The way we see it, there are two ways to Caribbean. The first is your nice-but-typical sand-and-sun beachy island. The second? A place like St. Kitts (and its neighbour island, Nevis), where history (fun fact: the song Amazing Grace was composed here), culture and community provide an incredible alternative to the norm.
The first step in your plan of St. Kitts action is, of course, how to get there? Many carriers will fly you there, it’s simply a matter of picking your desired dates and times. Whatever you choose, try and book a window seat, and watch the colour of the ocean below change from blue to aquamarine and back to blue again as you approach St. Kitts. The reason? The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. The result? A much different tint than you’ll find on some other tropical isles (the sand is different, too; be sure to seek out the unique black sand beach at Dieppe Bay). Once you land, a luxe way to launch straight into vacation mode is to reserve a spot in the Kayanjet Lounge: a one-of-a-kind VIP fast-track service greets you on the tarmac and whisks you via Porsche Cayenne to a private terminal. Surrender your passport to the attendant and, while immigration checks you in, enjoy refreshments and tapas treats. Exit to your awaiting luggage and you’re on your way.
When it comes to accommodations on St. Kitts, there are two options that truly can’t be beat—and they couldn’t be more different. First up is the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, boasting the highest levels of luxury. Spacious and contemporary guest rooms and suites feature details that tap into the rich historic roots of St. Kitts (more on that in a bit)—plus, many of the suites offer individual pools with private sundecks and unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea and neighbouring Nevis. There are three top-rated restaurants on site, and the Sugar Mill Spa & Sanctuary, where exclusive intention-based treatments will mend your body and soul. Want to experience something completely different, accommodation wise? Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian Hill is a paradise within a paradise. Located on the lush slopes of Mt. Liamuiga, this unique organic resort’s got guesthouses and breathtaking villas (with private infinity pools) designed by world-renowned architect Bill Bensley. The décor feels vintage (down to the telephones), but there is television and Wi-Fi! Can’t locate the bathroom? Many are al fresco, with outdoor showers and tubs, sinks and, yes, toilets! Our advice: make friends with the resident monkeys, as they have yet to learn the meaning of privacy.
Both St. Kitts and Nevis are abundantly rich in history, both natural and of the human kind, and several tour stops will enlighten you to this fact. Black Rocks is the name of a rock formation on the northeastern coast of the island of St. Kitts. The rocks consist of lava flow from the volcanic Mount Liamui-ga, which dominates the northern half of the island. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of great historical, cultural and architectural significance: a monument to the ingenuity of the British military engineers who designed it and to the skill, strength and endurance of the African slaves who built it using nearby volcanic rock deposits. It is considered of the best preserved historical fortifications in the Americas—and it boasts breathtaking panoramic vistas from the imposing military fortress, to boot. On Nevis, explore the Alexander Hamilton House and Museum: a two-story Georgian-style building that was, really and truly, the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, considered America’s founding father.
Craving activity? Here are two immersive experiences to try on St. Kitts. Wingfield Estate is home to Caribelle Batik, where artisans do live demos of the batik process (that you can try, too) and sell authentic batik artwork and clothing. Clutching your crafts, transfer to Old Road Rum Company, where a deliciously smooth drink is hand-bottled on the site of the Old Road Distillery by founder Jack Widdowson, a proud Kittitian committed to re-igniting small-batch rum production on the island he loves. Fun fact: rum first flowed from the Old Road Distillery in 1681, making it the oldest surviving rum distillery in the Caribbean. Like what you taste? Become a founding member and take ownership of one of the first 500 bottles of Old Road Rum ever made. In addition to your founders bottle you will become a life-long member of the Old Road Rum Company, see your name etched on the founders cornerstone, be granted unlimited access to the distillery and receive exclusive options on future small-batch releases.
Breakfast at Coconut Grove—a lively little open-air bistro, operated by veteran barista, Julian “Jules” Armstrong—is a foodie favourite known for its friendly service and famously fresh food (the muffins are homemade; don’t miss out). Island hopping? Even if you’re not staying there overnight, a lunch consisting of Caribbean comfort food can (nay, should) be had at Golden Rock Inn on Nevis (a water taxi will take you to that island quickly and efficiently), set against a backdrop of unspoilt jungle (we were starstruck touring the two-level converted sugar mill that Anna Wintour stayed in). Before you head back to St. Kitts for dinner, tip back a Killer Bee cocktail at Sunshine’s Bar, and discover why it packs a sting (everyone under the Nevisian sun, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tried it!). Dinner wise, St. Kitts’ Spice Mill Restaurant offers good food and, at its oceanfront beach bar, rum-fuelled drinks. Home of locally made Hibiscus Spirits, these tropical craft cocktails infused with fresh juices are not to be missed. Finally, we would be remiss not to mention the most incredible group farm-to-table dining experience at Belle Mont Farm. This ticketed al-fresco feast around a 30-foot table includes jaw-dropping views in the heart of the rainforest, with food made of ingredients sourced from the property’s own “edible landscape”. The resort gathers fresh, aromatic produce from several locations around the island to create its memorable menus and, for the few items they cannot assemble locally, they seek out ethically sourced fare by partnering with specialist suppliers throughout the Caribbean who share their commitment to managing natural resources in a responsible manner. Besides leaving with a full and happy tummy, you’ll likely also depart from this meal with a few new friends. —Noa Nichol