Montpelier Plantation Inn
The quaint and sometimes quirky hotel option on Nevis are the many Plantation Inns, most of which are housed in abandoned sugar estates dating back to the earl 1900s. My favorite was the 19-room Montpelier Plantation Inn, where Princess Diana stayed with William and Harry years ago. It’s the chicest of the group and the only Relais & Châteaux on the island. Montpelier has a great-looking, wide pool dating back to the 1960s with individually-laid mosaic tiles and an old-fashioned diving board.
Rooms at Montpelier are simply furnished, white with a dash of color and have sea views, but no TV sets (the latter is non-negotiable, according to gracious owner Tim Hoffman, a fountain of knowledge when it comes to touring Nevis; he is more relaxed on WiFi). Room No. 15 overlooks the hotel’s rolling gardens and the sea beyond. The Inn has three restaurants, one of which is set in the atmospheric restored sugar mill. The diner at the table next to us told me he liked Nevis “because it hasn’t been ruined like the rest of the Caribbean; there’s no Hermès or Ralph Lauren here.”
While Princess Di opted for Montpelier, her husband Charles voted for the 36-room Nisbet Plantation on Herbert’s Beach, which is set amidst wild bushes of oleander and bougainvillea. The Humphrey Bogart-esque bar (pineapple-shaped lanterns, wicker furniture, a piano and white ceiling fans) has a photo from 1973 of the young royal in his bathing trunks with an admiring bikini-clad friend. Nisbet has a real colonial feel, with its expansive lawn down to the sea and traditional afternoon. There’s a beachside restaurant which serves good fresh fish, pizza, shrimp quesadillas or the island special, conch fritters.
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