I knew the Park Hyatt St. Kitts that opened last November featured views of the neighboring island of Nevis and the blissfully blue-green Caribbean Sea. But it wasn’t until we’d been whisked from the airport and driven to a large, nearly undeveloped area at the southeastern tip of the island that I began to understand just how well the design of this new luxury resort integrates into its surroundings. In fact, our immersion into the peaceful luxury of the resort began the second we stepped out of the air conditioned van.
There’s no front desk. Instead, guests are personally escorted down a magnificently designed “welcome walk” that uses soothing natural stone, strategic squares of sunlight, and numerous plants over a tranquil pool of koi to act like a portal between the outside world of stress and the relaxing reality of resort life. The beach’s swaying palm trees are framed perfectly by the walkway and beckon from a pleasant distance. You feel more relaxed just reading about this, don’t you? You should. After checking in at the walkway’s end, aka the “living room,” I found out it only gets better.
All of the resort’s 78 rooms and 48 suites are modern and sophisticated with private balconies or terraces. As I was lucky enough to experience for myself, the suites are equipped with decadent private plunge pools as well. I loved watching the sun set on my deck and cooling off au natural in the utterly private pool after my morning runs. But honestly, my suite was so spacious and soothing, and the views out the floor-to-ceiling windows in both the bedroom and living room were so captivating, I was in no real hurry to go outside.
And don’t even get me started on the bathroom. It features a large, airy, and sun-filled bathroom with a gorgeous standalone soaking tub, large rainfall shower, double sinks, and plenty of high-quality skin lotions and potions. Even the walk-through closet was spacious and well-designed.
(True VIPs will love the ultra-private Presidential Villa, which boasts over 5,000 square feet of living space and a dedicated butler and chef, in addition to a large infinity pool and private game room.)
Of course, there are plenty of sunny reasons to go outside. The beach that runs along the entire length of the resort is dotted with comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas. Yoga classes are held in a cool replica of an old sugar mill. Activities ranging from snorkeling and sailing to horseback riding and zip lining are easily arranged. In fact, I can say from experience that taking a yoga class and watching the clouds through the yoga studio’s open, circular roof inspired me to return to yoga when I got home. The Sky Safari zip line through the rainforest at the Wingfield Estate (about a 30-minute drive across the island from the resort) was a blast. And chilling out by the resort’s two large pools (one allows kids and one is adults-only) was wonderfully restorative.
Speaking of kids (my wife and I have a five-year-old so I notice these things!), there are tons of things for kids to do…especially without their parents. The resort has a state-of-the-art “kid zone” and several experienced child care pros there to watch little ones while parents enjoy some well-earned time to themselves by the pool.
As for the food, Executive Chef Pankaj Bisht told me that the cuisine he serves at the resort’s three separate restaurants is inspired by the rich history of St. Kitts as a plantation island and his previous experience as a chef at Park Hyatt resorts in Dubai and Melbourne, Australia. In addition to its namesake restaurant (that serves food all day), The Great House is the resort’s epicenter and houses a conservatory, library, concierge, herb garden, and rum bar. Located down on the beach overlooking the boat dock, the Fisherman’s Village restaurant is the perfect spot for a slightly more casual lunch or dinner.
If you’re looking for something a bit more romantic, the Stone Barn offers intimate, adults-only dining in a replica of the classic “stone barn” that St. Kitts is known for. And if you really love food and are looking for a truly memorable gastronomic experience, be sure to book the chef’s table in The Great House. The long table is located in the kitchen, and as I found out during our stay, the chef does way more than just prepare and describe every dish; he brings the meal to life.
After the several days I spent running among the green hills around the resort, swimming in the ocean and various pools, and eating everything from the most amazing chilled coconut soup at the Fisherman’s Village to a breakfast of fruit, pancakes (with real Vermont maple syrup), and coffee in bed, I was feeling pretty good. But then it was time for my “treatment” at the Miraval spa. The facilities—including the locker rooms equipped with outdoor showers, sauna, and steam rooms; the oversized hot tubs; the nine different body and facial treatment rooms; even the super luxurious robes—were soothing and state-of-the art. And my massage was amazing.
But it was only after I’d continued unwinding in the hot tub after my massage, got dressed, and saw the smiling spa staff again that I understood why I had such a good feeling about this place. It’s the people.
Everyone—from the chefs, wait staff, and housekeepers to the people who checked us in and even the folks doing the landscaping—smiled. In fact, when I arrived at the “welcome walk” in my running getup at 7:00 a.m. and asked if anyone had found my iPhone charger (it’s a long story), the young guy ran (not walked) off to find one for me like I was a friend.
His sincere desire to help out made an impact on me, so I had to ask a local (who’d moved back after living for years in Miami) over dinner, “Is everyone who works here as friendly as they seem?”
She just smiled and answered, “People from St. Kitts are kind. I don’t know how to say it any other way.”
I couldn’t agree more. Of course, every high-end resort aspires to provide “excellent service.” And we even experienced a few service hiccups that can happen at a new resort. But only a rare few, like the newly opened Park Hyatt St. Kitts, can deliver “kindness” in addition to all the other elements that make a luxury coastal vacation truly special.
The main industry on St. Kitts was sugar production from the arrival if the English in 1623, up until 2005 when the final sugar plantation closed. And since St Kitts has only recently embraced tourism, the island (especially where the resort is) feels wonderfully unspoiled. Meanwhile, the high-end development that’s underway in the area now seems on track to preserve their most precious natural resource—nature.