This hotel was a little bit more expensive than we budgeted for our summer getaway trip, but I'm glad we spent the extra money. Why?
Location is one thing that makes this hotel great. Located close to Christiansted, it's just a short trip into town if you want to get dinner or go shopping.
The beaches are really good (There are three). They're very private, so there's no need to worry about your stuff when you go swimming. The water at the beaches is very calm and makes swimming fun. There are no big waves crashing over you, so it's a great place to snorkel or float on a raft. The beaches have palm trees all across it, which give lots of natural shade and a nice serene feel. Chairs and little tables on the beach make the beach experience a lot nicer than just throwing a towel down. Food, drinks, and bathrooms are very close. Some spots on Mermaid beach are sandier than others which are a little rocky.
Free beach activities are also a nice plus. Snorkeling, kayaking, rafts, are all free and give guests a lot of options for enjoying their day at the beach. You don't even have to bring towels, they are also available on the beach.
The hotel is well kept and has a Caribbean elegance to it. It's a national historic hotel, so it's old, but it still looks good. The lobby and terrace area (where you drink and dine) are great. Some of the artwork on the way to the rooms could be re-done. It all has a Caribbean theme, but needs something a little more sophisticated to match the elegance of the hotel. There's a nice painting of Caribbean women as you ascend the stairs that looks good. They should go with something more like that.
The Terrace is a big open air area for drinking and dining. There are great tropical drinks at the bar, and Thursday-Sunday there is live music. It has nice views of the surrounding hillsides and ocean all around. Breakfast on The Terrace is a relaxing way to start your day.
Breakfast was free when I went there, and it was a great plus. You are served your coffee, water, and special requests from the kitchen, and the rest is a free buffet with a lot of choices. Having a free breakfast cut down on the cost and hassle of finding a place to eat every day. And like I said, breakfast on The Terrace is a great way to start your day - drinking some coffee and looking out at the beautiful landscape around.
There are a few options for dining at The Buccaneer. We ate dinner there twice. The Terrace has a formal (island formal) restaurant that is inside and has air conditioning. It was good. Another night we ordered off of The Terrace Bar menu, which is a little less formal, but it was tasty too as it came from the same kitchen. There are also two restaurants at the beach, but we didn't eat there.
Activities - There's a beautiful golf course, but we didn't play it. There are tennis courts and some minor things like a jogging trail, basketball net, tetherball, etc. The manager's welcome night had steel drum, rum punch, and stilt dancers. It was kind of cool for a free activity. I saw that they had a few activities for the kids like crab racing. I would say golf, tennis, and beach activities are the main activates you'll enjoy.
The rooms - I think everyone is different in their expectations for a room. I stayed in the main building and I was happy. Like I said, it's an old building, but I think they did a great job with the rooms. The bathrooms look updated and have double sinks. The rest of the room was nice, nothing fancy, but it suited my needs. We had an ocean view with a balcony, and that was nice to watch the sunsets each night while having a few drinks after a long day at the beach.
The hotel also has some more modern additions to the property. The Grotto is a series of rooms right on the water. I don't know what they look like inside, but did see that they had balconies facing the water, so you could sit and watch the ocean at night and listen to the waves if you wanted to. There are also the Doubloons, which are on the other side of the beach. They are houses. I think the advantage of these two types of rooms are their proximinity to the beach, but the drawback is that they are a walk away from the main building with the bar and main restaurant. (although there is a shuttle that can take you back and forth)
Other amenities - There is a spa and little store on the property.
Service was excellent. Some of the staff were a bit more friendly with us and some were a bit more formal. Anything we wanted was attended to immediately. Our refrigerator was broken, and they replaced it within five minutes. That doesn't happen at every hotel. Ice and ice water are brought to your room twice a day, and there is a turn-down service at night. The concierge was very helpful in helping us plan our drives around the island.
I'd definitely recommend this property to everyone.