By Sunshine Flint
This story originally appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Elite Traveler.
This tiny dual-island nation — St Kitts is 65 square miles and Nevis is just 36 — is the very definition of good things coming in small packages. Surrounded by some of the Caribbean’s clearest waters, St Kitts and Nevis is a dream tropical destination, from the golden- and black-sand beaches to the volcanic peaks covered in lush rainforest to the laid-back atmosphere. The cloud-swathed dormant volcano Mt Liamuiga, the tallest peak on the island, dominates tadpole-shaped St Kitts’ western end. The lively capital of Basseterre, located where the middle of the island starts to narrow, was founded by the French and taken over by the British in the 18th century, and the green-capped eastern end of St Kitts points to Nevis, which sits just two miles across the strait known as The Narrows. The islands’ vibrant marine and coral life, from angelfish to sea turtles, is a boon to snorkelers and divers, so a day on the water is a must. On quiet, easygoing Nevis, visitors flock to the golden-sand beaches, snorkeling and diving sites, and luxury resorts such as the Four Seasons Nevis. This small isle was once the colonial capital of the Leeward Islands and the home of Alexander Hamilton, everyone’s favorite founding father without a father, and the Hamilton Broadway show has spurred an uptick in visitors to his birthplace in the past few years.
The Farm, Belle Mont Farm, Kittitian Hill, St Kitts
This resort community on the slopes of Mt Luimuiga has a working organic farm at its heart. Dine at The Farm, where guests sit at the 30-ft long wooden table located on a platform in the middle of the gardens, with sunset views across the water to the green peaks of St Eustatius and Saba. This is true farm-to-table dining, with dishes made with just-picked or just-foraged ingredients—a full 90 percent of the menu is from here or neighboring farms. The chef makes what’s fresh and the wine list is a collection of all natural and organic wines.
Spice Mill, St Kitts
What a view. This beachfront restaurant on Cockleshell Bay has an unobstructed shot of Nevis across The Narrows, but the locally caught seafood will also capture your attention. The menu is filled with island flavors, and you can dine on the catch of the day, conch fritters or jumbo shrimp on the deck, or sip a reviving cocktail on the beach.
The Stone Barn, Park Hyatt St Kitts
Stone walls and wooden barrels mimic the old barns where crops were stored on this fertile island, and chef Pankaj Bisht works with local farmers and fishermen to provide the freshest seafood, produce and ingredients for his à la carte and tasting menus at this adults-only restaurant. Global culinary influences run from raw (mahi-mahi crudo) to on-the-hearth cooking (wood-fired lamb and sourdough flatbread).
The Rocks, Golden Rock Inn, Nevis
This hillside dreamscape in Charlestown is part restaurant, part outdoor sculpture garden with its colonnaded portico, tiered pools and stone steps accented with strategically placed works of art. Under the care of the warm staff, dine on fresh fish and lobster surrounded by dense foliage and tropical flowers, and you’ll feel like you’ve escaped into another world, especially if you sip a Mount St Helena, one of the signature cocktails.
Spend the day with Alexander Hamilton
Add to your Hamilton bragging rights by touring the birthplace of the $10 bill’s founding father, who spent the first eight years of his life (from 1757 to 1765) in a Georgian stone house that overlooks Charlestown harbor. Admirers of the first US secretary of the treasury can have lunch in the gardens after seeing the small museum, then head to the ruins of the Hamilton Estate, the sugar plantation that remained in the Hamilton family until the 1950s. Your hotel’s concierge can arrange a
tour of the two locations.
Visit a secluded beach
An unmarked dirt track leads to Lover’s Beach on the northern end of Nevis — and if you get there first, it’s all yours. This undeveloped curving stretch of sand is bordered by green hills and sea grapes and completely hidden from the road. With views across to St Kitts, this sheltered strand is the perfect spot for private sunbathing and swimming.
Explore the history of St Kitts
Known as the Gibraltar of the Caribbean, Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the best-preserved British forts in the western hemisphere. The 800ft of volcanic stone walls, citadel and houses were built by African slaves and took a century to complete, and the hike up to the citadel reveals stunning views across the south coast of St Kitts and across to Nevis and Montserrat.
Sail and snorkel
Depart from Christophe Harbour Marina on 50-ft charter for either a full or half-day sail. Anchor in Shitten Bay near an old shipwreck to snorkel, then tack across the two-mile the Narrows to Nevis. Enjoy lunch on the island at a local beach bar, or the crew can provide a catered lunch, as well as drinks, cocktails and snacks.
Don’t miss… Killer Bee at Sunshine’s Bar & Grill
Whether you’re staying on Nevis or just hopping across for the day, be sure to stop by Pinney’s Beach and this jumping juicy-fruit-colored beach bar for its Killer Bee rum punch, served over crushed ice and topped with flowers. (You’re likely to hear many jokes about its ‘sting.’) There’s also a VIP section with table service.
+1 869 469 5817
THE MONKEY VILLA
Four Seasons Nevis
Guests at this four-bedroom plantation-style villa in the resort’s Mahogany Hill Estates have a six-seater golf cart and a dedicated villa ambassador who will take care of all needs, plus 24-hour in-residence dining and a private chef upon request.
From $12,000 per night. Contact Suezette Liburd, reservations manager, email@example.com, +1 869 469 6238, fourseasons.com/nevis
Montpelier Plantation & Beach, Nevis
For true seclusion, the spacious two-bedroom Tamarind Villa is the top choice at this Relais & Chateaux property. Decorated in a fresh Caribbean style, the glass-walled porch opens onto a sundeck with a private plunge pool overlooking the Caribbean, and the en-suite bathrooms have full views of Nevis Peak. The historic resort has an open-air spa and a private beach, and was once a sugar plantation, where Horatio Nelson married Fanny Nisbet under the silkwood tree still growing in the garden.
From $1,340 per night. Contact Jackie Morgan, assistant manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 869 469 3462, montpeliernevis.com
Park Hyatt St Kitts
Just steps from the secluded beach on Banana Bay, at St Kitts’ newest luxury resort, this 5,200-sq-ft contemporary villa includes three chic bedrooms, a private infinity pool, separate wellness area and game room, all with views of the Caribbean and Nevis. The villa also comes with a personal butler and a private chef who will create bespoke meals. The Park Hyatt, which opened in November of last year, provides transfers to and from the YU Lounge at the private jet terminal via the resort’s Range Rover.
From $14,000 per night. Contact Mark Guthrie, director of sales & marketing, email@example.com, +1 869 468 1234, stkitts.park.hyatt.com
8 MARINERS CALL
Christophe Harbour, St Kitts
This hillside villa is perched above the Great Salt Pond at the southeastern tip of St Kitts with stunning views of the Caribbean and grassy peaks from every room and balcony. Coral-colored steps lead up to the front porch into the living area bracketed by two master suites, while downstairs are two bedrooms and terrace framed by stone pillars. Guests have access to the marina village, Pavilion Beach Club, the chic beach bar Salt Plage, and when completed, the Tom Fazio golf course and club.
From $1,500 per night. Contact Becky Rutland, sales administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 869 466 8738, christopheharbour.com