The caring Caribbean
A luxury resort on St Kitts has an innovative green philosophy
Valmiki Kempadoo had a dream. A tall, erudite Trinidadian with a passion for horticulture, Kempadoo wanted to create an entirely sustainable, organic farm on his beloved Caribbean island of St Kitts. A farm that would help the local economy and provide jobs; a farm where he could indulge his interest in botany and horticulture, and create a tree nursery. A farm with a hotel attached.
Construction began in 2008, and Belle Mont Farm opened as a hotel last year. Set in the foothills of Mount Liamuiga volcano, there are now 84 low-lying cottages (and seven four-bedroom farmhouses plus five villas) surrounded by a fertile forest of greenery. There is no beach in sight, and it’s all the better for it. Kempadoo used local contractors, some of whom had never done any- thing on this scale before and didn’t even know how to read plans. He watched Belle Mont Farm — which is part of a larger scheme, Kittitian Hill — take shape with growing excitement. “I loved seeing the buildings go up because they flowed together,” he says.
The farm was designed by the Asia-based architect Bill Bensley, using locally milled stone. The look of its cottages is based on chattel houses (traditional plantation workers’ homes); the furniture is dark cedar wood and the style is colonial. Clapboard with cedar shingle roofs, the little houses manage to blend in seamlessly with the luscious vegetation.
The development cost $US400 million ($535 million) but, in a canny move, much of it was financed by real-
Charming guest accommodation at Belle Mont Farm, St Kitts, above and above left