Westin Opens New Restaurant & Marketplace

westin lemongrass

The Westin just opened its newly renovated beach restaurant and we have to say, it looks pretty darn good.

Lemongrass served up its first breakfast dish last Monday while dinner service began Wednesday. The space looks great – fresh, modern and clean. See for yourself:

westin inside lemongrass

westin new bar 1

westin outdoor lemongrass

In addition to Lemongrass, the Marketplace also recently opened. The Marketplace replaced the old Mango Deli and serves up Starbucks coffee, breakfast items like bagels and muffins, wine, pizzas, snacks and more.

westin marketplace

westin marketplace coffee

In addition to a new look, Lemongrass also has a nice new menu. The restaurant offers typical breakfast fare, and serves up both small and large plates during dinner service. We’re pretty excited to try some of the items. Here’s the dinner menu for those of you who’d like to take a peek:

lemongrass menu

Lemongrass serves breakfast daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and offers dinner from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every night. Its bar is also open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Marketplace is also open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Both Lemongrass and the Marketplace are open to the public.

Show Your Love for the USVI … So Nice!

VI Nice Campign pics

So back in March, we told you all how the Department of Tourism planned to use Pressure Buss Pipe’s awesome Virgin Islands Nice song in a new summer ad campaign. Well the campaign just launched and you’re all invited to be a part of it!

Here are the official details on the campaign:

The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Department of Tourism has launched its new “Virgin Islands Nice” summer travel promotion. Visitors can save a minimum of $500 on a stay of five or more consecutive nights at participating properties on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas by visiting VisitUSVI.com/usvinice.

Book now through July 31 for travel between May 15 and September 30, 2014, to receive the first night free, a $200 instant credit and $300 in certificates that can be redeemed at participating restaurants, boutiques, spas and attractions across the Territory. Sounds good to us!

For my St. John lovers out there, the three participating on-island properties are Coconut Coast Villas, Gallows Point Resort and the Westin.

Now here’s where you all come in…

Whether you’re discovering the islands, celebrating your hometown or sending back warm greetings, the Department of Tourism wants you to share your US Virgin Islands moments with #USVInice. It’s simple to do. Just post you pics or videos on Twitter, Instagram or Vine and include the hashtag #USVInice. While you’re at it, include @newsofstjohn too. We’d like to see what you’re posting.

We did it, so make sure you do too!

twitter usvinice

And here again is the incredible video that inspired this campaign. I don’t know about you, but I can’t watch it without smiling. Enjoy!

Westin Construction Update: April 2014

Westin Pool
Renovated pool area

As you know, the Westin is in the midst of a pretty major renovation. It’s been a few months since our last construction update, so we thought it’d be helpful to provide some new information on where the Westin is with the project.

As we mentioned back in December, renovations to the pool, the poolside rooms and the beachfront rooms have all been completed. The pool area now has additional seating and just looks great. See for yourself in the pictures above and below:

Renovated poolside rooms with lush landscaping
Renovated poolside rooms with lush landscaping

The lower hillside rooms (buildings 21, 22, and 23) are currently being converted into what will become Coral Vista Villas – luxury vacation ownership units. Those renovations are expected to be completed in Spring 2015. (Click here to read more about this project.) Here’s what that project currently looks like:

Westin hillside renoThe Beachside Cafe is also undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen in mid to late June. In the meantime, breakfast and dinner is being served in the restaurant above the lobby (formerly Cruz Bay Prime). We hear that the new and improved beach cafe will have a new name when it reopens, but nothing is official on that front as of yet.

Westin beach cafe reno
Construction at the beach cafe

Lastly, there is some work going on over at the shops which are located near the entrance of the resort.

Construction near the shops
Construction near the shops

So what’s next on the Westin’s list in terms of construction? Renovations will begin in the lobby area in mid to late June. At that time, the restaurant will close down as well. That project is expected to be completed by December of this year. The workout center and spa is also slated to get a facelift.  Those facilities will be affected from July through October.

We mentioned this in a previous construction update, but it’s worth repeating. Yes, there will be some inconveniences for tourists, as well as noise associated with construction, but in my opinion, it’s not that bad. And we have to give the Westin credit –  its staff does an outstanding job in accommodating all guests, so kudos to you Westin.

Asolare lives!

After a summer in which several of the island's upscale restaurants wrestled with ownership and management chaos, things are settling down.

At the Westin Resort the pretentiously-named Chloe & Bernard's closed late in the summer.  Now, in the second floor location in the main building, Cruz Bay Prime is touting itself as "St. John’s newest Caribbean steak and seafood restaurant featuring prime, grass fed and Wagyu steaks, and domestic lamb."  The restaurant is open for dinner 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.

Asolare Asolare, called by Fodor's "The most beautiful and elegant restaurant" on the island is operating under an experienced hand. Winston Bennett, who launched the operation located above Cruz Bay harbor, is again calling the shots. Initial reviews are positive. 

In a post on TripAdvisor, Cind11 from Ohio wrote, "We were just there on New Year's Eve. The girls both had Filet mignon and my DH and I had a fish called Cobia. It was a wonderful dinner, the best we had on St. John during this trip."  So, the quality and experience is consistent with Asolare's history.  But, Cindll added, so was the bill. "Quite pricey though I must say!!!"  Another positive comment came from Vickie from Toronto who said, "We were just there over New Years and had dinner at Asolare on January 1. It was our best meal as well."