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The Westin Resort

St. John, US Virgin Islands

Pat and Bill Warburton of Exeter, Rhode Island have been vacationing on St. John for nine years. Hurricane Hugo hit the night of their arrival in the West Indies, but its impact did not damage the Warburton's immediate affinity for the smallest of the U. S. Virgin Islands. Nor did the winds and gale deter them from buying a vacation time share. They purchased two weeks in January and one in March from the first of two previous proprietors of the hotel and were pleased when Westin assumed owner-management in 1997. Said Bill, who is president of Warburton, a 76-year old third-generation insurance firm, "Everyone wants to come here and there is a dearth of accom-modations so holiday ownership made sense for us. We used to bring our family, but now that the children are grown we come alone."

"It's a relaxing place," added Pat. "and it's not really part of a community. There is a first-class gym," she added, "and a very good massage therapist. We take tennis lessons and go for long walks on the beach." She expressed disappointment that some water sports like kayaking and pedal boating are no longer free.
Westin Resort
The Westin Resort, St. John, USVI; credit: USVI Division of Tourism
The Warburtons are excited about the options now being offered. They can trade one or more of their weeks for a stay at another Westin property or they can participate in a RCI exchange with any of 500 Gold Crown member resorts all over the world.

Units are being added to the Westin Vacation Club. When completed there will 96 in total, ranging from terrace suite studios to three-bedroom pool villas. Time share owners, who live mostly in the Northeast or Midwest, appreciate the kitchen facilities as an alternative to eating out.

Attractions at the Westin include a newly rebuilt quarter-acre freshwater swimming pool next to the 1,200-foot white sand beach, six tennis courts and the Cruz Bay and Rave Water Sports Centers where equipment is rented for snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, parasailing and windsurfing. Hobie wave catamarans, powered lounge chairs, powerboats and deep sea fishing excursions are also available. Golfers can tee off at the Mahogany Run course on St. Thomas, a brief ferry ride away.

The resort is a short distance from the Virgin Islands National Park. In 1956 Laurence Rockefeller purchased, then deeded large portions of the island to the park service, ensuring that two-thirds of St. John's 21-square-miles is protected. A third of the park is submerged in the sea and has an underwater snorkeling trail at Trunk Bay. There are also many hiking trails. Other points of interest are the petroglyphs and plantation ruins near Reef Bay and the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins. Nearby Wharfside Village and Mongoose Junction offer opportunities for upscale shopping.

Not everyone will want to buy a vacation time share. They can, however, stay in one of the 285 rooms that were refurbished at a cost of $20 million following Hurricane Marilyn which occurred in 1995.

The Westin Resort, P. O. Box 8310, Great Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S.V.I. 00831. Tel. 800-WESTIN-1, 800-693-8888. Rates start at $248. www.starwood.com/westin/index.html

Summer 1998