Leaving your passport safely tucked away at home is certainly one draw for the U.S. Virgin Islands. But it’s far from the only appeal of this trio of Caribbean islands the United States purchased in 1917.
For one thing, don’t forget to pack your appetite, as the burgeon- ing culinary scene offers reason enough to hop on the first direct flight. The calendar is dotted with food festivals all year, including Love City Seafood Fest in January; AgriFest in February; Taste of St. Croix in April; King of the Wing in June (that’s chicken, of course); and Mango Melee Festival in July, where attendees can sample the beloved tropical fruit in all kinds of luscious preparations. The U.S.V.I. is also the only destination to host three carnivals per year, with festive events spread throughout the year on all three islands.
Frenchman’s Reef on St. Thomas, devastated in 2017 by the one-two punch of hurricanes Irma and Maria, is fresh off an extensive $425 million rebuild project, including the opening of Westin Beach Resort & Spa and Morningstar Buoy Haus Resort, an Autograph Collection. With those two hotels come six new dining concepts, including Spanish dishes at SandBar, casual beach vibes at Salt Shack, and poke and sushi (with terrace views and killer rums) at Sugarfin.
St. Croix is the perfect island to experience the life aquatic — during the day or even at night. Buck Island Reef National Monu- ment boasts a protected marine ecosystem since two-thirds of it is surrounded by a 4,554-acre coral barrier reef. Don a snorkel mask or scuba gear to explore the underwater trail, where you can spot 250 species of fish. A 2.5- mile hike through a rainforest takes you to the large, naturally formed Annaly Bay Tide Pools teeming with marine life. For the ultimate after-dark adventure, head out in a glass-bottomed kayak through Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve to see the bioluminescent organisms making the water look like a sky full of stars.
If you’d prefer to stay on land, head to Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, where 30 hiking trails take you through landscapes such as a forest of bay rum trees and scrubland filled with cacti. There you can also see Reef Bay Valley Petroglyphs, rock carvings created by the indigenous Taino people as early as A.D. 500. After a hike on the trails at Lind Point, you can take to the bay on a kayak or spot sea turtles from the seagrass areas on Maho Bay Beach.
Art meets booze at St. Croix’s Bajo El Sol Gallery, Bar & Rum, displaying exhibits and handmade crafts from local artists, offering poetry readings, and stocking one of the largest collections of aged rums in the U.S.V.I. And if you’re feeling frazzled from the daily stressors of life on the mainland, the windmill at Peace Hill Sugar Mill hosts weekly meditation sessions. Relax, you’re on island time now.
Named after King Frederik V of Denmark, this hip and quirky new property comprising six renovated historical structures dating to 1790 includes a beachfront resort, spa, restaurant and bar.
605 Strand St., Frederiksted, St. Croix
Lovango Resort + Beach Club
Accommodations at this private island resort range from villas and cottages to luxury treehouses and glamping tents, with access to secluded Crescent Beach and the U.S.V.I.’s only beach club.
1 Lovango Cay, St. John $$$$$
Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort at Frenchman’s Reef, Autograph Collection
Breathe in the salt air from your table at Isla Blue and take a dip in the inviting freeform pool at this new 94-room boutique hotel steps from the turquoise surf.
2 Estate Bakkeroe, St. Thomas $$$$$
Indulge in a tasting menu of seven, nine or 11 courses of creative Caribbean cuisine from Chef “Benji” in an ocean-inspired dining room with aquamarine ceilings, beach prints and coral-hued chairs.
Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas $$$$$
A fixture on St. John for decades, this restaurant draws on Creole, Bahamian, Cuban, Jamaican, Haitian, Puerto Rican and Maya flavors and traditions for its vibrant dishes and neo-Caribbean experience.
18-1 Enighed Cruz Bay, St. John $$$$
Settle into a cozy table inside the two-story, brick-covered Danish building or one on the romantic, candlelit courtyard to enjoy farm-to-table and boat-to-fork cuisine and an eclectic wine list.
4C Hospital St., Christiansted, St. Croix $$$$
INFO TO GO
There are direct flights to St. Thomas (STT) from Atlanta (ATL); Charlotte (CLT); Philadelphia (PHL); Miami (MIA); New York (JFK); and Washington, D.C. (IAD), and direct flights to St. Croix (STX) from Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). Visitors can travel from St. Croix and St. Thomas to St. John via a 30-minute ferry ride, and Cape Air has service to and from St. Thomas and St. Croix. There are no Ubers on the islands, so taxis or rental cars are the best bets to get around.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
Whether it's the people, the craic (fun) or the coasts, travelers always find something to love about the island of Ireland. What fills your heart?
You know what you’re going to get at an Aman hotel, and also you don’t. Expect peerless service, obsessive attention to detail, architectural elegance worthy of a fashion magazine, a holistic approach to wellness and astounding levels of comfort. But each property is also intimately connected to its setting, and that’s where the surprises lie. For instance, finding yourself on your knees on a sidewalk in Luang Prabang handing out sticky rice to Buddhist monks at 5:30 a.m. isn’t something we expected.
In time for peak travel season to Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast, the region will welcome its own airport as early as this July. Salerno Costa d’Amalfi Airport is not only undergoing renovations but it also plans to open as a commercial airport.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
After almost four years in the planning, design and reconstruction stages, Baillie Lodges’ flagship property, Southern Ocean Lodge on Australia’s Kangaroo Island, reopened late last year after the original hotel was razed during the summer of the 2019/2020 Kangaroo Island bushfires.