St Kitts

Michelle visited the sister islands of St Kitts and Nevis in May. One of the world’s smallest nations, these beautiful islands offer an exotic and charming Caribbean experience.

They may not be as well-known as other Caribbean islands but St Kitts and Nevis are perfect for those lured by the Caribbean but wanting to stay away from the crowds. The rich vegetation, palm fringed beaches and dormant volcanic peaks ensure these islands are just as appealing as the larger Caribbean islands.

St Kitts, the larger of the two was the first Caribbean island to be colonised by the British and was among the first to grow sugarcane, an industry that was to dominate the Caribbean for centuries. Many of the old plantation houses on both islands have been converted into boutique hotels and luxury inns. The islands were fought over by the British, French and Spanish and there are a number of historic fortresses to visit. Basseterre, the capital of St Kitts was home base to some of history's most unsavoury pirates. The islands were handed over to the British in 1783 and gained full independence in 1983.

Nevis lies across the two mile Narrows Channel. Smaller and quieter, the island is dominated by the often cloud masked volcanic Nevis Peak. Charlestown, the capital is a charming and well-preserved example of 18th and 19th century architecture.

I started my trip in St Kitts and we stayed for three nights at the St Kitts Marriott in the main tourist area of Frigate Bay. It is the largest hotel on the island and I stayed in a 1 bedroom suite. It was very spacious with a separate lounge and balcony overlooking the Royal St Kitts golf course. The hotel has a wide range of accommodation and facilities including 5 restaurants, a casino and three pools.

We-visited-the-Sugar-Bay-Club-st-kittsWe visited the Sugar Bay Club which is close to the lively centre of Frigate Bay and Timothy Beach, currently the only hotel on the island located by the Caribbean sea. We were taken on a tour of Caribelle Batik and watched artists demonstrating the techniques of how they create the distinctive and colourful fabric designs. Next we had a tour of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park which is an 18th century UNESCO World Heritage site. It was very interesting to learn about the history of the island and the region. The views are amazing so I would definitely recommend a visit if you stay on St Kitts.

After a busy morning we had lunch at Ottley's Plantation Inn. I was very keen to see this property as we have booked several clients here. We were greeted by Karen, daughter of the owners. Her parents purchased the estate in 1988 and have restored the neglected plantation to its former splendour. All the rooms have been beautifully renovated to preserve the aura of colonial grandeur while adding the modern luxuries desired by today's discerning travellers.

St-kitts-Set-inland-within-35-acresSet inland within 35 acres, the family run property offers high levels of privacy and a bespoke personal service. There is a complimentary shuttle to the beach, golf courses and the capital, Basseterre. Karen introduced us to their own Prince Harry, the adorable son of Paco and Gracie the donkeys.

After three busy days we stopped off to visit the Ocean Terrace Inn which is located on the waterfront on the outskirts of Basseterre before taking the ferry across to Nevis. The trip from Basseterre to Charlestown takes 45 minutes and I would recommend sitting inside the cabin if you don't want to get wet!

our-fist-stop-on-st-kittsOur first stop on Nevis was Paradise Beach, an exclusive resort of villas, each with their own private pool. The emphasis is on personalised service, there is a concierge on site with butlers, chefs and in-villa spa therapists. We also visited the Mount Nevis Hotel which is due to be refurbished and Oualie Beach Resort which is located on a coconut palm lined beach.

Next we visited the first of two properties on Nevis where our clients have stayed previously, Montpelier Plantation and Beach. A Relais & Chateau hotel, this former sugar plantation is set 750 feet above sea level with breathtaking views across the island to the sea. The hotel enjoys an excellent reputation for its cuisine, there are three wonderful restaurants but the piece de resistance is the Mill Privee which is housed in a converted 300 year old sugar mill.

My favourite hotel on Nevis is Nisbet Plantation. Once the home of Admiral Nelson's wife fanny Nisbet, it is the only historic plantation house in the Caribbean located on a beach. The original Great House is now home to the bar, lounge and fine dining restaurant. Set in 30 acres of lush gardens with a stunning white sand beach, it is a romantic and intimate hideaway.

I stayed for 1 night at the Hermitage Plantation. It is a small property and I stayed in one of the timber-framed, pastel painted cottages. The great house of the Hermitage which houses the bar and restaurant is said to be the oldest wooden house in the Caribbean and dates from around 1670. It is a small quiet property suitable for families and couples.

A visit to Nevis would not be complete without dropping into Sunshine's Beach Bar & Grill. Set on Pinney's Beach close to the Four Seasons Resort, this thatched-roofed rustic beach bar serves local BBQ dishes and rum punch cocktails. On the walls and ceiling are pictures of the many celebrities who have visited over the years. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed meeting Sunshine, he is a really character!

We took a water taxi back to St Kitts in order to catch our flight. The journey was only 7 minutes, much quicker than the ferry. Instead of checking in at the main airport terminal building we were taken to a brand new private lounge located on the perimeter of the runway. The staff took our passports and bags and proceeded to check us in. There was a large lounge area with a selection of drinks and snacks. We were able to have a shower and relax before being taken almost to the aircraft steps by luxury 4X4. At USD$167 per person it is quite expensive but it was a great way to end a fabulous trip.


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