Nevis – Part 3 – Plantation inns

There are many old plantation inns on Nevis that have been renovated and turned into boutique hotels that can be visited if only for a spot of lunch.

Once the site of Horatio Nelson’s marriage to Fanny Nisbet (the tree they wedded under still stands there today), now it is a luxury Relais & Chateaux hotel. It has the remains of a mill tower now restored and turned into a private dining room; I’m told it is popular for weddings. The original plantation house and buildings have been turned into luxury accommodation and a bar/restaurant area with amazing panoramic sea views. This was the hotel Princess Diana chose for her first holiday with the little Princes following the announcement of her divorce over 20 years ago and you can see why as it’s tucked away in the hills. A haven of luxury and the food was amazing too. They understood the meaning of “dairy-free” perfectly.

This plantation has been family owned and run for generations. Also tucked away on the side of Nevis peak Volcano, surrounded by luscious gardens and rainforest it still retains the feel of it’s historic past. When you visit this place it feels as though you’ve stepped back into the best from Britain’s colonial past. All the accommodation is in small wooden Caribbean huts that are brightly decorated lovingly by the owners wife who also owns a gift shop on site called Fanny’s Closet full of arts, crafts and original gifts made by local people. Their Friday evening pizza night is a must if you have children as this is relatively informal and even the owners own children join the guests for games on the lawn.

Once owned by the famous Nisbet family and childhood home of Fanny the wife of Nelson; this plantation sits on Nevis’s Atlantic coast and is situated right by the beach. The resort has its pool facilities practically on the beach with a gorgeous raised decked area that offers panoramic coastal views from your sun lounger. There’s also a lovely bar/restaurant right on the beach that has shuttered open windows so you can feel the salty air breezing through whilst you eat local and international dishes. We sat and watched a local fisherman line fish stood in the waves competing with diving brown pelicans for his catch. This beach was much rougher than the ones on the Caribbean sea coast so I wouldn’t advise it for swimming but it certainly had breath taking views and a heavy dose of drama.

All the plantations on Nevis are unique in their own way and Golden Rock is no exception. This plantation was once completely reclaimed by the rainforest and the current owners renovated the old stone buildings and mill tower cutting away the forest and replacing it with amazingly tropical botanical gardens. The gardens and grounds extend for a great distance and there are a variety of different styles of accommodation to choose from including staying in the original mill tower or a small Caribbean wooden hut or even a quaint stone cottage. The main bar/restaurant area is set in a large stone courtyard area that’s multi-level, containing designer pools containing koi carp and other fish with waterfalls and gentle fountains. It’s an architectural delight but not advisable if you have any mobility issues or young children as steep drops abound! The staff here also seemed a little less friendly than elsewhere on the island and unable to understand allergies too which was a surprise as the guests we met that were staying there seemed to be mainly American.

There are also several old ruins of sugar mills that are clearly being renovated but can be visited

  • New River Estate is situated a five minute drive from Golden Rock just outside a town called Brick Kiln and has lots of stunning ruins that are very accessible to look around but you might want to do your research before hand is there is only one historic sign about the site.
  • Hamilton estate was and is the largest plantation area on Nevis. There was a plan to restore the buildings and turn them into a visitor centre but apparently this has now been shelved. The mill buildings from this estate can be found almost exactly inland from the capital city Charles Town as you head up the side of Nevis Peak. Follow signs for the popular bar/restaurant Banana’s and you will pass the ruins now overgrown by rainforest on your way up the hill.

 

If underwater ruins are more your thing then there are also lots of famous shipwrecks off the Nevisian coast so perfect for those who love scuba diving.

For more information go to the tourist board siteNevis tourist board

Part 1 – Nevis – The Sweet island of the Caribbean

After an eight-hour flight (if you don’t count the hour spent on the ground at Antigua airport) we eventually landed into St Kitts International airport located in the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies.  St Kitts airport is about a 10 minute drive from the main capital city Basseterre so is ideally situated if this is to be your final destination, however our journey’s end was sister island Nevis, known fondly by the 19th century British as the Queen of the Caribees.

Our accommodation provider arranged airport collection for us and we were greeted by Almon who then gave us an impromptu tour of St Kitts on our way through to our transfer.

We drove along the road where the Atlantic and Caribbean seas are separated by a tiny strip of land so you can easily walk from one beach to the other!  We learnt all about the cheeky Vervet monkeys that inhabit both St Kitts and Nevis, who are the main reason the island often has to import mangoes in from overseas for the annual Mango Festival!

st-kitts-caribbean-atlantic-seas

Once we reached Reggae Beach, at the furthermost tip of St Kitts, we could clearly see our destination Nevis across Cockleshell Bay – our target Oauilie Beach was only 2 miles across on the other side.  We boarded a speed boat with 3 other newly arrived British tourists and enjoyed our first bottle of cold Carib beer, whilst watching our first amazing Caribbean sunset over the sea.  This type of airport transfer we discovered is by far the best way to arrive!

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Speedboat transfer

We clung onto the open deck of the speedboat in order, to enjoy the cool sea spray after our long haul flight. The boat danced on the waves, as it propelled us through the water and we arrived onto Oauilie beach 15 minutes later feeling extremely refreshed.

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Ouailie Beach

Almon off loaded our luggage into his pick up truck and we departed to our apartment within the Carina complex in the vast Hamilton Estate.  One of the many old sugar plantations on the island; Carina is set off the beaten path half way up the side of Nevis peak, the largest and main volcano on the island. Virgin rainforest is above the apartment building and the land below contains the ruins of a sugar mill and factory, that have been reclaimed by the rainforest; the top of the mill tower protrudes onto the skyline.

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View from Carina

Carina is just a 5-minute drive up the hill from Charles Town the capital of Nevis.

To be continued…