Seeking a simpler life? The Caribbean island of Nevis may be just what you need…
The tiny unspoilt Caribbean island of Nevis is linked to two 18th century nautical legends. Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and father of the U.S. Coast Guard, was born in Charlestown’s Low Street and British Naval Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was stationed on Nevis as a young captain, and met and married Nevisian Frances Nisbet there in 1787.
You can still see the magnificent cotton silk tree under which the couple are said to have tied the knot. It sits in the grounds of the lovely Montpelier Plantation, discovered in 1687 by Secretary of the Royal Society of England Hans Sloane, of Sloane Square fame, and owned by the Hoffman family since 2002.
They have created the beautiful Montpelier Plantation & Beach set on 60 acres amid lush tropical hills at the base of the majestic Nevis Peak. With stone walls enclosing a peaceful tropical oasis, colorful modern art works by a local artist sit alongside traditional colonial furnishings and Muffin Hoffman herself graciously welcomes guests and adds her own distinctive style to the property.
Montpelier Plantation & Beach has18 sea-view rooms housed in beautiful spacious bungalows, including 16 rooms and two suites, each with private terraces. Designed to complement the natural surroundings, the rooms are airy and carefully positioned to take advantage of the soothing trade winds. The Tamarind two-bedroom Villa has a more contemporary style with a private pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Each bedroom has an en suite bathroom with views of Nevis Peak. The Tamarind Villa also has an iPod docking station, espresso machine and a flat-screen TV. Former guests include Diana Princess of Wales.
My favourite spot is the beautiful blue freshwater mosaic pool which lies in front of a 300 year old sugar mill which is now the setting for an intimate restaurant. Mill Privée hosts tasting dinners with wine pairing and is, according to the hotel’s owner Muffin Hoffman, the only restaurant in the world set in a sugar mill. Other dining options include Restaurant 750 for smart al fresco dining and poolside Indigo Bar & Restaurant which offers casual dining and superb cocktails.
The hotel has its own private and secluded beach a short journey away which you can make your own personal desert island paradise for the day with your bartender on hand. It has stylish cabanas, parasols, loungers and a pavilion and you can order a picnic delivered by the hotel to dine in relaxed undisturbed luxury.
Nevis is an old-style Caribbean island without the bling found on some of the islands. Previously known as the ‘Queen of the Caribees’ it was prized by the British as its closest colony (in nautical terms) and most successful and profitable colonies, creating a model for the plantation system based on sugar production and slavery
The noisiest inhabitants these days are the cheeky vervet monkeys and the tree frogs. But although quiet, Nevis can still party and you can enjoy some great rum cocktails at laid back beach bars such as Sunshine’s on Penney’s Beach.
As well as the fascinating Nevis Heritage Trail, which gives an insight into the cultures and historical influence to be found here, the tiny island of Nevis has great beaches, hiking trails, water sports and golf. You will spot families of monkeys, donkeys, lizards and mongoose.
Montpelier has an open air spa and yoga. The hotel can arrange snorkelling, sunset cruises, fishing and diving trips. The adventurous can climb Nevis Peak (3,232 feet) or take a gentler hike into the rainforest. The Botanical Gardens are a short walk from the hotel and there are a number of historical sites in the pretty narrow streets of downtown Charlestown including the Hamilton Museum.
Montpelier Room rates range from £387 for Premier Room to £1141 for Tamarind Villa
British Airways flies twice a week to St Kitts. Guests travel from St Kitts by a scenic ferry ride.
Montpelier Plantation and Beach, P.O. Box 474, Nevis, West Indies