When I showed up a second time at Fisherman’s Village, one of the restaurants at the brand new Park Hyatt St. Kitts, the greeter at the front desk said, “Will you be joining us for lunch, Mr. Wetschler?” How’d she do that?
Here’s one hypothesis: This luxury hideaway—the first-ever Park Hyatt in the Caribbean—had pushed its opening back several times, so unlike hotels that rush their debuts before the paint has dried, the Park Hyatt’s facilities and staff really were ready for prime time when the resort opened. In fact, it was so ready that it skipped the usual months-long “soft opening,” staging a grand opening just two weeks after it debuted. So, dear reader, be forewarned: Although I don’t usually gush over new hotels, you will be exposed to some gushing here.
Low-Density Buildings and Kittitian Stones
The Park Hyatt lies within the new Christophe Harbour development and sprawls along Banana Bay, one of the best beaches on the island. The buildings match the setting, too. “The architecture makes references to St. Kitts’ heritage,” said Natalie Harridyal, marketing communications manager, as we walked around the property. We passed Romanesque arches, stone walls, and the Stone Barn restaurant, all featuring the basalt that was used to construct the fort atop Brimstone Hill. Some buildings have palapa roofs.
The 78 guestrooms and 48 suites occupy 3-story villas whose main entrances are on the second floor; guests in a third-story unit walk up just one flight of stairs; first-floor guests descend one flight to beach level. Every room has a glass wall facing the ocean and Nevis.
The predominant colors in these units are pale blue and beige because, Harridyal explained, “the colors are outside.” True enough, the views of the sea feature an artist’s palette of greens and blues. The interior walls of my Nevis Peak Suite resembled the wooden siding on Cape Cod cottages; even the sliding door separating my bedroom and living room had that clapboard look. A walk-through closet, a bath with double copper sinks and a huge shower, two TVs, a minibar, a deck with a plunge pool and wet bar, and a privacy button give this suite a vibe that’s both contemporary and romantic.
When I asked Harridyal where wedding ceremonies take place, she replied, “wherever guests want!” Choices include a lawn by the sea, a meeting room called the Family Room, and an outdoor space surrounded by stone walls for privacy.
This is not only the first Caribbean Park Hyatt; its wellness facility is the first Miraval in the Caribbean. The 37,751-sq.-ft. Miraval Life in Balance Spa features nine singles and couples treatment rooms (most with indoor and outdoor showers, and some with private plunge pools), gardens with shaded, stable hammocks for two, and a commitment to helping guests “focus within,” whether they’ve come for a massage, beauty treatment, yoga class, or meditation in the stone Sugar Mill. The fitness center has such state-of-the-art equipment that it inspired me to work off some calories, and beyond the spa, the kayaks, paddle boards, adults-only pool, and immense main pool did more of the same. Note that even the main pool had few children; they were mostly at the supervised kids camp, which serves children ages 3-12 for $45 a day.
About the above mentioned calories: The Caribbean-style pepperpot (and the aged rums at the bar) at the Great House, the rack of lamb cooked in a wood-fired oven at the adults-only Stone Barn, the local snapper with garden vegetables at the Fisherman’s Village, and desserts like the spiced mango panna cotta delighted this picky New Yorker. While I was walking back to my room at night, bellmen on golf carts (a shout-out to Javan) would stop and offer me a lift.
“This beach could accommodate three resorts, so having just 126 rooms is very costly,” general manager Flor van de Vaart told me. Sure enough, some Caribbean beaches this size are home to multiple highrises totaling well more than 1,000 rooms. So how costly is a low-density resort like this? If your clients are World of Hyatt members, a 527-sq.-ft. Beachside Room with seriously plush robes, a rainfall shower, an espresso machine, a private terrace, and a sitting area starts at about $500 ($610 with taxes and fees) in shoulder season, EP.
Sure, that could get expensive, but the Park Hyatt St. Kitts is for affluent travelers worldly enough to appreciate a tranquil hideaway, pristine surroundings, crackerjack service, a cutting-edge spa, and world-class cuisine. Within that market, couples will find the setting romantic, families can request roll-aways, and although some teens might find the location a tad too tranquil, young children will love the kids’ facility. The Park Hyatt St. Kitts has hit the ground running, and it’s delivering on its promise of a sophisticated, luxurious vacation.