Ottley’s Village, St. Kitts

Photo: Ottley's Plantation Inn
Photo: Ottley’s Plantation Inn

Do you have a destination to which you return again and again? Some people spend the holidays in Beaver Creek. Others go to Tulum every winter. And many wouldn’t miss their Block Island time during the summer. These are locations that no matter where else in the world you travel, nothing really tops them after the initial wow factor. You feel comfortable there—it’s like visiting family, minus the family. So where’s your place?

It could be St. Kitts in March for spring break. The West Indies island stays a constant 79 degrees most of the year. There’s plenty to keep you occupied, if you want to be occupied. But there are no expectations, if you’d rather just chill. It’s far away from the real spring breakers. And it has a small hotel that feels like your own private retreat.

Ottley’s Plantation Inn enchants you upon your arrival. It’s on the north side of the island—that would be the Atlantic side—on an old plantation. The small island was once home to 68 plantations that used slave labor to produce sugar, molasses, and rum. Ottley’s owners turned the plantation’s great house and stone buildings into an inn in the late 1980s. They were no doubt sold by the spectacular setting. Manicured lawns surrounded by royal palms, bougainvillea, and Heliconia. Crashing waves against the rocky hillside. And Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano, as the backdrop.

Photo: Ukexpat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Ukexpat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
By now, you’ve settled into your room and fallen in love with the mahogany furniture, the sun deck, and the bathroom jacuzzi. You’ve eaten Caribbean spice soup, roasted lemon sole, and passion fruit sorbet by candlelight. You’ve fallen asleep to barking tree frogs and woken up to singing Bullfinches. You’ve sipped a calypso sangria by the spring-fed pool. And you’ve watched vervet monkeys play outside of the chattel house-turned-spa during your pedicure. You’ve decompressed quickly.

Ready to explore? Bike through the overgrown sugar cane trails. Hike up Mount Liamuiga’s rainforest trails to the crater’s lake—you’ll realize why the volcano used to be known as Mount Misery. Ride the inn’s shuttle to Basseterre. The capital’s historic downtown is known for Independence Square, Victorian houses, and artisan rum shops. Visit the rugged, black-sand beaches on the Atlantic coast, where leatherback sea turtles lay their eggs. But relax on the calmer, golden-sand beaches on the Caribbean side. Bring a picnic to Brimstone Hill Fortress. The old British fort was the largest fort ever built in the Eastern Caribbean. And circle the island on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway for beautiful views and a short history lesson.

Before you exhaust yourself, return to the inn. Watch the monkeys again. This time they’re eating purple bauhinia flowers. Tour the garden with the inn’s owner. Sip an apéritif before another seafood dinner. And make plans to return next March. Spring break destination found.

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