If you’ve dreamed about a luxurious island holiday but find many destinations overcrowded and commercialized, then the delightful Caribbean island of Nevis is calling you.
Unlike its larger companion island of St. Kitts two miles away, Nevis only has a population of around 12,000, doesn’t host any large cruise ships and allows no major chain stores. Instead, the unique casual elegance of Nevis is evident in every aspect of island life.
You’ll first fly into St. Kitts and then catch a water taxi over to Nevis. While it takes only a short time, this extra step helps keep the masses at bay.
Once on Nevis, you’ll take a deep breath and realize you truly have arrived somewhere different. The hustle and buzz of St. Kitts disappears, and you immediately feel that things are slower here – in a good way. The breeze rustles the palm trees and the birds chirp lazily as you meander toward your accommodations.
Luxurious plantation living on Nevis
Nevis offers a range of spectacular accommodations; many are built upon the island’s strong ties to its sugar plantation roots.
We stayed at the lovely Hermitage Plantation Inn, which intermingles British colonial elegance with West Indian charm.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with the house specialty, Rum Punch. Drinking a delicious fruity cocktail on the terrace while overlooking the lush gardens and peering out to the sea is a recipe for instant relaxation!
On Wednesdays, you can experience the Hermitage’s famous “Pig Night.”
This West Indian buffet – served in traditional Nevis clay pots – features roasted suckling pig, local curries and other classic West Indian dishes made from recipes handed down through the generations. People from all over the island come to enjoy the wide variety of tasty dishes and wonderful hospitality.
Another fine place to stay is the luxurious Montpelier Plantation & Beach.
An elegant Relais & Chateaux property, it’s hosted privacy-seeking celebrities, including the late Princess Diana, who retreated here with her two boys after separating from Prince Charles. You’ll feel like a celebrity, too, when you book dinner in their sugar mill.
Dining by candlelight inside the Montpelier’s 300-year-old sugar mill is an experience you’ll find nowhere else in the world – the ultimate in private and intimate dining!
Right near the shore, the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is also worth considering. The beautiful grounds include 30 acres and cottage-style accommodations with enough space around them so privacy and comfort are easily yours.
The Nisbet pays special attention to the culinary desires of patrons, and no request goes unmet. In the elegant Great House, expert chefs regularly harmonize local flavors with innovative fusion in dishes like the Nisbet seafood cioppino and island conch-and-dumpling soup. On Thursday nights, you can head out to the beachfront for a BBQ by the waves. For a traditional afternoon tea or cocktails accompanied by live music, make your way to the lounge.
A fun feature of the Nisbet is its “Avenue of the Palms.” A popular venue for weddings, the Nisbet plants a palm tree in honor of the loving couple, many of whom return year after year to check in how their trees are growing.
How about staying in a villa? Golden Rock Inn provides villas available for weekly or monthly rentals. They come with blossoming gardens, sea views and alfresco dining. The historic property’s restoration integrates artistic vision as well as nature – island monkeys, local donkeys, colorful birds and nocturnal tree frogs all amuse and serenade you in this lush paradise.
If you’re looking for something a bit more familiar yet still enchanting, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis may be right for you. Set among the peaceful and extensive grounds, you’ll find luxury suites, spacious rooms and villas. Its spa, dining options and three, free-form infinity pools (one right beside the Caribbean sea with an 83-foot long swimming lane) offer everything you’d expect from a first-class luxury resort.
The Four Seasons also has plenty of bars where you can catch the sunset with a libation, as well as opportunities for rum tastings.
And to add a little bit of adventure, join a “Dive and Dine” excursion – a Four Seasons Chef and a Nevisian divemaster take you to catch your own lobster, which is then prepared by the chef for your dinner.
The birthplace of Alexander Hamilton
Throughout the island, you’ll discover cultural reminders of Nevis’ history; there are numerous artifacts from the colonial era and the sugar trade.
Alexander Hamilton was born on Nevis, and you can learn more about him by visiting his birthplace. This restored Georgian building now houses the Museum of Nevis History.
Nevisians also celebrate the annual Culturama festival. Designed to protect and celebrate indigenous Nevisian culture, it includes traditional folk dances, arts, crafts and food.
A food traveler’s dream come true!
A big pleasure in Nevis is the local cuisine.
Of course, fresh seafood is abundant, so seafood is a highlight. Lobster is one of our favorites, and you’ll find no lack of it being served, whether in delectable grilled platters or light and luscious salads.
Local institution Sunshines has a beachside cafe where you can get your fill of seafood, including lobster, grouper and mahi-mahi, along with cocktails like the famous “Killer Bee” and a favorite Caribbean beer, Caribe.
Another fun spot is the Chrisi Beach Club right at the shore.
Chrisi’s owner, Hedda Wienpahl, had visited Nevis several times when some locals finally told her, “It’s time.” They were right. Hedda and her family moved to Nevis and opened the Chrisi Beach Club. Now they’re looking at adding more beachfront property for a resort. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for repeat visitors to stay for good!
There are plenty of romantic spots for delicious meals, too.
Bananas Restaurant is owned by a former traveling professional dancer who decided to hang up her shoes and learn to cook. The charming restaurant and bar is well known for its sinfully good coconut cake and superb collection of aged rums.
A true island escape
These days it’s hard to find a getaway where you can feel pampered without pretension, eat gourmet food for your soul, and enjoy beautiful beaches without a crowd.
If you’d like to see just what a tiny, luxurious, hidden gem of an island retreat looks like, look no further than Nevis.
Relax, enjoy, repeat!
What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?
- Beautiful Caribbean island without the crowds
- Unique accommodations and outstanding food and drink
- Effort is required to get to the island.
- Go prepared to deal with mosquitoes.
IF YOU GO
*All photo credits: Sue Reddel and Diana Laskaris (except lead photo)
The authors were hosted by the Nevis Tourism Authority.
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