Boutique Beachfront Resort with Open-Air Dining
Hibiscus Beach Resort sits on a stretch of St. Croix that Frommer's calls "one of the island's best beaches," but many of the guests leave praising the ultra-attentive staff. General manager Marc Mullins often ferries guests to a nearby grocery store, especially if they're not used to the island's custom of driving on the left. And once, co-owner John Odato handpicked and split fresh aloe leaves to soothe a guest's sunburn. The team keeps the resort laid-back and relaxing for the couples who return here year after year. After all, as Marc puts it, "St. Croix has a magnetic appeal."
Because cruise ships rarely dock here, the shores are never crowded with tourists (even though U.S. citizens don't need a passport to visit). Pelican Cove Beach, right alongside the hotel, is straight out of a postcard, with coconut palms, hammocks, and lime-green resident iguanas. A coral reef flourishes just beneath the waves; slip into the water along a sandy cove, and you can spot tropical fish using the resort's complimentary snorkel gear. All beachfront rooms overlook the ocean, although those who book well in advance will get the best views.
As St. Croix temperatures hover in the 70s and 80s and refreshing trade winds blow constantly, most restaurants here are open-air, including the onsite H2O Caribbean Bistro, which overlooks the pool. Upon arrival, sample a complimentary rum punch mixed with rum from the island's Cruzan distillery. The dinner changes frequently to include fresh-caught seafood, such as orange-ginger mahi-mahi ($26) or coconut shrimp with mango salsa ($26). A free breakfast the next morning includes basics such as cereal, toast, and coffee.
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands: Historical Danish Architecture and Thriving Marine Life
Although now an American territory, the U.S. Virgin Islands—including St. Croix—spent about 200 years under Denmark's rule. A handful of Danish military forts still dot the island, including Fort Christiansvaern, about 10 minutes east of the hotel. The fort is part of the city center of Christiansted, a grid of cobblestone streets lined with pastel 18th-century buildings. From here, you can book a cruise to Buck Island Reef National Monument, an uninhabited island surrounded by a barrier reef of elkhorn coral, which you can view while snorkeling or diving among eagle rays, reef sharks, and sea turtles.
During nesting season (about March–July), leatherback turtles migrate to Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge and the hotel's own beach, Pelican Cove. When the eggs hatch a couple months later, you'll be in for a spectacular scene. According to Marc, "All of a sudden you see thousands of little baby turtles coming out of the sand."
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.