The Buccaneer Resort Is Still a St Croix Legend

st croix hotels resorts bestThe Buccaneer in St Croix.
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It’s hard to imagine St. Croix — or at least tourism in St. Croix — without the Buccaneer resort. When Douglas and Rachel Armstrong originally opened their 11-room inn on Beauregard Bay in 1947, sugar was still king on St. Croix. In fact, the Armstrongs previously raised cattle on their Estate Show property, and tourism wouldn’t start overtaking agriculture as the island’s prime business until the following decade.

In the 75 years since, the resort has grown to include 138 guest rooms, an 18-hole golf course, a spa, two pools, three beaches, and three restaurants. One thing hasn’t changed, however. Ownership in the hotel has always remained with the Armstrong family, now in its third generation of running the hotel.

That’s why there was some alarm in 2021 when it was announced that the Buccaneer Beach and Golf Resort was joining the Wyndham family of resorts, making it the first Wyndham property on St. Croix.

Both island residents and longtime guests wondered what would change when a family-run resort affiliated with a global hotel brand.

st croix buccaneer resort

I’m happy to report that, after a recent visit, the answer is: not much. And that’s a good thing. The resort is the same placid retreat it always has been, the tradition of taking an evening stroll on the golf course remains, and guests still make their way to the hilltop great house for sunset cocktails and live entertainment, much like generations of visitors have done before.

“Remaining an independent hotel while enjoying the benefits of the Wyndham Rewards program is a great fit for The Buccaneer,” said Elizabeth Armstrong, third generation owner of the resort. “We look forward to introducing their members to our beautiful island destination and all it has to offer.  As our Wyndham affiliation is as part of their Trademark Collection, our personality remains intact, and guests can experience the same gracious service and warm hospitality that The Buccaneer is known for.”  

The 18-hole course is one of the best-kept secrets in Caribbean golf.

Vicki Locke, director of sales and marketing at the Buccaneer, refers to a “soft branding” with Wyndham, which has allowed the resort to retain its independence and original ownership and management. “The resort remains the grand dame of the Virgin Islands,” she said.

What the 83 million members of Wyndham Rewards will find at the 21st century version of the Buccaneer is one of the most complete resort experiences in the Caribbean. The last major addition to the hotel was in 2018, when the popular Beauregard’s on the Beach restaurant and bar opened (and recently reopened Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.), and while the resort weathered the 2017 hurricanes and the worst of COVID-19 with minimal impact, the Armstrongs did take the opportunity to use the pandemic-driven lull in business to refresh rooms and public spaces.

st croix buccaneer resort

Built amid the ruins of a former sugar plantation, the Buccaneer — the first hotel on St. Croix to be founded by island residents — has never strayed far from its original tropical/colonial design.

Four-poster beds and draperies printed with verdant flower designs remain common in guest accommodations, including the luxe Dubloon Room where I spend a few days in early 2022.

Ceiling fans still turn lazily over tables in the open-air dining room in the Terrace Restaurant, where guests can take in views of coast and sea between an arched colonnade while refreshing with a daiquiri or pina colada.

st croix buccaneer resort

It all feels very casually elegant, although you can skip the elegant part down by the shore, where the Mermaid restaurant serves beach-friendly frozen cocktails, salads, burgers, and fish tacos. My Dubloon Room was conveniently close to the Mermaid, which was my go-to spot for a snack and drink during the day; I also loved the proximity to Mermaid Beach and the tennis center, even if the rooms were not directly on the beach.

Of course if you want a truly seaside room you can get that, too: the most popular rooms at the resort overlook the shore between Grotto and Mermaid Beach. The best-value accommodations can be found in the Great House itself.

st croix buccaneer resort

The grounds of the Buccaneer are an attraction themselves: at 340 acres, there’s plenty of room to roam and explore, including finding your way to the “secret” Whistle Beach.

A fair amount of the resort’s real estate is taken up by the resort’s historic par 70 golf course, which has ocean views from 13 holes, but even if you don’t play golf you can walk or jog the cart paths in the early morning or evening when play ends.

It’s a wonderful way to start or end a day spent at St. Croix’s timeless, landmark resort.

For more information, visit The Buccaneer.

 

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