St. Croix's deluxe resorts lie along the North Shore; its charming old waterfront inns are mostly in Christiansted. You may also choose to stay at a former plantation or in a condo complex, which offers privacy and the chance to save money by preparing your own meals. The choice is yours: a location in Christiansted or Frederiksted close to shops and nightlife, but away from the beach; or an isolated resort where, chances are, your accommodations will be either on the beach or a short walk from it. From such resorts, you'll have to drive into town for a shopping binge or for restaurants and clubs.
In general, rates are steep, but in summer, hotels slash prices by about 25% to 50%. All rooms are subject to an 8% hotel tax, not included in the rates given in this guide.
Note: If you need a hair dryer, pack your own. Apparently, a lot of visitors have packed up hotel hair dryers upon departure, and some innkeepers are reluctant to provide them.
A Condo Of One's Own -- Aside from staying at the hotels and big resorts, you can also easily rent a condo on St. Croix. While initially it may seem pricey, a condo is an excellent option for small vacationing groups and families on longer trips.
The major companies renting villas include Island Hideaways (tel. 800/832-2302; www.islandhideaways.com), Caribbean Days (tel. 908/832-6655; www.caribbeandays.com), Villa Madeleine Vacation Villas (tel. 800/533-6863 or 340/690-3465), Caribbean Property Management (tel. 800/496-7379 or 340/778-8782; www.enjoystcroix.com), and Teague Bay Properties (tel. 800/964-9755 or 340/773-4665; www.teaguebayproperties.com).
Self-Sufficient Units Around the Island -- If you're interested in a villa or condo rental, contact the places reviewed in this guide or Vacation St. Croix, 4000 La Grande Princesse, Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 00820 (tel. 877/788-0361 or 340/718-0361; fax 340/718-5491; www.vacationstcroix.com), which offers some of the best accommodations on the island. Some are private residences with pools; many are on the beach. Rentals range from one-bedroom units to seven-bedroom villas. In winter, prices per week range from $1,050 to $15,000, reduced in summer to $750 to $12,500. A 7-night minimum is usually imposed.
Only one hotel in Christiansted is located on a good swimming beach: Hotel on the Cay. As luck would have it, this beach is easily reached by a 4-minute, $3 ferry ride from the main harbor in town.