Nevis; an island unlike any other in the Caribbean. Here wild donkeys and goats roam across the bitumen and fisherman haul their catch straight out of the ocean and onto the beach.
The vibrant colours of the island’s capital Charlestown dance to the rhythm of an ever present Soca beat, and rum punch prowess is always on display at the ramshackle beach bars that hug the coast.
Choose Nevis over St. Kitts as your destination and you’ll be inducted into a group of travellers privy to one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets. Choose to stay at the Historic Montpelier Plantation & Beach, and you’ve hit the island jackpot.
THE MONTPELIER PLANTATION & BEACH
Dating back to 1687 when one Sir Hans Sloane discovered the desirable mountain-side location, the Montpelier Plantation has a rich history of industry, romance, and hospitality.
After putting Nevis on the map with its profitable endeavour into sugar throughout the 18th century, and hosting the wedding of Horatio Nelson and Fanny Nisbet in 1787, during the mid-1960s Briton James Gaskell transformed the then crumbling 30-acre estate into an icon of Nevisian luxury.
Vibrant colours of bougainvillea and hibiscus, and the indomitable form of an archaic weeping fig tree dominate the view as you enter the property. The 18th-century stone windmill that crushed sugar cane when Montpelier was in operation stands solitary, it’s sails no more, aside the plantation’s Great House (rebuilt on the site of the original sugar refinery).
Encompassing 19 contemporary plantation rooms that boast a simplistic blend of symmetry, clean lines, and the colours of the lush gardens and azure ocean, a stay at Montpelier will elevate your experience of the island there’s no doubt.
Having checked into an ocean view room for two blissful nights, here’s my review of Montpelier Plantation & Beach in a digestible listicle format.
HERE ARE 9 REASONS YOU NEED A PLANTATION VACATION AT MONTPELIER IN NEVIS
#1 THE UNFETTERED ISLAND AND OCEAN VISTAS
From its position aside the often cloud-shrouded Nevis Peak, the Montpelier Plantation looks out over the cerulean waters of the Caribbean Sea towards neighbouring Montserrat in the south.
Boasting windward ocean vistas bordered by lush natural landscaping and cotton candy clouds, the views from the property’s plantation rooms are sublime.
#2 THE RESIDENT FOUR-PAWED STAFF MEMBER COSMO
I rank Cosmo so highly in my rundown of Montpelier’s best bits because the kind fellow spent much of my second morning showing me around the estate. He joined me just after breakfast as I stood camera in hand in the courtyard admiring the restored sugar mill.
He me through the palm-frond lined pathways and down into the gardens and seemed to relish showing me around his pad, and was thrilled when I invited him to join me on the hammock!
His feline sidekick was also quite the cutie.
#3 THE TASTING MENU SERVED IN THE MILL PRIVÉE
The only restaurant of its kind in the world, the restored sugar mill is perhaps the most prominent of the estate’s features and serves as a reminder of its origins. Reserved for diners sampling the Plantation’s gourmet five course tasting menu (created by Executive Chef Cristian Bassi) or those looking for a private dining experience, the atmospheric setting of well-trodden stone floors and hand-cut round stonewalls adds an unparalleled luxury to the evening.
#4 THE PICTURESQUE POOLSIDE VIEWS
Take up residence by the pool, unfurl your towel on a sun lounger, and watch as clouds skitter through the sky. To your left the iconic sugar mill juxtaposes the brooding peak of Mount Nevis, and to your right the verdant gardens sprawl out across the landscape and down to the island’s deserted southern shore.
Sip a cocktail, or try a fresh island juice, and just relax, you’re in paradise.
#5 THE SUMPTUOUS ISLAND INSPIRED BREAKFASTS
A breakfast buffet of fresh island fruits, nuts, cereals, and pastries, served with a selection of juices, teas, and coffee is the perfect way to start your day.
There’s also a menu of inspired hot options such as goat cheese, egg white scramble on toast, and an insta-worthy, full Nevisian breakfast. #yummy
#6 THE VIBRANT HUES OF KIRK MECHAR’s CONTEMPORARY ART
In contrast to the muted tones of the plantation’s Nevisian stone construction, the vibrant hues of artist Kirk Mechar’s contemporary art which adorns the Great House and plantation rooms brighten the estate’s interiors.
“A blaze of soft or strong colours, a unification of patterns and lines testify the uniqueness of his abstract paintings. Modern and contemporary art, impressive in size, and quality paintings, wooden and metal sculptures in bold colours are the ubiquitous element of Mechar’s expression.”
They look darn beautiful too.
#7 THE SECLUDED SANDS OF MONTPELIER BEACH
While staying at the Montpelier Plantation you can enjoy an idyllic, mountain-side location, and also a secluded beach-side escape. Just a short drive (15 min) from the property, lies a beautiful cove where beach huts, a beach bar, and palm-fringed sands lay in wait.
One of the prettiest stretches of sand on Nevis, the Montpelier Beach is reserved exclusively for its guests and offers unparalleled views over the azure ocean across to neighbouring St. Kitts.
#8 THE RICH HERITAGE OF NEVIS’ ONCE THRIVING SUGAR INDUSTRY
Precious little evidence of Nevis’ profitable sugar industry remains on the island. Where once there were 30 large estates growing cane, today production has ceased entirely and much of the infrastructure (built largely out of timber), has long since disappeared.
Montpelier is one of a handful of estates that has been lovingly restored; the sugar mill and Great House, along with the steam driven cane crushers and copper boiling pots once housed within bring the estate to life.
#9 THE PLANTATION’S DEDICATION TO ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY
Conscious of its ecological impact on Nevis’ delicate ecosystems, Montpelier is continually working to reduce its effect on the natural environment. Rainwater collection systems, automatic lighting, and plastic and packaging reduction schemes are all in place on site.
Furthermore the kitchen advocates local produce and incorporates as many of the island’s rich flavours as possible within their menu. They also have their own organic herb garden with plans for a more comprehensive permaculture garden in the future.
Well there you have it, my mini guide to staying at Montpelier. Picturesque views, luxurious accommodations, and a rich island heritage make the Montpelier Plantation the obvious choice for traveller visiting Nevis.