The resort isn’t exactly on the beach, but about a city block inland, built into the side of a hill between 50 and 100 feet above sea level. It’s laid out as a collection of two or three-story town-houses; many of the 64 rooms are actually studio apartments, with kitchen facilities and breakfast bars for longer-term guests. There’s a walking path down to the beach, part paved, part not. Nighttime lighting on this path should have been better, but management said it was addressing that problem.
There’s a large, though not especially deep, outdoor swimming pool with an inviting swim-up bar. The pool terrace offers magnificent views of the bay, a valley and lagoon, and the distant volcano on the island of Nevis. Light poolside dining is available throughout the day and the property’s fine-dining restaurant, The Garden, is one I highly recommend for dinner even for those who aren’t guests at the hotel. Though the dinner hour nominally begins at 6:30, the Garden went out of its way to provide a full dinner menu for me as early as 5:30. I’d eaten there during a 2001 visit to St. Kitts, and having a quality, customer-oriented restaurant on the premises was a major reason I chose Frigate Bay for my return trip.
Frigate Bay is about four miles --- U.S. $8 each way by taxi --- from Bassettere, the only major city, and $13 from the international airport. However, it’s within walking distance from the newly-rebuilt Royal St. Kitts Golf Club, beachfront sailing, kayaking and snorkeling outfitters, and the casino. The huge new Marriott resort complex is just down the road and, with it, the island’s Atlantic seacoast. (You can see both oceans simultaneously from the high promontory nearby.)
Frigate Bay Resort’s website lists 2004 rates at U.S. $69-280 per night before tax and service fees of 14%. I paid $97 for my third-story, studio-size unit with an inland view, and balcony, a special promotional rate for a five-night minimum stay. Poolside units carry a premium rate. First-and second-floor units on the opposite side have windows at eye level with a roadway often used by hikers and joggers, creating a privacy issue. (I had one at check-in, but the hotel moved me to a higher, more private, room at no extra charge.)
All the major tour operators will pick up and deliver passengers booked through the hotel’s front desk. You can arrange rain-forest hikes, around-island tours, sailboat snorkeling/picnicking excursions or dive expeditions -- whatever.
Frigate Bay proudly proclaims its designation as “St.Kitts 'Hotel of the Year' 2002.” I have no reason to dispute that. I’ve paid a lot more, often for less room and amenities, on other Caribbean islands.
April 9, 2004
From journal A Case for St. Kitts