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Home > Destinations > St. Kitts and Nevis > Trip Reports > Trip Report

St. Kitts and Nevis - Trip Reports

St. Kitts Marriott

Prior to vacationing at the St. Kitts Marriott, I read with great concern the many negative experiences posted on this site. I am glad to report that our experience during our 2/6 - 2/12 stay was very good. While we did experience some disappointments, the overall experience was very good. The resort is beautiful. We found the staff generally very friendly and trying to do their best to satify guests.

I will say that reading this board helped recalibrate our expectations, which I'm sure helped a lot. We "managed" the hotel staff by proactively keeping them engaged. For example, if service in the was slow, we asked anyone who was walking by for help. This was very effective. Also, every time someone brought something to the table, we asked them for the next thing - i.e. when drinks were delieverd, we asked to order; when our final course was served, we asked for the check, etc. In most cases, we were in and out of the restarants in less than 1 hour (there were 2 of us).

The italian resturant was our favorite, followed by the seafood (Blu). However, the A/C system at Blu was not working properly so the temp in the restaurant was a bit warm. The steakhouse was a bit disappointing. A few other people we came to know highly recommended the steakhouse, but our experience was average at best. The prices here were the highest we paid all week.

The best of the Marriott was the cigar bar! Their selection of fine cigars was the best I have ever seen - with several top rated Cubans. The also had excellent non-Cubans as well. The bar was quiet and the converstation always fun - whether it was from the friendly bar tenders or other guests.

The Spa gets mixed reviews. Both my wife and I had a message, and the treatment was top notch (my therapist previously was at the Four Seasons), but the facilities - while beautiful - had significant problems. Both the men's and women's steamrooms were not working. The men's sauna was at 80 degrees max, as was the hot tub/whirlpool. My therapist was Helen and I highly recommend her. My wife's therapist was Gina - also highly recommended.

The gym was very good, with top notch equipment - both cardio and weight machines.

The main pool was very nice, with the water surprisingly cool - but refreshing. Cocktail service was spotty - but again, if no one responded to the lounge chair flag in 10 mins, I simply walked up to the pool bar and was greeted with an apology and a smile. Drinks and food were delivered promptly.

There was no construction noise during our entire week there, with no work being done on the beach or within ear shot of the pool.

To summarize - the resort has all the raw materials to be great. They have invested big money into the place and everything is top quality. The biggest challenge is the getting the locals to deliver the quality of service that Marriott vacationers expect. While they are still a long way from being where they need to be, the people are really trying their best. We found that with a little patience and proactivity, they were very eager to please. We did observe guests who got angry at the lack of pampering - which only made the service worse.

I had the opportunity to talk to one of the managers who has been at the resort since before the opening, and he told me that they have had their challenges, but they are making real progress. The process of training so many locals how to provide 4-star service cannot be accomplished overnight. The manager pointed out that the Four Seasons has a 14-year head start on the Marriott. Others on this board have accurately pointed out that service at other non-Marriott establishments is much better - and that was our experience as well. However, these establishments are generaly small and don't have the scale challenges faced by the Marriott.

I'm not trying to defend Marriott - I am a Platnum level staying at least 75 nights per year at various hotels across the U.S. I am just providing my experiences at the resort compared with some of the negative postings on this board for the purpose of proving some perspective and balance.

I stayed using my Marriott points, as did several other guests I met. There was also a special for $168/night - which is a great price for this resort. I considered staying at the Four Seasons - but the best rate I could get was $600/night. If the Marriott was charging more than $400/night, then I'd stay at the Four Seasons. Anything less than that, the Marriott is a bargain!

Bottom-line: I highly recommend the Marriott as long as your rate is reasonable and your expectations are set properly!

Thanks to George for this trip report ...
February 2004

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