One of our favorite places that we have ever stayed! We traveled the first week of April with our two daughters (24 and 26) plus daughter’s fiancée and daughter’s boyfriend. So, there were six adults.
As a family, we have traveled all over the Caribbean. We don’t do cruises. We usually stay in hotels or condos, but with the guys joining us, it seemed like we needed more space. We started searching vacation rental homes which were located throughout the Caribbean. We really wanted to try someplace new, and none of us had been to St. Kitts or Nevis before. When we first saw the photos of Villa Alamandra I thought the view from the veranda almost looked like it was photo shopped. Let me tell you, it’s not photo shopped, and it is even more breathtaking when you walk through the front door for the first time!
The online descriptions and photos are very accurate so I won’t go into detail about the setup of the Villa. All of the communication with the homeowners was prompt and seamless. The Villa itself is clean as can be and the property owners have stocked the Villa with everything you could possibly need or want to make your vacation enjoyable. The kitchen is well equipped with utensils, pots and pans and dishes. There are 4 rafts for the pool, 2 full sets of snorkel gear (masks and fins), 3 hair dryers, full laundry facilities (don’t forget to bring your own detergent!) , 2 beach chairs, 6+ beach towels, a set of golf clubs and a few board games. Internet connection is strong and the TV gets a wide variety of channels. (Note: this only came in handy when we wanted to watch the NCAA basketball championship--please don’t book this place to watch TV!) The pool is more of a “plunge” pool. It looks a bit larger in the photos, but it worked out well for us. I only bring this up for families with young children who are going to spend a lot of time in the pool--they might find it on the small side.
The location of the Villa is on the southern tip of St. Kitts with awesome views of Nevis. The south end of the Island is in transition with an the development of exclusive housing; Christophe Harbor- accommodating Yacht travelers; and soon to be luxury Park Hyatt. The more upscale existing restaurants (Pavillion and Salt Plage…) will cater to these guests. So, when you stay at the Villa, you are in the lap of luxury for St. Kitts.
The beautiful Cockleshell Beach is just a four minute drive from the Villa. The beach is perfect for swimming and relaxing in the sun. On one end you have Reggae Beach Bar and on the other end you have Spice Mill. Spice Mill is more upscale and has nicer chairs but we liked the shade of the palm trees that the more casual Reggae Beach Bar provided. Interestingly, the Carib Beers are a dollar cheaper at Spice Mill, so go figure. Scattered between Spice Mill and Reggae you have a number of homemade beach shacks serving up $2 Caribs and authentic Caribbean fare. Some Cruisers do like to come down to Cockleshell Beach for the day because it is the best on the island. (good news/bad news). That being said, we never really had a problem getting a chair, even if we arrived later in the day. We made friends with the wait staff at Reggae Beach Bar and they didn’t even charge us for chairs. They treated us as locals.
It’s an easy 3 minute downhill walk from the Villa to Turtle Beach. (It’s harder on the return!) Since there are no hotels or restaurants on this beach , it is not groomed and it the beach is is very narrow. You can’t really even walk on the beach or even lay out a beach towel. You can however snorkel or bring the Villa’s beach chairs down and sit on the dock. There is a reef right off the left of the dock. It has some nice coral formations. Not a lot of fish, but I do suspect there are turtles that feed on the grasses. (Duh, Turtle Beach…) However, we snorkeled 2 times without seeing any turtles. By Caribbean standards, the snorkeling at Turtle Beach and Cockleshell Beach is a B- at best. We did enjoy walking down to Turtle Beach a few times and it is quite wonderful to see a beach in a natural state and unspoiled by development.
We rented a Van for the week from Thrifty. Note, Thrifty is the only car rental that has an office right at the airport. The nicest thing about renting from Thrifty is that when we told them that we planned to go to Nevis for the day, they arranged for a Van for our use at NO extra charge! We took a 7 minute water taxi over to Nevis, arrived at Oualie Beach, took a cab to Thrifty which was about 10 minutes away. Pretty seamless, and we saved a ton of money and time (don’t do the car ferry!) Do not miss a trip to Nevis! We highly recommend booking a lunch reservation at Golden Rock (a Zen Oasis in on the mountain) and complete your Nevis trip with a “Bee Sting” at Sunshine’s on Pinney Beach!
It makes sense to stop at the grocery after you leave the airport to stock up on groceries for the week. Even with renting a Van, we knew that there would not be room for our groceries so we hired Dwayne Hector(contact info provided by owners) to deliver our groceries to the Villa. His service charge was only $50 and it was so nice not having to stop at the grocery and also to have cold beer waiting in the refrigerator when we arrived!
Speaking of groceries, you will have to cook. There is no place nearby the Villa that is open for breakfast. We prepared a few lunches and a few dinners at the Villa as well. Halfway through the trip, we did make another trip to the IGA. It is nice for an island grocery.
Dinners not to be missed, all within 10 minutes of the Villa: Reggae Beach Bar Lobster Friday Night, the Pavilion (one of the most beautiful restaurant settings we have ever seen!) Salt Plage-Sunday night they have a band and Tapas menu; Gourmet Burger Night at Spice Mill on Saturday.
Staying at Villa Alamandra was wonderful. It is not a place to go if you are looking for “night life” but a place for family time, nature and total relaxation. Most days, we just enjoyed sitting on the veranda, having a glass of wine and watching the tribe of monkeys playing or the interesting herd of wild goats that wandered by each day.
We hope that we have the opportunity to return!