The island of Nevis is not for everybody, nor is it meant to be. However, if you are looking for a place to get as far away from the everyday as possible, and are looking for a tropical local, centered around it’s natural beauty, this is the place. During my recent visit to the island of Nevis, I was privileged to stay at two resorts on opposite ends of the resort spectrum. I visited the resorts and checked out various parts of their operation, including a sampling of rooms, and their restaurants.

Nevis Resort reviews:

The Hermitage Plantation

The first resort I visited is one of many sugar plantations throughout Nevis (and the rest of the Caribbean for that matter). Like several others I will review below, the Hermitage Plantation has been converted to a charming resort. Located on the side of Mt. Nevis, it is subject to the cooling eastern trade-winds year-round. At its heart, the resort reminds me of the small family resorts scattered throughout the Pennsylvania mountains in the area known as the Poconos (before the champagne glass jacuzzis arrived.)

The Hermitage Plantation Manor House

This may be intentional, since the owner, Richard, originally comes from that area. The resort is made up of the main plantation house, and 15 cabins built and furnished in the local style, and yet, still reminiscent of the northeast style cabin resorts I mentioned earlier. That means heavy beams, light colors and no air conditioning. I know what you are thinking, and in a way, you are right. No A/C is a difficult thing to get used to. It is hot and steamy in the summer season and, until the sun goes down, the breeze, while refreshing was still a little bit warm. The rest of the year the cooling breezes off of the water are all of the air conditioning you will need.

This resort is known for two special things. First, the manor house is routinely considered to be the oldest surviving wooden building in the Caribbean (reason enough to visit the resort, even if you aren’t staying here), and, in my opinion, the best rum punch in the Caribbean (even more reason to visit). I have had hundreds of variations of rum punch, and this one, with sourness from sour oranges grown on the mountain, and sweetness from a brown sugar simple syrup, tops them all.

Traditional in the northeast, the lack of A/C can scare those in the south and southwest. If it scares you, then pick one of the other lovely resorts on the island, most of which do have A/C. The evening temperatures cool to an average between 74F and 78F, with a constant breeze off the ocean. I was worried, but found that after running around all day, a cool shower was sufficient preparation for bed and I slept soundly to the peeping of tree frogs, and the sounds of the various other animals moving around the grounds.

It was the intention of Richard, and his sun Richie, who now handles the day-to-day operation, to build the resort as an addition to their home. Everyone is welcomed as friends (your first visit) or close family (any subsequent visit). The positive to this are that you are treated with respect, for example, if nobody is at the bar, and you want a drink, you pour it yourself, and simply mark the drink down on a pad of paper in the bar. The negative is that, sometimes you have to pour your drink yourself. The staff isn’t there to wait on you hand and foot (go to the Four Seasons for that), but they are there to make sure that anything you need is available.

The rooms are sufficient, but not opulent. The food is excellent, but not cutting edge, and the staff is friendly, but not overbearing. And the other guests are usually a bit more international than with other resorts on the island, with many being British. Rates range from $180/night for a garden view cabin (including breakfast for 2) during low season, to a Luxury cottage (that can sleep four or more) during high season for a rate of $555/night. The resort is constantly offering specials (a free night or more, depending on how many nights you are booking). Simply send them an email and ask.

The Four Seasons Resort – Nevis

In 1990, after the success of the Four Seasons Spa and Resort in Dallas (the first full service Spa located in a Luxury Hotel), Four Seasons decided to open its first two tropical resorts. One was opened in Maui, and the other on Nevis. The resort was intentionally designed to blend into the tropical surroundings, and succeeds admirably. The resort’s lush grounds and beautiful, privately owned but rent-able Villas outwardly blend into the luxuriant greens and oranges of the surrounding countryside.

The Four Seasons Nevis

The resort follows the formal credo of all Four Seasons Resorts: We treat others – all others: customers, employees, partners, suppliers – as one would wish to be treated. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the resort is perfect, it is in a tropical location after all. It has a few small physical blemishes that are easily ignored in favor of the personalized service for which The Four Seasons is known. Because it happened to be my birthday while I was visiting the resort, one of my co-workers had sent ahead my photograph. The number of people on the staff who recognized me and greeted me with a, “Happy Birthday” was staggering.

Customer Service is the cornerstone of the Four Seasons brand. Four Seasons rarely stops there, of course, and this resort is no different. The signature Four Seasons bed and linens make your rest a comfortable one. The food (I dined at the Coral Grill) is served with the flair that has become expected resorts of this caliber, and shows the variety of foods available on the island, from Octopus Carpaccio (thinly sliced and drizzled with a bit of olive oil and chili) to a Surf and Turf featuring super-jumbo shrimp and perfectly grilled Filet Magnon. There are four dining options available at the resort (plus in-room dining). Breakfast (a la carte, or buffet) is served at Neve, which is also open for dinner. Mango (at the north end of the resort) serves local West-Indies cuisine out in the open air, and, finally a program called Taste by Four Seasons, where you work directly with the Chef to create your meal.

One of the most interesting options is called Dive & Dine. Certified divers will join the chef and a certified dive master to dive for the local spiny lobster (caught the local way, with a lasso) which will then be prepared by the Chef. While I was there, one of the divers picked up a 6 pound beauty, which fed his whole family.

The resort features three pools (all with a view of the deep blue Caribbean water and the nearby island of St. Kitts), one for families, one general pool, and one adults only pool (called the Reflection Pool). All were fairly quiet on the days I visited them, but, I am sure that during the high season (October to April) the family pools are full of energy.

The Dock at the Four Seasons Nevis

The Four Seasons Resorts also have a reputation for supporting the local communities and nature. During the days I was at the resort, they were partnering with the Sea Turtle Conservancy to tag, release and track female turtles who had nested on the island that morning. I, along with about 20 others were present to watch the newest turtle in the family (Sugar) be released back into the wild by a group of scientists dedicated to preserving and conserving our sea turtle population.

My stay at the Four Seasons was interesting and relaxing. The Four Seasons is an all around enjoyable resort in the true Four Seasons way, “Treat all others the way you would like to be treated.” Believe me, it was quite a Birthday surprise.