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Hotel Check: The Buccaneer St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Americans with lockdown-itis can leave the passport at home for a stay at this historic beachfront resort

WHERE IS IT? About 30 minutes by car from St. Croix’s airport, this Historic Hotels of America member soldiers on as the nicest resort on the island. It dates back to the 1940s and has welcomed vacationers from around the world for years.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The gated entrance leads guests through a palm tree-lined driveway and the resort’s own golf course and pro shop. Pink-hued buildings soon appear on the hill, and it quickly becomes apparent that this is a historic, special place. Once a sugar plantation, many reminders remain, most notably the sugar mill overlooking the bay below. Guests can visit and even organize romantic dinners there. Once inside the relaxed, yet sophisticated, lobby, rum punch proves to be a nice welcome as guests check in. The stunning views of turquoise water just off the terrace beckon guests further past the concierge and bar area.

The US Virgin Islands do not require a passport to visit, and this means that St. Croix and its sister islands involve less hassle to visit than other Caribbean islands. Family-owned, The Buccaneer takes great pride in the upkeep of the resort. In fact, this is the longest-running, family-owned resort in the Caribbean. You might regularly see the general manager serving meals or other executives doing daily tasks around the grounds. There is careful attention to COVID-19 protocols, too, with mask requirements indoors, plastic barriers at reception and extra cleaning measures throughout the hotel.

ROOM FACILITIES Guest rooms here are comfortable with excellent furnishings, but wouldn’t necessarily be labeled contemporary. That’s what people love about the resort as it exudes original charm throughout the property. You’ll find polished terra cotta floors, four-poster beds in many rooms, furnished terraces or patios, and ample closet space. Refrigerators and coffee makers are a nice touch, and housekeeping leaves jugs of ice and water for guests to enjoy. Bathrooms are spacious and stock BeeKind toiletries dispensed via eco-friendly pump bottles.

What makes the rooms so different here are their location and layout. Depending on where they are, the views change from pool or beach-facing to hilltop bay view rooms. Others overlook the tennis courts and resort gardens. Based on your needs and price range, there is plenty of variety to choose from including some garden-facing rooms in the main reception building. The priciest options are the “Doubloons,” located directly on the beach with whirlpool tubs and walk-in closets. Several suites come with extra living space and a multi-bedroom Beach House is the cream of the crop for its amenities, privacy and views. Since some of the accommodations are on the beach, guests can call the house van to take them up the hill to the restaurant or lounge should they wish.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Breakfast is included in some rates, and it is served from a buffet with the assistance of staff dishing up food for guests. It’s a substantial spread with a la carte items available from the kitchen and piping hot coffee. Lunch and dinner are available at the beachfront restaurant, which offers an impressive array of French-Caribbean dishes along with classic favorites like filet mignon, plentiful salads and beautifully presented desserts. This is a popular spot throughout the day as guests meander off the sand for a bite to eat and back to the crystal-blue waters just a few feet away after their meal. Notable around the property are colorful murals and tile designs that depict scenes from the island’s history. They are conversation starters, especially in the bar and lounge where live music is a feature of most evenings. There is also live music by the beach on certain nights. Don’t miss the regular theme dinners like lobster night that draw both guests and locals.

LEISURE FACILITIES The pool is shrouded with palm trees and leads to a private beach area. A separate beach area around a cove is lined with palm tree-covered lounge chairs plus a few cabanas available to certain premium room categories. Families love to splash in the pool or enjoy the shade nearby. There are also some sunken lounge chairs into the pool for a bit of sunny refreshment. Non-motorized watersports are available to guests without charge as is basketball and a well-equipped fitness center. In addition to tennis and golf, the connected concierge can help organize other island activities. Some tour boats even pick up guests from the resort’s own pier.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Free wireless Internet works well around the grounds including on the beach and by the pool. Several meeting rooms are located near reception and are surprisingly ornate with the latest audiovisual facilities in place.

VERDICT This 340-acre resort offers plenty of diversion for sun-starved travelers, especially Americans not interested in dealing with the restrictions and regulations of international travel.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 130 rooms and suites

PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS No passport required to visit, and a beautiful beachfront resort with hillside dining and private beach

CONTACT 5000 Estate Shoys, Christiansted, Virgin Islands, Tel 340-712-2100