by Ann Shepphird | February 08, 2017

 It has been 100 years since the U.S. Virgin Islands became a U.S. territory but instead of looking back, the three main islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas continue to move forward with new offerings for meeting planners.  

This is not to say there isn't a rich history to explore. Visitors to the island of St. Croix can trace that history (including that of the increasingly popular Alexander Hamilton) via historical walking tours of the Christiansted National Historic Site, which is part of the National Park Service. Historic meeting sites on the island include former sugar mills, including one on the grounds of the 138-room Buccaneer Hotel, which is in the process of completing a renovation of its Arcade meeting room and can accommodate groups of up to 120; and plantations, such as the Estate Whim, which is the only sugar plantation museum in the Virgin Islands. Events and tours can also be held at the Cruzan Rum Factory, which has been an island mainstay since the early 1800s. Not far from the factory and the Carambola Golf Club (which also offers event space), the 150-room Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa offers more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space and is currently undergoing a renovation following a recent change in management companies.  

Over on St. Thomas, the deep-water port is one of the reasons the United States wanted the islands at the outbreak of World War I. That port, which is located near the main town of Charlotte Amalie, continues to be the busiest in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with cruise ships a constant presence and activities that include the new St. Thomas Food Tours and kayaking to nearby Hassel Island to snorkel and explore the colonial ruins.  

Overlooking the port is the Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, which offers 478 guest rooms and 60,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor space. On the other side of the island, the all-inclusive Sugar Bay Resort & Spa features 297 guest rooms and 16,000 square feet of meeting facilities, while the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, offers 180 ocean-view rooms, 10,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor meeting space and a recently renovated infinity pool.  

The Ritz-Carlton also offers easy access to boat trips through neighboring islands. The Lady Lynsey Catamaran takes guests on sunset cruises with views of islands that include St. John, the quietest of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands due to Laurance Rockefeller's donation of two-thirds of the island to the National Park Service in the 1950s. Resorts with meeting space on St. John include Caneel Bay, a Rosewood Resort, which was originally owned by Rockefeller and is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a guest room redesign. Located on 170 acres, the resort features 166 guest rooms and meeting space for small groups.