My husband and I never really took a proper honeymoon and decided after 34 years we were due. We decided on St. Croix after much research and came across Cottages by the Sea due to all the great reviews. This review is going to be lengthy because I want to cover other things that someone might want to know if planning a trip. I am going to summarize the Cottages now so that those that do not want to read the rest can stop.
Summary: Cottages by the Sea is definitely as wonderful as the reviews say. It does depend on what you are looking for and expecting though. We were looking for on the beach, easy access, quiet family friendly, casual and private. This is exactly what we got, so we were very happy. All the staff were nice including the maids. We never met Paul, but hear from others that he is great. We stayed in Compass Rose which is the lower level of the Crow's Nest. We loved how close it is to the ocean. This is a very old cottage complex to be clear, but they have kept it up well with new paint and regular maintenance. There is no pool, but if open, the motel Sand Castles next door will let you swim for a fee. We were there in September so it was not open, nor their restaurant. The only things that were not perfect were the water pressure was low and the shower temp was not hot. Those did not affect my rating as that is minor. The landscaping was very nice with many seating areas in addition to your own private area. There is a big covered common area with lots of seating, two gas grills, two bars (not with alcohol) and a sink. This would be great for families to have big cookouts and get out of the sun too. Another grill was located on the west side near us. The website impressed me greatly as it was so thorough and told so much information of things needed to know while in St. Croix.
Next topic, The Island itself: St. Croix is very beautiful with all types of terrain. Gorgeous beaches on the west side with Frederiksted and beautiful clear harbor on the east side with Christiansted. There is a rain forest toward the interior with gentle mountains as well. So you have it all really. However, there is very high unemployment which means a lot of public housing, people standing around with nothing to do. Apparently an oil refinery closed down in 2012 and had a very major impact on the economy. The "off season" which is summer up until November 1, you must check with an attraction or restaurant to see if it is open. With us being there in September, the rates were good but much was closed down. It was hard to find places to eat especially on Sunday. Also, while we were there it was oppressively hot with high humidity. Since all restaurants are open air and activites too, it was difficult to get out of the sun and cool off. We thought that the ocean breeze would make it pleasant, but not. However, the ocean was glorious. It was so blue and clear. Also, little waves and tide so it was easy to swim without feeling like you would be swept out to sea like lots of beaches do. I would have loved to have just stayed in for days. Another tidbit: groceries are so expensive you would not believe it. We expected the restaurants to be high, which they were about what we thought, but did not expect the groceries to be. Rum, coffee, sugar and olives were cheap though. A box of cereal was $15. Yes you read right.
Next, The locals: With unemployment high, many people just gather and stand around. You may not be able to drive down a street as they seem to not care if you go or not. We also were the only tourists most places we went so we stuck out for certain. Being in deserted streets at night is not a good idea. It probably is different during the on season. I decided to not carry a purse at all after the first day. Some of the locals were very friendly, but most really did not want to engage at all. We learned to not say or wave unless they engage with you first. Then say good morning or good afternoon. Just saying hi is considered rude. The best advice is to be patient. No one gets in a hurry to do anything.
Next, the restaurants we visited: I will review each one in a few days or so. We went to Blue Moon which is on the main drag only 5 minutes from Cottages. We also went to Turtles After Dark which is upstairs on top of the Turtles Deli. We went to Angry Nate's in Christiansted. We went to the rain forest to visit Montpelier Domino's Club to feed the beer drinking pigs. We ate breakfast at Polly's on the Pier and at Frederiksted Hotel. The last place we went was Coconuts.
Next, the attractions: There truly are many things to do with shopping, adventures and lots of water activities. We ran out of time to go to the Gecko ATV Adventure as we would really have liked it. We did tour both cities as long as we could. In Frederiksted we went to the pier where cruise ships come in. It was huge and impressive. We saw the clock tower, the fort, historical buildings everywhere, and the armed forces memorial. In Christainsted, we walked around and went to the boardwalk, many historical buildings and the fort there as well. The city of Christiansted appears to be more quaint and kept up better than Frederiksted. However, we could see painting and updating going on in anticipation of the on season. We went to a wild life refuge called Sandy Point that is the whole tip of the western part of the island. It was so beautiful that pictures do not do it justice. However, it is closed parts of the year and when open is only on the weekends until 4 PM. We also went to St. George Village Botanical Gardens. That was beautiful too. A must do.
Summary of all: St.Croix is worth the trip!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Established in 1949, Cottages by the Sea is a family owned and operated, beachfront, boutique hotel, located just south of the town of Frederiksted on the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. All cottages are newly remodeled! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cottages By The Sea Hotel Frederiksted
- Cottages By The Sea St. Croix/Frederiksted