Hot hotels with green spaces
Stay amid an explosion of nature at these beautiful, bountiful boltholes. Words: Joe Shooman
1 Park Hyatt, St Kitts
Best for… Hill views
Where: Banana Bay
Room rates: From US$450
Info: +1 869 468 1234, www.stkitts.park.hyatt.com
One of the Caribbean’s newest offerings, the Park Hyatt sits within the Christophe Harbour development, gazing across The Narrows strait that separates St Kitts from Nevis. It’s the most unspoilt corner of the island, and the gorgeous, green surroundings are a big part of the hotel experience: local herbs find their way into the spa treatments and Miraval signature tea, and weddings are regularly held here on the impeccably manicured beachfront lawn.
There are few better ways to while away a warm day than a dip in a pool. To one side is the incredible Caribbean Sea, to the other are the majestic hills of St Kitts – the ranging, rolling, remarkable hills that provide a natural garden backdrop. You can also join trips into the rainforest, to get an even bigger dose of that beautiful green stuff.
2 East Winds, St Lucia
Best for… Garden tours
Where: La Brelotte Bay, Gros Islet
Room rates: From US$594
Info: +1 758 452 8212, www.eastwinds.com
East Winds is rightly feted for its incredible collection of mature trees – including palms first planted half a century ago by botanist Margaret Egerer, the original owner of the property. Back in 1966 she and husband Richard, from the US, tamed a once-unruly plot of land, adding a beach bar and cottages. East Winds Bar hotel opened in 1968.
In 2006 landscape consultant Christine Lovell, along with head gardener Sylvanus Lewis, developed new flowerbeds alongside the historic native species. Lewis leads regular tours of the property, pointing out medicinal herbs and plants as well as visiting wildlife; birds are numerous within this sanctuary.
You can top it off with a spell in the Garden Spa where, alongside a host of treatments, you can enjoy some refreshing, rejuvenating East Winds Tea – said to have huge benefits for the immune system, just as a stay here has huge benefits for the soul.
3 Belle Mont Farm, St Kitts
Best for… Organic beauty
Where: Kittitian Hill
Room rates: From US$230
Info: +1 869 465 7388, www.bellemontfarm.com
Sustainability is at the heart of the Belle Mont Farm and Kittian Hill story, bringing together local artists, artisans and visitors within a unique community that benefits all. This is a place like nowhere else in the Caribbean. Trinidadian owner Val Kempadoo, who has worked as an organic farmer, brings his skills to a 400-acre organic farm providing sustainable food, boosted by the best produce of the local fishermen, farmers and foragers. No pesticides or unnecessary chemicals are used, and the facility is closely aligned with its neighbours, aiming to reduce importation of fruit and vegetables.
That’s not to say that luxury is compromised. Far from it: the gorgeous property offers unbelievable views, private pools, an indulgent spa and a golf course designed by Ian Woosnam.
4 Cobblers Cove, Barbados
Best for… Wildlife
Room rates: US$549
Info: +1 246 422 2291, www.cobblerscove.com
This gorgeous former plantation house has a wealth of attractions, from cricket and golf to watersports and delicious cuisine – but the manicured gardens are the icing on the cake. Take a stroll amid Caribbean floral abundance: palms, torch lilies, bougainvillea, hibiscus, orchids – the scent is amazing, the views divine.
Leading the team of gardeners is Niki Farmer, who will happily point out exotic and unusual flowers – some that are now found only in the hidden corners of the island’s older gardens. Such is the variety at Cobblers Cove, the team donates plants to the Barbados exhibit at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show each year.
One of the real stars is the enormous fig tree by the beach. All manner of species visit it or make it their home, including a family of green monkeys, a plethora of tropical birds and even the occasional mongoose.
5 Blue Horizons Garden Resort, Grenada
Best for… Birdwatching
Where: Grand Anse, St George’s
Room rates: From US$135
Info: +1 473 444 4316, www.grenadabluehorizons.com
There are 2.5 hectares of gardens at Blue Horizons, perched on a hill just a couple of hundred metres from Grand Anse Beach. To say it’s lush is an understatement: the surroundings have been enhanced over the past five years by a significant programme of planting. Copper rum stills have been upcycled as planters, keeping the metal out of landfill and also giving a local flavour. The transformation is there for all to see (and nicely signposted, too) with nearly 10,000 indigenous shrubs, plants and trees now in place.
As well as being a delight for the visitor, other beneficiaries of this upgrade are birds. Some 27 different species now fly in and stay on the property – some like to swoop through the dining room’s open shutters and make off with the sugar… Free weekly birdwatching tours are a lovely bonus – an expert twitcher will help you spot some of the species, including the endemic and endangered hook-billed kite.