Our family spends its Christmas holidays on St Croix. We favor the island because it lacks the commercialism of St. Thomas, the crowds of St. Maarten, the pretentiousness of St John. We favor the East End because of the prevailing winds, the beautiful white sand beaches, and the (usually) predictable weather.
Staying at the Divi over the past several years, we have experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly. The physical plant is - like the rest of the island - not always dependable. The facility is right on the beach - Hurricane Hugo devastated it in 1989 - and this fact alone accounts for the challenges of upkeep and maintenance. You can't beat the location ... the beach is a gem and well maintained. The waters are gorgeous. The view is spectacular. If you are looking for entertainment and night life, go to Vegas. We are not big casino people but I suspect that would not change my opinion. But for re-creation, the Divi can't be beat: read, sun, drink rum, visit with friends and family, even get to know your significant other.
The people: Edmund, Anne Downs, Steven, Scott, Andrea, the housekeepers Ann Marie and Lucy, Marlon Brando (real name!), Elizabeth, Donna and Kirk at the cafe are the reason we keep coming back. Sean at the beach shack pays attention to its upkeep.These are good people who work very hard under trying circumstances to provide a good experience for patrons who are willing to be patient and overlook some failings - this is not a Taj hotel. But it doesn't profess to be one. I like the new general manager, Andreas, and, because of his island roots, hope that he will outlast his predecessors. Kevin Jackson seems to be a good fit as his assistant. Owner Brad Whitmore (sp?) seems to have a good man in Andreas at the resort now - the resort can sometimes play second fiddle to the (more profitable) casino. Advice? Be kind, respectful and patient and you will be treated very, very well.
Food services have improved this year. Andrea who supervises Big Al's beachside bar and cafe has raised the bar - no pun intended. It is reasonably priced for the island and satisfying if not always nutritious. The Mahi Caesar salad - assuming the mahi is reasonably fresh - is an excellent choice.
I personally would like to see some investment in the exercise room - hard to know what works when those of us who like to keep to our commitment even on vacation try to get a workout. Don't be taken in by the "fully equipped" workout facility of marketing copy.
Advice? Rent a car - the island has Hertz, Avis, Budget as well as the locally owned Centerline and Ace/Olympia. Taxis are very expensive and charge by the head.
Caveat? The resort is initiating an "all-inclusive" plan, details of which are vague. It is not clear how this may impact the experience. However, with "decent" restaurants on the East End - Duggan's, Cultured Pelican, the Galleon, South Shore Cafe, Topside - being captive to the Divi kitchen may not be an advantage.
Bottom line - we'll be coming back because of the beach, the water, the staff people, and the everlasting hope that this year's experience will be better than the last. We have made great family memories on St Croix and it is now spreading into new generations. We stayed at what is now the Divi Carina Bay when it was a Best Western - the Grapetree Beach Hotel - in 1985. Much has improved but the attachment to sense of place is the constant.
PS - Tito and Sue stage their crab races on Wednesday evenings, a cultural institution on the island.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience St Croix's only All Inclusive! The Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Beach Resort and Casino is a lively retreat nestled on a secluded shore in the beautiful island of St. Croix. Modern beachfront guestrooms, poolside dining, hammocks by the shore, live entertainment; your home for Family, Food and Fun …- it’s All Included! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Beach Hotel Christiansted
- Divi Carina Bay Hotel
- Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Beach Resort St. Croix/Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands