Ever since his siblings moved out years ago, Ronald Lockhart has rented apartments in the family’s imposing landmark home on Crystal Gade in Charlotte Amalie. But not any more — Lockhart has become a hotelier, with one magnificent property.
"The house was too big to sell, and the idea of using it as office space was not appealing," he said. "So I decided to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast so people could enjoy it."
Now called the Crystal Palace, the three-story building is situated at the top of Synagogue Hill overlooking the harbor. It was constructed in the 1800s and has been in Lockhart’s family for generations. A fire in 1928 destroyed the house, which was eventually rebuilt by Lockhart’s grandfather.
The six-room bed-and-breakfast is called the Crystal Palace not in honor of the street nor because of its majestic size. Lockhart said the building was popularly known as such ever since it became the first house on St. Thomas to have glass sash windows.
One of the largest and most notable historic homes on the island, the Crystal Palace offers a spectacular view of the harbor and town. Beyond the classic wrought-iron gates, its decor is a mix of casual Caribbean and elegant Danish West Indian styles, including tray ceilings and Moroccan tile. Guest rooms have wood floors and are nicely appointed with twin or king beds, ceiling fans and televisions. Many of the furnishings are antique mahogany.
Common areas include a large living room with a huge screen television and grand piano, and a beautiful dining area with old-fashioned china cabinets and an impressively long mahogany dining table. Guests invariably gravitate to the tiled terrace during the mornings to enjoy breakfast with a view. There is also a lovely garden with local palms and fruit trees.
Rates including continental breakfast range from $55 to $110 per night for rooms with private and shared baths. The rates are based on double occupancy and vary according to the season. Guests staying six nights receive the seventh night free.
The Crystal Palace is ideal for visitors who wish to sample the history and culture of the Virgin Islands. Its proximity to town and other sights of historical interest makes it most convenient. There is ample parking, plenty of local hospitality, and Lockhart promises to make many good recommendations. He will also have lots of stories to tell.
For reservations call (340) 777-2277 or e-mail CrystalPalace@st-thomas.com. For more information visit the website at www.crystalpalaceusvi.com.
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