My first visit to St. Kitts (a.k.a. ‘Sugar City’) in the eastern Caribbean Sea made a lasting impression. I was traveling from Nevis — St. Kitts’ small sister island and the former holiday haunt of the late Princess Diana — when I decided to rent a car and explore the larger isle of St. Kitts before my flight home. While purring along winding roads lush with foliage, I eyed a majestic figure — statuesque and confident, his blondish-white hair tousled by the breeze. But just as I slowed to admire him more closely, he turned — nostrils flaring — kicked his hind feet into the air and firmly planted them into the side of my car leaving a giant indentation. Moments later (I swear he smiled at me), he disappeared into the sugar palms. I remember driving back to the rental car lot, my mind racing. Would anyone believe me? I need not have worried. As I swung into the parking lot, the attendant broke into a wide grin. 

“I see you met Silver,” he was laughing now. “No worries, just leave the keys in the ignition. Welcome to St. Kitts.” 

While it has been donkey years (a local Kittitian expression) since my roadside silverado encounter, the steadfast beauty of that horse coupled with the graciousness of the rental car staff (and other islanders I met that day) remained forever etched in my mind.  I have always wanted to return to this verdant island, and especially now as 2024 is being heralded St. Kitts’ year of unparalleled luxury.

Unparalleled Luxury

the azure blue waters of st. kitts, perfect for sailing
Courtesy, St. Kitts Tourism Authority

A sugarcane industry until 2005 (stone sugar mills, former plantation houses, and dilapidated windmills still dot the landscape here), St. Kitts has completely transformed into one of the most luxurious islands in the Caribbean. Home to both lush rainforest and national parkland (more than a quarter of the island is preserved), St. Kitts is best known today for its golden- and black-sand beaches, azure sea, and luxurious accommodations and offerings.

One of the major players in the island’s transformation from sugarcane to holiday mecca came in the $600 million community, Kittitian Hill (which debuted a decade ago), and includes an upscale hotel, organic farm, and uber-luxe private vacation homes. The 2,500-acre Christophe Harbour — with its Park Hyatt St. Kitts, million-dollar homes overlooking the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, and a marina designed specifically for superyachts — has also played a key role.  While the island’s luxury incarnation came seemingly out of nowhere, it was ‘donkey years’ in the making. Christophe Harbour developer and superyacht fanatic Buddy Darby III (who developed luxury properties in Ireland and on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island) first came to St Kitts in the aughts aboard his own 154-foot superyacht. Soon after, he began masterminding the island’s transformation as the Caribbean’s next big yachting destination — which many now liken to that of Porto Cervo, an exclusive 19-mile stretch of coast in Sardinia developed by the Aga Khan. The St. Kitts marina can accommodate superyachts of up to 300 feet long and the yachting world has taken notice.

Where to Stay

colorful gingerbread houses line st. kitts
Courtesy, St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour

Throughout its transformation, St. Kitts has adopted a family-friendly mantra — and this concept eloquently plays out at the luxurious Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour (the Caribbean’s first Park Hyatt) with its  plethora of family activities — i.e. movie nights under the stars, bonfires, kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. Guest rooms feature contemporary decor and deep-soaking tubs, but for the ultimate stay, book into one of the two-bedroom suites complete with private sundeck, infinity pool, and spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea and sister island, Nevis. 

Belle Mont Sanctuary Resort

Designed by the world-renowned architect Bill Bensley, the 84 cottages at Belle Mont Sanctuary Resort at Kittitian Hill are a luxurious take on traditional Caribbean chattel houses (small wooden, moveable structures). Each cottage (set to refresh in 2024) showcases crisp white bedding accentuated with pops of blue, rainwater showers, and wraparound decks with stunning views of the Caribbean and surrounding forest. Set on 400 acres of lush vegetation and tropical forest on the northern slope of Mount Liamuiga, the property is home to its own organic farm where most of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs served at the resort’s restaurants are grown.

Sunset Reef St. Kitts

A newcomer to the island, Sunset Reef St. Kitts, located in West Farm, was a sprawling private home before transforming into a hotel. Offering just seven renovated suites (the largest, a six-bedroom villa), the experience is uber secluded — like staying in your own private home — yet with the amenities of a luxury hotel, i.e. infinity pool, concierge, onsite massage treatments, and yoga. Suites offer a soothing, beachy palette of grays, creams, and sands; spacious decks overlook St. Kitts’ famed black-sand beach and turquoise sea; driftwood coffee tables and chandeliers made from shells continue the island vibe. Super sustainable, the hotel runs on a geothermal system, uses an on-site water infiltration system, and landscapes using plants native to the island (which require less watering). 

Where to Eat

once a thriving sugarcane industry, old sugar mills still dot st. kitts verdant landscape
Courtesy, St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Arthur’s Restaurant & Bar

An outpost of Belle Mont Sanctuary, this oceanfront, sea-to-fork restaurant wows on several fronts. The setting — overlooking the black sand of Dieppe Bay — is calming, yet dramatic. The cuisine is fresh: seafood (mahi-mahi, lobster, snapper) straight from the sea; produce  from the farm’s own organic gardens. Local specialties like pot fish and jerk pork are also served.

The Kitchen at Belle Mont Farm

Set high in the mountain, The Kitchen at Belle Mont Farm is a bit of a drive for those not staying at Belle Mont Sanctuary Resort, but worth the drive. Offering stunning views of both mountain and sea, The Kitchen — spanning two levels — offers views from every direction. Most of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs used in the distinctively Kittitian cuisine are grown onsite, while seafood is sourced directly from the sea and meats from local farmers. For an extra treat, book the Chef’s Table for an intimate dinner and wine pairing.

Orchid Bay Beach House 

For chasing sunsets and superb Italian food, look to the family-owned (fourth -generation Italian heritage) Orchid Bay Beach House. Set on St. Kitts’ stunning southeast peninsula, the sunsets are spectacular, and the meals — authentically Italian — equally magnificent. Opt for a comforting bowl of Bucatini All’ Amatriciana, a classic Roman dish featuring thick strands of bucatini coated in a savory pancetta, tomato, and chili sauce topped with sharp Pecorino and fresh parsley, or try the homemade potato gnocchi and oxtail ragu. 

Stone Barn

Located at Park Hyatt St. Kitts, Stone Barn is reminiscent of the stone barns once used on St. Kitts to protect the sugar crops during the rainy season. Today, the adult-only restaurant oozes romance. For a memorable tête-à-tête, try one of Chef’s five- and six-course tasting menus. 

Spice Mill

A dramatic new grass-thatched roof terrace — complete with cocktail bar and open-air terrace — is set to unveil at Spice Mill. Located on  Cockleshell Beach, the restaurant overlooks the water, offering views of the neighboring island of Nevis. 

What To Do 

swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling are favorite pastimes on st. kitts
Courtesy, St. Kitts Tourism Authority

By land and by sea, St. Kitts offers a myriad of interesting and unique activities, experiences, and immersions. On our must-do list:


The pristine, aquamarine waters surrounding St. Kitts are a thalassophile’s dream. Sunbathe on the golden sand of Turtle Beach, one of several island beaches perfect for spotting dolphins.

Snorkel Sunken Shipwrecks

Two shipwrecks — one, a sunken tugboat, the other, an 18th-century British ship — make White House Bay the island’s most treasured snorkeling spot. 

Explore the Rainforest

One of St. Kitts’ greatest assets is its lush rainforest. Protected since 1902, it covers nearly one-fourth of the island, extending from the foothills of the mountains to the coastline. Guided tours are offered with one of the most privy, Greg’s Safaris. Arrive by opened-top Land Rover to explore on foot the verdant greenery — archways of ferns, elephant ear fronds, and bamboo thickets — blending with yellow bell and poinciana (St. Kitts’ national flower), red heliconia, ginger flowers, exotic pink orchids, and small waterfalls. Watch too for hummingbirds and oversized butterflies.

st. kitts is known for its lush greenery, gold- and black-sand beaches
Courtesy, St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Take in the History at Brimstone Hill

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park was originally designed by the British military to protect the coastline from a sea attack and provide a safe refuge for the island’s citizens. It remains a well-preserved example of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture, but today — set on a hilltop rising nearly 800 feet above sea level — is most loved for the stunning view.  

Sip Cocktails in the Sand

One of the island’s most popular beaches — celebrated for its rustic beach bars — is Cockleshell Bay, set on St. Kitts’ Southeast Peninsula. Sip a rum punch (or pina colada).

Ride the Sugar Train

While the island’s sugarcane production ended in 2005, travelers can relive its sweet past aboard the Sugar Train. Built between 1912 and 1926, the now double-decker train — complete with open-observation cars — transverses the Kittitian countryside, offering breathtaking views of Mount Liamuiga and the island’s lush rainforest.   

Watch the Monkeys 

St Kitts is home to vervet monkeys (introduced to the country over 300 years ago). The smallish monkeys — with black faces and greenish-olive and silvery-gray bodies — were reportedly brought in by the French from Africa. Today, it is rumored that the island has more monkeys than human residents. Find them in the fields stealing fruit from gardens and fields, hanging from tree branches — some have even been spotted on the beach. They are amusing to watch (I admittedly spent hours doing such). Just stay clear of any high-kicking silver-white horses. 

(Article in partnership with St. Kitts Tourism Authority)