St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review - Pretty Real

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review

10:20 AM

Trunk Bay Beach in St. John

Guys, our trip to St. Thomas was pretty magical. Joe and I love to travel and it feels like we're coming out of that that natural hiatus that sometimes occurs after you have kids, buy a house (or two), and experience a worldwide pandemic. It happens. But with the kids being older, restrictions being limited, and living debt free (I  need to share more on that journey!), we're coming into what I hope is a season of more travel. Anyway, the purpose of this trip was to celebrate my mom's 65th birthday- she chose the location- and it was such a special celebration.  Sharing my review, pictures, tips, and a harrowing story of survival below so keep reading!

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review

We flew out of Raleigh and experienced a delay in Miami making the trip there last about 12 hours. But it gave me an excuse to play "Miami" by Will Smith and hear my kids' cute accents as they sung "Bienvenidos a Miami" ;) We made up for our meh food on the way there by having delicious empanadas on our way back. Highly recommend Half Moon Empanadas if you're travelling through Miami!

Our Room at Secret Harbour Beach Resort

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review
Once we arrived it was already dark so we explored the beach just a little and then grabbed dinner at the restaurant at the resort (more on this later). We stayed at the Secret Harbour Beach Resort and our room was GREAT! It was spacious and comfortable with a full kitchen. Streaming on our TVs never worked but it didn't annoy us enough to ever call the front desk to have them figure it out. ha. The patio faced the beach and the beach began a mere 5' outside of our room. With the 5 of us, it was so great to be able to run back and forth from the condo and not have to lug all of our stuff down at once. Speaking of stuff, here are some things we packed that I was glad we had (and some things I wish I'd packed).

What I Packed

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review
Shorts Set  |  Bikini  |  Sandals  |  Sunglasses (similar)

bug spray- we'd read it was needed and boy were they right. I got attacked the night I forgot it so if you're traveling to the USVI, make sure to bring some bug spray.

anti-itch cream

eco safe sunscreen- they're serious about protecting the reefs so make sure you bring natural sunscreen.

underwater cameras 

underwater phone pouch- I was too scared to use this but my niece used it just fine!

packable beach hat

beach bag- I forgot mine but a quick-dry, packable beach bag would've been nice to have

quick-dry towels- I considered this but figured the resort would have towels. I didn't consider our trip to Trunk Bay. Oops. If you plan to travel to other beaches, packable, quick-dry towels are a must. 

belt bag- I don't wear mine often at home but I use it constantly when traveling. Especially if I'm carrying a backpack, I love having the essentials easy to reach. I also bought this dupe for Nadia.

All of the other items we brought were basic items you'd probably not forget but I felt those above were worth calling out! Some of the other clothing I packed is shared here!

Review of the Sunset Grille at Secret Harbour and the Resort Staff

The next day (our first full day) a few of us went to the closest 'food center,' and grabbed some food for the week. In hindsight I wished we grabbed more because the restaurant on site was just ok. It was also a bummer that that was the only place to eat on the resort. This is the day an employee at the restaurant was incredibly rude and condescending to my brother. Our mouths dropped as she told us how she spoke to him in the presence of other employees and everyone at the bar. The restaurant itself was a low point of our experience. A) the food was a solid 5- though better on the fine dining end. There's nothing I hate more than overpaying for subpar food, guys. I am who I am. haha. B) the staff was meh at best, and rude at worst. Also a bird flew into my face. I knoooow. Overall, other than the front office employees who were quite lovely, it felt like we were a nuisance. I overheard an employee disagreeing with a guest in such a rude way the next day and in general I felt like there wasn't much of a culture of hospitality. And hey, maybe tourists are a nuisance but on my end, I am polite and expect to be treated politely in turn. In any case, day 1, we hung out on the beach, rented snorkeling stuff, and had a nice birthday dinner on the beach. 

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review
I recommend the black bean hummus but order extra yucca chips!

St. John/Trunk Bay

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review

The next day we took a ferry to St. John to visit Trunk Bay. There is a little market and some gift shops right outside the ferry station so that's a great place to shop if you're looking to bring some things back home. I'm not much of a shopper on vacation (shocking?) but I did buy an ornament. From the ferry we took a cab to the beach. On the way back, we had the cab drop us off at St. John Scoop, grabbed some ice-cream, explored a little and then walked to the ferry station (Maybe a 15 minute walk with 9 of us). I wondered if it would be worth it- getting everyone packed, to the ferry, multiple cabs, etc. Spoiler alert: It was. It was the most beautiful water I've ever seen in my life. 

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review
PS-they didn't look blue in the picture on my phone! 

Side note: I highly regretted not wearing my orange or black swimsuit to complement the vivid colors and those of you who are highly aesthetic- you feel me. The food at Trunk Bay was pretty tasty and fresh but I'm frugal and sort of wished we'd had time to pack food and snacks. We rented beach chairs and snorkeling gear but surprisingly Joe and the kids said snorkeling was better at the resort. Either way, it felt like such a special experience and I'm so glad we did it! My tip here is plan to get to the ferry early enough to sit on top. We did that on the way back and it is just magical!

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review

Violence on the Island

That night my brother, James went into Red Hook to grab pizza and witnessed a shooting! I wasn't even there but it felt SURREAL just to hear him describe it. He saw guys arguing and just said he felt the tension and even checked the guys' hands to see if anyone had a weapon. Once it seemed to dissipate, he crossed the street but then a car came around the curve followed by a guy running and shooting. My brother ran into the nearest restaurant where people were hiding under tables and sobbing. So scary and I thank God that James wasn't injured. But we had to tease him that despite that, he did not drop the pizzas. Priorities.

Water Activities at Secret Harbour and an Octopus Sighting!

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review

The following day was a chill day. We didn't leave the resort. James rented a kayak and we all took turns on that and we rented snorkeling gear again. Besides all the various fish, the kids saw a sea turtle, an octopus, and 2 sting rays- one frequented the shore although someone told us that wasn't typical. And we glimpsed a baby sting ray near the shore just once. Even simply standing in the water, you can see colorful fish- particularly in the morning. There's also a platform that the kids had fun swimming to and jumping off. If you have kids, you know things like that can literally entertain them for hours. And it did! They also have sunset cruises and paddle boards for rent. All of this is available to non guests as well so it might be an option for you even if you don't stay at the resort!

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review


In summary, I have zero regrets. Even though the staff wasn't as friendly as I would've like (and downright rude in at least one case) the resort just had so many water based activities for the kids, wasn't crowded, and was just great for a family. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and Nadia said it was the best day of her life the day she touched a sea turtle. It was a magical trip we will never forget. 

St. Thomas Recap and Secret Harbour Beach Resort Review

If you have any questions, please drop them below or DM me on Instagram! Happy to answer anything I can!

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  1. Do you think you’d go back to the same island and stay somewhere else or try to stay on another virgin island?