Ottley's Plantation Inn
Although most people come
to the Caribbean for the powdery white sand and turquoise water,
its worth a visit to Ottley's Plantation Inn just for the
sweeping lawn. Ottley's is a converted 17th century
sugar plantation located on the sleepy Caribbean island St Kitts,
the often overlooked sister island to nearby Nevis. Although much
bigger than Nevis, St Kitts has plenty of charm, as well as over
a dozen beaches, rainforests, and a handful of plantation house
Ottley's is by far the best plantation house hotel on the island, and the most beautifully restored. The resort is reached via a long bumpy road off the island's one main road, but the dirt quickly gives way to an exquisitely manicured lawn fringed with Royal Palms. The gardens are one of the best aspects of the hotel, and contribute to the overall feeling of gracious gentility. This is the kind of place that inspires you to drink a gin and tonic on the white washed porch of the great house, dressed in a linen suit.
The resort is spread over
35 acres, and the rest of the land is a mix of formal and
informal beds, orchards and palm trees. Ottley's is probably one
of the few hotels in the world that boasts its own on-site rain
forest, which begins just a few feet away from the main house and
has well marked trails. If you're prepared for an early morning
stroll you might be lucky enough to catch one of the resident
monkeys leaping about in the canopy.
Guests are made to feel as if they are staying in a private home, and what contributes to this is the friendliness of the staff. Every guest is greeted by name, and the owners make a point to meet every guest--but they also know when to leave you alone to enjoy your surroundings. Other personal touches include the weekly cocktail party hosted in the Great Room, where guests are plied with rum punch, as well as a cozy library where guests can help themselves to a book or watch television.
There are only 24 rooms,
and guests can stay in either the great house or one of the new
villas around the property, which come with their own private
plunge pools. The dÃ©cor is English colonial, with a mix of wicker
and teak furniture and a touch of chintz. Although the villas are
just a few years old, their design blends in perfectly with the
rest of the resort, and they are made primarily from stone.
Our room, located on the second floor of the great house, had
polished wood floors, a pitched ceiling, and a ceiling fan to
complete the colonial look.
Most guests will be
spending their days sipping rum punch or lounging by the 66-foot,
spring-fed pool, which has been carved out from the former sugar
factory. Beach aficionados will be disappointed that the nearest
beach is 20 minutes away, but Ottley's offers a complimentary
shuttle service to downtown Basseterre as well as Friar's Bay,
one of the best beaches on the island.
If you're more of an
independent traveler, rent a car and Ottley's will loan guests
chairs, umbrella and a cooler for the duration of your stay.
There's a good chance that if you drive around the island you can
easily find a beach to yourself. The southeast peninsula of the
island has some of the best beaches, and a few of our favorite
spots were Banana Bay for seclusion; Turtle Bay for a great lunch
and the assorted livestock on the beach; and The Lion Rock Beach
Bar on Cockleshell Bay for good old fashioned barbecue.
For dinner, your best bet is to stay at Ottley's, and start your evening with a poolside cocktail. The candlelit restaurant, The Royal Palm, serves modern Caribbean food. Order the four course set menu if you really want to indulge and linger over your meal. The menu changes every day, but features everything from roasted rack of lamb with rosemary to Asian style steamed sea bass with ginger and wasabi potato mash, as well as a creamy coconut cheesecake and homemade ice creams and sorbet. At the end of the night, don't forget to kick off your shoes as you walk back to your room, and feel the cool dewy lawn under your toes.
Rates start at $198.
P.O. Box 345
Phone: (800) 772-3039 or (869) 465-7234