Meet me at the Comanche
'Meet me at the Comanche' was one of the most popular catchphrases on St. Croix. Movie stars John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara heeded the call, and now you can too. This quaint, landmark hotel, located in the historic heart of downtown Christiansted, re-opened its doors November 11 for a renovated, refurbished and re-enlivened celebration of its 60th anniversary.
"Throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, Club Comanche was the social and business center of St. Croix," explains Jack Pickle, manager of Alameda Virgin Islands Company, LLC, who purchased the hotel in September 2007 and then initiated plans to rejuvenate the entire property.
Pickle, who hails from Las Cruces, New Mexico, fell in love with St. Croix when he visited the island for a continuing legal education seminar held in January of 2004. He ultimately bought a home and made the island his address for six months of the year. It was during an Art Walk, where art galleries in Christiansted open for an evening of viewing and renewing friendships that Pickle discovered the neglected property of Club Comanche.
"I was intrigued by the property and by the character of the buildings," says Pickle, who has completed major historical renovations in his real estate development career.
Indeed, Club Comanche is St. Croix's first hotel and meeting place. It opened in 1948 in a 1750's era Danish Great House that was once the home of Alexander Hamilton, the U.S.'s first secretary of the treasury. Today, it has been repositioned as St. Croix's only green executive boutique hotel, restaurant and meeting and event center in the heart of downtown Christiansted.
Club Comanche is less than a block from Government House and easily recognizable by the Comanche Bridge over Strand Street that joins the Great House to the Pavilion Bar and Bridge House hotel rooms on the waterfront. The Comanche Mill Rum Bar, formerly the Honeymoon Suite, anchors the Comanche to the harbor boardwalk.
"Eventually, we plan to rebuild the 80-foot dock that was lost back in 1989 during Hurricane Hugo," says Pickle. "That will allow visitors to come by yacht."
Twenty three guest rooms, suites and loft suites have been refurbished, refurnished, outfitted with safes, flat screen TV's, phones, in-room internet access, fans and air conditioning, and a state of the art security system.
Three historic conference rooms - the Hamilton Study, the Comanche Club Room, and the Danish Kitchen - accommodate meetings and banquets for from 4 to 40 people. The Pavilion, Pool Deck and Sky Bar offer covered and outdoor venues for parties of up to 200. The Club Grounds and trellis on the waterfront by the Comanche Mill offer a beautiful setting for weddings and lawn parties. The Great House Courtyard is a formal tropical garden where you can enjoy afternoon tea or plan an evening reception or wine tasting.
"Enjoy wine and champagne by the glass or flight, bottle or case in our wine cellar and tasting room next to the hotel lobby, and stroll through the Comanche Walk and visit with local artists and artisans in their studios and galleries across Strand Street from the lobby," invites Pickle. "Don't miss happy hour daily at the Pavilion Bar."
The Hollywood-style swimming pool, the first pool in the Virgin Islands and formerly filled with re-circulating harbor water pumped by the windmill, has been converted to fresh water and re-plumed to meet modern safety regulations. The elevator in the great House, one of the first in the Caribbean, has been rebuilt and is available for wheelchair access to many of the hotel rooms and meeting facilities.
"The next time you want to visit with friends and have fun, or need a place for family and visitors to stay, or a place for your business associates or social club to gather," says Pickle, "Just tell them 'Meet me at the Comanche'."
For more information, contact Wendy Taylor, Innkeeper, Club Comanche, 1 Strand Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI, 00820 340-773-0210, toll free 877-773-0210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.