This winter will mark our 3rd year staying at Dave & Cary Hofstad's place at Colony Cove Beach Resort. We've done many cruises (still do on occasion), as well as the land-based resort thing, but for us this seaside unit on this beautiful island is as close to paradise as it gets.
Pictures at: http://www.vrbo.com/81044#photos
Colony Cove is gorgeous and literally just five minutes from downtown Christiansted. The grounds are covered in lush tropical gardens, with a perfect-to-chill-by pool and cabana/cookout facility just steps from the beach. The entire grounds are clean and nicely kept. The clientele is largely a combination of vacation renters and seasonal "condo commandos" with a large sprinkling of year-round residents thrown in for good measure. If you're the gregarious type you'll have no problem finding your fair share of others to hang out and schmooze with - in fact our best evenings were spent being catered to poolside with the best Tequila and Mexican food you could dream of by some newly found friends from San Cabo (all at their insistence, mind you) and passing around the rum bottle by the pool or in a neighboring condo with several other equally wonderful new-found friends. But on the whole what was so striking is that the place is soooo quiet and uncrowded - even during peak winter vacation weeks the pool and seaside lounge chairs are sparsely populated, if at all (when was the last time you could say that about a cruise ship experience???).
There's tons of info out there about STX to be had so we'll just add that it's the incredible variety on this island that defines it and makes it so special and unique (just for kicks, go to YouTube and do a search on "St. Croix beer drinking pigs" and then "St. Croix Cruzan Rum distillery" and you'll see what we mean). The west end is tropical rain forest; the east end is literally desert. There's a casino, resorts, world-class golfing and eating experiences ranging from drive-in chicken shacks and island-local fast food to elegant world-class dining. But there are also gorgeous historical plantations and gardens, scenic routes with spectacular dirt-road scenic views that you can drive for miles and miles without seeing another vehicle, and quiet beaches that are perfect for just relaxing away an afternoon (and that, on a weekday, you might even have all to yourself). And then there's Christiansted, with its boardwalk and 18th-century architecture in soft Caribbean pastels. It's the closest you'll come to seeing what the Caribbean was like before it became touristified.
If you're looking for hustle and bustle this isn't your place, but after a couple afternoons on St. Thomas on a cruise ship day St. Croix is an absolute breath of fresh air. If you want to be a tourist, there's always Charlotte Amalie; but if you want to be a traveler, this is your place and Colony Cove is a great place to enjoy it from.
Unique Quality: What makes this particular unit so special is that there's only one building in the complex that is square-on perfect beachfront (as opposed to "sea view"), and this is it. The large gallery (island-speak for patio or lanai) runs the length of the condo and offers the perfect view of the sunrise over Christiansted harbor. The sandy beach is directly under you and offers the perfect opportunity for long walks along the beach; you awaken to the sound of breaking waves. There is an additional benefit in that you have the perfect central location within the complex, with the pool just a few steps in one direction and the neighboring restaurant (Smuggler's cove) a similarly short stroll the other way. The unit itself is squeaky clean, spacious, tastefully furnished and has pretty much all the amenities (big screen tv, wi-fi, dvd- and ipod players, washer 'n dryer, land-line phone) that you could ask for. A beachfront artificial reef offers great snorkeling (yes, you'll see more brightly-hued salt water fish than you can count) and you can sign out equipment for this and other water sports right at the front desk. Add to that a weekly rate that is insanely reasonable - even before the stay-7-nights-get-the-8th-night-free offer - and you simply won't find a better vacation bargain.
There are those who will choose to pay more - often, considerably more - for the experience of staying at a resort hotel or all-inclusive. As mentioned above we've gone that route a few times ourselves. But after a few of those outings it starts to turn intoa cattle-in-the-herd experience. For us the ultimate luxury is to have complete control over our stay - come 'n go as we please - without worrying about what time the restaurant or room service stops serving or whether there will be loungers available poolside. For half the price (or less) of one of the popular STX on-island resorts I can enjoy my precious vacation moments far away from the herd while still having everything I could possibly desire just a few steps away.
Directions: Colony Cove is located on Rte 752 just off Rte 75. Plenty of maps and helpful locals at the airport who will make sure you find your way!
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Address: 3221 Golden Rock, Christiansted, St. Croix, 00820, Caribbean