The island of Nevis is perched off St. Kitts’ southern shore like an emerald punctuation point. And although this region of the Caribbean is always referred to as St. Kitts and Nevis (with Nevis taking second billing), for me Nevis is the star. While St. Kitts has embraced cruise ships, large resorts and casinos, Nevis remains as it has been for centuries – a community of industrious, congenial folk who want to preserve the natural beauty of their island by welcoming tourism, but not letting it change the essence of their home. My first impression was that Nevis reminds me a bit of Tahiti with verdant rainforests climbing a central volcanic peak, and a single rambling road circling the island to connect small towns, parishes and plantations. Nevis is located 200 miles south of Puerto Rico and just west of Antigua.
We have traveled to Nevis to experience Nisbet Plantation, a small luxury resort that was named the #1 resort in the Caribbean by readers of Travel and Leisure Magazine in 2010. Our journey begins with a swift boat ride from Cockleshell Beach on St. Kitts, across the channel to Oualie Beach, Nevis. The island’s own Calvin Klein meets us and provides taxi transport down the road to Nisbet Plantation.
The entrance to the resort is graced by the ruins of an ancient windmill whose keystone still bears the initials of famed residents Captain Horatio Nelson and his wife (the widow) Fanny Nisbet from 1778 when the property was run as a sugar plantation. Nisbet Plantation today is a beautiful property with 30 acres of rolling green lawns punctuated with Royal Palm trees and 36 quaint yellow and white beach cottages running from the historic Great House down to the sea. In fact, Nisbet is the only plantation in the entire Caribbean to enjoy a beachfront location – and the beach at Nisbet is arguably the most beautiful on the island of Nevis.
The lovely grounds, striking beachfront, and quaint cottages, are just the beginning of the charms that await you at Nisbet Plantation. This resort feels more like a private club where you are welcomed to join the ladies and gentlemen in the study of the elements necessary for complete relaxation. The staff at Nisbet are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. They take a personal interest in assuring that you are having a wonderful stay. “Good morning Miss Susan, did you have a good sleep? What can I bring you for breakfast?” Good evening Mr. Clint what did you do for fun today?” Staying at Nisbet is like having a second family in the islands. Guests form such a strong bond that many return year after year – we met couples and families who have been vacationing at Nisbet Plantation for 10, 15…. 27 years!!! So settle in and relax, there’s nothing more important to do each day than work on your sun tan, splash in the pool, walk and snorkel your way along the beach, and dine on local specialties.
Meals are a highlight at Nisbet. Each meal is presented in a different venue, with breakfast starting off the day in Coconuts pavilion overlooking the pool and beach. Lunch and afternoon cocktails are served in the Sea Breeze Beach Bar at the water’s edge. A proper English Tea is served on the patio at the Great House in late afternoon, and dinner is a grand event offering four courses (often using local ingredients) being serviced at the historic Great House dining room.
But you won’t want to spend all your time at Nisbet Plantation… there are lots of interesting places on Nevis to explore by car, taxi, or bicycle. You’ll definitely want to visit the ruins of the last sugar mill to operate on the island, and stop by the three hillside plantations that have been converted to beautiful inns – The Hermitage, Golden Rock and Montpelier. Take a stroll through the Nevis botanical gardens, visit the Fig Tree Church where Captain Nelson and Fanny Nisbet were married, watch for historic plaques that mark historic sites throughout the island and visit the Museum of Nevis History which is located in the home that was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton in the town of Charlestown. Share the road with frisky monkeys and roaming herds of sheep and goats, traffic is virtually non-existent. You won’t want to miss a stop at the newly re-opened Four Seasons Resort (very impressive). And be sure to consider a round of golf at the Four Season’s course – it’s a stunner! Finally as the day draws to a close, no excursion would be complete without sipping a famed “Stinger Bee” cocktail at Sunshine’s Bar and Grill as you watch the sunset.
Your plan for tomorrow? Making the first footprints in the sand as you stroll down the beach at Nisbet Plantation looking for an inviting spot to snorkel right offshore. Heaven. If you fancy a Caribbean vacation with quiet solitude in a beautiful setting with warm and gracious people, Nisbet Plantation invites you to join their treasured beach club of discerning travelers.