Converted sugar plantations with organic farms and luxury spa resorts make these the best hotels in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Slogans on some of the taxis frequenting this twin-island nation in the Caribbean explain it best – “Too blessed to be stressed.” While St. Kitts is home to historic sites, an international airport, ancient petroglyphs and some large resorts, a short ferry ride will take you to the cloud-capped, bucolic island of Nevis, the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, musical muse and one of the Founding Fathers of America. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to the best places to stay.
Slick enough to be the lair of a Bond villain, this art-filled former plantation claims 100 acres (40ha) of the verdant slopes of Nevis Peak, making it one of the best spots for a sundowner by the pond with views towards Antigua and Montserrat. New York artists Helen and Brice Marden have transformed the 19th-century sugar mill into one of the more eccentric rooms, while the vaulted outbuildings have become a bar and restaurant with neon and jewel-hued furniture. Explore the ponds, pool and botanical gardens. And whatever you do, order the lobster.
A break in the countryside in the foothills of Nevis Peak, with an option to head to the hotel’s own beach club, means guests at the Montpelier may have the best of both worlds. The once-crumbling 300-year-old sugar plantation has been breezily converted into 19 rooms, with the pool overlooked by the restored sugar mill. Elemis bath products are a luxury touch. Every hotel in Nevis claims to have the best rum punch – and closely guard their recipes – but the Montpelier might actually take the prize.
Pelicans diving for fish in Christophe Harbour make entertaining viewing while doing laps in the pool. The Park Hyatt is somewhat out on its own at the southern tip of St. Kitts, but there is the lively Reggae Beach within walking distance, where the beach bars and rum shacks make a great place to lime (local speak for ‘hang out’). Alternatively, catch the ferry to Nevis in less than 10 minutes. All rooms face the sea and feature spa-inspired baths. Upgrade to the three-bedroom Presidential Villa for a private sundeck and rooftop infinity pool.
Bearing all the formal poise you’d expect from a Four Seasons, there’s plenty to do on the extensive grounds besides taking to the spa, lounging by the pool or swimming in the luminous bay. The 18-hole championship golf course and 10 tennis courts are fine; but with six on-site bars and restaurants, where’s the real sport to be had, eh? Off-resort, Sunshines, a local liming spot on Pinney’s beach, serves an infamous rum punch and according to the barman is open “until the last person leaves.”
You’ll see the Hamilton name a lot around the island. There’s even a museum in capital Charlestown dedicated to the island’s world-changing son – and Hamilton Beach is no exception. The water on this side of the island is mill-pond calm, so swimming is a treat, and the beach is almost always empty. But really, it’s about the amenities. Arrive from St. Kitts on the private pier. Cook for yourself with a pre-stocked full kitchen. Swim in the 121ft (37m) pool. Visit the spa. Plus enjoy a washer, dryer and two full baths in each unit.
Not an eco-hotel, but an eco-community, the mission of Belle Mont Farm is to benefit everyone. Part of Kittitian Hill, a 400 acre (162ha) former sugar plantation, the resort is surrounded by an organic farm that supplies the property, features an edible golf course, and employs local artisans to share culture through film, spoken and written word and music festivals. The mission is to allow visitors to explore the land in a new, tactile way. This extends to the luxury cottages and villas too, which are surrounded by banana plants, have daybeds on breezy wrap-around balconies and Victorian-style outdoor bathrooms with roll-top baths.
Long-serving staff impressively remember your name straight away at Nisbet’s, making you immediately feel like family. Driver Calvin runs a weekly rum bar crawl around small villages you’d never otherwise find, while former groundsman ‘Hollywood’ leads a twice weekly morning walk into the hills. Rooms in semi-detached cottages are dotted around the grounds of the only historic plantation hotel in the Caribbean situated directly on the beach. Green vervet monkeys inhabit the property, along with hummingbirds, finches and the occasional local wild donkey. Dinner is served at the well-preserved main house, or there’s snacks at the beach bar.
Perfect for golf lovers – and golf widows – the Royal is close, of course, to a course. It also has two swimming pools, a spa and salon, five restaurants, a casino and is just across the road from the North Frigate Bay Beach on the Atlantic Ocean; and a 10-minute walk to the South Frigate Bay Beach, which fronts the Caribbean sea. It’s worth noting that with events spaces and conference rooms, this is also very much a business hotel.
Eco-focused and straightforward, what started as a simple beach bar in 1980, is today a 32-room retreat bordering the calm waters of Oualie Beach. Wheel your bags just a skip from the St. Kitts ferry and you’re ready to holiday. The hotel supports local agriculture by using local vegetables, fruits, meat and fish wherever possible and growing its own fresh herbs, flowers and orchids. The resort also sponsors around 100 eye operations annually for the local community. The beach bar is still there by the way, and draws a crowd to its weekly live music nights.