I just spent a luxurious week on the island of St Kitts. One month ago, I had never even heard of the island. Now, I adore it.
St Kitts is a caribbean paradise proudly sporting the tagline, “follow your heart” and viewed by many as “the next St Barth“. St Kitts is still quite underdeveloped, which is what I loved about it. While there are some major constructions underway, the island holds its authentic charm where you will not find a single McDonald’s or Starbucks.
- The island is populated by thousands of students who attend the local universities, mostly the veterinary school. Thursday is their big night out along “The Strip” – a bunch of open-air beach bars along South Frigate Bay. This area is the must-go for a boozy night out – starting at Shiggidy Shack for plenty of live music, seafood, dancing, flame throwers and bonfires on the beach.
- For centuries, St Kitts was a giant mass of sugar plantations, which the government stopped in 2005 as it was no longer profitable. Almost everything is now imported, making the cost of living incredibly high. Which is odd because the volcanic soil and climate of the island make it a haven for harvesting fresh produce, however most of the locals just don’t seem to want to do it, so the island relies on tourism as it’s main source of income.
Here are some of the spots that really grabbed my attention during my stay…
I was in St Kitts to film another WPT Alpha8 series of episodes, with almost 30 players taking to the felt in our $100,000 buy-in poker tournament. We held the event at the exclusive Pavillion, a private club at Christophe Harbour, one of the multi-billion dollar developments. When I first walked in to the Pavilion I was blown away – it is absolutely stunning with an infinity pool overlooking the private beach. And considering they’re selling land from anywhere between $600k to $6 million, you have to expect this place to be nothing short of incredible!
For three days, we transformed the beachfront bar/restaurant into an exotic, outdoor, high stakes poker room and TV studio. It was easily the most impressive poker setting I’ve ever witnessed, and the players agreed.
During the breaks, players were able to jump in the pool and/or caribbean sea, and they even had a bocce ball game going. I’ve never seen such a chilled out tournament before – it was easy to forget these guys had each staked $100,000.
It was so relaxed that the antics were typical of school camp… Here is one helluva prank Bill Perkins and Sorel Mizzi played while I was interviewing Antonio Esfandiari…
Before the tournament took place, some of us arrived early to film some travel features around town. We had a magical tour guide, fittingly named Magic, who drove us around the island to explore all that this little treasure of the West Indies has to offer.
Our brilliant tour guide, Magic, from Magic Tours – I highly recommended!
Old Road, Basseterre, St Kitts.
Beautiful views overlooking South Friars Bay Beach.
The eerie, abandoned Fort Thomas Hotel.
Ottley’s Plantation Inn is one of the most beautiful places to stay as a guest to St Kitts. As they describe on their website “You won’t be confused about which island you’re on, or which chain owns your resort. You won’t be thinking about other St. Kitts resorts either. You won’t be comparing the lounge chairs or the food. You’ll know exactly where you are because there is no other place like it in the caribbean, or in the world. Everything at Ottley’s Plantation Inn is, quite simply, divine.” Ottley’s is an old sugar plantation, much like most of the historic sites on the island. The only difference is that they’ve preserved the old sugar mill stone so elegantly. They’ve converted an cotton house into a unique double-roomed villa, and the walls of the original factory into a stunning setting for a pool bar and world-class restaurant with a delicious menu that’ll make any mouth water, even this meatless mouth! The main gardens are immaculate and they even have their own rainforest trail you can lose yourself in. While the resort can accommodate a number of people at one time, you’ll always feel like you’re in blissful solitude with your loved one. Ottley’s takes romance to a whole new level.
Sitting at the poolside bar at Ottley’s Plantation Inn.
The private rainforest trail at Ottley’s Plantation Inn.
The spa at Ottley’s Plantation Inn.
The stunning grounds of Ottley’s Plantation Inn, St Kitts.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to eat at Spice Mill Restaurant — the night I planned to eat here (Thursday) they were closed — but I did stop by for an afternoon drink while walking along Cockleshell Beach, and this place is absolutely gorgeous. As they describe on their website, Spice Mill is “an authentic and unique Caribbean dining, wining, liming and indigenous architectural experience“. It’s a favourite dining spot for the expat locals, which means the food must be good.
Spice Mill Restaurant, Cockleshell Beach.
Spice Mill Restaurant’s private beach beds on Cockleshell Beach.
While I feel uneasy about the caged monkeys at this place (although according to a number of commenters below, they are well loved), Reggae Beach Bar seems to be the hotspot of the island during the day, situated on Cockleshell Beach. This is the place to come for a true caribbean island experience, complete with reggae tunes, pina coladas (or my new fav, B.B.C – banana, Bailey’s and coconut cream), fresh seafood, a stunning beach, and enough activities to please any water-lover. We even took Jason Koon, one of the Alpha8 players, here to film a segment with him flyboarding around the Caribbean, Iron Man style (see below).
“Rush Slowly” is the theme at Reggae Beach Bar – perfect!
Cockleshell Beach, St Kitts.
Jason Koon fly boarding in St Kitts.
Saving my absolute favourite until last… Ital Creations at Fari Organic Farm is a little drop of fresh, whole-food, organic heaven. After a couple of weeks on the road eating mass-produced resort food, I was ecstatic to be taken here by a local friend. The farm is owned by a beautiful, chilled out couple with seven young children. They greet you with “one love” when you arrive and feed you with vegetarian deliciousness and freshly-squeezed green juices made from locally-grown Moringa Oleifera, also known as “The Miracle Tree” (see below). I wasn’t quick enough to snap a shot of the juice – my kidneys/liver/intestines demanded it so much that it went down too fast! Oh, and just when I thought I was satisfied, we returned again the next day for a yoga class in the middle of the farm at sunset. Bliss.
Ital Creations, a hut of deliciousness at the entrance to Fari Organic Farm.
A delicious veggie patty wrap with papaya dressing, from Ital Creations, made using ingredients grown right here at Fari Organic Farm.
Sunset yoga at Fari Organic Farm.
It’s highly likely (hopefully) that we”ll be returning again next year for another WPT Alpha8, so please let me know in the comments below if you have any other favourite spots not listed here, and I will add them to my to-do list.