Vacationers and business travelers alike now have a new accommodation option in Cruz Bay thanks to the introduction of Marketplace Suites, 12 hotel room-style units on the third floor of The Marketplace.
The idea to convert part of the shopping complex’s third floor was born partially out of a need to house service professionals who travel to St. John to work on projects at The Marketplace. Over the years the third floor has housed numerous businesses including the V.I. Water and Power Authority, a hair salon, fitness center, and the University of the Virgin Islands.
“As business owners, we were experiencing the problem of being able to find housing for some of the professional services people we had coming to the island to do different contract work, like someone coming to work on the point of sale system at Starfish Market, for example,” said Tracy Lussier, VP of Business and Administration for Mugar Enterprises Inc., which owns The Marketplace and Starfish Market.
“We thought we’d look at creating a different kind of product to serve the professional services visitor, which mimics what The Marketplace is to the island—a professional services center.”
Planning for the renovations, including moving some third-floor businesses down to the second floor, began in 2016. The Marketplace Suites began a soft opening a few months ago, said Lussier.
The 12 suites consist of studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. Two of the units can be adjoined for larger parties, and one unit is fully ADA compliant complete with a roll-in shower.
Each suite features a kitchenette with two-burner stove, full size fridge, and microwave, and a generator powers the units in the event of a power outage.
“We thought this look would be great for the business traveler. This is not a resort where you’re looking out over a beautiful pool and having drinks on the deck. It’s very functional.”
In addition to housing business travelers, Marketplace Suites has also hosted vacationers.
“Right now we’re on Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, and VacationVI.com, and we’re hoping to launch our own website in the next couple of weeks to help establish our presence,” she said.
The team at Mugar Enterprises Inc. hopes having guests stay on-site will help drive business for other Marketplace tenants like Sam & Jack’s Deli on the third floor or Papaya Cafe & Bookstore on the first floor, Lussier added.