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From Elegant Plantation Inns to Luxurious Beachfront Hotels: St. Kitts Offers Wonderful Accommodations For Families

Imagine reclining in a softly cushioned rattan chair on your private balcony, sipping a cocktail and breathing in the fresh tropical air while looking out over swaying palm trees and fields of sugar cane to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean; Or soaking up the warm sunlight on a volcanic black sand beach just steps from a sumptuous guestroom; Or perhaps indulging in breakfast in your room while gazing at the rising sun through sliding glass doors of a private suite. Accommodations on St. Kitts provide all that and more at a selection of properties that range from intimate villas or elegant plantation inns to grand hotels and beachfront resorts, all on an island just waiting to be discovered that's full of off-the-beaten track adventures.

Here are a few options to consider for family vacations or parents-only getaways:

Ottley's Plantation Inn : Situated on 35 unspoiled acres bursting with tropical flora and fauna, this 18th century sugar plantation has been transformed into an intimate family owned and operated inn of colonial grandeur where guests are always made to feel at home. Widely regarded as one of the most exclusive and visually stunning places to stay on St. Kitts and boasting a AAA 4-Diamond Award, its 24 rooms in the Caribbean cottages or Great House are gracefully appointed. Ottley's also boasts a 66-foot pool fed by warm springs nestled into the remaining walls of the old sugar factory, winding trails through the adjacent rainforest ravine, secluded Mango Orchard Spa Retreat, croquet lawn and tennis courts. Adjacent to the pool and sharing the remaining walls of the sugar factory is the open-air Royal Palm restaurant, which was awarded Fielding's Five Star Restaurant Award, serving upscale Caribbean fare that blends tastes from around the world. Rates begin at $195 per room, per night.

St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino: Set on a beautiful beach along Frigate Bay, the 648-room Marriott is a new addition to St. Kitts that opened in February 2003. It features not only beautiful rooms, most with private balconies spread over five floors, but also a wealth of public spaces and venues including six restaurants serving Italian, Caribbean and Continental cuisine, 11,300 square feet of meeting space (to be expanded), three swimming pools and swim-up bar, Tigers nightclub, two lounges, business center, watersports, salon, gift shop, an excellent kids' club program, 15,000 square foot Emerald Mist Spa and the 40,000 square foot Royal Beach Casino, the sole casino on the island. In November 2003, the resort's private country club style clubhouse opened to service the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club, currently under redesign with the front nine holes now open for play. Rates begin at $99 per room, per night.

Rawlins Plantation: A tranquil 10-room country Caribbean inn built from the ruins of a 17th century sugar plantation, Rawlins is nestled in 12 acres of exquisitely landscaped grounds and surrounded by rolling fields of sugar cane. Furnished with antiques throughout, guests rooms are in charming cottages created from old plantation out-buildings that are scattered among the grounds with the honeymoon suite located in the old windmill. Each offers four poster mahogany beds, wicker chairs, hardwood flooring and plenty of privacy. Facilities include a spring-fed swimming pool, grass tennis court, croquet lawn, boules, local artist Kate Spencer's studio and tropical gardens of mango, hibiscus, papaya, oleander, banana, passionfruit and more that are ideal for a leisurely stroll. The acclaimed restaurant is a highlight of Rawlins, serving varied and innovative cuisine with a strong West Indian influence from owner/chef Claire Rawson all created with freshly gathered ingredients from the plantation gardens, neighboring farmers and local fishermen. Rates begin at $330 per room, per night, based on double occupancy.

The Golden Lemon Inn and Villas Created by former House & Garden Magazine editor Arthur Leaman, the former 17th century warehouse and shop earned its name from those who thought it would be a "lemon". Arthur responded that if it was, it had better be golden, thus giving rise to a distinctive inn that would become one of the Caribbean's most renowned properties and recipient of a prestigious AAA 4-Diamond Award. Ten stylish rooms in the Great House and 22 fashionable one and two bedroom seaside villas with private plunge pools are each individually decorated and furnished with antique mahogany or metal four poster beds, high ceilings, antiques, warm Caribbean colors and fresh flowers daily. Gourmet Continental and West Indian fare made from fresh local ingredients on a nightly changing menu is served either in the candlelit poolside garden, in the chic main dining room or on the terrace that stretches the length of the Great House and overlooks the palm-lined, black sand beach of Dieppe Bay. Rates begin at $265 per room, per night, based on double occupancy.

Ocean Terrace Inn: One of the most popular places to stay on St. Kitts, the Ocean Terrace Inn is set on the historic Fortlands of St. Kitts overlooking the capital city of Basseterre and picturesque Basseterre Bay. Each of the property's 78 rooms and suites features stunning views from its own private terrace or balcony as well as cozy, Caribbean-style decor. Among the features that delight guests are a boutique gift shop, Pro Divers PADI scuba facility on the wharf, state-of-the-art fitness center, sauna, beauty salon, 2,800 square foot Pereira Conference Center, business center and three generously-sized swimming pools, two of which feature swim-up bars and one Fantasy Pool with waterfalls and a Jacuzzi set amongst tropical gardens. In addition to a poolside snack bar, the Ocean Terrace Inn features two fine dining establishments, the casual harborside Fisherman's Wharf and the recently refurbished Waterfalls, an open air restaurant with an eclectic upscale menu that changes daily. Rates begin at $160 per room, per night.

The Angelus Resort & Spa : St. Kitts' newest property, the Angelus is situated on 15 beachfront acres on Half Moon Bay bordering the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club with nearly 80 rooms open of the 144 it will feature upon completion. An all-suite resort, guests are housed in generous accommodations ranging from 600 to 1,600 square feet in size with mahogany accoutrements, Italian ceramic tubs and either a private balcony or terrace. Its' large, bi-level tropical swimming pool with swim-up bar complements the Angelus' other elegant amenities, including an Aveda Spa, La Caribe© gourmet restaurant highlighting local and Continental cuisine and the colorful, fun Moondance Beachside Bar & Restaurant that features regular lobster-bakes on the beach. Despite the Angelus' recent debut, it is already a member of Great Hotels of the World in the Luxury Romantic Collection. Rates begin at $69 per room, per night.

Frigate Bay Resort: Tucked against a verdant hillside with views over the Caribbean and Atlantic, Frigate Bay is a colorful plantation-style resort with a friendly and informal atmosphere.¬ 64 rooms and suites are decorated with light floral fabrics and rattan furniture for a distinctly Caribbean feel and feature a private balcony or terrace. Adjacent to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club, the property offers green fees as well as proximity to various island activities. It also features a large freshwater swimming pool, Dip and Sip bar, watersports, fully-equipped conference center for up to 60 meeting attendees and the Garden Room restaurant, which offers an elegant a la carte menu. Rates begin at $69 per room, per night.

Timothy Beach Resort: The only resort located on the Caribbean side of beautiful Frigate Bay, Timothy's is comfortably nestled on the beach while also being just a five minute walk from the Atlantic. All condominium suites, studios and ocean front rooms are tastefully decorated and offer spacious tiled balconies or patios with scenic views. There are plenty of watersports to enjoy on the resorts'beach, or guests may enjoy the atmosphere of the tiled ocean front pool. Timothy Beach Resort also features the Sunset Cafe© restaurant, serving flavorful cuisine in a relaxed, beachside setting. Rates begin at $95 per room, per night and based on double occupancy.

Sugar Bay Club: Set on beautiful Frigate Bay beach on the sparkling Atlantic coast, the former Rex Papillon resort enjoys the best of both worlds with the gently lapping waters of the Caribbean a mere short walk beside the rich green boundaries of the island's championship golf course. All 100 spacious guestrooms have their own balcony or terrace and overlook the beach, pool or gardens. The property also features a main swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and three restaurants including a main dining establishment, informal poolside venue and dinner-only restaurant featuring evening entertainment. Special all-inclusive introductory rates (includes accommodations, taxes, service charges and all meals, beverages and cocktails) for travel through December 20, 2004 begin at $130 per person, per night based on double occupancy.

Bird Rock Beach Hotel: Situated between a secluded golden-sand cove and the blue Caribbean, this 38-room hotel is a favorite among dive enthusiasts for its on site dive operator and beachfront location. Complete with attractively landscaped grounds, the property features comfortably appointed one, two and three bedroom suites, some of which interconnect and all with a private balcony or terrace overlooking the water. A large pool with swim-up bar provides an excellent alternative to the beach for leisure guests, while business people can gather in the 60-seat meeting and conference room. Bird Rock also features a tennis court, basketball, volleyball and two restaurants. The Sunburst restaurant features fine dining nightly or, for a more casual meal, Rocky's BBQ & Grill provides a warm beachfront setting. Rates begin at $85 per room, per night. St. Kitts also offers a wide selection of Guest Houses, Villas, Apartments and Condominiums are available to families at reasonable rates.

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destinations natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. Originally populated by native Carib Indians, the island was colonized by the British in 1623 and now offers visitors a wide variety of vacation activities including hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island's sugar plantations, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and the more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts' only casino or simply relaxing on one of the island's black or golden sand beaches.

St. Kitts is served from the US by US Airways non-stop from Philadelphia and Charlotte and by American Airlines/American Eagle via San Juan. From Canada, St. Kitts is accessible from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa on US Airways with connections through Philadelphia and Charlotte and on Air Canada or BWIA from Toronto through Antigua. The island is also accessible by Windward Island Airways (WinAir), LIAT, Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun via connections over St. Maarten, Antigua and San Juan, Puerto Rico. All flights arrive at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, situated just 2 miles outside the historic capital city of Basseterre.

For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority at 1-800-582-6208, e-mail info@stkitts-tourism.kn, visit the website at http://www.stkitts-tourism.com/, or contact your favorite travel agent.

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