ON THE TINY ISLAND OF ST. KITTS, WE FIND A TRANQUIL OASIS OFFERING NOT JUST LUXURY STYLE AND SERVICE, BUT SERENITY, SOLITUDE AND AUTHENTIC CHARM TOO.
by HOLLY CRAWFORD
IT’S WITH very satisfying anticipation that I step from the plane and onto the tarmac in St. Kitts. You see, I’ve visited before, and on this trip, I’m looking forward to a delicious combination of places I’ve experienced before and can’t wait to see again, and new places, said to be well worth the wait.
The first blast of warm, humid air that washes over you when you land in a Caribbean destination, is like a cleansing treatment. The chill of Toronto is now far behind us, and it’s just a few steps to the first of one of those experiences I’ve been waiting to enjoy again. This one is the ultra-luxe, ultra-VIP treatment that starts directly from the flight as I am met by a driver, and quickly ensconced in a private car for the short—a few hundred yards—drive to the KayanJet Private Terminal.
We are greeted by name, luggage is loaded and passports passed on to airport security, while we are deposited in the KayanJet lounge. Here, we are quickly greeted with a chilly glass of Champagne and find ourselves settled in plush surroundings as their private chef brings us his tasty creations of the day.
There will be no security line or customs for this girl—not to mention potentially horrifying air terminal restrooms or refreshments. KayanJet is fully outfitted for even the most demanding traveller, or hectic travel schedule. For leisure travellers, this certainly sets the tone to unwind. The relaxing begins from the moment you step from the plane: gourmet drinks and snacks, entertainment, WIFI, welcoming surroundings and no standing in the arrivals line.
The KayanJet lounge is almost too good to leave, but as the last drops from the bottle of Moet are poured, I look forward to the next stop, one I have been waiting for.
It’s about a 20-minute drive from Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, along Frigate Bay Road and then along the winding Dr. Kennedy A. Simmons Highway, to the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour.
The airport is located in the “busier” part of the island and the larger land mass, near the capital city of Basseterre. The route to the Park Hyatt and the area known as Christophe Harbour is along a narrow stretch rising high out of the sea, the road twisting its way along rocky outcroppings to reveal ocean vistas at each turn. It’s here that the lush green island of St. Kitts reveals itself, nestled like an emerald jewel in the sea of clear blue water that surrounds it. St. Kitts is one of the Leeward Islands, one of the dots of land in a string that separates the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s home to about 35,000 Kittitians, as they are known, on its 65 square miles.
Just down Cockleshell Bay Road, our final destination: the still new Park Hyatt snuggled up against Banana Bay with a jaw-dropping view of Nevis.
The Park Hyatt opened at the end of 2017, and boasts full, luxury, five-star facilities, amenities and service—just as you would expect at any Park Hyatt property. Here on the tiny island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis though, there is the addition of the genuinely friendly hospitality of local Kittitians.
When I last visited, this was very much a project in the works. A beautiful dream, explained with a flourish of a hand over a bit of land and its one-in-a-million view. Now, it’s truly the vision it was meant to be. An airy combination of contemporary design with a colonial nod, true to the history of the island. Low slung, nothing more than two-storeys, and tucked in a long curve following the shoreline. Polished woods meet sandy tones, and everywhere is that view, all the spaces planned to take full advantage of Nevis Peak across the Bay.
Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour has just 126 rooms, 48 of those suites. After check-in accompanied by a traditional, and delicious, rum punch it’s a short ride in a golf cart to what I will call home for the next few days. And what a home it is.
The second-floor suite’s view surely can’t be bested in the hotel: it looks over the Rampart Pool below (secluded and adults only), across the Lagoon Pool and beach over the ocean to Nevis Peak, its tip brushed by clouds.
I’ve checked into a Nevis Peak Suite with Plunge Pool, 725 square-feet and an additional 615 square-foot private deck. The room features a king bed, soaker tub, very large rain shower, separate living area with dinette, Nespresso machine and Le Labo bath amenities (ooh la la).
The entire suite faces that incredible view via floor-to-ceiling glass. From the living room, access to a private terrace and plunge pool, boasting even better—if possible—views, and a stunning secluded oasis with ample space for relaxing in the sun.
All rooms and suites at the Park Hyatt look out on Banana Bay and enjoy a great view. The top-of-the-line Presidential Villa includes a private sundeck and rooftop infinity pool with panoramic views.
The hotel has two pools as well as direct beach access; one adults-only with lovely architectural details that are a nod to the history of St. Kitts and the other a family friendly option. For the ultimate poolside experience, book a private cabana. For a moderate fee you can add a stocked refrigerator, fruit plate, signature cocktails or afternoon tea.
If you can pry yourself away from the pool and the view, the Miraval Life in Balance Spa is set just behind the rooms and suites. The spa features nine treatment rooms and a selection of body and facial treatments and massages including the Miraval St. Kitts exclusive Fire Stone Massage. It’s a serene space with a 24-hour health club on one side, and on the other, the one-of-a-kind Sugar Mill offers a tranquil location for yoga and meditation.
IF YOU GO
Visit Basseterre, the oldest town in the Eastern Caribbean. See elements of French and British colonization and check out the Berkeley Memorial and Independence Square.
Climb Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park and experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site, its history and views from the ramparts. It’s a bit of a walk up the hillside (wear proper footwear) but offers an incredible vantage point and panoramic vistas of mountains, cultivated fields, the historical township of Sandy Point, and neighbouring islands.
Learn about Batik at historic Romney Manor, home to Caribelle Batik. Take a tour and watch Batik pieces being created and browse the onsite shop. Don’t miss exploring the incredible grounds and gardens and the 400-year-old Saman tree.
Taste island rum at Fairview Great House with a tasting of St. Kitts’ own Brinley Shipwreck Gold Rum. Tour the 300-year-old restored French plantation house to see how it was used over the centuries. Period furnishings, kitchen, chapel, bathhouse and two-and-half-acres of botanical gardens.
Get in the swing at Royal St. Kitts Golf Club, regarded as one of the most scenic golf courses in the Caribbean. About 15 minutes away from Park Hyatt St. Kitts.
Watch the sunset with a craft cocktail at Salt Plage. Located near the still-new development of Christophe Harbour—a world-class mega-yacht marina and marina village—Salt Plage is the coolest spot on the island to order a drink and watch the sun dip beneath the sea.