While there is a growing list of fine places to stay on the island, these five hotels each offer a distinctive experience worth considering.
1. MARRIOTT AT FRIGATE BAY
The Marriott Resort and Casino at Frigate Bay is the largest building on St. Kitts. It offers guests the reliable experience of an international hotel chain as well as an all-inclusive environment well suited for many travelers, especially those with small children. I stayed here and can attest to the helpfulness of the staff, cleanliness and spaciousness of the rooms. It is situated near the airport and facing the Atlantic Ocean. Guests can chose to relax on the beachfront or by their enormous pool and can also golf or gamble without leaving the premises. Lots of restaurants and cocktail lounges with plenty of live music add to the hotel’s ambience. For travelers who frequent other Marriott hotels, there’s the added benefit of using reward points. See www.marriott.com for more details.
2. TIMOTHY BEACH RESORT
Another member of my traveling party stayed here and highly recommended it. Equally near the airport, the Timothy Beach Resort is the only hotel in Frigate Bay with a Caribbean beachfront and offers ample opportunity to snorkel and swim as well as interacting with the monkeys who populate the island. While it lacks the breadth of amenities a chain offers, it offers guests a more authentic experience, especially since it is walking distance to the Shiggidy Shack. See www.timothybeach.com for more details.
3. BIRD ROCK BEACH HOTEL
While I did not have the chance to indulge in my passion for scuba diving while visiting St. Kitts, I hope to on a return visit as the island offers divers great reef and wreck diving and many varieties of sea creatures. Divers almost always stay at the Bird Rock Beach Hotel in Basseterre as it offers package deals with the adjacent dive shop, Dive St. Kitts. This budget-minded, locally owned hotel sits on a beachfront with excellent snorkeling; the town of Basseterre is walking distance from the hotel. What you will not find is convenient nightlife making Bird Rock perfect for those seeking quiet relaxation. See www.birdrockbeach.com or www.divestkitts.com for more information.
4. OTTLEY’S PLANTATION INN
I doubt Drewry Ottley envisioned his sugar plantation as a luxury inn when he sailed from England in the early 1700’s. Luckily for us, a family of New Jersey booksellers saw the plantation’s potential when they purchased it in 1988. Today this same family offers guests a secluded piece of paradise with a distinct old Caribbean feel. How perfect to view the manicured lawn sloping towards the sea from the balcony outside a room in the Great House, or perhaps a private villa with its own plunge pool for a unique romantic vacation. Because the inn does not front the beach and is on the other side of the island from the airport, guests should plan on renting a car or hiring a car if they want to do any touring. Although truthfully, I found the location so serene and the owners so charming, I might stay put for the duration. One amenity not to be missed – a massage at the Mango Orchard spa, a short walk from the inn on the edge of the rain forest. Since the inn backs onto the rain forest, guests have access to many trails. See www.ottley.com for more details.
5. CHRISTOPHE HARBOUR
While Ottley Plantation Inn offers luxury and seclusion, the Christophe Harbour bungalows and villas give visitors the same qualities on steroids. The narrow portion of chicken leg shaped St. Kitts has historically been under-populated and under-developed; that has changed with the Christophe Harbour development of Turtle Beach. The Kiawah Corporation is focused primarily on luxury homes but has built a small number of bungalows and villas for rent. The four ecologically designed bungalows front the Atlantic Ocean and offer as close to a private beach as possible. Guests also have privileges at the posh Pavillion Beach Club, have 24-hour concierge service and have access to a Tom Fazio golf course. All of this comes with a price tag, a big one, but if you can afford it, the price is right. See www.stkittsbeachhouse.com for more details
For all of these hotels, prices drop in the summer and increase in the fall and winter.
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