It’s been named one of the “Top Resorts in the World” and “Best Beach Resort in the Caribbean” by Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure respectively, and it’s earned a Four Diamond ratting from AAA.
What exactly does it take to earn that honor? A stay at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club proves that it’s worth its weight in awards, but not necessarily in the way you might expect.
Nevis is located in the West Indies region of the Caribbean, next to its sister island, St. Kitts. The two are located where the eastern Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. St. Kitts is a much larger island with big resorts, while Nevis has only 406 hotel rooms in total. You won’t find any casinos or malls here, just one main downtown in the capital city of Charlestown.
The attraction of Nevis is one of relaxation, with clean air. It’s considered one of the greenest islands in the Caribbean since the dormant Mount Nevis volcano is a source of geothermal power. With a total of only 36 square miles, you will feel the laid back nature of an island you can explore by bicycle. Just beware of goats and green monkeys crossing the road, the latter of which outnumber the people.
The history of Nisbet Plantation dates back to the 18th century to owners William Woodward and Mary Herbert. Their daughter, Frances Herbert, married Dr. Jonah Nisbet. She was only 22 when he died in 1787, but she kept the plantation alive by quickly marrying a British hero.
Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson, a naval captain who would also receive the titles of Knight and Baron, moved into the plantation’s Great House with Frances. The foundation of this house is what the resort was built around.
While Nevis has no shortage of boutique properties, the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is the only one with the distinction of being a former plantation located on the beach. It’s located on 30 acres, allowing for nearly a full acre of tropical breeze for each of its 36 rooms.
When you arrive at Nisbet Plantation, you will be brought into the small reception area, greeted personally for individual check-in, and given a cocktail to welcome you.
The short path that leads from reception to the back of the Great House takes you to the large, lush walkway where you will see the beach ahead in the distance. It’s lined with palm trees, and dotted with cottages on each side, the first of which is the location of a small spa, which offers just enough treatments to keep you pampered during your stay.
The rooms at Nisbet Plantation are not luxurious in the Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons sense. The layouts are different, but each one has at least a living room, bedroom, and large bathroom. Some of the rooms are right next to another in the same cottage.
You will quickly realize that this resort is not at the top of the lists because of magnificent Jacuzzis or state of the art electronics. You will find (complimentary) wireless internet, but no televisions; a stocked mini-bar, but no room service. A clock will not even be provided unless you request one.
The lure of Nisbet is the luxury of privacy, impeccable service, and never having to wait for a spot at the beach or pool.
Most of the guests of Nisbet Plantation choose to take the meal plan and you certainly can’t go wrong with this option. Breakfast is at Coconuts, an open air restaurant with a view of the ocean. The large menu includes lots of fresh fruit, eggs prepared any way you would like, pancakes, and specialty items such as coconut-crusted French toast and pineapple-laden corned beef hash.
Lunch is at the Beach Bar, where you can sit on a table right at the beach. Many guests skip lunch and opt for the authentic Afternoon Tea experience on the patio of the Great House. Sandwiches, petit fours, and cookies are served with the tea of the day. This is especially popular with the large number of guests who come here from Great Britain.
Dinner at Nisbet Plantation is in the Great House. The tables are intimate with indoor and outdoor seating. The menu changes every day and dishes range from Caribbean favorites such as Goat Stew, to more continental dishes like Grilled Rosemary Scented Lamb Chops. The homemade gelato is not to be missed.
The idea of Nisbet Plantation is to do whatever you’d like, or nothing at all. You’ll find a tennis court on the property, as well as a small watersports center. If you’d like to venture out for more activity, the staff will be more than happy to organize a deep sea fishing expedition or a snorkeling catamaran cruise from Islander Watersports.
You will not have to leave the resort for the feeling of total relaxation. Hammocks hang from palm trees on the beach, where the lounge chairs are plentiful and spaced out enough for intimacy. If you prefer, you can enjoy the pool or hot tub, which are both located on a deck overlooking the clear aqua water of the ocean.
The Nevis airport is a small one and mostly accommodates private jets. Guests of the Nevis Plantation usually fly into St. Kitts. The hotel arranges for transfers from there to the boat dock, where you’ll board for the six minute ride to Nevis. A driver will be waiting for you to take you on the short drive to paradise at Nisbet Plantation.