- St. Kitts
We spent five days on the islands - starting on Nevis and finishing up on St. Kitts. The beaches were amazing on Nevis and it was so nice and quiet. I can't wait to go back!
Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Nevis, Nevis and St. Kitts
Charlestown, Nevis, Nevis and St. Kitts
Tel: 800 819 5053 (toll-free), Tel: 869 469 1111
The Four Seasons Nevis may be modeled on the island's traditional plantation houses, but it's still one of the most modern hotels on Nevis island, even more so now after a $120-million revamp that repaired hurricane damage and allowed the luxury resort to reopen in December 2010 after years of being shuttered to the public. The 196 guest rooms retain their British colonial elegance, with teak furniture and bright lemon-yellow accents in place of the old nautical elements; the updated bathrooms now have glass showers and oversize tubs. For the best ocean views, book the second-level rooms with their large patios. Return guests will be happy to see familiar perks in place, plus some new ones. Lemon-scented Evian spritzes cool down guests poolside, and in high season, a variety of snacks are served each hour (jerk peanuts and fresh coconut water, anyone?). Also new to the pool are four gingerbread-trimmed beach cabanas available for daily rental. When not waterside, guests are teeing off on the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr., golf course, playing tennis, or perhaps getting a rum-tonic body scrub at the spa. At night, the Mango restaurant is the place to be, for West Indian cuisine followed by a quiet nightcap at the bar. It's a familiar routine that, thankfully, the renovations haven't replaced.—Chanize Thorpe
Double Deuce, Nevis, Nevis and St. Kitts
Charlestown, Nevis, Nevis and St. Kitts
Tel: 869 469 2222
There are only three ways to hit the Deuce: Either hike a half-mile down Pinney's Beach from the Four Seasons, cross a narrow footbridge over a mangrove-lined inlet just north of Charlestown, or arrive by yacht or dinghy. You'll land at the modest timber hut operated by Nevisian Lyndeta Martin and her partner Mark Roberts, the former chef at Montpelier Plantation Inn. Their blackboard menu skews toward fresh fish, such as line-caught wahoo and snapper, though the cheeseburger—a half-pound of organic local beef buried under a landslide of cheddar and Lyndeta's secret pineapple-and-wild-honey sauce—is scrumptious.
Open daily 10 am to around midnight.
Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack, St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Kitts
Tel: 869 762 3983
In 1999, Kittitian Sylvester "Mr. X" Phipps began renting water-sports equipment and selling beer from an old ice-cream truck parked at Frigate Bay beach. The vehicle is long gone, replaced by a lavender-hued shack that is wildly popular with locals, expats, and visitors alike for imbibing and barbecue. Grab a stool or park at a picnic table, then lime away the night while neo-soul, reggae, and downbeat waft on the wind and the mango coladas flow. The bartenders pour heavy here—rum is cheaper than mixers. Go on Saturdays for karaoke, and catch live bands on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays in season (November through April). There's also a bonfire on Thursdays and every full moon.
Open daily 4 pm to midnight, May through October; 10 am to midnight, November through April.
See + Do
Hiking on Nevis and St. Kitts
Unlike the pancake-flat islands of the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos, Nevis and St. Kitts have real hills and mountains, and hiking away those piña colada calories on an early-morning trek feels oh-so-good. (Be back before the midday sun.) You might want a guide so you don't end up in your own episode of Lost. On St. Kitts, follow Earl "the Duke of Earl" Vanlow up to the milewide crater rim of Mount Liamuiga, the 3,792-foot volcano that formed the island (869-465-1899). On Nevis, Lynnell Liburd, an eco expert based in the village of Hardtimes, will guide you to Nevis Peak, a 3,232-foot volcano. Along the way, Lynnell passes along tidbits of ethnobotany—who knew stinging nettles could relieve cramps?—and points out the Green Vervet monkeys (869-469-2758). There are also more gentle (and do-it-yourself) nature hikes around Nevis's Golden Rock Estate and the Gingerland district.
See + Do
Horseback Riding on Nevis and St. Kitts
The Guilbert family raised Arabian show horses for 25 years in California before relocating to Nevis, where they now run the Nevis Equestrian Centre, which trots riders along beaches, past plantations and churches, and through coconut groves. Trinity Stables on St. Kitts, meanwhile, offers half-day tours through mountainous sections of the rain forest.
See + Do
Beaches on Nevis and St. Kitts
Molten sunsets and a dozen beach bars, including Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack, make Frigate Bay, just two miles southeast of Basseterre, the liveliest place on St. Kitts. A construction project has degraded South Friar's Bay, but good, uncrowded beaches scallop the remaining shoreline of the Southeast Peninsula. Turtle Beach has the most services, while Cockleshell Bay is notable for Lion Rock Beach Bar, whose Rasta owner dispenses rum punch and BBQ (869-663-8711). Anchored by Four Seasons Resort Nevis, two-mile-long Pinney's Beach features the finest sand, the calmest water, and, in Double Deuce and Sunshine's, the best distractions. Further north, a prevailing northeast breeze attracts windsurfers to Oualie Beach, while thickets of sea grape afford Lover's Beach visitors plenty of privacy. But whatever you do as you woo, remember the beach is on final approach for planes landing at Nevis's airport.
St. Kitts Marriott & Royal Beach Casino, St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Kitts
Frigate Bay, St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Kitts
Tel: 888 236 2427 (toll-free), Tel: 869 466 1200, Fax: 869 466 1201
Think of the Marriott as a Caribbean cruise ship for landlubbers: It has 513 rooms and suites, seven restaurants, three pools, one gigantic casino, and a 15,000-square-foot spa. There's even a drugstore and a salon. You could lose your entire family in an afternoon (maybe a good thing), along with the contents of your wallet (not so good). Like a cruise ship, the Marriott does a great job of keeping its guests entertained, has a consistently smiling staff, and is terrific for tykes, thanks to a kids' club for ages 5–12. An 18-hole golf course is well landscaped, and you'll find good sand on Frigate Bay Beach, despite its location on the windward side of the island (the calmer Caribbean side is a mile away by shuttle). If you want all the amenities with less of the megaresort feel, inquire about a suite in one of the three-story Garden villas and ask Arbon the doorman for tips on touring the island.
Rawlins Plantation Restaurant, St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Kitts
Mount Pleasant, St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Kitts
Tel: 869 465 6221
Lunching at the Rawlins Plantation Inn is a Kittian tradition: The West Indian buffet features Caribbean staples such as grilled plantains, jerk chicken, and candied sweet potatoes. Gardens and orchards around the property provide much of the produce—avocados, limes, bananas, papayas—while the dining veranda overlooks 12 acres of rolling emerald lawns and the glittering Caribbean.
Open daily 8 to 10 am, 12:30 to 2:30 pm, and 6 to 9:30 pm.