When you first approach The Carambola you will be on an elevated roadway overlooking the Caribbean Sea. As you go around a bend in the road, a majestic mountainside that drops directly into the sea comes into view and you begin to notice the tops of red roofs peaking through the trees just below. As the road begins to descend you are welcomed at the gate and feel as though you've arrived at the end of paradise. Everyone at this hotel is very polite, from the bellman, to the front desk, to the cleaning staff you pass along your way. Actually, most of St. Croix is very polite, so best to remember your "Good Mornings, Good Days and Good Evenings" whenever you cross paths with anyone local.
This resort is a nice blend of Danish and British West Indies design w/lots of dark mahogany wood and natural stone tile. The open air lobby is covered by a series of peaked roofs with dark wood pillars descending from them. A tiled path is under neither and leads through tropical gardens down toward the beach. On either side of this path are entranceways to the front desk, the spa, the gift shop, two restaurants, the bar and finally a pool to the left and beach a few steps below.
Our room was located on the east end of the property. A little further from the beach, but directly above a small rock outcropping overhanging the sea. When we opened the doors to our private, screened in balcony, the ocean view was fabulous and the waves were crashing immediately below. Since we are not big A/C fans and since St. Croix has an average yearly temperature of 82 degrees, we turned the A/C off and spent our week with the louvered doors open, allowing the Caribbean breeze and the sound of rustling palms and crashing waves to come in (btw - while on island, we learned that electricity is 5x more expensive in St. Croix then on the continental US, so whenever possible please consider saving a watt on this environmentally-conscious island). This trip was a romantic getaway for my husband and myself; however, a family with smaller or older children will enjoy having these balconies that double as an extra open-air room. They would make great enclosed play spaces for attended younger ones and teens will have a little space to lounge and text away. Our bathroom was very spacious, clean and well appointed. It included a walk-in closet large enough for us to fully unpack and hide our suitcases. Beach towels, robes, even umbrellas awaited us. The shower was large, bright with a vaulted ceiling. The room also included a sitting area, small kitchen (which we only used to make a few of our own Caribbean cocktails) and a desk area.
On our first night at the resort we stayed on site for dinner . While enjoying our meal outside The Flamboyant Bar, a band played a mix of Reggae and Calypso just outside the Saman Restaurant. As we finished, we overheard an announcement that a show was about to start. With drinks in hand we walked over and were surprised by an electrifying show of music and Mocko Jumbie dancers. These costumed Mocko Jumbies dance, jump and contort while standing on stilts. Children and adults were encouraged to approach, participate and take photos. Tipping is politely encouraged and well earned. The show was a great introduction to Crucian culture, lots of fun and should not be missed by young or old. Attendees are encouraged to make reservations for the proceeding buffet dinner, but eating from the menu at the bar did not prevent us from joining. My understanding is that this show only takes place on Fridays.
This hotel also boasts its own Dive Center called Sweet Bottom. Staying for 5+ days? Consider getting certified at this perfect location. The waters off the Carambola are great for both snorkeling and diving. Any gear you could need for either activity can be rented here. I'm 45+ and have been certified for only 2 years. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. Our teen daughters and my husband have been certified longer and words can not express how wonderful it has been to finally join them under the sea.
Finally, the grounds of the Carambola are beautifully manicured, spacious and teaming with nature. The property is home to a variety of birds, mongoose, geckos and the occasional iguana. The pool is a nice size, is surrounded by lounge chairs with views of the surrounding hills on three sides and the ocean on the other. The beach spans 2/3 of the property and has a number of units overlooking it on the west end of the resort. Kicking back with a drink at sunset is a perfect way to close out the day. You will also find hammocks tucked along the beach and in a variety of quiet spaces around the property.