Prevue March-April 2014 - (Page 100)
[ON LOCATION] JOHNALEE JOHNSTON
very view from my second-ﬂoor guest room at The
Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort
& Spa grants the sensation of being tucked away in
a treehouse. An interesting blend of deep Spanish
Colonial mahogany woodwork, angular vaulted ceilings, marble
bathrooms and stainless steel appliances carry this vibe indoors
with a modern twist. Like all of the resorts I experienced on a
recent trip to the island, the hotel is a reminder that St. Croix
is a place for groups to slow down and connect with their
RENAISSANCE ST. CROIX CARAMBOLA
The 151-room hotel is enveloped by lush landscaping and
architectural symmetry reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright. After a
morning of heavenly banana rum pancakes and coffee in a cozy,
well-cushioned screened-in porch, it's easy to see why the resort
holds such allure for incentive groups.
"You can credit Laurance Rockefeller and his passion for
conservation for the way the Carambola blends seamlessly with
its surroundings," says Shelli Brin, our jovial guide, and the resort's
catering sales manager. Brin, who also helps run Ridge2Reef,
the only certiﬁed organic farm on the island, says the present
Carambola began to take shape in the '60s after Rockefeller
purchased what was then a Rock Resort in need of a little TLC.
Multiple renovations have been completed since that time,
including furniture, bathroom and kitchenette revamps in 2013.
During our tour, Brin points to a rum shack that has been
transformed into a raw food bar and mentions as a sidenote that
on-site cooking classes can be arranged. The resort's Sweet
Bottom Dive Shop allows planners to charge any number of
activities on one bill. With a 3,000-foot wall dive nearby, it's a
bonus for diving enthusiasts in the group to just grab scuba
gear and go.
"We arrange rainforest tours, dine-arounds at some of St.
Croix's farm-to-table restaurants and dives right off our shore,"
says Nancy Williams, director of sales/marketing. Off-site,
planners can arrange tastings and tours of the Captain Morgan
Rum Distillery, where the rum "tells" its keepers when it is ready.
Our group soon settles in after the jaunt at Saman
restaurant for a meal that contains one of the most complex
desserts I've ever eaten-rum cake, chocolate sticks, strawberry
cream, lime wedge, berry glaze, pineapple, coconut, jalapeño
and cream, all in a tortilla shell.
Rina Walton, CMP/account executive of Carlson Wagonlit,
sums up my enthusaism in a nutshell. "The Carambola does a
good job of creating upscale cuisines from local fare, which is
great for groups." The Saman is one of four on-site restaurants
at the resort, offering up to 310 guests palate-seducing dishes
inside and on its sea-facing terrace.
THE BUCCANEER HOTEL
Draped over 340 acres along the Caribbean Sea, The Buccaneer
hotel looks like a pretty pink fortress as our group inches closer to
the main house for the ﬁrst time. The main building keeps watch
on a hilltop, with 138 rooms scattered around expansive slopes.
We arrive to plenty of smiles and rum punch-this was a highlight
given that many in our group had traveled from as far as Canada
to explore the historic property.
After a breezy check-in, we're taken down the hill to our
rooms and I'm greeted by contemporary and comfortable
accommodations that include a regal four-poster king bed and
private patio overlooking the pool, beach and sea.
An evening cocktail reception ﬁlled with wine and Mocko
Jumbie stilt dancers is held at the 18th century Sugar Mill,
ofﬁcially welcoming us to the property before we're whisked
away to dinner at the Luxury Beach House. We're told the stilts
are in our future tomorrow morning, which inspires laughter and
shouts for more wine from our group.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue March-April 2014
Planner's Pick: Dallas
Fresh Meets: Marriott Hotels
Bureau Buzz: Montreal
Good Business: Sandals Foundation
Sea Shores: State of the Cruise Industry
Incentives, Golf + Spa
Special Section: California
On Location: Loews Don CeSar St. Pete
On Location: Chic Outlets
On Location: New Zealand
On Location: Los Cabos
On Location: Scottsdale
On Location: Aruba Hyatt Regency
On Location: Dolce Silverado
On Location: St. Croix
On Location: Hilton Bomonti Turkey
On Location: Aruba Marriott
Checkout: Conrad Pune, India
Meetings, incentives and Corporate Events, Club Med 2014 Edition
Prevue March-April 2014