St. Croix Returns

After the storms, the island is once more welcoming visitors

 

The island of St. Croix escaped the devastating effects of 2017’s Hurricane Irma, but two weeks later, Hurricane Maria roared in as a category five storm. The lights went out, and homes and businesses across the island sustained damage. But soon after the wind and rain passed, the rebuilding began, and before spring of 2018, many of the island’s resorts were once more welcoming visitors, and shops and restaurants were open for business. One of the best ways to contribute to the renewal is by rewarding yourself with a St. Croix vacation. You’ll enjoy some relaxing beach time bliss, with the added enjoyment of knowing that you are supporting the relief efforts. To help you plan, here’s the latest news from the island.

Fort Christiansvaern

Iconic island landmarks such as Fort Christiansvaer were spared by Hurricane Maria, and reopened after power was restored and debris were removed. Photo: Gary Felton/USVI Department of Tourism

The First to Return

One of the first hotels to bounce back after the storm was the Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix, which reopened on September 26, 2017. One of the island’s landmark properties, The Buccaneer, sustained relatively minor damage, but put a halt to guest reservations while housing relief workers in September and October of last year. The resort returned to normal operations on the first of November in 2017. Several other resorts were also back up and running in time for the winter season. The Cottages by the Sea required only minor repairs and cleanup, and once electricity was restored, began welcoming guests in early November. Two additional resorts, the Palms at Pelican Cove and the Sand Castle on the Beach, are now back to normal operations, and accepting reservations for spring and beyond.

Buccaneer Mermaid Restaurant

On the north coast of St. Croix, the Mermaid at the Buccaneer resort is once more open and serving meals with a generous helping of ocean views. Photo: Buccaneer

Out West

On the island’s west end, the long anticipated opening of The Fred was delayed, but the property made it through the storms relatively unscathed. The planned opening date of December 1, 2017, was moved forward to January of 2018. The nearby Frederiksted Hotel is now also open for business.

In the Works

The Chenay Bay Beach Resort is welcoming guests, but the on-site restaurant has yet to reopen. Fortunately, there are a number of restaurants in the vicinity that are open and serving. The Hotel on the Cay reopened its doors to guests on December 1, 2017. Restoration work was ongoing through the spring, and the pool reopened in March. At that time there was limited food service provided by the resort, as the independently owned beach restaurant remained closed.

Still to Come

The Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino was originally slated to remain closed through most of 2018. But following a full assessment of needed repairs, the resort management moved the tentative reopening date to early May, pending any unanticipated construction or supply delays. The Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa anticipates reopening in the fourth quarter of 2018, but at this point there is no official date.

Island Happenings

One of the Caribbean’s signature culinary events is on track for the first week of April. The St. Croix Food and Wine Experience will kick off on April 5, with a theme of Resiliency in Action, and proceeds from the four-day event going to recovery efforts. Highlights will include the popular Wine in the Warehouse gathering, the Cork & Fork/Giving Table dinner and the Reef Responsible Fish Fry. Another local tradition that will return to downtown Christiansted is the weekly Art Thursday gathering, when galleries, jewelry studios and retail stores in the town’s historic district stay open late, and downtown becomes a gathering place for art and culture. Another island favorite, the St. Croix Agricultural Fair, has been rescheduled from its original February dates to May 26 to 27, 2018. The fair features vendors selling a variety of goods and locally made products, and exhibits sponsored by St. Croix schools, youth groups, and public service groups.T

Food And Wine Fest St. Croix

The St. Croix Food and Wine Experience returns to the island on the first week of April, with proceeds going to hurricane recovery efforts. Photo: St. Croix Food & Wine

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