We had an excellent honeymoon in Borneo—three weeks on an island in Southeast Asia, how can you go wrong?—but if I were to plan another romantic getaway, I’d turn my sights more to the Caribbean instead (or at least a place that has luxury lodging, something rustic Borneo sorely lacked).
After my recent trip to St. Kitts, I’ve been heavily pushing the under-the-radar Caribbean isle to engaged friends in the beginning stages of planning their honeymoons. It’s just low-key enough to offer a great romantic retreat—i.e. no crowds—while also being affordable and providing a plethora of activities to keep newlyweds entertained.
While the Marriott St. Kitts where I stayed is a great beachfront property that caters more toward families, I’d recommend the 23-room Ottley’s Plantation Inn for couples instead. The 35-acre property is tucked away at the base of Mt. Liamuiga and is the perfect private escape for those looking for some quiet time.
It’s got its own restaurant, the Royal Palm, that serves three meals a day (and I have to say, the food is fab; even if you don’t stay at Ottley’s, stop by for lunch); the one-room Mango Orchard Spa housed in a small hut hidden in the woods behind the main property; and a good-sized pool. There’s also a cute Zen garden complete with wild monkeys that sees a good number of weddings, the co-owner Karen told me.
Tip: Spring for one of the detached cottages so you can have your own plunge with Caribbean views.
Come winter, there will be two other honeymoon-appropriate resorts on the island: the mountainside retreat of Kittitian Hill and the beachfront enclave Christophe Harbour. You better believe I’ll be taking SVV down there and hitting up both as soon as I get the chance. Five-year anniversary trip? I’m thinking so.
Kittitian Hill absolutely knocked my socks off—though it was still largely a construction zone (first phase to be completed by winter 2014), so I didn’t snap any photos—but would you check out this poolside perch at Christophe? Pure, unadulterated bliss.
While any adventurous couple would have a blast ziplining with Sky Safaris or taking the scenic railway along the coastline for the ultimate island tour, there are also plenty of other activities perfect for two. To name a few:
Take a sunset horseback ride. I didn’t get to do this during our short time in St. Kitts, but I’ve seen photos of horseback beach excursions (Liz at Pereira Tours is one operator who offers them) that look dreamy. Viator also offers a rainforest ride if that’s more your speed.
Dine alfresco at Spice Mill. This was the one restaurant everyone I know who has been to St. Kitts said to go, and it did not disappoint. While seafood is obviously the specialty (as it is everywhere in St. Kitts, you know, being an island and all), I was ready for some meat by this point in our trip (steak, yummm). Arrive early and grab a lounger out on Cockleshell Beach to enjoy the sunset, then have a drink at the outdoor bar before being seated at your table.
Scuba dive. I’m still pretty bummed we didn’t manage to squeeze in an afternoon beneath the sea, but I have dive writer friends who can vouch for the stellar dive scene on St. Kitts. Book a day or two on the ocean with Pro Divers, and remember: Even if you’re not certified, you can still do a Discover Scuba experience with your significant other. Though I was terrified in the beginning—seven years ago, mind you—today, diving is one of my favorite things to do with SVV.
Day trip it over to Nevis. For just $12 each way, you can take a 45-minute ferry ride over and spend the day on the even quieter, but insanely beautiful neighboring isle. (Just make sure you don’t go on a Sunday, as much of the island is shut down then.)
Spend an afternoon trying out everything St. Kitts Water Sports has on tap. Standup paddleboarding, jet skiing, snorkeling, flyboarding, you can pretty much try it all at the little beach hut located beside Reggae Beach Bar. Bonus: The bar is right there when you’re done.
Book a table for two at Carambola. We did not have a bad meal in St. Kitts—it was so refreshing as I’ve been to plenty of Caribbean islands were the food is far from stellar—but Carambola Beach Club might have been my favorite. We tried it all: sushi, lobster, shrimp, beef tenderloin, and of course dessert.
Get your groove on at Mr. X’s Shiggidy Shack. While there are a number of bars along the strip in Frigate Bay, Mr. X’s is undoubtedly the most popular, among locals and tourists alike.
And with a name like that, what’s not to love? There’s also live music, dancing, a resident fire-eater and more.
Just beware if anybody tries to buy you a round—or, in our case, six—of this potent rum. We were all hurting the next morning (and afternoon and evening)!