A relaxing week being pampered at a plantation hotel in the centre of St Kitts. (Or St Christopher to give it its full name.) Ottleys is a family-owned, former sugar plantation, magnificently situated at the foot of majestic Mount Liamuiga. It is surrounded by stunning vistas, mountain ranges and rolling hills and it has heaps of atmosphere.
The building is a restored eighteenth century mansion house with beautifully decorated in- keeping-with-period rooms and views across the manicured gardens. There are swaying palms to the ocean. This accommodation is not cheap. But the really affluent get ' intimate' stone cottages with private plunge pools. There's a gorgeous main pool next to the breakfast café and gourmet (but expensive) restaurant for the also rans.
There's also a great (but expensive) spa, which overlooks a rainforest ravine, a well, a donkey and other delights, to be discovered in the extensive grounds.
The service is excellent and there are much worse ways to spend a week.
An island tour doesn't take long. The tiny capital, Basseterre, is mainly colourful concrete houses as the French and British architecture was damaged in a fire in 1867. The town is built around Independence Square, originally used for slave auctions in the 18th century. There's an imposing stone church behind. There's also a typically colonial green clock tower built in Glasgow.
The old fortress at Brimstone Hill, dating back to the French/British conflict, is somewhat ambitiously nicknamed the Gibraltar of the West Indies, but this is still a large fortress, It is UNESCO listed and replete with guns. More fantastic views are the main reward for struggling up the hill and many stairs.
A ferry across the channel known as The Narrows, to sister island Nevis, where I wander round colonial Charlestown. For a small place, it's stuffed with Georgian architecture and has a very atmospheric high street, ideal for sauntering along the cobbles. There's a church from the 1900s, founded by freed slaves, the historic Bath Hotel (the first ever constructed in the Caribbean) and an atmospheric Jewish cemetery, with graves as old as the 1600s.
After that a stroll (one and half miles) along the coast to Pinney's Beach. There's a long expanse of powdery white sand and a beach bar....The whole is framed by the (usually) cloud shrouded mountain rising grandly behind.
I've had a great time, a very relaxing holiday.
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