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“Beautiful location lacks resort feel”

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Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. Croix
Certificate of Excellence
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Beautiful location lacks resort feel”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2013

We stayed here for a week as a get away for my husband and I. We are mid 30s and well-traveled looking for relaxing get away at a resort property. We found this location so.. relaxing and overall it is a nice hotel I would say the best on St. Croix. We visited several others and they do not have the location and view that this one does. I have stayed at Marriott properties all over the world and sadly I do not think this lived up to the Marriott or Renaissance name. The rooms are nice we had a beach front building 16 with a view from our screened in porch of the ocean - nice, and the grounds have a beautiful setting but the main buildings and pool need another renovation (I understand the recently did this?) The pool is small for the size of the resort and could be upgraded, the pool facilites were awful, pool was small - no swim-up bar and hot tub even smaller and barely bubbled - sad because we love a soak when on vaca - the pool bathroom was rundown with a industrial toilet, dirty & not a floor I wanted to be barefoot on. The tiles all over the stairs and pool deck were cracked or popping up. We mainly used the beach after that. The "Spa" was not a spa in my opinion. I live in Scottsdale where I am surrounded by top notch spas so I may be a bit picky but regardless - I would not consider this a "spa" it was a reception area and treatment rooms - plus it was not even open but Wed-Sat when were were there. I choose not to get a treatment and wait till I go home to a real spa for the price $. The beach chairs were run down - some had mildew and missing bands - there was only one place to eat - a breakfast restaurant (had excellent Banana Rum Pancakes) and one place for dinner that had excellent drinks but little variety and compared to other north shore eateries did not light a flame. We really liked Rowdy Joes, Eat at Cane Bay and enjoyed the Buccaneer too. Overall if you have been to other VSVI or carribean isles - be aware that St. Croix is very rundown and it seems the economy hit had here - sad. We rented a jeep for the entire week at it is needed to get around as the hotel is secluded - which we liked. Pros: On the bright side the beach, the view, hammocks and service here were great - we found the staff excellent, on island time, but excellent. We enjoyed our stay, loved the private location & loved the tide pools, snorkeling and just relaxing on the beach - serene. The rooms are very nice - we were upgrade due to my rewards status - the rooms have a great bed - 2nd floor vaulted ceiling and a villa feel with mini fridge and sink - nice to make drinks in your room and enjoy! Unfortunately I was expecting more of a resort feel to the hotel its self vs feeling like we just rented a villa- there was really no where to congregate except the 1 bar/restaurant, I would have liked a true spa to enjoy and a pool that was tranquil and not rundown- We have stayed at Marriott's, Renaissance, JW, W's, Westin, Ritz all over the world - I typically love Marriott properties. While we really enjoyed our stay here but we felt it needs some work to truly be a "Resort & Spa" and level 6 Marriott property.

Room Tip: Building 16 oceanfront great location, see my map photos as I would have liked this when planning
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank 2141Travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (465)
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English first
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2013

We spent 1 week in August at this romantic escape. We have traveled a lot, but the "room" we stayed in, bld 4 , compares to none! Just beautiful, an oasis. Perfect for 2, with a small living area, couch, writing desk, open to a granite top kitchen, even a small dishwasher, stocked with coffee, soaps, pans, plates, etc. the bath is a double sink, very large tiled shower, walk in closet. The king sizE 4 poster bed is surrounded by gorgeous mahogany shuttered windows overlooking the rolling breaking waves. The living area and bedroom open onto a very large screened in porch with built in couches . You will not want to leave! The beach is sandy, some coral, . Waves breaking .
A short stroll down the beach, leads to a large sandy bottom area for swimming. Surrounded by mountains and forest, you have a sense of being in the enchanted forest. Staff excellent. Food very good. We will be back.

Room Tip: Any building along water front
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Pam D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christiansted
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2013

Everytime i've visited Carambola it was a great experience! I come to the beach often and sometimes will hike up to the tide pools. I stayed here for fun one night with some friends and we had a great time and the hotel rates weren't too bad. We had fun on the beach, the rooms are really nice and even when I was leaving (i misplaced my keys) a bell boy drove me and my boyfriend around on the golf kart in the dark trying to find my keys with me. We found them in the sand. This is definitely one of the most romantic hotels on island and the staff is always really nice! OH, and make sure to try the carambola crush. :)

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank JordanB464
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 13, 2013

Highly recommended, The food is good, especially the snow crabs-all you can eat, then the Moko Jumbies and Music is an added bonus. Reserve ASAP and enjoy.
Highly recommended, The food is good, especially the snow crabs-all you can eat, then the Moko Jumbies and Music is an added bonus. Reserve ASAP and enjoy.
Highly recommended, The food is good, especially the snow crabs-all you can eat, then the Moko Jumbies and Music is an added bonus. Reserve ASAP and enjoy.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BCharlesMDRealtor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Level Contributor
44 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2013

I spent a five days in early August, traveling solo, at the Renaissance St. Croix, and couldn't have been happier with my decision to stay at the resort. I've read dozens of reviews on Trip Advisor and to some extent agree with them all, but will share my experience

Upon checking-in, I was taken to building 5 on the east side of the property and stayed in a lower-level unit. The room was clean and well-maintained, the bed large and comfortable, the washroom well-appointed. Like all units, there was a large screened-in porch in close proximity to the beautiful bay. The room was air-conditioned, but also exposed to the elements via wood slats on the doors and windows... I found the temperature perfectly balanced: I was never uncomfortable, but also never felt like I was on the fifteenth floor of a concrete ecosystem - I felt like part of the island (one night I actually found a crab trying to fight through the door slats... if this sounds scary instead of charming, the resort may not be for you).

From reading earlier reviews, I was hyper-aware of possible maintenance problems, but had to search for them in my unit. One corner of the bathroom door was somewhat worn, the couch may have seen better days, the ceiling fan on the porch as well as the screen itself could use some repair - but the resort has one foot in a rain forest and the other on a beach, and I can only imagine the constant maintenance required. If you are looking for perfection, you'll need to leave the room, walk a hundred feet, and sit on the beach... if you want a comfortable retreat, it is wonderful.

The beach is amazing, picturesque - there's not much more to say than that. The east side is rocky and great for photos (the waves were impressive!); the west side - soft sand, crystal clear water, and some reef outcroppings for scuba and snorkeling. The pool itself was pretty standard, but very well-maintained with fantastic lounge furniture... I found myself spending more and more time at the pool because of that (How often is that noteworthy? It's seriously great.)

The dining options were very limited because of the low season - it was basically breakfast, then lunch and dinner at the pool bar. I was initially disappointed with the lack of options, but it ended up motivating me to go off-property, which was good for me. I was actually exploring the island most days during breakfast hours, but did have lunch each day at the Flamboyant Bar. The food was very good - I tried all the sandwiches (fries are great too) - but need to give special mention to the bartender Mark, who was around for three of my five meals. He was phenomenal, and sincerely wanted me to make the most of my trip, which was so appreciated. He gave suggestions for recreation, dinner plans - he was totally engaged, professional, and seemed genuinely happy to see me when I strolled up from the beach, which is a great feeling on a solo vacation. If he's working when you visit, chat him up - he has a lot to offer about the island, and makes a mean Painkiller.

So this is obviously a very subjective review, based on my own time on a very uncrowded resort, but I couldn't recommend it highly enough if you want to have a comfortable hotel with a great beach that is very accessible to the rest of the island.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OHIO
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2013

Getting to the hotel was a doozie. When other reviewers said it was secluded - they meant it. You drive and drive down a dark windy road and then you see lights and get excited, but it's Carambola golf course. So you drive and drive...and drive some more and finally get there. The receptionist referred to the road as 'the beast' and that is the perfect description.

When you pull up, you are greeted with rum punch, which you'll need after that drive. We asked for punch without the rum for the kids. Check in went very smoothly and the bellman unloaded our luggage onto a golfcart and drove the scenic route to our room in order to show us around the hotel.

We were in building 3. I like the rooms on the single digit side best, they are closer to the ocean and more private than the double digit ones that are all grouped together. Although, the double digit ones are closer to the beach swim area.

The bungalow style rooms worked out really well for my family. We requested second floor rooms so we'd have the vaulted ceilings and they were beautiful. You enter the room through a sitting area with a kitchenette (full size fridge, two burner cooktop, sink and dishwasher). Each room has a screened in porch area with two benches - perfect for reading or relaxing while listening to the waves. It's L shaped with a little bit of separation between the sitting and bedroom areas. The bathroom has double sinks and a separate toilet and shower area. The rooms have ceiling fans and air conditioners which helped to keep things comfortable. We were there in August and I expected extremely hot weather, but it was quite pleasant.

As mentioned in other reviews, most of the beach is very rocky, You have to walk to the far end of the beach for a smooth, swimmable sandy area. We purchased a few $3 inflatable toys and they came in handy both at the beach and the pool area. The pool is huge. It goes from 3ft to 6ft. There was rarely an attendant there though, and I twice had to go to the reception area soaking wet in my swimsuit to get towels.

The restaurant is open air with a bar in the middle. It's a full bar with excellent drinks, my favorites were the lime in the coconut and the cruzian confusion. The prices were a bit high, but on par with everything else on the Island. Kids meals were around $7, a burger and fries around $13. Food was pretty good and we received excellent service the first time we ate there. However, we had a horrible experience at the restaurant with a waitress names Mercedes that put a damper on our visit. She didn't bring our drinks for over 15 minutes - we saw her outside on her cell phone and called the hostess over who got our drinks. They usually bring bread and butter out and when we asked why she didn't she said the kitchen was out of bread. When we saw another waitress bringing bread to a different table we asked her and she brought it to us. Our food order was incomplete and she was very rude about getting what was missing. Then, to make it worse, she added a 20% service charge to our bill. She removed it when we asked for a manager that never came. After that experience we decided to never eat in there again.

They have basketball and tennis courts and the trail to the tidal pools (ask for directions in the lobby before you go, it's a very nice hike). I didn't see the workout room. The dive shop is extremely helpful if you're interested in snorkeling or scuba diving.

Friday night they have the pirates buffet. We intended to go, but once we saw that Mercedes was the waitress we chose to eat off the resort. We did make it back for the entertainment though. The mocko jumbies were amazing and the live band and dj kept the party going. We had so much fun dancing with other guests and a few of the employees.

We checked out at night at the suggestion of Jacki (I know I'm spelling it wrong) who was extremely helpful and accommodating so that we could get up and go in the morning for our 9am flight. We booked a special rate that included a $25 credit each night and it was credited correctly on our final bill. I've heard issues with receiving Marriott rewards, but I'll have to wait and see if those are posted correctly. I'd also like to mention Hakim the bellman, and the waitress who's name I can't remember (older lady, very dark skin, with long dreadlocks) who was also very hospitable. They exemplify the warm, welcoming Island experience I look forward to when I travel.

Oh - they give you a channel guide when you check in. It is wrong. Channel 35 was listed as the Disney channel and when my kids turned to it there was a nude couple having sex!!! I called to let the front desk know - hopefully they'll make that change ASAP.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank BossyLady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
71 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

The hotel shows lots of differed maintainence. The restaurant and bar are not air conditioned so you are at the mercy of the breezes to catch a little relief from the hot and humid weather in August. There is a wall air conditioning unit in the very large room. It cooled the area around the bed, but the bathroom was pretty warm, so much so that by the time you finished with your shower, make up and hair you really needed another shower! The staff was very nice and helpful, wait staff willing to serve, but poorly trained. The food was actually the high point. Consistently good and fairly priced. The ocean right in front of the hotel has sea urchins so you will need to walk to the far end of the beach to swim. Gym has enough equipment to get a workout. Massages were ok. All in all, I'd shop around for a little better maintained property.

Room Tip: Request a room in one of the buildings close to the swimming area along the beach.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 46KKU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa

Property: Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa
Address: | Estate Davis Bay, 00851-3031, St. Croix
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Croix
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in St. Croix
#3 On the Beach Hotel in St. Croix
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 150
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort And Spa
Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Hotel St. Croix
Carambola Beach Hotel
Carambola Beach Resort
Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa U.S. Virgin Islands

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