The Doumeng family name means hospitality, personal attention and fun. That’s whether you are a guest at the resort, a local enjoying food, drink and the view or taking a sail on the Heavenly Days catamaran.
That family legacy on St. Thomas dates back to 1969 when Dick Doumeng brought his family to the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was the original developer of Compass Point Marina.
His sons Richard and Paul, and their families, have continued the legacy of both boating and hospitality as the owners and directors of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort.
“Since 1974, when my family began managing Bolongo Bay, we have offered our guests complimentary boat trips as a value-added component,” says Richard. “To be able to offer a real Caribbean experience, off the property and on the water is fantastic.”
But the offerings of Heavenly Days are more than just a single option, says Richard.
“The diversity of the trips — being able to offer an all-day sail to St. John, half day snorkel trip to Buck Island, sunset harbor cocktail cruise as well as private charters — means there is something for everyone!”
Bolongo likes to make a day on the water both comfortable and memorable.
“The catamaran sailing experience provides a spacious level of comfort on board that’s unmatched. Heavenly Days is 52 feet, but she’s also 28 feet wide; with a 49-passenger capacity, even a full boat gives everyone on board some space,” explains Richard.
The St. John All-Day includes snacks, lunch and open bar. The Buck Island Snorkel Trip includes soft drinks and light snacks on the journey out and an open bar after returning from snorkeling. The Sunset Harbor Cocktail Cruise includes open bar and some light hors d’oeuvres.
“Our boat is part of the fleet of multi-hull vessels built with pride and passion on St. Croix by award-winning Gold Coast Yachts,” said Richard.
But the catamaran sailboat is only part of the equation. The crew aboard is what ensures a heavenly day at sea.
“We are very proud of all of our awesome Bolongo Bay staff and the crew of the Heavenly Days is no exception,” said Richard. “I know we’ll make you feel like an honorary crew member by the time you return to the dock.”
One of the most popular excursions this year has been the Sunday-Funday. That day cruise is $75 and sails from Bolongo to Buck Island for snorkeling and then sails downwind to Water Island’s Honeymoon Beach. It includes full open bar on the boat with lunch on your own at Water Island.
Costs vary depending on the trip and the offerings. Of course, they almost always have some sort of local discount in place. So local residents are invited to come spend the day on the water as a reminder of why millions choose to visit America’s Paradise.
Richard is more than a proprietor of the Bolongo Bay resort and Heavenly Days. He’s a longtime local tourism leader with the USVI Hotel & Tourism Association as well as the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. As such, he’s been at the forefront of strategies for helping the Virgin Islands and other islands navigate our recovery in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Charting a new course has not been easy. “Obviously Bolongo and Heavenly Days, like all of us in the tourism industry, have been greatly affected by the storms last September. Fewer visitors means fewer hotel guests and therefore fewer trips. The biggest change, for now, has been for us to work within the cruise ship sector again; something we haven’t been involved with for well over a decade.”
That’s because some of the bigger resort hotels have been mostly out of commission this year. So those with charters, eateries and bars like Bolongo’s Iggies Oasis are looking to connect with cruise passengers as well as returning extended-stay guests.
But the Doumeng clan has weathered many storms and their legacy and island roots have helped them to continue to stay their course. But Richard admits this past year’s double whammy has been like none other.
“Well I’m gonna be 62 and we moved here when I was 13. Spent many years going back and forth but have lived here continuously since 1989. So, I’m a reluctant member of the Hugo-Marilyn-Irmaria Club (and a whole bunch of named storms in between).
“Still all these months later (a year in September), saying that we all lived through two category 5 hurricanes in less than two week sounds surreal. So in the words of Prince for Sinead O’Connor: Irma and Maria, ‘Nothing Compares to You.’”
Nevertheless, the Heavenly Days crew, Bolongo team and Doumeng family stand ready to show you the wonders of our islands and local waters that no hurricane can diminish!
For schedules and pricing go to Fareharbor.com/bolongo or call 340-775-1800.