Oh boy, where do I begin? My husband and I own a Maui Marriott timeshare, and we've always wanted to trade to St. Kitts, and I must say we were underwhelmed.
Location: Good location, close to the airport. We took a taxi to the Marriott, and rented a car from Hertz on-site at the Marriott for the week. Taxi ride is a flat rate of $16 US dollars, and so we commonly gave the guy a $20, so trips around the island can add up.
Car Rental: From Hertz (onsite at Marriott) we were given a midsize piece of junk car. I don't want luxury, but this car had a lot of miles, whined on the uphills, and the front bumper was fully displaced and didn't line up with the car panels. Very expensive tor rent a car there, as they add in major taxes and a $25 temp license fee. Was it worth it to rent? I had to have it because I like relying on my own transportation, but the island had so little to see in retrospect, it was not necessary for the cost. Steering wheel is on the right and they drive on the left.
Room: We (just two of us) stayed in a giant 3 bedroom villa. The villa was beautiful, with giant bathrooms, excellently stocked kitchen, and huge balconies. Our villa was on the top floor, and the side veranda was large enough to hold a party for 50 people. I think the towels were kind of scratchy, so they could be replaced, but most everything was really nice. I had to call for shampoo, as the whole 3 bathroom villa had 2 tiny shampoo bottles in total. They sent them right up. They gave us coffee for the pot when we arrived, and on the freshen up day. The villa buildings are 3 levels high, and they don't have an elevator. I combed over the room binder book about the hotel and amenities, and found no room service menu like there should've been. I called the At Your Service number and they said it should be in there, but because I looked multiple times and confirmed it wasn't there, they sent up a menu. Due to weather delay, we stayed an extra night in the hotel in a regular room, and it was comfy, but surprised it needed some cosmetic repairs in the bathroom area. Tiny coffee maker had filters that didn't fit, which made it cumbersome to use. They needed to update the hotel info binder in the room too.
Restaurants: I had a big annoyance with the room service menu they gave me, as it said 10% service charge would be added, but when we ordered and rec'd our bill, it was actually 12.5% added. They charged a $4 delivery fee, which I thought was reasonable. The whole Marriott and lots of other places charge a $12.5 service fee, and I really hated it. Normally I would give 20%, but since service was commonly not great, I started just not giving anything beyond their 12.5%. We ate at their moderately priced Calypso restaurant for breakfast, and it was OK. I LOVE crunchy grilled french toast, and was surprised to see it on the menu. I ordered it and it came with strawberries and bananas (I asked them to hold the bananas), but when it came the waitress plopped it down with no fruit at all on it and never said a peep. I questioned where the berries are, and she said they have no strawberries. I asked is there anything else I could have, and she said blueberries, I said Ok and she brought them. It was like pulling teeth to get some darn berries. I have a feeling they rarely have strawberries, as I recall a similar story on St. Thomas. Why put it on the menu if you can never get the product? Frozen ones would've worked, but I guess they didn't think of that. Breakfast buffet was near $22. We loved their Pizza Shack pizza, the beach cafe was pretty good too. Fancy steak place was expensive, and good, but not super great. Another huge complaint about the restaurants is that they don't post their menus in the room binder or outside of the restaurant when they are closed. It's absolutely ridiculous that you can't see the menus like that, like EVERY OTHER RESTAURANT DOES in the world. You can view it at the concierge desk.
Lobby setup: We arrived late so we checked in at the hotel check in desk, but during normal hours the timeshare people have their own desk. There's a desk which has no title over, around, or near it, and it took me days to figure out it was the concierge desk. They were so extremely unhelpful, I hated to speak to them. If you even mention the idea of seeing sights on the island, they cut you off and tell you to go the "Tours" desk. It's like they really don't want to speak to you about anything.
Wifi: Free for us for the week in the villa, but it didn't extend well outside on the grounds of the Marriott.
Grounds: Nice grounds, but I felt so bad for the cats that roam the area at night. I spoke to a rep from the Vet School on the island that they said they spayed/neutered near 50 cats at the Marriott, and they have their ears tipped. The problem is that nobody is in charge of feeding them, so they rely on the guests and garbage scraps. I heard 2 guests saying they bought cat food at the store for the cats during their stay. If you are an animal lover, I would suggest that if you go. I gave some cats some cheese I had during my stay.
Pools: Nice big pools, but the chairs need replacement. They are old, many in disrepair, and are rusty or broken.
Beach: We went around to all of the beaches on the island, and the Marriott one is the best. It has the widest beach and softest sand. Waves were kind of big, but the beach was the best.
Other beaches: The one on the peninsula end was yucky- terrible snorkeling, broken shells, hard, flat, and narrow. The one near Shipwreck bar and Shigidty Shack bar were similar- hard, flat, narrow. Water was nice on that side of the island, better snorkeling. To think that cruise ship people pay to be taken to those areas is terrible, but it's all the island has.
Service: This is what sets it apart from Aruba and St Thomas, the service just isn't very good. Ok, call it island time, but even with that factored in, it's not real friendly and energetic. Some people were better than others, but I think their work pool to choose people is poor. They don't uphold the Marriott standard.
Island: This island was a huge letdown. They have wild monkeys on the island, so the locals steal babies away from the moms and try to get visitors to pay to take pictures with them- just horrible. I saw starving dogs and cats. The main town is poor with the typical stores near the port area. The ride around island showed more poverty, and no restaurants for visitors. Everything was run down, with tons of shacks. Drugs are grown on the island, and although that doesn't bother me, it's the main reason why people shouldn't walk on jungle trails without an island tour guide. Very few beaches. Brimstone Hill Fort was worth seeing, the Batik store was good, Black Rock pretty, but was very similar to volcanic cliffs on Hawaii.
Scuba: We went with Pro Divers. Terry and Austin were awesome, highly recommend. No bathroom on their boat though. They don't cater to cruise passengers, which was nice. They set up our equipment and gave us royal treatment.
Roads: Very rough, huge potholes (no, massive), just take taxis.
Volcano Hike: We did this tour and it was really hard and exhausting. Take a lot of water, as they don't really give you any on the trip, and the Marriott tour person didn't mention this for us, so we didn't have enough water.
Outside restaurants: Reggae Beach Bar was good, Shipwreck just OK, Rituals Coffee was walkable for breakfast and was really good, Bangkok near Marriott was pretty good (Thai, Chinese, Indian). Buddy's Beach Bar was good.
Over all, the island didn't have enough to sustain our interests, poverty is everywhere, and EVERYBODY charges a 10% VAT tax on everything- so that increases the price on the trip substantially. VAT plus 12.5% service fee makes everything overpriced.
Sorry this is long, but one more major thing... NEVER NEVER NEVER TAKE LIAT AIRLINES. They are so unreliable, you are very very very likely to miss a connection. Antigua airport is a major pit, avoid if possible. It took us 4 days to get home because of a tropical storm, but Liat never kept passengers informed, they seem to contract out their employees, so nobody really works for Liat, they strung us along for days with scarce unrealistic updates, and they definitely don't care about their customers. They seem to be the airline mafia of the Caribbean, and they know it, so they don't try real hard. We watched other airlines move passengers/aircraft for 3 days, while Liat just lied and lied about real status updates.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The stunning new oceanfront Marriott's St. Kitts Beach Club offers 2 and 3-bedroom villas with separate living and dining areas, full kitchens and private balconies. These first-class amenities will be yours to enjoy, including luxurious spa services, championship golf, 3 pools, gaming and excellent restaurants. Marriott's St. Kitts Beach Club is perfectly paired with the romance of St. Kitts, an undiscovered island paradise quickly becoming the jewel of the Caribbean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott's St. Kitts Beach Club Frigate Bay