Review: Marriott Resort St. Kitts (Part 2)
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Nestled in the idyllic Frigate Bay along the Atlantic coast, the Marriott Resort St. Kitts is a favorite among visitors to the island. As I discussed in the last installment, the hotel offers spacious, well-appointed guest rooms and a gorgeous beach. Of course, to keep guests comfortable and entertained, it also offers a wide range of amenities and activities. Let's go for a stroll around the grounds to see what's on offer.
First stop, the pools. When the age-old dilemma at a resort like this goes along the lines of "Where do we feel like going today, pool or beach?", one factor in particular helps the former's case – variety. The Marriott St. Kitts certainly does not disappoint, featuring three pools, each with shallow and deep ends and each encircling a smaller hot tub-style whirlpool.
The North and South pools are considerably smaller compared to the Main pool, which houses its whirlpool on a mini-island accessible by footbridge, and also has a swim-up bar. Each of the pools has a volleyball net as well and is surrounded by several ranks of pool chairs with shades, so it's pretty easy for half a day to whizz by without anyone realizing it.
Over the course of our stay, we went for a few dips in the evenings, mostly in the South pool since it was closer to our villa.
Later on in the evenings, when we weren't feeling quite so eager to get wet, we spent a great deal of time swaying on the many hammocks dotted around the hotel grounds. The hammocks were large enough for two people and were perfect for stargazing at night or stopping for a brief rest during the day.
One thing I wanted to point out is just how quiet the resort gets after about 5pm. The majority of hotel guests seemed to be families with children, so presumably most of them retreated to their rooms for some rest after a long day in the sun, but I found it striking just how few people I saw after sundown. Walking along the garden paths at night, against a backdrop of still, blue-lit swimming pools, was mesmerizing.
Aside from the pools, the main building was where most of the action took place. A set of stairs brought you from the ground floor up to the second floor, where the lobby is located. There's a pretty stunning ship facade at the center of the stairs, although I thought it would have looked even more impressive if the waterworks were on.
First off, there was the Royal Beach Casino. We came here a few nights and had an absolute blast on the Wheel of Fortune machine (don't judge me, I'm on vacation). There's also table games with $1 minimum bets, so you don't really have to break the bank to have a good time. Inside the casino, there's also the Sky Ultra Lounge Bar, a swanky lounge area with live music and happy hour drink specials.
There's a fitness centre on the ground floor, and I saw many guests using it each time I walked by. Personally, when I'm on vacation, I'm on vacation, so I didn't manage to make a trip to the gym. There's also a tennis court off to the side of the main building, by the villas on the south side of the property.
The main building is also home to many of the resort's on-site restaurants, including the Royal Grille Steakhouse, the La Cucina pizzeria, and Calypso Cafe. We grabbed breakfast at Calypso a few times, and it was relatively affordable – expect to pay about US$10 per person for takeaway food and US$15 per person for a sit-down meal.
That's about as cheap as things get on the property. Prices for lunch and dinner at the hotel restaurants range from US$20 per person for pizza at La Cucina to US$60 per person at the Royal Grille Steakhouse. On our third night, we had dinner at the seafood restaurant, Blu, located out near the beaches by the main pool. Jessica and I shared a tomato-based seafood chowder and a delicious mahi-mahi dish, and our bill came to about US$50 in total.
One thing to note as well is that a 12.5% service charge is automatically added to all bills at the resort. The service charge is split evenly among all hotel staff, and you're free to add your own tip if you'd like.
The resort is located at the end of a long road named Zenway Boulevard, and you'll find a few more restaurants about a 5-minute walk away. Prices at these restaurants are denominated in East Caribbean Dollars (pegged at US$1 = EC$2.7), though they're about the same as the on-site restaurant prices. The one exception is Rituals Cafe, an American-style coffee shop where you'll find wraps, sandwiches, and paninis for around US$10. You can also stop by the grocery store, Ram's, to pick up a few items for cheap.
After you've perfected your tan on the Marriott's stunning Atlantic beach, there's no shortage of activities to keep you occupied. Whether it's rolling the dice at the Royal Beach Casino or sampling the island's signature Ting with a Sting – local sugarcane rum mixed with grapefruit soda – at the swim-up bar, there's a little something for everyone.
Keep walking down Zenway Boulevard, and you'll arrive at a roundabout and a fork in the road. The southerly road twists steeply up Sir Timothy's Hill, while the long road to the west leads you to Basseterre, the nation's capital, and beyond. We'll dutifully explore both in the next few installments.