Hotel Online  Special Report


Owned and Managed by the Grandchildren of Founders Douglas
and Rachel Armstrong, St. Croix’s Buccaneer Resort the
Longest Running Resort in the Caribbean
Legendary Caribbean Resort Turns 60

St. Croix, U.S.V.I., Feb. 20, 2006 – St. Croix’s Buccaneer resort celebrates its Diamond Jubilee with a salute to all people, places and things born in the years 1946, 1947 and 1948, the three year period of conception of and birth to The Buccaneer.  The late 1940s was a bonanza of invention and ingenuity, giving birth to the first baby boomers, the first electronic computers, and the bikini!

In 1946, the Armstrong family, Cruzans since the 1600s, decided to turn their pastoral cattle ranch, located on one of the Caribbean’s most spectacular beachfront locations, into an 11-room inn that pioneered tourism in the Caribbean.  The Buccaneer opened in December, 1947, and hosted its first guests in January, 1948.  

Today, The Buccaneer is the longest-running resort in the Caribbean, now owned and managed by the grandchildren of founders Douglas and Rachel Armstrong.

Under the leadership of their granddaughter, General Manager Elizabeth Armstrong, who joined the family business following her graduation from New York University, the resort has paid homage to its history while keeping pace with the tastes and demands of its elite and exceptionally loyal clientele (repeat guests account for 60% of the resort’s business).

Luxury and pampering are key, with plush accommodations featuring evocative Caribbean décor, whirlpool tubs, and spacious and private patios; a complete wellness and spa program from morning yoga and meditation on the beach to aromatherapy treatments using native plant and flower essences; a sporty golf course for serious as well as casual golfers; and an eight-court tennis center named one of the Caribbean’s best by Tennis magazine.

An example of how The Buccaneer has grown up with boomers is its tradition of hosting many family reunions throughout the year, and its complimentary, comprehensive kid’s activity program.  Both vacation trends are among the strongest for today’s largest population of travelers.

As one of the earliest hotels in the Caribbean, the wealthy and well-known first experienced the West Indies’ unique tempo and magnificent climate at The Buccaneer. Early guests included Hollywood celebrities such as Helen Hayes, Charles MacArthur and Maureen O’Hara, physicist Robert Oppenheimer, opera singer Marian Anderson, designer Anne Klein and poet Nikki Giovanni.  
Guests at that time were privileged to enjoy screened windows, hot water and private baths – the first Caribbean hotel to offer such luxuries!  

Now guests, including Sen. Edward Kennedy, Kathleen Turner, President Jimmy Carter, Hugh Downs, and Morgan Freeman, enjoy luxuries such as designer West Indian-style furnishings, marble and stone floors, French doors opening to spacious balconies, and modern baths with granite counters, whirlpool tubs and dressing rooms.  Thoughtful comforts include refrigerators, coffee makers and coffee, fresh ice and water twice a day, iron and ironing board, and satellite television. 

The Buccaneer is a resort firmly rooted in Caribbean soil, with the timeless grace and charm of its privileged legacy.

An Enduring Legacy
With admiration and respect for Robert Douglas Armstrong, who passed away on Saturday, May 21st, 2005, following a brief struggle with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia, we share some of the highlights of Mr. Armstrong's long and much admired career as a hotelier and entrepreneur. 

He was raised on St. Croix, attended the Antigua Grammar School and St. Mark's Academy near Boston, then went on to graduate with honors from Princeton University, receiving a degree in Romance Languages.

He returned home to help the family run what was then a small inn, The Buccaneer Hotel. Over the course of the next 47 years he accomplished many milestones in his successful business life.

Under his leadership The Buccaneer became one of the world's top 500 resort hotels, won numerous awards while becoming an icon in the Caribbean tourism industry, and became what it is today: an island landmark and institution. 

Following a lifelong commitment to investing in St. Croix, he transformed the area around the old Christiansted port terminal into the bustling office, commercial and retail center that is today popularly referred to as Gallows Bay.

Ever willing to take on new challenges he started an insurance company, the Companion Assurance Corporation, that offered Virgin Islanders the security of knowing that their risks were covered by a locally owned and operated business that would be there in their times of need.

As the founder of the Bank of St. Croix, he provided the island with the first full service community bank to be started by a native Virgin Islander since his father founded the Virgin Islands National Bank more than 50 years before.

Through these and other investments, he was a continual force for growth and employment on St. Croix. His continual support of charitable causes and individuals too numerous to mention, most often done anonymously, left an imprint on the lives of countless others on St. Croix. 

Perhaps less well known, though no less significant, were his achievements in North Carolina, where he was the catalyst for the rebuilding of downtown Asheville, the preservation of large areas of mountain wilderness, and many other business and civic initiatives. 

He is survived by his wife Patricia, his sisters Judith and Barbara, his children Douglas, Robert and Elizabeth, and his six grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews. 

The Buccaneer named a member of the Historic Hotels of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The honor comes on the eve of The Buccaneer’s Diamond Jubilee 60th Anniversary Celebration, which will be commemorated throughout 2007.

The Buccaneer is the only hotel in the Virgin Islands and the second in the Caribbean to be selected for membership in the exclusive roster of Historic Hotels of America.  The resort is the Caribbean’s longest running resort, with the distinction of being owned and managed by the Armstrong family since 1947.  It was founded in the 17th Century as a Knights of Malta manor, and in subsequent decades the property served as a French Great House, sugar plantation, cotton farm, and cattle operation.

“We are pleased and honored that the National Trust has selected The Buccaneer for this high honor,” said General Manager Elizabeth Armstrong, whose grandparents opened The Buccaneer as an 11-room inn in 1947.  “We’d also like to express our gratitude to our many guests who over the years have supported us and voiced their appreciation. We pledge to continue to meet and exceed the highest standards of hospitality, and to ensure that every visitor becomes an ambassador for St. Croix.”

Since taking the management reins in the early 1990s, Ms. Armstrong has supervised $25 million in capital improvements to thoroughly upgrade and renovate every aspect of the resort without sacrificing its authenticity and cultural heritage. The Buccaneer has been named one of the world’s top 50 tropical resorts by Conde Nast Traveler, one of the top 500 hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, and one of the best family resorts by Forbes.

Located on the eastern end of St. Croix, less than a five-minute drive from the historic town of Christiansted, The Buccaneer’s 340 tropical acres feature an 18-hole golf course, eight tennis courts, three beaches, a water sports center, a two-mile nature and fitness trail, fitness center, spa, three restaurants, a shopping arcade, and other amenities. The 138 elegant and spacious guest rooms are located throughout the property, from the hilltop main building (where Alexander Hamilton lived as a child) to the ocean’s edge, all offering wide terraces or balconies with sea and island views.

The Historic Hotels of America (HHA) is a program of the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation based in Washington, D.C. The HHA’s membership includes 209 hotels representing 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and now the U.S. Virgin Islands. The prestigious program includes only those hotels and resorts that have faithfully maintained their historic integrity, architecture, and ambiance. 


The Buccaneer
St. Croix
US Virgin Islands

Also See: Laurance S. Rockefeller, 1910 - 2004; Developed Environmentally Oriented Resorts: Jackson Lake Lodge, Caneel Bay Plantation, Dorado Beach Hotel, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Little Dix Bay, Woodstock Inn / July 2004
Nine Distinctive Hotels Added as Members of Historic Hotels of America; All Have Faithfully Maintained their Historic Integrity and Architecture / October 2006

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