At first blush, St. Croix is the gawky, red-headed, befreckled step-sister of the Virgin Islands. Therein lies its charm. Slower paced, quieter, flatter and less pretentious than other islands, it is the perfect anodyne for the rat-race. Bring your loaded e-reader, lots of sunscreen and prepare to dilute your blood stream with some island rum.
The Divi Carina Bay is dear to my family's heart. The six of us have come to this property in St Croix since 1986 and have spent the last twelve Christmases in its most recent iteration.
Other than owning time-share (which I choose not to exchange), I have no personal or financial interest in the property; yet, this is my third review, all regarding our holiday weeks. For better or worse, I am a fan.
Under the capable, indefatigable leadership of Andreas Conniff, the property has improved every year. I gave it an Excellent five-dot rating this year but even Andreas will admit that progress is only as good as today's experience.
Physically, the resort's condition was only better when it newly re-opened in 2000. Work on the landscaping, the pool which was completely refurbished in October, the restaurants, and the rooms is a daily event. The Divi is a seaside resort; the sea is unforgiving.
Our daughter and son-in-law stayed in a room in the hotel; very comfortable, nicely laid out and appointed, clean and all rooms see and hear the ocean. A microwave and small refrigerator are useful amenities. The sugar-sand beach extends east and west beyond the confines of the hotel and early morning walkers can work off last night's meal. The waters are pristine. And, the southeastern exposure provides a constant refreshment courtesy of the Caribbean trade winds. (During the holidays, the "Christmas winds" pay a visit and wind and kite surfers rejoice; in the summer, sea grass can be an issue.)
Our time share unit - the villas - sits above the hotel a short downhill walk away. The porch provides a refuge for morning coffee as the sun arcs across the southern sky. The time-share units could use an interior decorator's touch as they have become spare over the years but are adequate for the purposes of eating, sleeping and relaxing on the aforementioned porch. I do covet a comfortable chair for the evening's reading.
Andreas has assembled a competent and diligent staff nucleus. Where to start? Ann Downs is the brains behind the time-shares and their exchanges; Sarah of the infectious smile at the front-desk could work for any of us; Edmond is the quintessential bell-captain who knows everyone and everything about the Divi; the Divi has its very own Tommy Star server in the charismatic Marlon Charles. The Tommy Star is the most prestigious award of the hospitality industry in the Virgin Islands. Sean at the beach shack is compulsive in keeping order on the beach; Chris, Curt and Scott behind Big Al's bar are the chemists that make Happy Hour happier; Anne Marie sees thats the towels are refreshed and the room spotless; and, the crew led by Dave and Rashim at the East End Pizza get the award for most improved franchise at the resort.
The dining choices are diverse. There is an all-inclusive option that provides food, drink and water sports without additional charge. Our lunch favorite on the pool patio is the jerk-seasoned salmon Caesar salad. The daily suppers have evolved over the past three years. The popular Caribbean buffet replete with steel drums and mocko jumbies remains along with the Italian and Seafood nights. New are the Star Rok dinner; the diner gets to "cook" his or her entree on a sizzling stone. The Pig Roast is a new beachside event and Meet the Cooks allows foodies to pick the brains of the chefs who create specialties from their home islands.
A caveat. The Divi does not pretend to be a five-star resort. A key to an enjoyable experience is to be patient - it's the islands, mon - and always respectful. Leave the attitude at home. Its an ideal place for families with young kids as the beach is very safe, no riptides and the like.
Its position on the far southeastern point of the island is a mixed blessing; it is private, even isolated. But cabs in St Croix are expensive. It is not a disadvantage to put down some roots for a week. Sweeney's Island Tours can take you around if you must sightsee. If you are staying two weeks, rent a car. The Divi has an arrangement with Centerline Car Rental so that they will drop off and pick up the car at the resort. Duggan's Reef, the Blue Water Cafe, the Southshore Grille and Ziggy's gas-convenience-diner (Eat Here and Get Gas; do try the Cubano) are a short drive away.
Admittedly, I am a fan - of St Croix and the Divi. And I will continue to come back to see how Andreas and his staff are doing. We stay in touch with Ann and Edmond throughout the year. And those famous crab-racers, Tito and Sue. They continue to provide the crustacean competition on Wednesday nights. Pick a crab, grab a rum punch but don't point! Tito has duct-tape and is not afraid to use it.
- 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:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Kognitiv US Corp, BookIt.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, HotelsforEveryone, Hotwire, Cancelon, Evoline ltd and TripOnline SA so you can book your Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Beach Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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