St. Kitts Tourism Updates
What’s New and Noteworthy on Island
Basseterre, St. Kitts –– The St. Kitts Tourism Authority summarizes the most recent tourism-related news, events and developments from the island, as follows-
A proactive approach to building and supporting airlift services from key source markets continues to produce positive results. Full year 2014 year-to-date scheduled arrivals posted a 6.5% year-over-year gain as compared to full year 2013. From North America, total arrivals also continue to register strong growth, posting a 7.1% year-over-year increase. For the first six months of 2015, system-wide scheduled arrivals posted a 6.7% increase over the same period in 2014. From North America, total arrivals posted a 6.4% year-over-year increase. Contributing to the continued growth are the capacity increases from the second Miami weekend flights, Seaborne and the additional April operations of Air Canada and Delta. Delta is once again operating non-stop flights to St. Kitts from ATL year-round, plus the flight will be returning early from its fall hiatus with operations resuming as of November 7, 2015; American Airlines provided double daily flights during the holiday period from December 18, 2014 through January 12, 2015. American Airlines also added Sunday non-stop flights from JFK operating June 21 through August 16, 2015, which complement the carrier’s Saturday non-stop JFK-SKB flights. In May 2015, St. Kitts welcomed new 3x weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) non-stop flights from Barbados on Liat, complementing the carrier’s daily service to island from Antigua and St. Maarten. Further, Seaborne Airlines and JetBlue Airways, which is the largest carrier flying into San Juan, have finalized terms to begin a codeshare marketing relationship, expanding upon the carriers’ successful interline agreement in place since 2013, making St. Kitts will a JetBlue destination, with JetBlue flights from the US via San Juan to St. Kitts available for booking. On August 10, it was announced that United Airlines is launching inaugural non-stop service from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts. Starting December 19, 2015, the flights will operate weekly on Saturdays through April 30, 2016.
Private Jet Terminal:
Construction is complete on the new private jet terminal, which opened in June 2014. The private jet terminal is a world-class facility at St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport located west of the main airport parking apron. It consists of world class YU Lounge arrival and departure lounges, a dedicated crew lounge, a business center and related offices and processing facilities, as well as an elegantly landscaped courtyard. YU Lounge services include greeting on the runway and transportation in a luxury vehicle to the facility, baggage handling, seamless customs and immigration processing, mouth-watering finger foods and complimentary beverages. Available to guests arriving by private jet or commercial aircraft, amenities of the facility include Apple computers, plush seating areas, bathrooms including showers and an outdoor lounge area (in the departures lounge). Further, the facility features fully equipped meeting rooms with complimentary wi-fi, device charging facilities, gourmet catering services and dedicated secretarial services. For private aircraft the facility provides a diverse range of FBO and aircraft dispatch services, including specialized and tailored services to accommodate operators and executives. The total cost of the final project estimated at US $15 million. The terminal has been constructed by Veling Limited and operated by Leeward Flight Services with full ownership to be transferred to The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) at the end of the concession contract period. Veling Limited is a global aviation solution provider with offices in Mauritius and London. The architect and interior decorator for the new terminal is internationally acclaimed Bobby Mukherji & Associates, one of India’s top ten design firms.
New Resort Developments:
Kittitian Hill – As of December 2014, the 84-unit cottage hotel plus with seven, four-bedroom Farmhouses named ‘Belle Mont Farm’ is open to welcome guests. Kittitian Hill has also opened The Kitchen Restaurant and The Mill Bar, also making their formal debut in December 2014. Belle Mont Farm on Kittitian Hill immerses guests in local culture and heritage, an organic farming community, and distinct farm-to-table culinary experiences. Wellness offerings elevate mind, body and spirit. Kittitian Hill’s organic farm offers a world-class collection of exotic fruits and vegetables, with accommodations thoughtfully sowed in the landscape. Designed by award-winning world-renowned architect Bill Bensley, the hotel features panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and neighbouring islands such as St Barths. Belle Mont Farm amenities include the Irie Fields Golf Course and The Workshop fitness centre. Set on a stunning 400-acre hillside site in the Northern part of St. Kitts, Kittitian Hill will upon completion consist of a cottage style hotel, creative arts centre, golf course and destination spa featuring indigenous treatments. Kittitian Hill is a contemporary Caribbean community for sustainable luxury living founded on the principles of holistic development based on environmental and community responsibility. It is a member of the Preferred Residences® exchange network, a hospitality branded membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership resorts offered by an operating business of Interval Leisure Group.
Park Hyatt – Groundbreaking on the Park Hyatt hotel at Banana Bay, Christophe Harbour, took place on June 3, 2013 and construction is underway on several buildings. The final project will feature 200 hotel rooms and 50 branded residential condominiums. Phase One of construction has begun and will include the completion of 134 hotel guest rooms and related service facilities, conceptualized around a Caribbean village theme. Phase One of construction is scheduled for completion in late spring 2016. The second phase of construction will include the completion of the remaining guest rooms and additional facilities. Development continues on the Christophe Harbour marina, with the naturally protected harbor to include 300 berths with the ability to accommodate the world’s largest superyachts, with the first yachts welcoming ceremony held at the end of 2014 and the official opening held on February 14, 2015, marking completion of Phase One of the marina development. Christophe Harbour has also constructed an authentic, upscale beach club with a dock located around the old salt factory at WhiteHouse Bay, named SALT Plage, which opened in June 2014. The Christophe Harbour Development Company, Ltd (CHDC) is the master developer for Christophe Harbour, a luxury resort development currently underway. Located on 2,500+ acres of the southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts, plans include a mega-yacht harbor, marina, Tom Fazio championship golf course and an impressive collection of restaurants, shops, boutiques, five-star hotels, oceanfront and hillside homesites and villas. Kier, a global construction company based in the UK and a publicly listed FTSE 250 company, is the main contractor for Phase One of the construction of Park Hyatt St. Kitts. Kier’s plans for the development include providing employment in construction and maximizing the use of local materials and resources. Approximately 350 construction jobs and additional training program jobs are expected to be created in Phase One.
Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts – Announced on May 6, 2015 by Hilton Hotels following the signing of a franchise agreement with Caribbean-based developers Sterling Developments, the 226-suite hotel is currently in construction and scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2017. The condo hotel complex will include six towers, 3,847 square feet of meeting space, an infinity pool, a fitness center spa and kids’ club. All Embassy Suites by Hilton signature spacious signature suites will have direct views of the Caribbean as well as a separate living area, private bedroom and wet bar fitted with a microwave, mini-fridge and coffee maker. The new hotel will also offer the Embassy Suites brand’s signature features, such as an inviting atrium environment, where guests will have access to complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and Evening Reception with complimentary appetizers and beverage. Restaurant facilities on the resort will include a three-meal restaurant, a specialty restaurant, and a pool and beach bar. The Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts will be located in Pelican Bay, which is an exclusive private cove nestled on seven acres of gently sloping land, cascading down to a private beach on the Caribbean side of the island. Once complete, the hotel will offer easy access to the area’s main roads and downtown attractions, and is only 10 minutes away from Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The Embassy Suites will be Hilton’s first property in St. Kitts & Nevis. Hilton Worldwide currently has 20 hotels open or in the pipeline throughout the Caribbean. Groundbreaking for the US $90 million development took place on March 11, 2013.
Koi Resort & Residences – First announced in February 2013, the first concrete pour took place in September 2014 and construction is underway on the US $180 million 298-unit Koi Resort & Residences in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay. Piling has been completed and Phase One is scheduled for completion in December 2015 and will include the development’s first 80 rooms along with its beach bar, spa, conference room and fitness facility. Situated on 16 acres of prime beachfront property adjacent to the Royal St. Kits Golf Club, it will feature 24 Half Moon Villas and 12 waterside villas with the rest being studio and one-bedroom units. The mixed-use resort development will also include the renowned Koi Restaurant, beach club, and an exclusive ultra-lounge, all with a design that will combine colonial and modern architecture to capture the definition of rustic luxury. An internationally-known brand with properties in the US, Thailand and Abu Dhabi, Koi Resort & Residences will blend the natural beauty of its beachfront location to create an architectural story of one living with nature. All luxury villas and suites will have sweeping ocean views and guests will have access to a variety of state of the art resort features upon completion, including banquet and special event facilities, bars and restaurants, a destination spa, swimming pools and a wide variety of sports and leisure activities.
Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences – The US $10 million Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences broke ground on March 11, 2013 with construction, now well underway, having started at the end of May 2014. The target date for completion of the project has been set for the second half of 2015. Buildings 1 and 2, on which structures are completed and finishes have recently started, will house 12 units each on two levels. Buildings 3 and 4, which have started work on the second and third levels, will have three levels with each comprising 18 units and buildings 5 and 6, which are in the final stage of completing works on the first level, will also have three levels with a small basement with each building comprising 18 units, office and storage space. Set in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay adjacent to the Koi Resort & Residences, the project consists of six two- and three-story buildings housing 86 contemporary and traditionally-styled one bedroom condominium units with Atlantic Ocean views of Nevis as well as views of a lake and the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course. It will also feature a common area with an office and leisure room, a swimming pool and manicured landscaping.
Silver Reef Resort – Phase One and Two of construction on this 90-room luxury residential development, which began in April 2011 and consisted of 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments each, is complete. Groundbreaking for the Final Phase of construction took place on January 16, 2014. Located at the front of the property, it will consist of two additional buildings comprised of three-bedroom apartments that are each 1,650 square feet. These three-bedroom units will be the resort’s premium product and boast access to its three pools as well as views of the Royal St. Kitts golf course. Set in the Frigate Bay area of St. Kitts adjacent to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course and ten minutes outside Basseterre, this US $30 million development features villas and apartments in one- and two-bedroom configurations with spectacular views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic. Silver Reef Resort also features landscaped gardens and freeform, infinity-edge swimming pools. Built eco-sensitively, it employs a combination of common sense principles like orienting the buildings to optimize the breeze, recycling grey water, use of solar power and sourcing local materials to minimize the carbon footprint.
Pirate’s Nest Resort – Pirate’s Nest is a US $40 million, 246-room condominium hotel project in Frigate Bay being developed by T-Loft Property Development. Located on a 7.1-acre site, it will feature 41 condominium units in six independent buildings, each with three floors. Groundbreaking took place in December 2013 and construction began in February 2015.
Existing Resort Developments:
Ocean Terrace Inn – Following an extensive renovation including rooms, restaurants and public spaces taking place in 2014 and early 2015, this iconic St. Kitts property reopened April 1, 2015. The Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) will now be marketed as a four-star property and feature 50 rooms and suites, each with their own private patio or balcony and a bright new Caribbean look. There will be free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and connections in guestrooms as well as a focus on hospitality and service to deliver a memorable experience. The former Waterfalls restaurant has undergone a remodeling and will reopen as The Verandah, featuring Caribbean-Asian Fusion cuisines and sweeping views over the harbor and Basseterre. The restaurant earns its name from its nine-foot wrap-around verandah, with seating either inside or outside. Located across the street and stretching out over the water, the property’s Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant was transformed in December 2013 with a contemporary modern decor and colorful accessories, open Display Kitchen, new Bar & Lounge and refreshed menus.
New Tourism Attractions:
St. Kitts Eco-Park – Tucked quietly into the hillside of the northern portion of St. Kitts, the 20-acre St. Kitts Eco-Park is the island’s newest tourism attraction. Created by the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) working in collaboration, it opened its doors to the public in November 2014. The Park boasts the Caribbean’s largest greenhouse and offers picturesque scenic views of Mount Liamuiga, Brimstone Hill and the neighboring islands of St. Eustasius, Saba and even St. Barts. Visitors can explore the St. Kitts Tourist Center and the Taiwan Tourist Center to learn more about both cultures as well as how the Park integrates the ideas and practice of tourism, agriculture and green energy. For example, solar panels provide a significant portion of the Farm’s energy and all buildings were constructed using GRC (glass-fiber reinforced concrete) material, which is three times lighter and five times harder than normal concrete. Guests can stroll the expansive grounds and enjoy focal spots like the medicine herbs garden with plants from both countries, the open-air tea house, the rose garden, the butterfly orchard, the desert plants garden, and a wide range of tropical fruit trees and crops. A visual highlight of the Farm is the “Sugarcane Labyrinth” shaped to represent both St. Kitts & Nevis and Taiwan, commemorating the sugar industry that was once an economic driver in both nations. Inside the greenhouse, discover a large central space filled with plants as well as a dedicated area for growing different varieties of orchid. The entrance fee for visitors is just US $8 per adult and US $4 per child.
20th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival – For those who like to plan ahead, the dates for the next year’s St. Kitts Music Festival have been set for Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25, 2016. Particularly for lovers of music and travel, this event is an ideal opportunity to combine a Caribbean island getaway with a fantastic musical event. Taking place over the course of three nights, the sounds of popular local and international performers can be heard throughout Warner Park Stadium, where the event is held each year. Having become known for featuring a mix of musical styles on the market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae and more, there are sure to be songs for nearly everyone’s musical preference. Past artists have included such top acts as John Legend, Jason Derulo, Ciara, Trey Songz, T-Pain, Michael Bolton, KC & the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Air Supply, Billy Ocean, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Sean Paul, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Biggie Irie and Maxi Priest. For the latest news and updates about this year’s event, follow the St. Kitts Music Festival on Facebook. Videos of past Festivals can also be found on YouTube.
Recently Earned Awards & Recognitions
With various new luxury developments making debuts in 2014 – including the openings of Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian Hill, Salt Plage beach bar and the super-yacht marina at Christophe Harbour, and the YU Lounge Private Jet Terminal, all taking place within the past year – a number of top publications have named the island among the hottest places to travel for 2015. Here are just a few of the most recent-
- The Huffington Postnamed St. Kitts & Nevis one of the Top 15 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2015.
- CNN Moneyranked St. Kitts & Nevis at #7 among the Hottest Places to Travel this Winter. It is one of just three Caribbean destinations to appear on the list.
- The New York Timesranked St. Kitts at #34 of the 52 Places to Go in 2015. It is one of just three Caribbean countries to make the list.
- Business Insiderranked the twin-island destination at #8 on a list of the 25 Best Caribbean Islands and #14 on a list of the 50 Travel Destinations That Will Be Huge In The Next 10 Years.
- Caribbean Journal namedKitts the Innovative Destination of the Year Award in’s Caribbean Travel Awards for 2014, highlighted as a model for the rest of the Caribbean to follow due to the success of its innovative tourism-building initiatives.
- LINKS Magazineranked St. Kitts & Nevis among the Top 25 Islands in the world purely on the strength of its golf as published in the Fall 2014 issue.
- US News & World Report currently ranks St. Kitts & Nevis as-
- #3 on a list of the 16 Best Islands in the World ( Kitts & Nevis is the highest ranking Caribbean destination of just 6 on the list)
- #6 on a list of the 16 Best Caribbean Vacations
- #7 on a list of the 11 Best Beach Honeymoon Destinationsin the World
- #8 on a list of the Best Caribbean Honeymoons
- #8 on a list of the 10 Best Affordable Caribbean Destinations
About St. Kitts:
Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking or ziplining through the tropical rainforest, riding the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger which connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on a sandy beach. Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.
For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail email@example.com, visit www.stkittstourism.kn, or connect on Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube.