“Welcome to the garden of creativity and imagination,” said Winston, the nursery manager at Belle Mont Farm. He spread his arms wide open, referencing the rows and rows of plants in the background – but he might as well have been referring to the entire property. Belle Mont Farm, the garden of creativity and imagination.
Arriving to Kittitian Hill alone is magical: guests are whisked through the potting shed, where they can write their names on the leaves of the tree growing through the floor – when the leaves fall off, the front desk saves them to return to the guests upon their next visit. Still, you haven’t quite made it to Belle Mont, which is another golf cart ride away. The location of the property, on the outer edges of a rainforest, under the shadows of the dormant volcano, Mount Liamuiga, becomes evident on this golf cart ride until, finally, you reach the Lookout. The Lookout is seemingly underwhelming from the arrival, but step through the doors and you see where it gets its name:
The rooms are just as breathtaking, but here’s where you need to have someone – like an awesome travel advisor! – who has been working on your behalf in advance to procure you the perfect room and to manage your idea of what this experience will be like. Your bathroom situation can go one of two ways: you will love it or you will hate it…because it is completely outdoors.
Most of the rooms come with more than adequate amounts of privacy with the foliage, and thankfully we now know which of the rooms are ideal for guests (including one that features shutters). If you see yourself hating this concept, it’s best to wait to visit Belle Mont Farms until the completion of their new multi-bedroom villas, which will have enclosed bathrooms.
I will say that if I can survive and even learn to love an outdoor bathroom, anyone can. I am as far as it gets from outdoorsy and was taken aback by the concept upon arrival. However, 24 hours in and I think it’s pretty cool.
The property was already starting to work its way into my heart as I learned to relax a bit and enjoy the surrounding nature, but it truly became a special place once we enjoyed a dinner in the middle of the farm under the stars. We were fortunate enough to dine with Val Kempadoo, founder of Kittitian Hill and Belle Mont Farm. Val is a true visionary for this industry because his background is not in hospitality: his heart lies in social reformation and he views the hospitality industry as a vehicle for achieving that.
He created Belle Mont Farm with the vision of a luxury hotel that would benefit both the guests and the surrounding area. Val has given back to the community of St. Kitts by using only locals to build the property and providing a true farm-t0-table experience: if something cannot be produced on the island of St. Kitts and Nevis, it will not be served here, with the exception of their beverage selection. Otherwise, everything that a guest eats here has been locally sourced, most of which is farmed right on site.
Or, fished right on site – as we saw at Belle Mont’s restaurant, Arthur’s, which is a “sea to table” dining experience.
Val’s vision was one of breaking the mold and creating something meaningful. “But,” he explained to us over the most amazing glazed duck and fresh roasted carrots I’ve ever had in my life, “you have to get people out of their comfort zone in order to create meaningful experiences.”
Those comfort zone experiences are as small as learning to adapt to an outdoor bathroom and as significant as teaching guests to look outward for their sense of entertainment – that everyone has a story to tell and it’s limitless what you might learn from the gardeners, the farmers, and the staff. One of the upcoming restaurants that they will open will also be the staff’s dining quarters – but guests will also be allowed to dine and get to know everyone on a more personal level.
The sense of community here is already so obvious and genuine, especially during our dining experiences. We’ve met Val’s sister, a writer from Grenada who shared excerpts of her writing over our dinner on the farm under the stars. We’ve met Chef Christophe, the French chef who has managed to take these local ingredients to another level with his expert skills. And we’ve met Winston, the head gardener mentioned above, who helped us pick fresh mangoes for breakfast under a 200 year mango tree, all before engaging us in stories from his time on the island, complete with a rendition of what he sings to the plants to help them grow – “You are My Sunshine.”
The concept of storytelling is one that is near and dear to our hearts. It’s one of the pillars of our own business, it’s one of the reasons we are committed to New Story charity, and it’s becoming more of a common theme in the way people are doing business. To see it lived out at a property, though, is a first for me, but these are the memories that I will hold closest from my time here.
These, along with long days by the pool and some of the freshest, most delicious meals of my life.
Belle Mont Farm does it right – I can’t wait to see some of my favorite travelers visiting here! If you’d like more information or to begin planning your own trip, please fill out our request a trip form or email firstname.lastname@example.org