from Fairfield County, Connecticut
Submitted on 05-03-2016
My husband was searching for the best place to stay in St. Croix and came across Carambola's website. We both fell in love with the look of the place, its secluded location, its decor, setting, etc., and were ready to look no further, but to book our vacation right then and there. However, after I read one or two less-than-complimentary reports (albeit in a sea of 4-to-5-star reviews), I worried, as one does, that what looked to be the tropical paradise of our dreams was too good to be true. W...
My husband was searching for the best place to stay in St. Croix and came across Carambola's website. We both fell in love with the look of the place, its secluded location, its decor, setting, etc., and were ready to look no further, but to book our vacation right then and there. However, after I read one or two less-than-complimentary reports (albeit in a sea of 4-to-5-star reviews), I worried, as one does, that what looked to be the tropical paradise of our dreams was too good to be true. We then considered the Buccaneer, but weren't at all enamored of its setting atop a golf course (we're not golfers) high on a hill, nor its style, which looked more Floridian pink & green to us than the stunning dark wood and off-white palette of the Colonial West Indies decor of Carambola, which suited us to a tee. So we decided to go for looks and location. And after a glorious 22-day stay at Carambola, we can report that it was/is, in fact, the tropical paradise of our dreams. From its secluded, lush green lawns and beautifully-maintained grounds (at the foot of a lush rain forest, no less), to its breathtakingly beautiful, pristine, palm-lined beach, to our spacious accommodations (which, in our opinion, were not dark as some have suggested, but beautifully lit in the most romantic sense), absolutely nothing disappointed. In fact, the cool and quietly elegant decor of both the property and our suite provided exactly the romantic atmosphere we were seeking. Our second-floor, beach-front, home-away-from-home (we were upgraded in honor of our 30th wedding anniversary!) was amply air-conditioned, with soaring, vaulted, mahogany ceilings; travertine marble floors throughout, and stunning views of palms, beach and surf from our windows and screened lanai, which overlooked the beach. Even with the A/C on, we could hear the waves breaking on the shore all night long, which was heavenly. Ceiling fans distributed the cool air throughout the rooms. The bed and bedding were sumptuous, inviting and wonderfully restful, and the large chest of drawers provided ample storage. The marble bathroom with granite double-vanity countertop, room-length mirror over the vanity, glass-doored marble shower, ample towels, Aveda bath products, large walk-in closet (MORE ample storage), kitchen amenities including granite countertop, cooktop, microwave, full-size refrigerator, dishes, cookware, glassware, etc., were more than adequate for our needs. Excellent coffee, by the way. And Wifi reception was superb, both in the room and on the beach, which may or may not be a plus. ;) Two flat-screen TVs were also more than adequate!
Carambola's staff's focus on ensuring that guests enjoy their stay impressed us both each and every day. We found all the staff to be such warm, charming people, eager to engage and please; and also wonderful to get to know. We especially enjoyed the Saman's attentive servers and the beautifully prepared and presented food (our favorites: the ceviche, the Ahi tuna tartare, the filet mignon, the grilled mahi-mahi with risotto, the jerk chicken, and the RUM CAKE). We also loved the vast breakfast buffet every morning. The Flamboyant bar/terrace was perfect for lunch or more casual dinner (we especially loved the conch fritters, fried calamari, the grouper sandwich, Ahi tuna salad, the black-bean vegi-burger, and Caesar salad with grilled shrimp; the macadamia cookies are fabulous); and Pirate Night, which we only experienced once, alas, on our last night. If only we had known (or believed)…. the Mokojumbies' performance is electric!
In our experience, the front-desk service, housekeeping, beach bar, and, and, and -- all were first rate. Zephania, who checked us in and later arranged for a rental car to be delivered to the property for us, is a gem, and every bit as lovely as Carambola itself. She makes the most amazing, welcoming first impression, matching the stunningly elegant entrance to this perfect, secluded paradise. In fact, all of the staff made our stay special. Keba, who drove us to our beachfront room and helped us with our luggage on arrival and departure, was a delight. Dear Philipsia, Abigail, Brianna, Dora, Rebecca, Joan, Naomi, Brynn, and Gordon in the restaurants, and Myra at the beach bar were all FABULOUS. Brisaa (?) at Flamboyant was also extraordinary, as was another server there whose name ends with "cia" (if only we could remember, but senior moments happen unfortunately…). Dorn and Nadine in housekeeping kept our suite immaculate and were able to educate us about the cherry tree at the bottom of our stairs, as well as the very entertaining mongoose/mongeese who sometimes ran across our path.
I have to say that the few negative reviews we read before our 3-week stay at Carambola were totally at odds with our experience. We never had to wait anywhere near the amount of time suggested by one or two others for food or anything else (i.e., more hangers or TP, which were immediately delivered). We happen to enjoy the slower pace of the islands, so maybe we're a little more laid back than some, but we enjoyed every moment of our stay and adored the servers and staff.
The island is wonderful to explore (a Jeep is NOT required; you'll be fine in a sub-compact to navigate even the worst roads, although most roads are fine). We got lost in the rain forest once, which was a small adventure; and Fredericksted bustles with activity when cruise ship passengers come to explore the shops and enjoy the beach. Definitely try the Bombay Club in Christiansted for its air-conditioned but charming, historic atmosphere and wonderful food and service. We would also highly recommend The Galleon, which is also air conditioned and offers its own amazing culinary delights.