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The Wyndham Virgin Grand (Waters Bay, Virgin Islands)

The Wyndham Virgin Grand

To answer your question, no, onedoesn't have to leave Charlotte Amalie and take those mountain curves that threaten to unite the front and back bumpers of the van in unholy wedlock. But please consider the Wyndham Virgin Grand Beach Hotel, a $52 million complex of surpassing luxury.

If you travel, read, or watch TVyou already know about the siren calls of the Caribbean: the powdery white sand, the beckoning blue green water tempting enough to drink (and many a surfboard sailor or mustached snorkeler does), the lush coconut palms, and a climate that varies only a few degrees year-round. Well, it's all here at this 34-acre resort overlooking Waters Bay and the alluring necklace of nighboring islands. (The theory that the bay's a crater bowl appears not too far-fetched.)

"Our goal,' says BruceHearn, the general manager, "was to create a resort that would capture the unique architectural flavor of the islands as well as complement the great natural beauty of its waterfront site.' To appreciate fully the lofty success of that endeavor, you have only to board one of the glorified golf carts waiting to whisk you 150 feet up the terraced hillside, a white-knuckler, to your accommodations.

From the balcony of yourspacious quarters, with individual climate control, direct-dial telephone, satellite television, and you name it, you can begin to feel your workaday frustrations heading out to sea. To your right, the sea is in full view, bordered by a thousand feet of that white Caribbean sand. If you have chosen one of the two-story structures (designed in the manner of beach houses) below, the marbletrimmed swimming pool is in your front lawn. Or should your needs require one of the two-bedroom townhouse suites, we'll tell you now: You'll have to put up with dining and living rooms and amenities that begin with a whirlpool in the master suite. Ho-hum.

For us of wavering will power, theSmugglers restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a casual seaside setting. The open-air Pavilion, overlooking a second pool, has a breakfast and dinner buffet--the cuisine of a different country every night. And then there's Bay Wynds on the hillside--the classiest dining on Saint Thomas. After I partook of two Smugglers, three Pavilions, and a Bay Wynd, those beachside beauties in their eye-patch bikinis were no longer turning handsprings at the sight of my macho silhouette. But not to worry. More than knife-and-fork activities are available.

Six tennis courts await your pleasure--or frustration, depending upon your talent. Sunfish or surfboard sailing is a popular diversion for those who don't mind being in the water more than on top of the water. Beach sports? All you can handle. Should you stretch out on that powdery stuff to recuperate, no, those shadows won't be buzzards--those are frigate birds making lazy circles in the sky. Golf? The beautiful Mahogany Run course lies but minutes away. Freshwater swimming? Two pools and programs for adults and children are yours for the entering.

Above all, don't leave SaintThomas without a tour of the island. The tour will take you from Magens Bay, rated among the ten most beautiful beaches in the world, to dutyfree shopping in the stores at the head of Main Street and to the small specialty shops lining the alleys of Charlotte Amalie, the capital city of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Another must is a visit to SaintThomas' next-door neighbor, Saint John, the site of the Rockefeller Plantation, the Virgin Island National Park, and more picture-postcard beaches, one with a snorkeling trail that will leave you breathless. (And we don't mean the way we were left breathless, due to the breathing-tube apparatus not fitting tightly over a certain type of mustache.)

Though the Wyndham follows traditionby offering "off-season' rates, this is one resort with no off-season. Caribbean waters sparkle in the sun year-round, the climate is a mean 82|F., and Mr. Hearn and his service associates are as genuinely dedicated to your vacationing comforts in August as in January.

You have reservations (no pun intended)?Verification is but an Eastern Airlines flight away.

Photo: The main perk of a Caribbean vacation: ahostelry with access to a swath of beach, in this case some 1,000 feet long.

Photo: The Wyndham Virgin Grand's variety of watersports doesn't preclude lying around doing nothing. (Right) The main lodge on Waters Bay, surrounded by a salient Virgin Islands feature--palm trees bending in the cool, constant trade winds.

Photo: Water Island, the site of Sea Cliff resort, is only minutesfrom a major harbor and airport despite its seclusion. The rugged hills and smooth waters typify the Virgin Islands.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Stoddard, Maynard
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Hotel Review
Date:Nov 1, 1986
Previous Article:Bread-making on the rise.
Next Article:Sea Cliff.

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