Food & Culture in St Kitts & Nevis
Thrilled to have been on a recent FAM trip to the beautiful and historic islands of St Kitts & Nevis, with a delightful group of fellow agents. Read our trip highlights and destination recommendations below:
Let's start at the beginning! Having become quite accustomed to lengthy border control processes that stand between many a traveller and their first holiday tipple, we were surprised and delighted to be taken straight from the airstrip, upon landing at Robert L. Bradshaw Airport, in privately driven Porsches, to the VIP Kayan Jet Lounge, where, whilst we were served sushi and champagne, lounge staff took care of our immigration and customs clearance as well as luggage collection. Definitely worth the splurge for those looking to really start their holiday off with some pzazz!
We spent our first couple of nights in Nevis, which can be reached via an eight-minute water taxi ride from Reggae Beach (a popular party hotspot on Friday nights!). A few of us stayed at Golden Rock Inn…a hidden gem, with a romantically unique style, and some of the best food on the island. You won't find modern luxuries such as air conditioning or TVs here but if you can see past that and appreciate the remote and tranquil charm of this 19th century sugar-plantation-turned-boutique hotel, then it’s right for you. Imagine tropical cottages spread around lush grounds and original exposed-brick structures, cleverly redesigned as spaces for guests to enjoy. Surprise quirks, secret gardens, bursts of colourful art and bright soft-furnishings await at every turn. The vibrant gardens resemble that of a jungle and play home to expansive flora and fauna, several water features, glimpses of the sea and a few secluded areas (ideal for a spot of meditation and yoga, which the hotel are more than happy to arrange). I recommend the Sugar Mill Tower room for guests after a real WOW-factor; Set in the sugar mill itself, with two rooms for up to four guests and sea views, it promises an unforgettable stay.
Whilst in Nevis, in addition to visiting some of the best hotels on the island, my favourites being Montpelier Plantation & Beach and Paradise Beach, we also experienced some wonderful eateries. My recommendations for foodies… Go for a ‘killer bee’ (a lethal but famous island cocktail) at the popular Sunshine Bar, a beach shack, outdoor joint with the most laid back happy vibes. Spend an evening at Bananas Bistro - this restaurant is very popular, with colourful jazzy interiors, live music and fantastic food. Visit Drift, a white-washed, upmarket, boho, beachfront restaurant … live steel drums played as we walked in and set the chilled tone for the night. The food was eclectic with a real varied menu, including lots of local dishes but plenty of international favourites too. The conch fritters, a local speciality, were so moreish… I may have had more than my share!
On our last day in Nevis, we visited the Nevis Heritage Village, an old plantation where we given a brief tour of recreated slave accommodations; A humbling experience which acted as a stark reminder, not only of the dark past Nevisians have suffered but of the impact slavery had on generations to come. The afternoon also featured a mango cocktail making demonstration in celebration of the Nevis Mango Festival (fun fact - there are 44 different kinds of mangoes in Nevis!). Post-cocktails we had the most delicious al fresco lunch at the Heritage Cafe, featuring flavoursome local dishes and views of Mount Nevis in the distance… the mango chilli sauce with cassava chips were YUMMY!
Our final two nights were spent in St Kitts and began with a six-course feast at the exquisite Park Hyatt, in their Great House Restaurant. The steak here was mouth-watering and cooked to perfection. The terrace outside the restaurant boasts an alluring stone fire pit where I could have happily spent the entire evening taking in the sea views… truly magical at sunset. This hotel, whilst set over vast grounds, maintained the feel of an exclusive intimate resort. Every room oozed luxury, with rich decor and stunning views of the Caribbean sea. Some even had their own private plunge pools. The kids club featured a very cool rock climbing wall and the adults-only restaurant, Stone Barn, is the place for a romantic evening. I loved this hotel for being well ahead of the curve in terms of accessibility and sustainability.
We kicked off our final full day in St Kitts with a 10am rum tasting session at Fairview's Great House and Botanical Gardens - a landmark steeped in history, once owned by abolitionist Master James Stephen, grandfather of Virgina Woolfe. Of the six rum flavours we sampled, the Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut Rum Cream went down a treat… creamy, coconutty goodness and dangerously delicious! Here we also enjoyed a short history lesson on the island’s sugar and rum production as well as a tour of the Great House itself, which retains its colonial style and offers history buffs a glimpse of 18th century artefacts and living. Being the professionals we are, six shots of rum in, we headed onto a scheduled site inspection at the boutique Sunset Reef hotel, another wow-factor hotel. With only 7 luxurious suites, all immaculately designed, overlooking clear turquoise waters, this property is perfect for undisturbed seclusion. The mango and mint smoothies (made from mangos and mint grown on property) are to die for. Shortly after, we learned about the art of Batik Making, a fascinating art form, at Romney Manor, an impressive estate set in the rainforest. The grounds are incredibly picturesque and worth exploring if you have the time.
Later, we visited the Brimstone Hill Fortress – a masterpiece born from the relentless ambitions of the British Empire, but a real testament to the stamina and strength of the slaves who built and preserved it over the course of 100 years. The fortress, a UNESCO heritage site, is set in the most advantageous high point with sweeping sea views, and was pivotal to the British’s control of their power-hungry empire. Following our visit to Brimstone Hill Fortress, we stopped at Belle Mont Farm for another site inspection and a delectable lunch. Opulence is the word that comes to mind when one thinks of Belle Mont Farm… cottages with their own infinity pools, high ceilings, dark wood finishings and impressive architecture which reflects colonial grandeur. The food was tasty, beautifully presented and farm-to-table.
Dinner that evening was at Boozies, a very lively down-to-earth restaurant set along the popular Frigate Bay strip, serving local wholesome food. My coconut shrimp was devoured in record timing! We ended our final night with a bit of bar hopping along the strip - a nice way to meet some friendly locals and fellow travellers alike. We had breakfast on our final morning at the super chilled Coconut Grove restaurant, where the manager greeted all guests with so much warmth and feel-good island tunes played away as we tucked into our pancakes, omelettes, fry ups and more. I highly recommend coming here for a hearty morning-after-the-night-before brunch and ordering fresh coconut water to cure any delicate heads.
So there you have it… a few amazing days of history, culture, fabulous food and extraordinary views. A huge thanks to our welcomings hosts from the St Kitts and Nevis Tourism Authorities, for their hospitality and meticulous planning… so many memorable experiences and some of the best food I’ve had in a while. A special mention to Marketing Director, Pheon Jones and our driver Andrew Nisbet (fondly known as Hollywood), in Nevis who treated us like family!