by Lissa Poirot
Upon arriving at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino, guests will be taken aback by the massive size of the pink palace resting on the bold blue ocean. Being spring break, the resort was at full capacity, yet there were quiet areas throughout the hotel, at the pools and along the beach. The lobby was a calm, welcoming place with open-air views out to the Atlantic Ocean, and upon stepping out of the shuttle, guests are welcomed with a cool towel and cold glass of punch.
The St. Kitts Marriott Resort, located about 15 minutes from the airport, is a family-friendly resort that strives to make each and every guest feel right at home in one of its 400-plus rooms and suites. Situated along a gorgeous stretch of sugar-soft beach, the resort features three pools, golf, tennis, water sports, a kids’ program, and a number of on-site restaurants, as well as a casino. The hotel’s pride is its “At Your Service” resource. At any time you need anything, just call on down and they’ll take care of your needs.
A relaxing place for families to spend time together, it was easy to discover pleasant surprises at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort. The more formal dining options were never booked solid, unlike some large resorts — you know the ones that upon check in you discover all but one restaurant is booked throughout your stay. Local crafters and artisans sell wares on the ground floor, never pushing anyone to buy, and offering low prices and nice trinkets and jewelry for a little shopping at the end of the day. And multi-generational families return to the resort annually, catching up with friends they have made on previous stays. It’s refreshing to find a place that welcomes families of all ages, offering something for all ages.
Our Editor Loves
- Kids Club for ages 5 to 12
- Zero entry pool and wading areas
- Lots of activities for families
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
Oversized rooms with marble floors and bathrooms, sand-colored walls, and Marriott's signature bedding that we just cannot resist, are comfortable and inviting. Chaise lounge chairs and standard chairs on the porch provide a perfect in-room breakfast spot, listening to the sounds of the waves crash on Sugar Beach as the gauze curtains of the rooms billow in the wind.
The resort is a combination of a five-story, 350-room main resort flanked on its north and south sides by three-story buildings housing timeshares and villas. Timeshares are to the south side and are not available to guests, although the pool is open to all guests and is smaller, quieter and geared toward families. The north villas provide 80 two- and three-bedroom accommodations with kitchens and living space ideal for families. Its pool is also smaller and quieter but it's unofficially an adult pool.
In the main building, king and double rooms are oversized and many are connecting so families can book two rooms together for more space and sleeping privacy. Suites are located on the fifth floor for even more room. Some rooms are above the casino, which is surprisingly more calm and quiet than most casinos in resorts. Other rooms are above the piano bar, which is open until 2 a.m., so be sure to ask for rooms away from either area if your kids are light sleepers. Don't let this note fool you: this resort is very quiet, even at full capacity. It was a pleasant surprised to feel like we were alone for the majority of our visit.
Rooms include mini-refrigerators so you can stock up on drinks and snacks. The resort removed mini bars, finding kids couldn't keep their hands out and parents could get snacks throughout the resort at any time. However, for young ones, bidets are in the bathroom and can get quite messy if they play with them!
This review is for the HOTEL, not the timeshare. We have stayed at many Marriott hotels all over the US, Caribbean and this was one of our favorite. The concierge, Bernadine, reached out a few days prior to our visit to see if we needed anything (recommendations, etc.). She assisted with setting up an island tour and transportation and her recommendation (Dwight at James Bond Travel) was spot on. From the moment we arrived everything was wonderful at the hotel. Check-in was fast, within minutes we were in our room and enjoying the view. We loved the breakfast offering in the Calypso restaurant, frequented the Calypso Coffee bar and the food offerings at the Calypso Coffee Bar, Beach restaurant, and pizza shack were ample for lunch. Dinner, we only ate at the steak house on site, the Royal Grille and it was fantastic, service was exceptional, steaks were tender and juicy and the cost was similar to what we would pay at a similar steakhouse in the US (like the Palm or Smith and Wollensky's). There were many food offerings off site of the hotel that were phenomenal too, but if you wanted to stay at the resort, you could. We loved how HAPPY every employee at the hotel was, every day we were greeted with a good morning, thank you for your patronage, etc. Definitely a happy thing to see (and that was island-wide, not just at the resort).We did go during a low time, so the resort was not as crowded, but even when more people arrived, the level of service was the same. We wished that more of the dinner options were open during our stay. Since it's low season only Calypso and one other restaurant were open at night for dinner. Rooms were spotless, all of the hotel areas were clean and well manicured. Many people have complained about the beach and seaweed. There was seaweed in the water, but I found swimming in the ocean and being on the beach very pleasant. Workers made sure the beach was cleaned every morning. The Atlantic is a bit rougher than the Caribbean, but I did not feel overwhelmed at any time, and overall the beach was great! Most people who have written reviews about the seaweed have either greatly over exaggerated it or never swam at an Atlantic Ocean beach in their lives. We found the breeze at the beach wonderful and the water was sooooo clear. A few small pieces of seaweed would float around, but I was not walking out of the ocean covered in seaweed (that is how ridiculous some of the reviews made it sound). Kudos to all the staff at the Marriott for making our 1 week stay very happy. I also wanted to add that we are elite status Marriott members. Some days we would get the perks of our status, and then some days it was completely forgotten. Some consistency there would be appreciated. Other than that, we will definitely recommend the resort to our friends!
by Kevin R
My wife Crystal and I stayed at the Marriott’s St. Kitts Resort 16-23 Sept 18, and had wonderful week. We arrived two days early and stayed at the Marriott Hotel, giving us access to all of the resorts facilities. From the moment we arrived, we were struck with how genuinely friendly everyone at the resort was. At no time during our stay did anyone even mention a time-share presentation. There was not need, as the resort sells itself!
Check In for the resort is done in the lobby of the hotel, making it very convenient. As we made our way to our condo building we were struck immediately with how clean and orderly everything was. This was a theme throughout the week, as we saw staff passing through the resort, ensuring that no litter was lying about, and that all of the lounges were arranged properly. The condo, itself was exactly what you would expect of a Marriott’s property; outstanding.
The resort features three pools, the largest of which featured volleyball nets, an unheated Jacuzzi, and a swim up bar. All of the lounges by the pools had “bimini” style covers adding to the comfort. The beach was a good size, and had more than enough lounges and palapas for everyone. Off shore, there is a small rock structure which serves to break up the waves coming in from the Atlantic. While there staff from the spa on the beach to provide massages, there was never any pressure for their services.
With respect to food services, there are a few very fine restaurants on site, but we took advantage of the carryout pizza by the pool several nights, not just for convenience, but for the terrific selection. There are also a number of good restaurants within walking distance of the resort. Across the street from the resort is a good little grocery store which more than adequately met our needs. One restaurant that we really enjoyed was just past the resort entrance, Marley’s. The menu was extensive, and the food was delicious.
There was a wide variety of activities available, although we only took advantage of the wine and cheese event, and Bingo. In the lobby, there is a tour desk that features a wide variety of tours, most of which will pick you up from the resort. We did the Full Day Sail to Nevis, and loved it.
While we rented a car for this trip, we do not plan on doing so, next time. The amenities on site, and the ease of booking tours from the lobby, make it unnecessary. There is a Hertz Rental Agency conveniently located on site, so you can rent a car for the day, if you want to explore the island on your own.
We arrived in St. Kitts just as a hurricane had passed to the north of the island. This meant that the water was not as clear as it would normally be, and the presence of Sargassum seaweed was even more prominent. The resort countered this by offering bus rides to and from some of the other beaches on the south end of the island.
In summary, we had a wonderful and restful vacation. We look forward to returning in the near future.
The recreational program is built for children ages 5 to 12 with a staff ratio of 1:8. Kids can spend the day in indoor and outdoor structured activities such as hiking, swimming, arts and crafts, steel drum lessons, and more. Full day programs include lunch and are $45 for the first child, $40 for each additional child, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Half days, from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m., include snack and are $25/$20. Drop-in programs are available on Saturdays for $10/$8 per hour. Evening programs, held Wednesdays and Fridays, include dinner and are held 6 to 9 p.m. for $30/$25, giving kids a break from their parents and mom and dad a dinner date.
A game room is also located at the resort.
Beach and pool volleyball are regular occurrences at the resort and pro divers often provide SCUBA lessons in the pool. At the pool activity center, vacationers can rent snorkels, fins and masks as well as pool and beach floats. Rides, rentals and lessons for a variety of water sports are available nearby, and the resort is happy to arranged various activities, including deep sea fishing, ocean kayaking, power boating, sailing, snorkeling and diving.
The Marriott's four lighted, grass courts are available for players of all ages. Rental equipment is available at the pro shop if you don't bring your own gear. Tennis socials are offered weekly, and group clinics and one-on-one lessons are available with a seasoned pro.
Pools & Beach
The resort features three pools, as well as a beautiful stretch of sugar sand beach. The North and South pools are tucked into villa accommodations, and therefore more private. Adults tend to hide away at the North Pool, while families prefer the South. The Main Pool is laguna-style with a very unused lagoon wading pool for little ones. Most families stick together near the pool bar, where water is both shallow enough for kids but deep enough for play.
On Sugar Beach, 99 wooden cabanas are available at a first-come, first-serve basis, as well as beach chairs outside the cabanas. The beach is public so expect to meet someone selling aloe massages, island excursions or crafts. However, it is never in a pushy, annoying or frightening manner; everyone is very polite and friendly.
No matter the time of day or the fact the resort was 100 percent booked during our stay, chairs were plentiful at both the pools and the beach. Sure, a few people snagged their favorite spots with towels bright and early, but there was never a lack of seating and no need to wake up on vacation to rush out and claim chairs. Turns out the owner's wife demanded her husband make sure there were enough chairs after being tired of her own vacations struggling to find a chair on the beach. The blue mesh pool chairs have attached covers on them that can be folded back for full sun, or pulled over the chair for shade.
Royal St. Kitts Golf Club
The Marriott's championship 18-hole, 71-par golf course is accessed via complimentary shuttle. PGA-Certified instructors provide private lessons, and a driving range and practice facility are also available.
The resort's seafood restaurant features glass-windowed views of the Atlantic and the island's tropical mountains. Fresh seafood dishes are paired with international wines at dinner. Landlubbers can find something on the menu, as well. Family-friendly, it may be best for older children or date night to truly enjoy its ambience.
Bohemia Beach Pool Bar
The pool bar provides indoor, patio and swim-up areas to enjoy lunch and snacks from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The bar opens at 10 a.m. and while some do congregate around the swim-up bar, it doesn't feel like a party atmosphere as tots splash nearby. Happy Hour, from 4 to 6 p.m., is fun for the whole family with a range of musical entertainment, from steel drum bands to Karaoke.
Serving breakfast and lunch daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., this lobby-area restaurant has an expansive patio and views of the pool and ocean. The buffet breakfast is filled with all the standards -- muffins, bagels, toast, cereals, eggs, French toast, waffles, you name it -- and a la carte is available for both breakfast and lunch, with kid-friendly staples readily available. A casual dinner is also offered here.
The Italian restaurant of the group is open for authentic Northern Italian dinners from 6 to 10 p.m. Both mom and dad can enjoy a quiet date or bring the kids for a family meal.
Also located near the main pool, the Pizza Shack, open daily from noon to 10 p.m., offers individual and large deep-dish pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and ice cream. Prices are low, too. Usually, big resorts up the prices a bit, so a pleasant surprise.
A more upscale resort alternative (requiring "elegant casual" attire), the classic steakhouse serves up a variety of cuts of beef and fresh seafood, along with an extensive international wine list for dinner only. This setting is better reserved for date night or for the older children who can enjoy a quiet dinner environment.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complimentary Wi-Fi access can be found in the public areas at the hotel. Wi-Fi is also available in the guestrooms for an additional, daily fee.
Two fitness centers are located on the resort. The main fitness center includes weights and machines, while the second center provides classes such as spinning. Users of the fitness center may use the neighboring spa facilities for showers, saunas, and steam room.
When the kids' program is not enough or children are under 5, the resort is happy to arrange in-room babysitting so mom and dad can enjoy some adult-only amenities (although those are few and far between -- this is a family-friendly resort through and through!).
The Art of Smart Timing
Like all Caribbean islands, St. Kitts experiences hot and humid summers with afternoon rain showers, as well as hurricane season. The best times to visit are December through April, which is also peak tourist season.
Several airlines fly into Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, often connecting via Miami or San Juan. The resort is about 15 minutes away.
Rental cars are available but the resort is so massive, there is hardly any reason to leave. When you do decide to leave, tour groups and taxis from the resort are just outside the door.
For Mom and Dad
Emerald Mist Spa
A full day spa providing a plethora of choices from massages to body wraps to mani/pedis to hair treatments, the relaxing spa is decorated in soft blue and greens with natural accents. Try a bamboo massage, or a cinnamon hot stone treatment.
The adults can take a gamble and visit the onsite casino.