St Kitts and Nevis: holiday homes on glorious twin islands where super-yacht luxury meets relative affordability
The small two-island nation of St Kitts & Nevis in the eastern Caribbean has beautiful beaches and gorgeous nature along with direct flights from London and plenty of local charm.
Now it is offering tropical holiday homes beside what will be one of the best superyacht marinas in the region.
The marina is at Christophe Harbour, an ambitious residential resort on a hilly 2,500 acres with six beaches fronting both Caribbean and Atlantic seas.
It’s the brainchild of Buddy Darby, a US developer with three decades of experience in five-star residential resorts including Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
Darby set out to find a well-protected site in a central Caribbean location for an upmarket resort and state-of-the-art marina.
Christophe Harbour, 20 minutes from St Kitts’ international airport, ticked all the boxes and Darby invested there in 2008.
This winter the first phase of the marina was completed with 24 freehold berths for boats from 80ft to 220ft in front of a handsome Customs House.
This will eventually form the basis of a vibrant marina village with apartments, shops and many more berths. So far 13 berths and 150 land plots are sold and 40 homes are built.
£500,000: a three-bedroom villa in lush gardens on Nevis (7th Heaven Properties)
“St Kitts appealed because it is in the sweet spot of the sailing region centred on St Barths, St Maarten, Antigua and Anguilla,” explains Darby.
“It has good airlift and was largely undeveloped but most of all, the site is beautiful and natural, an exceptional canvas where we could build homes with wonderful views, hidden in the landscape.”
The philosophy of building in nature underlies all of Darby’s resorts and the landscape at Christophe Harbour is indeed beautiful.
A number of big-beast yachts are already in the marina, their owners attracted by the rare opportunity to own a freehold berth.
This marina, says Darby, will be the “heartbeat of Christophe Harbour”. Other completed facilities include a gym, a sophisticated beach club and restaurant, a hugely popular waterfront bar and the five-star Park Hyatt hotel. An 18-hole golf course and further sports facilities are planned.
Newly completed homes start from £1 million for fully furnished two-bedroom to four-bedroom villas.
These are substantial, detached homes with high, vaulted ceilings and finished with coral stone and tropical hardwoods.
Half-acre plots start from £525,000, some by the beach and others in the hills, while completed single-storey homes available as deeded fractions are priced at £370,000 for five weeks’ annual use.
“Owners are buying into a world-class resort lifestyle but they also like the island’s links to the UK, direct flight access and low-tax regime,” says Gary Costello from Christophe Harbour.
Elsewhere on St Kitts & Nevis homes start from £150,000 for a smaller villa in a more affordable resort community, says Robert Cooper of 7th Heaven Properties.
“The price range is comparable to nearby Antigua and significantly more affordable than locations such as St Barths, where asking prices start around £1.5 million,” he adds.
At 1,100sq ft, a house with two bedrooms and use of a communal pool and gardens close to the beach in smart Frigate Bay is £177,000. Across in quiet Nevis, a three-bedroom hillside villa with private pool and views to St Barths is £300,000, both with 7th Heaven Properties.
Living in St Kitts
Maurice Widdowson arrived in St Kitts 47 years ago and knew he wanted to stay. “The work ethic and character of the people was hugely appealing and still is,” he says.
“Tourism has just brought better restaurants, bars and facilities.”
Plantation transformation: Maurice Widdowson of Wingfield Estate on St Kitts, with his wife Debbie, their son Jack and daughter Harriet
In 1974, Widdowson bought an overgrown, abandoned plantation estate above old road, the oldest settled town in the Caribbean, and over the years has restored, refurbished and replanted.
Wingfield Estate is now one of St Kitts’ best-loved tourist sites, famous as the first land given by the English crown in the Caribbean in 1625 and owned by the Earls of Romney from 1713 to 1874.
Widdowson lives in Frigate Bay with his wife Debbie but is on the estate daily, serving rum cake to cruise ship visitors, helping out in his thriving batik shop, planning a memorial garden naming all the slaves who worked there and keeping an eye on the mango trees and wild orchids in the gardens.
“Most visitors are from the US but Brits like St Kitts and feel comfortable here,” he says.
Wingfield estate: caribellebatikstkitts.com/wingfield-estate/
St Kitts history
St Kitts is overshadowed by better-known Antigua and Barbados but its historical role is significant. It was the first island colonised by the English Crown in 1627 and the first to mass-produce sugar cane.
It gained independence in 1983 and remains a member of the Commonwealth. Tourism has boomed with over one million cruise ship passengers arriving each year, accounting for 25 per cent of GDP.
St Kitts was also the first country worldwide to introduce a Citizenship by Investment passport. Anyone investing £151,000-plus in approved property qualifies for a St Kitts passport, allowing visa-free travel to more than 150 countries including the UK and Europe.