Work or Play? A Day Pass at Carambola Beach Club, St. Kitts
During my 7-night sailing journey around the Windward Islands of the Caribbean on the Royal Clipper, I was torn between exploring the ports we stopped at or hunting down an Internet cafe. Much like any sailboat in the middle of a sea, the onboard wifi was slow, and although I’d tried to clear away any writing assignments in advance, a flurry of urgent emails always seemed to be fluttering around the edges of my day. Work or Play? At the Carambola Beach Club on the island of St. Kitts. I was able to do both. Plus, there was little risk of getting my beach bag snatched (more on that later).
Unlike the larger cruise ships that dock at the main port (where it takes 30 minutes or more to get to the beach club), the Royal Clipper drops anchor offshore so you just hop in a tender for a quick 5 minute lift to shore. In fact, you can go back and forth as many times as you like or until the captain gets annoyed (something that never did happen!)
Because I was travelling alone and toting a laptop, two cameras, a notebook, a change of clothing and more, I wanted a deck chair near an attendant to watch my stuff while I took a walk. In St. Lucia, I’d been in the water swimming when two guys had made a mad dash for my bag on the beach. I stumbled out of the water yelling and scared them away but other people down the beach weren’t so lucky.
On St. Kitts I really did want to walk, swim and leave my laptop behind — South Friar’s Bay offers beautiful clear waters that are perfect for snorkelling (and green turtles).
A Beach Club seemed a perfect solution. The Carambola Beach Club is a fine-dining, 128-seat restaurant by night, but by day is a beach club offering lunch and resort day passes. This means you can rent a chair and umbrella, lounge on the beach, use the swanky facilities (showers, change rooms, washrooms) and enjoy a casual lunch and drinks at the restaurant /bar.
Leaving my gear under the watchful eyes of a chair attendant, I floated in the clear blue water without fear, deciding that Caramabola Beach Club is a great option if you’re travelling alone and want to enjoy a swim without having to pop your head out of the water every 5 minutes looking for perps. I know there are such things as anti-theft swimming devices but I’ve yet to see one that fits a credit card and a pair of glasses.
I also managed to enjoy a long walk along the beach at Friar’s Bay and, although I didn’t spot any monkeys or green turtles, I did discover Shipwreck, a rustic beach bar offering inexpensive drinks, friendly locals and rather rickety chairs but plenty of atmosphere.
A perfect combination of Work and Play.
Here’s what you need to know:
– Cost for a chair rental at Carambola Beach Club is $10 and if you want an umbrella, it’s an extra $10 USD.
– Cocktails and lunch are great options here with popular choices such as burgers or lighter choices such as a lobster salad, a healthy combo of leafy lettuce topped with tender chunks of local spiny lobster. They also offer delicious sushi as well as a Fish Fry buffet on special dates.
– There’s even a kid’s menu if you’ve got little ones with you.
– If you arrive with a group of six people or more, it may be possible to negotiate a discount.
– Wireless internet is free and works best the closer you are to the interior/lobby bar area.
– Interior decor space is upscale with Indonesian teak hardwoods and open, airy dining sections.
– Unlike a full Resort Day Pass in Mexico, drinks, towel service and meals are NOT included.
– Carmabola Beach Club has its own swimming pool, carved out of the ocean, handy if the ocean is rough.
– Taxi from the cruise port is $16 one-way (this was told to me by another guest so hasn’t been verified).
Carambola Beach Club opens daily at 11:00 a.m. It is only open on Cruise Ship days, so call ahead of you’re not on a cruise ship.
You can also find them on Facebook where they regularly post Summer Deals and other specials. They are currently offering a Summer Special at $35 USD per person for a 3-course dinner with wine.
Note that Carambola Beach Club closes during the summer.
Another alternative to an organized shore excursion is the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Casino.
The island of Nevis is also nearby so it’s also possible to take a water taxi and enjoy a day on one of their beautiful beaches. Check out this post for more: