kids menus as well as a buffet breakfast. And because most hotel breakfast buffets will jack you for 30 bucks or more just to feed your kids for a single morning, the flat-rate meal plan packs appeal.
If the Reconnect package doesn’t quite fit with your plans, there might be another way to get back a hundred bucks a day. The Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas is one of the properties participating in the USVI Department of Tourism’s escape promotion (www.visitusvi.com) where you and a traveling companion can save $500 total ($250 per person) for a five-night minimum stay. The deal's good for travel between March 3 and May 31 and must be booked by March 31 through one of 14 vacation providers that include Delta Vacations, Liberty Travel, and Travelocity.
See our St. Thomas Travel Guide for general trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to St. Thomas.