> Destinations > St. Kitts and Nevis > Trip Reports > Trip Report
My husband and I just returned from a 7-day stay at the St. Kitts Marriott for a newspaper conference. My trip report is quite wordy already, so I won’t make it longer with a flowery intro.
Calypso restaurant at the Marriott – We ate here for dinner twice, and the food was good, but the service was extremely slow. On Sunday we ate on the balcony so that we could watch the superbowl on the 10-ft screen down at the amphitheater. The restaurant was far from full, but we ordered our food near the beginning of the game, and we didn’t get dinner until halftime.
Bohemia beachside grill at the Marriott – Again, we encountered incredibly slow service, but the hot dogs, Caribbean twist wraps and French fries are delicious. This is a good place to try while you are lying by the pool and have some time to wait for your food to arrive.
Marshalls - Excellent food….we loved the duck and the tomato basil tortellini with lobster, shrimp, and conch.
Ottleys - Also very good, with very attentive service and the surroundings are just gorgeous.
Sprat Net - Delicious lobster and ribs, and a fun, casual atmosphere.
Ballahoo - We found the food to be okay but not delicious, but we enjoyed watching the taxi drivers socialize in the circus while we ate.
Turtle Beach bar and grill - We went with a large group, and everyone loved their meal, plus the beach and the view of Nevis are absolutely beautiful…when we didn’t see any monkeys we asked a server there when they usually come down, and he told us that someone had given the monkeys a bit too much to drink two days before, and they were all hiding up in the jungle with hangovers, but we were then taken up to the huge house right above the restaurant to visit the adorable baby monkey he keeps as a pet.
Circus Grill - The food was fairly good, although a couple people in my party didn’t really like their dinners (mostly the ones who got the lobster creole). Make sure to try the ginger beer.
Sunshines – We only had drinks here, but they were the best we had the entire week. We of course tried the killer bee, and I also had a pina colada and a banana colada. My husband tried the lemonada. All of them were very tasty, and made with fresh fruits instead of mixes, plus they had freshly grated nutmeg as a garnish. Our 4 drinks ended up costing $29 American though, so be prepared to pay for the quality and the experience.
Stonewalls – By far, our favorite restaurant. It looks like a little hole in the wall from the outside, but inside it is a charming little walled garden with only about 10 tables. The service was great, as were the drinks. I had the ginger butter grouper, which was wonderful, and my husband had the pork, which he raved about for days afterward. I tasted it, and it was the consistency of fillet mignon….I have never tasted better pork in my life!
The sugar train – I really enjoyed this experience, because you get to see almost the entire island, except for the southern peninsula. Every turn of the track brought a new breathtaking photo op, and the train goes slow enough that you can easily snap pictures to your heart’s content. It was so relaxing to sit back, enjoy the drinks, and take in the amazing scenery while you are serenaded by the train choir. My favorite part was going by the schoolyards, where all the children in their adorable uniforms would shout and wave and run along beside the train. The tour lasts 3.5 hours though, which can be a bit too long for the younger set. Also, don’t drink too much too early, or else you will be drunk by the time you hit the Caribbean side of the island (as many of my companions were) and you won’t be able to fully appreciate the scenery this side of the island has to offer.
Catamaran day trip to Nevis – Despite the wind and rain we experienced all day Friday, we loved this trip. The crew of the catamaran (we were on the Iree Lime, I think it was called) was so much fun, and they got everyone involved in the merrymaking, and seemed genuinely sad to see us go when the trip was over. The snorkeling at Shitten Bay was fun, we saw conchs, sea urchins, lots of beautiful coral, and countless fish in every color. When the crew started to feed the fish from the boat, we were able to swim by and at times we were completely surrounded by the yellow and black striped fish. They were very friendly and it was quite an experience to basically be swimming right in the middle of a school of hundreds of identical fish. Our crossing from St. Kitts to Nevis was quite a roller-coaster ride with the wind whipping up the waves in the unprotected water, but it was fun and no one got seasick. On Nevis, we landed on Pinney beach and enjoyed a delicious lunch and drinks, and my husband and I wandered down to check out Sunshines and the Four Seasons. Pinney beach had practically no seaweed at all, not that the seaweed at the Marriott or Turtle Bay really bothered me, but Pinney beach was very pretty and clean.
Snorkeling – We really enjoyed Shitten bay, and snorkeling along the rocks in front of the Marriott was also surprisingly rewarding. Because the rocks are new, there isn’t much coral, but we saw all sorts of fish (our favorite was a tan and brown striped one that changed color like a chameleon and periodically buried itself in the sand), and even crabs and a small eel. We also snorkeled at Turtle Beach. We saw lots of seaweed, and we also happened upon a very pretty coral reef, but we saw surprisingly few interesting fish, I guess because of the waves.
Brimstone Hill Fortress – All I can really say is you must make this a stop on your trip! I am not really a history buff, and I have lots of bad memories of being dragged through countless boring historical sites by my parents when I was a child, so I wasn’t that excited about going to see a fort. However I spent about an hour there just gawking at the incredible view, and I was VERY glad I went.
Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor – Never have I seen so many beautiful colors in one room! I didn’t buy anything, because the cheapest shirt I saw there was $30, and I knew I wouldn’t have many occasions on which I could wear such a bright shirt, but I enjoyed looking. The grounds are also amazing, and most of the plants are labeled, so us non-natives can find out the names of all of the exotic trees and plants you see around the island.
Shopping – I’m not a major shopper, so while we were in Basseterre I mostly just admired Independence square and wandered around. Most of the shops in the immediate Circus area seemed like major tourist traps, but I really enjoyed the “Smoke and Booze” store in the Pelican Mall. They had a large selection of cigars and local liquors, along with the mainstays as well. We picked up some Brinleys rum for $12…..the same bottle sold for $27 at the Marriott gift shop (but we saw it for $10.50 at the duty free liquor store at the airport on our way out)
I read so many reviews saying that the Marriott hadn’t gotten itself together yet, etc., and when I heard that my husband's conference was being held here, I thought that after a year, things should be running fairly smoothly, but that wasn’t exactly so.
The resort itself was beautiful and the beach was nice, but so many people either didn’t seem to know what they were doing, or acted like helping you was the last thing in the world they wanted to do. I know this wasn’t a result of me being a pushy tourist who doesn’t understand “island time”, because we had wonderful service and met many friendly people off-site. I am not the type to throw a fit and declare my vacation ruined if my dinner is too cold, but many things needed improvement. For example, we arrived on a Saturday, and my husband’s cousin entered her room to find the window shattered and glass all over her floor. She immediately called maintenance, but this dangerous problem was not remedied until 11:00 at night two days later when the maintenance crew came into her room while she was sleeping. Our luggage was lost on our way to St. Kitts, and the Marriott made every effort to track it down for us, which we appreciated. They called and told us our luggage was on the 7:19PM plane, and we should have it within two hours afterward. By the following morning we had heard nothing, so I went to the front desk. I was told guest services could call the airport for me, but the people who work there were having breakfast, so I came back an hour later. I stood at the guest services desk for about 5 minutes trying to make eye contact with the guy who worked there, but he just continued talking and laughing with his friends at the front desk, even though he saw me waiting there with no one to help me. I finally went over and asked him if he could please call the airport for me. Over the next half hour, he repeatedly had to go ask other people what he should do next and how he should do it. It turned out the Marriott office at the airport (where I had filed my lost luggage claim) had never actually told the airline that my luggage was missing. THEN it turned out my luggage had been sitting at the bellhop stand since the night before, but no one had bothered to check. I had remained very calm and polite this whole time (I HATE confrontations anyway, and I knew the nicer I was, the more people would want to help me) but despite this, when the luggage was finally located and I thanked him for finding it, the man at the guest services desk gave me a sarcastic “I hope you are happy”. Later, when another couple in our group was still looking for our luggage, I suggested they ask the bellhop to check the stand in the lobby, because that’s where they found mine. Sure enough, after 3 days of looking for their luggage and already having bought new clothes and toiletries, the couple found their luggage just sitting in the lobby of the Marriott. Practically every bartender we encountered was sluggish, unhappy, and easily confused, even if there were only two people sitting at the bar. One time, we asked for a pina colada with amaretto added to it, and we got amaretto in ALL of the drinks we had ordered. Several times the bartenders forgot to give us our checks, and we were left waiting to pay for 20 minutes….we had already finished our drinks! The kicker was that since our plane didn’t leave until 3, we had arranged for a late checkout (2:00 instead of 12:00). We planned to eat lunch, then head back to the room at 1 to get our luggage, check out, and then catch our airport shuttle at 1:30. Unfortunately, the key to our door stopped working at noon sharp, and we found ourselves locked out of our room with our luggage still inside. As there is no way to contact the front desk from outside, we had to find a friendly neighbor willing to let us use their phone. The front desk said they would send a bellhop to pick up our luggage and let us into the room. We waited and waited, and finally my husband had to go check out (even though one key was still locked in the room) while I stayed behind and waited for the bellhop because we were running out of time. When the bellhop arrived, I explained to him that our shuttle would be here in 10 minutes, and despite that, he picked up someone else’s luggage on his way to the front door and he finally made it to the door right as our shuttle arrived.
Anyway, despite this we had an absolutely wonderful trip. I know the last thing any of you want to hear is another bad review of the service at the Marriott, but we were so amazed at all of the things that went wrong that I just had to get it out there. I knew what I was getting into and I had no choice but to stay at the Marriott because our rooms were arranged for us, but we were still surprised at all the problems. I tried to be specific and not resort to unfair generalizations, and yes, I am also letting the Marriott know about my problems in my guest questionnaire. There were good points (like Elda and Joyce, waitresses at Calypso….they were very friendly and attentive and I think the Marriott should have them mentor some of the other employees!) and none of this ruined our vacation. I would like to go back, especially to explore Nevis more, but I would stay at either Ottleys or the Four Seasons.
To all the St. Kittians/Nevisians on this board, I really enjoyed your island, your food, and your friendliness! To all of you St. Kitts/Nevis veteran travelers, I can see why you come back again and again!
I have some pictures up at http://community.webshots.com/user/sedray
Thanks to Sara for this trip report ...