There is rarely a shortage of entertainment on Nevis. This sister island of Saint Kitts is steeped in history and tradition, which makes it a true Caribbean gem for travelers who care as much for learning about and embracing local culture as they do for kicking back and relaxing on a beach with stunning blue waters.
Visitors to this West Indies paradise can find as much enjoyment in the Museum of Nevis History or at Fort Charles, the 17th century military base, as they will sipping cocktails with their toes in the sand on the popular Pinney’s Beach. And some repeat visitors would probably recommend scheduling vacations around the island’s popular annual events like the Sea Turtle Experience and Nevis Culturama, a two-week festival that celebrates local arts and the emancipation of slaves in 1830 with pageants, a street fair, and the Grand Cultural Parade.
There’s also an incredible devotion to wellness and fitness, as Nevis hosts the annual Marathon and Running Festival, the Nevis Triathlon, and the Nevis Cross Channel Swim. And let’s not forget the Nevis Mango and Food Festival, which pays tribute to the island’s unique culinary offerings and puts a huge spotlight on the massive variety of mangos the island produces.
At the heart of this historic embrace is Montpelier Plantation & Beach, an award-winning boutique resort that merges modern designs and amenities with the property’s own incredible legacy, which dates back to 1687. From Lord Horatio Nelson’s wedding in 1787 to Princess Diana’s Caribbean vacations, Montpelier has so many stories to tell, which makes staying at this secluded luxury hotel an adventure in itself.
It’s a Package Deal
What makes Montpelier such a special place to stay is how it incorporates everything that makes Nevis so great into its vacation packages. When we last visited, the resort was hosting Pilates Week, which featured London Stott Pilates instructor Vanessa Pearce leading sessions in Montpelier’s yoga studio that overlooks Nevis Peak. Several weeks later, in conjunction with the island’s food festival, Montpelier launched the Mango Festival Package. This particular offering, while only three days, came with considerable pride, as the resort’s Chef de Cuisine Halva Browne and his culinary crew were the reigning back-to-back champions of the festival’s mango-cooking competition.
Perhaps above all else, Montpelier is an ideal choice for life’s great celebrations. The property’s historic buildings make for stellar backdrops and one of the best destination wedding experiences anywhere in the Caribbean. Best of all, the resort’s staff can handle all the planning, so the star couple and any guests can kick back and enjoy the stunning surroundings.
Things to Climb, Places to Dive
For beach bums who simply want to catch a nap under the sun or splash in the Caribbean waters—should you be able to get away from the resort’s 60-foot freshwater pool—Montpelier delivers with three acres of private beach, where umbrellas, gazebos, and even a secluded cove await, and lunch and cocktail service will make sure you never want to leave.
If you do leave, though, Pinney’s or Oualie Beach will also check all your boxes, or couples looking for more privacy can visit the appropriately named Lovers Beach. Divers will especially want to head to Oualie, where Dive Nevis offers dive and snorkeling courses, as well as private charters to view the region’s diverse marine life up close.
Or stay dry and hit the island with Nevis Adventure Tours, which offers biking and hiking excursions through the island’s historic locations and to some of the most beautiful natural spots you might not even know exist. Perfect for (but certainly not exclusive to) more experienced hikers, the Nevis Peak “Up and Over” tour combines nature and history by challenging guests to hike from the village of Zetlands, up and over the mountain—through all of its lush vegetation—ending at the iconic Hamilton Estate.
Speaking of Alexander
The smash Broadway play Hamilton brought the Founding Father and first secretary of the treasury into the pop culture spotlight, but the native son is always a star on Nevis. Island Buzz Tours Nevis will take visitors back in time with a stop at Alexander Hamilton’s birthplace before heading to the port to see the canons that once roared in defense of this island.
Or, if adventure is the only priority on the itinerary, a company like Funky Monkey Tours will take the experience off-road so visitors can see the best of Nevis’s natural beauty up close.
Staying at Montpelier
Widely regarded as one of the best properties on Nevis, Montpelier boasts 16 rooms and three suites that were all designed with the island’s natural surroundings in minds. The Premier and Plantation rooms combine tropical beauty with modern touches, while the suites—Garden, Tamarind Villa and Little House—offer more space and special views of the property’s gardens and Nevis Peak.
Guests seeking an elegant, romantic dinner will be pleased with Restaurant 750’s modern fare that is accentuated by the chef’s use of local ingredients, or a more casual (yet equally fulfilling) lunch and dinner can be had at Indigo. But the one dining experience that should be on every guest’s bucket list is Mill Privée, Montpelier’s 300-year-old sugar mill that has been kept in pristine condition and converted into a truly unique restaurant, where guests can enjoy tasting dinners with wine pairings selected by the sommelier.
Perhaps the best thing about Montpelier, and the thing that is most indicative of the island’s charm and embrace of visitors, is how guests are always greeted by a member of the Hoffman family, which has owned the resort since 2002. After all, on the little island, it is truly the little things that make the biggest memories.