Context: Luxuriousness is relative. A lot of reviews fail to provide enough context to know the authors’ standards by which they are reviewing. We are early 40-somethings and stay at about 2 “high-end” resorts a year with elementary-age kids. Resorts like Kiawah, Four Seasons, Ritz, Top Notch, Ponte Vedra, Hilton Head, Atlantis, etc. This review is also a way to give back to the community that’s helped us in the past and to encourage more detailed reviews in the future.
Overall Summary: B- -- The inflated price of tired, mediocre accommodations and facilities hindered what could be a nicer resort given the setting, tennis, one beach, main dining food, and kids club. In order from good to bad, here are the details:
Weather and St. Croix: A -- The weather was perfect for our week’s stay, 80s in the sun, but with a mix of clouds that gave you a break to the 70s, with a cool breeze. The water is postcard blue-green. Ocean floor is sandy white.
Tennis: A -- Don DeWilde runs the program and is that rare gem that balances trying to change your game with simply making sure you enjoy playing at the resort and catering to your schedule and wishes. The courts are perfectly nice and picturesque, situated 100 yards from the ocean. It looked like he accommodated casual players on up to more serious players like we are. Although group classes/drills were slow due to older players our week, we really enjoyed our time with Don and one of his assistant pros.
Kids Club: A -- Our experience is that the success of kids clubs at resorts is a function of two things: (1) the personalities of the [typically] gals that run them, and (2) the availability of activities for kids. If either factor is lacking, you’ll have unhappy kids. Adrian ran the club for our kids, and she was terrific. She’s a well-educated American, calm but fun, and most importantly our kids loved her. She was always on time and fit in a little teaching with the fun it seemed. The resort got lucky with her and should hold on to her. The beach and pool, along with a dedicated kids club room, provided sufficient facilities.
Food: B+ -- The main restaurant and adjoining bar have terrific food, even by Ritz standards. We ate there several times. The prices match the food, so be prepared. Unfortunately, at the other two restaurants the food struggled to keep up with the prices. Food there was roughly the quality of a Disney resort. Not bad, just not great. The $16 club sandwich is really an $8 club sandwich.
Resort Facilities: C+ -- The facilities are tired. Not terrible, but not up to the standards of similarly priced resorts. The bathrooms outside of actual guest rooms are clean but clearly older. Grounds are well kept in some areas, not in others. One pool is basic with no view, the other small. The one highlight is that the beach area has plenty of boogie boards, sea kayaks, sand toys, and snorkel gear. We weren’t able to see much in the way of fish at the resort itself, but there is a snorkeling area 20 minutes away by boat. There’s really only one beach that’s swimmable. Resort staff were well-trained and friendly.
Accomodations: C- -- For the several thousand dollars we spent, the family “cottage” was a disappointment. It was a bizarre combination of granite countertops and bungalow. Each door and the bathroom had slats that opened to the outside, covered by a rough screen. The A/C seemed to be retrofitted to the rooms, as the only air return was in the joint sink area between bedrooms, causing a loud howl when the doors to the bedrooms were closed. The towels were stored under the sink in cheap wood cut-outs next to exposed pipes. Looked like remodeling on too low a budget. Finally, the bugs. We had a steady stream of ant-like little bugs marching through the rooms over the counters and our stuff. Not surprising given the open air vents. Not even close to worth the money, particularly given the $150/night, absurd “surcharge” for kids….in a “family” cottage. Really. Hilarious.