Water Island: Features

Water Island is the fourth largest in size of the U. S. Virgin Islands, being about 2 ½ miles long and from ½ to 1 mile wide with an area of 500 acres.  It is situated at the entrance to the harbor of St. Thomas and at the nearest point is about 3/8 miles off shore. The Island is very irregular in shape with many bays and peninsulas.

The highest point is 300 feet above sea level and there are fresh water ponds at the low point. There are several beaches, coves  and rocky headlands.  The large beach is one of the finest in the region. The soil is rocky and dry with acres of scrub brush, that live on the modest rainfall.  There are approximately 100 private homes and families on the island. There are several bays.  One has a town dock in a calm harbor, another has a magnificent beach and others have been left in their wild condition.

The island was a military site between the World Wars and there are buildings that date from that era.  These have all been converted into homes or villas for the hotel. The island has power and telephone service from St. Thomas and the road base is fully developed. There is a 100 room hotel structure with tennis courts, recreation complex and marina that is currently out of use.  The majority of the homes have been built during the period of the lease and are relatively new.


Water Island is separated from St. Thomas by a ½ mile wide stretch of water.  It is close enough to draw on all of St. Thomas’ life support. 

Easy Access

There is a regular water taxi to a mainland marina and mall. The route continues into the city downtown waterfront.  The marina/mall ride takes ten minutes. There is a major food store and gourmet shop in the mall as well as other typical mall shops.  This proximity to St. Thomas also means easy access to all resources.  The trip from the airport to the island takes less than 30 minutes.

Accessible from all major air hubs

Every major air hub in north America provides service to St. Thomas, which is a short trip from all major American locations. The trip from the airport to the island is also a breeze.

Stable Climate – All Year Round

The St. Thomas climate is legendary. Never cooler than 70 degrees  Never hotter than 95 degrees. There is sunshine and blowing trade winds. It typically rains for a few minutes each day, but seldom for more then a few minutes.

The island has pristine clear water.  The fish life is legendary and draws divers to explore the waters.  There are no noxious bugs, no scorpions or poisonous snakes nor any unpleasant wildlife.

Honeymoon Beach

One of the principal attractions of Water Island is Honeymoon Beach. When Walter Phillips came to Water island, this beach extended for about 50 feet along the shore and about 10 feet back from the shoreline. The trees and brush were removed, 200 truck loads of rocks and gravel were hauled off. The sand was sifted to remove debris, a dredge removed the seaweed and deposited sand on the shore. Today, Honeymoon Beach, is a most beautiful beach. It is frequented by international boat traffic.

Power and phone

The island is served by a series of underwater cables from the St. Thomas telephone and power companies. These systems are maintained by the public authorities.


There is no commerce on the island.  In the past the hotel maintained a store with basics, but now there is no business at all. St. Thomas has it all from McDonalds at the mall, to Ralph Lauren.

Botanical garden

Another important feature of the Island is the Water Island Botanical Garden. This is a brainchild and hobby of Walter Phillips. Plants from all over the world have been brought in and established. It is a member of the International Association of Botanical Gardens and of the Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.


The island is part of the US Territory of the Virgin Islands. It has its own US post office and zip code (00802).  US law governs and the public administration is in the US chain of command.


The home owners range from retired couples to wind surfers and boat denizens to normal All-American families. They tend to be well educated and quiet.  There is no poverty pocket or depressed area. There is no congestion.

Layout of a typical home

There are a dozen buildings that are based on the Army structures.  These are long houses with 18″ thick cement walls.  They are spacious and cool.  A typical floor plan looks like several apartments have been made from one building.  Other Army buildings are single family dwellings


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