My husband and I were planning a trip to enjoy a long-overdue vacation, and to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary. After researching hotels on St. Croix, I chose The Buccaneer from the many great reviews here on Trip Advisor, and wasn't disappointed!
Be prepared on your ride from the airport to see a pretty run-down and somewhat delapidated city with crumbling buildings, peeling paint and seedy-looking bars. We were a bit concerned by this at first, but once we spent some time in the city, it became part of the charm and experience.
Check-in took a little time, but I knew they were having a busy check-in day from speaking with the hotel the day before. They gave us a complimentary rum punch and we spent the time looking around the beautiful terrace and courtyard.
One thing I would recommend to people traveling to this hotel is to CALL A DAY OR TWO AHEAD to confirm your reservations if you have a special request for a bed (we could not confirm that we would get a king bed when we made the reservation).
The reservations staff was VERY friendly and helpful when I called, and they made the extra effort to note that we really wanted a king bed. When we checked in it clearly stated that we were celebrating our anniversary and it was VERY important to us to have a king bed - VERY nice!
We stayed in room 304 - one of the Deluxe Oceanfront rooms with a king bed. It must have been a newer room because it had remote controlled shades for the picture window, whereas many of the other oceanfront rooms had regular curtains.
The room wasn't overly large, but it was comfortable and nicely laid out, and the curved, dark wood ceiling added an exotic touch. There was a small fridge and safe in the room which was handy.
The bathroom was a good size with a 2-sink vanity, blow dryer, toiletries and an ironing board/iron. There was a regular tub/shower, and a toilet that was a bit finicky at times. There was a ceiling fan in the bathroom, and an exhaust fan that would bring cooler air from the main room into the bathroom when turned on, but no air conditioning in the bathroom itself, so it was warmer there than the regular room.
There were louvers in the bathroom, and next to the front door and the door to the back patio that we would close during the day along with the blinds, and open at night to keep things comfortable. Air conditioning was adequate.
The maid service was perfect - every day they would bring a bucket of ice and a pitcher of drinking water, since the tap water has a metallic taste. There were fresh towels and beach towels daily. There was turndown service each night where they would turn down the bed, leave chocolates and put a small mat on the floor next to the bed.
The grounds are breathtaking and the views are incredible. Be prepared to do some walking up and down the hill if you have a room near the beach (gets you a little exercise to work off the delicious food). They DO have hotel shuttles that will pick you up and drop you off - just be sure to call at least 15 min ahead of time.
There is also a hotel shuttle that goes to and from Christansted several times a day for $6.00 per person round trip. I believe a taxi was $9.00 per person one way. After 11:00, there's a $50 surcharge for a taxi, and I believe a pickup after that time needs to be arranged in advance.
The boardwalk in Christiansted is a must-see - I recommend Angry Nate's for delicious calamari and potent rum punch!
If you're looking for traditional "St. Croix hook" bracelets and jewelry, the ONLY place to go is Sonya's. We had noticed several hotel employees who had beautiful silver cuff bracelets and asked about them. We were told that Sonya's originally came up with the design 45 years ago, and the hand-made bracelets are still made there today, although you can find cheaper knock-offs in any jewelry store. The bracelets came in different sizes and designs, with silver or gold, and were very reasonably priced. Gail helped us out multiple times, as we ended up going back 3 times to buy more items as gifts.
Buck Island is also a must-see - it's by far the most beautiful beach I've been to - the water is amazing and the sand is like whipped cream. The snorkeling during the Buck Island trip was definitely worthwhile - there were lots of beautiful fish and underwater rocks and coral everywhere. We took the half-day trip, which was perfect for us.
We asked Emmy from the Concierge desk at the hotel to recommend a restaurant for dinner the night of our anniversary, since The Terrace at the hotel can be a bit noisy.
She recommended Savant, which we also heard was great from a couple other people and arranged reservations in the courtyard of the restaurant, and a taxi for us.
To get to the restaurant courtyard, you turn down a dingy-looking alley, and when the taxi driver dropped us off and pointed us to the entrance, I didn't know what to expect. But when we walked into this open-air place, it was like a whole different world with weathered artistic benches and walls, complete with alcoves filled with lit candles and strings of twinkling lights.
The staff was wonderful, and the stuffed filet mignon was honestly THE BEST meal I've eaten in my life. Incredible!
As far as the hotel meals, the buffet breakfast on The Terrace every morning was delicious, and after a couple days we started asking for Stephanie to be our waitress as she took such good care of us.
When we had dinner at The Terrace one night, Ruby took care of us and we had a fantastic prime rib dinner. There's a couple different kinds of music/entertainment every night there - jazz, steel drum band, etc. and a bar to hang out at if you don't want to leave the hotel.
We also ordered room service a couple times, and the food was surprisingly good. The first time we ordered it took about an hour and a half to get our meal after we called to check on it, but the food was hot and tasty. The next day the hotel called us - they had seen we called the night before to check on our meal, and asked what we would like as compensation for the delay. We told them nothing - we had just called to make sure we could get our meal before the kitchen closed - but when our final bill came, they had given us a $50 credit toward the meal.
We ate dinner at The Mermaid restaurant our first night at the hotel. We walked in and were waiting to be seated when another group came in after us and got seated right away at a beach-front table. After a little while we got seated at a table near the back. My husband and I attributed it to the fact that we both have a fairly large collection of tattoos, which sometimes puts people off until they realize we're just regular folks who are polite and good tippers!
We spent a lot of our time at The Grotto pool and beach area, where the food and drinks are delicious and the view is beautiful. We got to meet Felicia, the grotto cat there!
It got a bit loud at times when there were children's activities going on (there were quite a few young children at the hotel so be prepared to hear them pretty much anywhere you go).
There's a General Store on premises that has sodas, snacks and all sorts of goodies you might need, including rum and wine, although, as expected, the prices are a bit high.
There's also a boutique on site but I found it a bit snooty and the prices were very high.
We booked massages at the spa on site which were WONDERFUL - something I'd definitely do again.
The hotel had many activities, such as a welcome reception in the old sugar mill every Tuesday, and there was a wine-tasting one day, so there's always something to do, or you can do NOTHING if that's what you prefer!
All in all we really enjoyed the hotel and were impressed by the staff once we got past the initial stigma that goes along with being folks with tattoos! When we'd ask some of the taxi drivers which hotel was the best on the island, they always said "The Buccaneer", and I thoroughly believe them after our stay!