STX...what part of the island?

Travel discussion for St. John
elisa_nj
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Location: Joisy Shore, NJ

STX...what part of the island?

Post by elisa_nj »

OK, I'm starting my research for 2009 vacation! Have been going to Aruba 2x's a year for 10 years and have decided to venture out (have gone to PR a dozen times, Bahamas 1/2 doz., etc.) May of this year we went to STT/STJ for the first time and now its time to try STX.

Now here's my dilemma...I have absolutely no idea what part of the island to stay on. I'm sure it preference but which BAY or AREA is the nicest?

I thought closer to Christinstat(sp) would be best for dinning and the occassional shopping trip, but the island is small enough to be able to get there easily.

Also my husband LOVES RESORTS and I love private villa's or condos (on the beach of course). We stayed in a private condo on STT and now its his turn to get his "resort" vacation. I've looked into Carambola, Chenay Bay Beach Resort and Buccaneer...I think Buccaneer is out of our budget...so I'd love to hear the all your feedback...are there any RESORT type places on the East End? or Fredrikstedt(sp)?

What about the Hotel on the Cay? Is that more of a "motel"?

Thanks all! I got great advise from this board for our STT trip and I know I'll get it again.

P.S. We are laid back kinda folk...love the beach, cocktails, 1 day sightseeing, 1 day "in town" shopping and finish off our day with a swim in the pool before a good meal out! If that helps in figuring out where you think would suit us! (oh and I do like a kitchen or kitchenette!)
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Gromit
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Post by Gromit »

The best part of STX is the ferry dock with the boat that gets you to STJ.

Ok. Seriously, I am NO help on STX-- anyone else have some guidance for our friend?
*Another fine scatterbrained production
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jigzmom
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Post by jigzmom »

My husband and I and another couple spent a great week on STX a few years ago. We stayed at the Sugar Beach condos, on its own private beach, in a two-bedroom condo. All the condos have a waterfront patio or balcony, very nice. It's not a "resort" but it has a pool, tennis courts, no resturaunt. It is a 10 minute drive to Christianstaad, which has the majority of the dining and shopping.

We drove around the island one day and decided we were in one of the best spots. Another condo complex we visited (for future referece) was Gentle Winds, on the same side of the island as Sugar Beach but a bit farther from town. It has a nice beach and pool area. We stopped in Fredricksted (opposite side of island) to have lunch but couldn't find anywhere to eat! The cruise ship dock was being built at the time and the town was a bit torn up. There's also a casino at the Divi resort.

Our trip was in January and unfortunately we were subject to very windy conditions, making snorkeling nearly impossible. We did go out on a catamaran to Buck Island for snorkeling, which was a lot of fun.

The island is definately the most laid-back of all the USVIs. I hope to return, and recommend it -- and Sugar Beach -- for a very relaxing vacation.
Margy Z
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Post by Margy Z »

Hi – we’ve been hitting the USVI for 20+ years. Made our first trip to STX in ’07 and on the first morning wondered why it had taken us so long. We returned in ’08 and are planning ’09. We are villa rental folks though, although we like to visit the resorts for food and beach time.

On STX there are several really nice condo enclaves like Gentle Winds, Pelican Cove, Villa Madeleine (on the east end, stand-alone 2 br units where each unit has its own private pool) but you did say you wanted a resort. FYI, here's a shot of Gentle Winds on the north shore:

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There are some beautiful beaches on the West End and a couple of small resorts right to the south of F'Sted: Sandcastles on the Beach and Cottages by the Sea - both have a real laid-back caribbean vibe:

Beach at Sandcastles (from the restaurant):

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As far as location, though, I would prefer to be mid-island or on the east end, especially on a first trip – you’re just more convenient to things. If you have time, take a ride to F'Stead and have lunch and enjoy the beach at Sandcastles or Cottages and plan your return trip!

The Buccaneer is gorgeous but after a couple of days you may want to rename it the Buc-a-minute – lol. You can always go for lunch at the Buc and use their beach facilities (and The Terrace restaurant is tops for a romantic dinner). Off the same access road to the Buc is the Shoys area – with a beautiful beach with very little attendance on weekdays.

Hubs at Shoys Beach:

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Carambola is very nice but way out on the north – west of Cane Bay. If you are divers, though, Carambola may be the way to go as there is great diving at Cane Bay – the location of The Wall. Beautiful area but kind of a trek from Carambola to get into C’Sted and some of the roads are pretty twisty for late night driving.

Cane Bay Area (from the Off the Wall Restaurant)

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Chenay Bay kind of puts you in the same area as the Buc – with access to some really nice east end beaches like Shoys and Cramers.

Chenay Bay at The Shores Restaurant:

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Still out on the east end is the Tamarind Reef at Green Cay. The Tamarind is really laid back, has a great beach bar (The Deep End Bar where they have hilarious crab races each week) and a more upscale restaurant (The Galleon). It is right at the Green Cay Marina so there is easy access to day trips to Buck Island. There is also very good snorkeling right off the beach at the Tamarind. You would still have the Buck Island views from the Tamarind:

Buck Island:

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Buck Island:

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On the south east shore is the Divi Carina Bay, a full service resort (including a spa) in a gorgeous location. The Divi casino (only casino on island) is right across teh road from the mian resort. There is also a timeshare area at the Divi (I have seen ads for very reasonable timeshare rentals on RedWeek.com - the timeshares are usually two-bedroom and have kitchesn - at least from what I have seen on Red Wek.). The Divi is on a road that is part of the east end loop - you loop around from the south to the north side on the east end and have access to some great restuarants and the same beaches as are near the Buc.

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Post or PM with questions - happy to help. There are lots of gorgeous villas on STX - let me know if you change your minds about a resort and would like some recommendations.

- Margy
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RD
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Post by RD »

Great pix, Margy!!
elisa_nj
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Post by elisa_nj »

OMG I love the pictures...THANK YOU. THANK YOU. This last picture of the building with the blue roof...is that DIVI? I looked into the Divi a while ago (actually before our STT trip). We are t/s owners in Aruba and thought about a trade, etc. We belong to II though (most are RCI). I'm also very familiar with Red Week and have used that site often.

I love VRBO and found some great condo's that I'm saving on my favorites to show my husband to possibly sway him from his obsession with "resort" travel. One I saw on on VRBO is Gentle Winds. Its in the building closest to the water and WOW what a great price! Also Mills Harbour, Coakley Bay, Sugar Bay (not sure I like the bars on the terrace's though), Colony Cove, Pelican Cove, etc.

Mill Harbour says you can walk to Smugglers Cove for cocktails and dinner, etc.

Don't know if I can hubby to agree on a condo/villa again but I sure will try! I will also check out Tamarind too, but if that last picture is the Divi I might do some more thinking on that one! I thought from other websites it looked to me like a MOTEL, can you comment?

AGAIN...thanks! Elisa
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Margy Z
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Post by Margy Z »

Thanks, RD!

Elisa - yes, the last pic is the Divi. A motel? Well, the rooms are mosyly in wings that are two stories high so some pictures could look that way, I guess. The timeshare buildings are across the road. If you look on RedWeek I'm sure you will see some pix. They have their own private pool but the guest is free to use all of the facilities of the main hotel.

What is it about a resort that your hubs prefers to a villa? I'm just thinking that there are a couple of gorgeous small villas right on the same beach as the Divi. You would have your own place, your own kitchen, your own pool, and the resort. There are villas all along the curve from the Divi and you can walk the beach right around to the Divi beach.

Divi Beach:

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There are also a few villas that are beachfront. Hubs and I are going to STX in '09 for a week plus and then he will go home (poor guy) and the girlfriends will come down. Hubs and I are still working on our villa choice but the girls and I have rented D'Estasi (on the east end) a villa with it's own white sand beach.

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It also has a great view of Buck Island from the pool deck and the villa itself has killer amenities. We can't wait!

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- Margy
California Girl

Post by California Girl »

Margy - I'm loving all these pix of STX! What is that "castle" up on the hill?
Margy Z
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Post by Margy Z »

CG - I'm lovining your flag!!

This is the Contessa’s Castle, high over Teague Bay, on the east end. We've been unsuccessful at snagging an invite for dinner - offered to bring some chips n'salsa and Red Stripe, but, no go - yet - - :)

Here's what I found awhile back about the Contessa

“Mountaintop Eyrie (also known as Castle Aura) is owned by the island's most prominent socialite, the Contessa Nadia Farbo Navarro, the Romanian-born heiress to a great fortune. This opulent castle is the most outrageously unusual, most prominent, and most talked-about villa on St. Croix. Understandably, its privacy is rigidly maintained."

Nadia Farber, the Contessa de Navarro, is the widow of Sid Farber, a Long Island, New York, industrialist (her title comes to her from a previous husband). Yuri Farber is the industrialist's nephew. He and the Contessa, sometimes reside in splendid isolation in Castle Aura, a vast and inexpressibly strange stucco and marble ersatz-Moorish castle designed by the Contessa herself; it stands high on a crest, overlooking the West Indies Laboratory.

The Contessa, who is of Bulgarian birth and international upbringing, is a small, ample, and graceful lady of a certain age, and she and her castle are the object of obsessive fascination on Saint Croix. Her wardrobe consists almost entirely of caftans and color-coordinated turbans. She wears iridescent sea-blue eye makeup that swirls around her cheekbones in serpentine filigree. She speaks ten languages. In the heat of the day she carries a white lace parasol. Gesturing theatrically with gem-crowded fingers, she calls her interlocutor "my darling." She is utterly charming.

Yuri Farber is as reserved as the Contessa is flamboyant. A fortyish Czech, he is by all reports the entrepreneurial spirit of the Contessa's expanding empire. He is guarded, polite. He has reason to be cautious; he is unpopular with some of the neighbors, as is the Contessa."

Here's a closer pic (not mine, it was taken from a helicopter, I think):

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California Girl

Post by California Girl »

Thanks Margy! I have heard of the Contessa before, but I guess I just never saw a picture of her castle. What an odd looking structure on a tropical island!

Glad you like my flag! :)
cocosmom
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Post by cocosmom »

We stayed at Carambola 4 years ago. Loved it. Yes, it is out by itself but we didn't mind. The beach is rough, you can only swim in one area ( due to rocks) & it had pretty good waves. Not STJ calm water.
We stayed in a building right on the beach & on the second floor. This means you have cathedral ceilings. Rustic cabin-looking inside . Comfy bed..antique dresser, separate living room, screened in porch facing ocean, huge bathroom & walk in closet. Total tile shower facing the ocean with loover door we kept open. Nice pool, good food, lousy gym. Of course we got it all free (don't hate us) from hubby's job, but I would go back. Hubby knew how to get around the island & we ate dinner out every night & some breakfasts. All the places were great. We also drove into Gentle Winds ( there is a great breakfast spot just down the road by the dive shop) and thought it was a future place to stay!
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jigzmom
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Post by jigzmom »

elisa: At Sugar Beach, the bars swing open and out of the way when you want the view. They are used for security. :wink:
elisa_nj
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Post by elisa_nj »

Loving the feedback...thank you all.

Don't know what hubby's obsession with "resorts" is. As a matter of fact he likes highrise hotels! i lived and worked in Manhattan for 18 years and the last thing I want to do on a vacation is stay on the 34th floor...I prefer a place that doesnt' even have elevator banks! I think he just likes all the amendities. And in STT we had that...2 restaurants, 3 pools and acess to 3 different beaches w/i walking distance in a fabulous condo that was wide oppose to long and narrow. I wanted that for the view! We snuck over to Wynham Sugar Beach for a day and he was in heaven..so like I said, I want to please him this next trip!

I like Carambola alot...but my budget might be slightly lower. As silly as this sounds I absoluately refuse to pay more than 200.00 a night anywhere, and believe me I find great places for under that amount!

Still looking VRBO and finding great places...maybe I can sway him...i'm keeping my options open!

Oh and I have a 2nd cousin who actually lives on the island (north shore from what i'm told)...waiting to get a relative to give me their # so I can ask their opinion too. (they own some sort of water sports business, so Jill if yout out there...this is your 2nd cousin Elisabeth, Rosemarie's daughter!)
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