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St. Kitts: Paradise Found

Consider St. Kitts the Caribbean island that tourism forgot. While Nevis and Anguilla welcomed Four Seasons and St. Regis and other Leeward Islands spruced up to attract tourists, St. Kitts stayed off the radar, fueled by its sugarcane industry. But when the last Kittitian sugarcane plant closed in 2005, the island’s economy was left up in the air. So what’s a Caribbean idyll to do?Become a tropical playground that appeals to high-end travelers and environmentalists alike.

Leading the charge to transform St. Kitts is Auberge Resorts, whose Sandy Bank Bay, complete with a 50-room hotel, spa, and golf course, will open next year on an uninhabited 1,700-acre peninsula. Also on the horizon: Ocean’s Edge, a $100 million real estate project pegged to open in early 2008. The government, meanwhile, has drawn up a plan to revitalize Basseterre, the colonial capital, a gem with sherbet-colored buildings, and is creating a marine sanctuary in the island’s waters. St. Kitts may be a little late to the party, but it’s definitely on track for a fashionable entrance.

Stay

Ottley’s Plantation Inn (869/465-7234; www.ottleys.com; doubles from $318) and Rawlins Plantation Hotel (869/465-6221; www.rawlinsplantation.com; doubles from $405) are two converted historic houses that recall a more genteel era.

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