Trip Report- St Kitts with a toddler
We just returned from a 7 day trip to St Kitts with our 16 month old son. I wanted to provide some detailed information as I found that this forum didn’t have a lot of information for people with small children traveling to St Kitts. The first half is focused on the Marriott but in general I hope this will help anyone traveling with small kids as we ended up needing to find a doctor or our son. Sorry its so long but I know as a first time mom I would have loved all this information prior to making the trip!!
Overall we had a great vacation. St Kitts is not nearly as commercial as some of the other islands we have been to which is why we picked it. Our son was treated extremely well by all the locals and the staff of all restaurants. They are very accepting of children and I felt comfortable bringing him with us everywhere.
The Hotel…..We stayed at the Marriott using points and upgraded to a 1 bedroom suite within the main building for $100 a night. That was worth every penny as it allowed us the extra space needed for an active toddler. We were not able to secure a room with a view which was disappointing as the fifth floor (top floor) balcony we had was basically over the air conditioning units and it made it a little loud to sit outside.
The Marriott supplied us with a pack and play for the room for our son to sleep in. It was decent and had a sheet. We brought our own blankets. The hotel had a small supply of high chairs at the restaurants so that made dining easy. I also brought some of the portable kraft mac and cheese (microwave ready) dinners for our son. The coffee shop had a microwave so it was super easy to make those for him for lunch or dinner if he could not wait for us to have dinner. I brought my own supply of the Ella Fruit pouches, apple sauce and gold fish crackers. The Marriott also has a small shop which is open late and allowed us to get some waters and other small supplies.
The Marriott Pool was pretty good for a toddler. It had a small section with little water fountains that he played in. The pool dropped down gradually so I didn’t have to worry about him taking a step into the deep end of the pool. They did not have a separate baby pool. They had some limited pool toys that you could buy at the pool house but I managed to bring some with me which worked out well. The chairs were note a big hassle the week were there. They worked well for someone with a toddler as each chair had its own covering so we didn’t need an umbrella.
The Marriott Beach… I give this a mixed review. The reason is it will depend on the weather while you are there. The first five days the wind was too strong to sit on the beach, or even have a toddler near the water as the surf was way too heavy. The beach was covered in seaweed and was not an ideal place for him to play. Once the wind broke, the Marriott had their workers out there clearing the sea weed and the children were in the water… it was not calm water but the older kids could at least splash around in it. We enjoyed our last day at the Marriott beach and used the free cabanas for shade. There were tons of chairs and they were free so it was nice to allow our son to nap on his own chair.
Within walking of the Marriott.. on the first full day we walked down to RAMs which is the size of a small 7-11 but had the basics that we wanted to get ( soda, crackers, chips, bottles of water) they did not have fresh fruit or OJ. We also hit the Smoke and Booze shop which is right there and picked up some wine for us since we knew our evenings would end early most nights. There is a wine shop in the Marriott but the prices were high and the selection is poor. Don’t forgot to pack your own bottle opener and wine opener as it will save you some trips down to the bar. There is also the coffee shop ( Ritual’s Coffee) which looked pretty decent and seemed popular for the American Students studying in St Kitts ( free wifi maybe)? Keep in mind we had a stroller so we felt comfortable walking to these places with our son and the stroller. An umbrella stroller maybe difficult to maneuver but our CityMini did a great job. On our first night we walked to Rock Lobster for dinner. It was just past the grocery store and we felt comfortable walking with our son at night there. Rock Lobster had a high chair but their service was a little slow. They did not have a kids menu but were happy to accommodate our request of plain noodles and butter. Service was very slow… thank goodness for the ipad as it kept our son quiet and allowed the other dinners to have dinner in peace..
The Restaurants with a toddler
As the week went on we found our way to Shiggidy Shack. We took a cab there the first time and realized how easy it was to walk so we ended up walking the next couple of times ( we live in a city so walking is normal for us). This was a very child friendly and casual beach bar. There are tons of reviews on this place so I will not go into details except to say they did not have a highchair. Our son fell asleep both times in the stroller so we were fine without the highchair. It was a great place for our son to run around in the sand and us have a glass of wine and a bite to eat. We also went to Marshall’s which again had a high chair and were extremely accommodating. The food was excellent and we were there on the early side so we were served quickly which is important with kids. The view was amazing and service was perfect.
We loved the sushi at the Marriott and had that three nights! It was easy as we could sit in the lobby of the Marriott Bar and order the sushi and chase our son. He would fall asleep and we could people watch and chat with other guests. We looked at some of the other Marriott restaurants and were not thrilled with the ambience so we enjoyed the amazing sushi…. The sushi chef is one of the hardest working people at the Marriott!
We did not use the babysitting services at the Mariott. I asked the concierge about who the babysitters were and got a pretty basic response. She said it was staff or staff parents. She could not answer if they did back ground check on the babysitters…. So we skipped it and opted to take him with us to most places.
The Doctor with a toddler… On day 2 I was worried our son had an ear infection. The Marriott Concierge offered to call the “island doctor” and gave us the choice of going into town to his office or having him come to the hotel. We opted for the hotel visit since it was only $85 for the visit. The doctor was very nice and was able to quickly diagnose a double ear infection and called in an antibiotic. We went into town ($12 cab) and picked up the antibiotic at City Drug ($6.00). I called our own pediatrician to discuss the prescription we received and found out the dosage given by the island doctor was not strong enough. Our son needed 3xs the amount prescribed which made me a little worried. Therefore I would use caution before relying on the doctor ( Richardson). We had to go back to the doctor after three days and request more of the antibiotic, telling him we spilt it. The doctor’s office was what you would expect to see in a third world country. I would not recommend going there unless you have too!! The drug store, City Drug had almost everything you would need including all the over the counter medicine but as I am sure most parents do, I would bring your own supplies.
The Beaches with a Toddler- We only went to two beaches while in St Kitts. Carambola and Ragee Beach at Cockleshell. We loved the ambience at Carambola and went there twice. The chairs were great they had big umbrella’s that stood up to the winds and kept us in the shade. We were not too concerned about costs on this trip but some may not care for the $30 rental fee which included two chairs and an umbrella. Carambola was sooo nice it reminded me of Nikki Beach in St Barths or some of the nicer hotels in South Beach. Their bathrooms were extremely clean and they even had a women standing outside the bathrooms insisting you hose your feet down prior to entering the bathrooms. The bathrooms were tile and granite and had true private showers! It was perfect for us as we used the showers the second visit and packed some clean clothes and stayed for cocktails and the sunset. The beach was so much closer to the Marriott and the food was excellent (pricy) but amazing. Many of the expats that we meet that week told us it was St Kitts best new restaurant. The only down side is they did not have high chairs. The beach was not as calm and as blue as Ragee beach but the distance to the Marriott was so much closer and the service was great. They even had free wine tasting one evening.
There is a ton on this forum on Ragee so I will not go into that. I loved the beach but as a mom the drive to the beach was scary and I didn’t love the roads. The beach was calm and the animals were fun for my son to go look at.
The car seat topic. I save this for last as everyone has their own opinions and can choose to do what is right for them. Our son still fits in his “bucket seat” so we brought it with us on the trip. I had every intention of using it in the taxi’s once on the island. What we realized once were arrived that it would not work. The bucket seats didn’t fit in the cabs facing forward or backward and the seat belts would not work on the seat. We could place him in the bucket seat sideways in the cab but that was about it. I thought about having my husband rent a car but weighed my options… this is what I decided and it was right for us… not everyone may agree. I felt the risk of my husband driving on the left side of the road in an area that he didn’t know on roads that were extremely difficult vs my son being in a taxi with a driver who grew up on the island and knew the roads… we opted with the taxi decision. The roads into town were not bad but the roads to the beaches were pretty scary. A larger boulder had fallen on the main road a couple of months ago, therefore there was a pretty dangerous detour that one had to take. I did not like the idea of my husband driving….. We could have rented a car, as I said it was not a trip we were too concerned about money as we had used miles for everything. Again that is what worked for us.
Sorry so long but I wanted to provide some details to other parents preparing for a trip to St Kitts.