40 Years and 40 Stories: Marilyn and Paul have been visiting Bolongo Bay for over 36 years.

We just returned from our week at Bolongo and wanted to share our memories of our tropical home away from home over the past 36 years. Please share this with everyone who contributed to our enjoyment.

Way back (early 1978) when we were looking for a place to honeymoon, we wanted a place to relax. Back then there were no computers or internet. We wrote to the St. Thomas Tourism Dept. and requested their Honeymoon packages brochure. Looking over the many island options, we chose Bolongo Beach and Tennis Club as it was called then. Low key, on the Caribbean, palm tree picturesque, away from the hustle and bustle and family owned.

We were sincerely welcomed upon our arrival.  We met Dick and Joyce Doumeng, Viola and the staff, Mr. Green the bartender, Chef Henry and others. It truly was a family run tropical hideaway.  A welcome sign in the lobby, a bottle of rum in the room, and many congratulations made our honeymoon a special memory.  A day sail on the old Ho-Tei catamaran to Honeymoon Beach on St. Johns holds a memorable mongoose encounter.  We had a terrific time at Bolongo for our perfect honeymoon location.

There are pictures previously sent looking from the beach up to the old room four and from room four looking to the water. A picture perfect tropical palm tree setting.  There wasn’t any Iggies beach bar back then, so the bar at the restaurant was it. A good spot to meet locals and vacationers. A small beach commissary provided provisions, barbecue packages that you could cook on the beach grill or purchase a six pack to go. The people we met at the Bolongo Carnival nights from on Island, the Bolongo staff, the people in the shops downtown, and the slow “island time” pace kept us returning.

We also met “Louie,” (Harold Holder) a local contractor who drove the safari shuttles for Wheatley taxi that Bolongo used to have scheduled to go downtown.  Louie became our friend and our personal and taxi driver for the 15 plus times we returned to Bolongo. He was an Island character. He would wave to all his friends as he drove us all over the island, not on a normal tour, just cruising and “lyming”. How many visitors can say they went to Home Depot on St. Thomas or into building supply stores? These spur of the moment excursions were to places tourists don’t see. We enjoyed wherever he took us.  Louie past away last year. We felt a large void for our friend upon landing on Island.

When Dick and Joyce’s children and their spouses (Richard & Katarina, Paul & Colleen) took over the operation, they have continued the family friendly feeling and hospitality. We have become friends.  One evening we arrived at check in and a family wedding reception was taking place. They told us go down to Iggies and have some wedding cake and champagne. They took our bags to the room and we proceeded to the reception, rum punch in one hand, champagne in the other and wedding cake to boot. We keep in touch  with one another about our arrival and see one another many times at the resort. If we need something, they take care of it.

They gave us a gift when we came back for our 35th anniversary and helped our daughters with having anniversary gifts waiting for us in the room.

An  anniversary bottle of champagne upon arrival is always a welcome gesture. We greatly appreciate what they do to make our stay comfortable. We are not into mega hotels or resorts, nor the cram and jam to do and see everything on Island tourist mentality.

One of our favorite resort activities still is the relaxing Sunset Cruise on the Heavenly Days. Captain Peter “emeritus” in past years and now with Capt. Larry and the new crew. We also enjoy just talking with new resort guests, young honeymooners and others about the island and things to see from our experiences.  Beach time is a priority.

After our first visit 36 years ago, the Resort still maintains a warm, friendly atmosphere, from “de bosses to de staff”. The third generation Doumengs are now working at the Resort and continuing the family hospitality tradition. Being from Boston with the Cheers Bar slogan “where everybody knows your name”.,  Bolongo has become our St. Thomas “Cheers”. We know a lot of their names and they know ours! Some locals even consider us islanders.  Today, as “youthful seniors” we will continue to visit St. Thomas and Bolongo and our Island family and friends.

Congratulations to all the Doumengs and their children and staff on the 40th Anniversary of Bolongo Bay Resort. See you next year and hopefully for the 50th!  God Bless.

Thanks for the memories,

Marilyn and Paul

Wednesday12 Nov 2014