Nevis: Staying and Eating Around Majestic Mt Nevis
My goal to get to know the Caribbean islands took one step further this year when Mr R and I visited the island of Nevis. We stayed in luxurious and beautiful hotels and ate in award winning restaurants and always with majestic Mt Nevis in the background! My island review can be read here.Nevis Island Tour
After a series of short flights from the Caribbean island of Grenada to St Kitts and a quick water taxi ride we arrived on the island of Nevis. Nevis was created by eruptions by what we now call Mt Nevis, potentially still active however hasn’t erupted in living memory.
Mt Nevis stands majestic in the background on this small island and at 3,272 ft usually has a halo of clouds around the peak. We were told we would indeed be lucky to see the full peak without the clouds. The first time this did occur we were staying at the award winning Nisbet Plantation!
Nisbet Plantation was once the home of Fanny Nisbet who would marry Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson. The great house remains although has been sympathetically restored and is where dinner is served each evening after restorative drinks such as the house rum punch and soothing music.
From the great house you can look down the ‘Avenue of Palms’ directly to the Atlantic Ocean.
Off this avenue sit individual cottages with names like ‘Morning Star’ (the one we stayed in), Hamilton (Nevis is the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton who went on to be one of the founding fathers of the United States), Belle View and Cotton Ground.
The staff at Nisbet introduce themselves the first time they meet you, remember your name and address you by name from that point onwards. They go out of their way for you, for instance the time I inquired if one could drink the coconut water from the coconuts we would find on the ground each morning. That afternoon one of the gardeners knocked on our door with a coconut, a machete and two straws. He then cut the tops off, stuck in a straw and handed us the freshest and most refreshing coconut water I have ever had!
Breakfast is taken each morning down by the pool with the sounds of the ocean in the background.
Lunch is served in the bar with fully stocked selection of drinks and bar staff ready to create the cocktail of your choice.
We stayed at Nisbet Plantation for 7 nights on a bed and breakfast basis although meal plans are available.
For our second week we stayed at The Hermitage on the southern side of the island but higher up from sea level right on the side of Mt Nevis. Because of the higher altitude (around 800 feet above sea level) the climate was a bit cooler and the top of the mountain clouds seemed so close you might be able to touch them.
The Hermitage is a family owned property whose Great House is believed to the oldest existing wooden house in the Lesser Antilles. Father Richard and son Richie make sure you feel right at home the moment you arrive.
All rooms are small, chocolate box, traditional wooden cottages. Ours was one of the original on the property when Richard and Richie purchased the property.
Everywhere you look on the property there is a photo opportunity. I couldn’t stop taking photos the whole week we were there! Many of the big rocks and boulders lay where they fell when Mt Nevis last erupted around 1,000 years ago. Even if they don’t look too large on the surface they are probably massive under the ground. You just learn to build around them!
We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon which is Hog Roast night! The pig was roasting on the open spit when we arrived and the aroma was everywhere making it truly mouthwatering . The rest of the meal on Hog Roast night is a sumptuous buffet of authentic Nevisian West Indian food. It was truly the most wonderful island buffet ever!
Friday night is pizza night and the last Sunday of the month is goat roast afternoon. Both worth the amazing smells and tastes! It was here at The Hermitage that I was invited into the kitchen to learn how to make the island speciality – Johnny Cakes! These little bites are like a cross between a doughnut and a dumpling pairing perfectly with the island speciality Goat Water or lovely thick stews.
I would certainly love to return to The Hermitage the next time I need to step off the grid and completely relax!
Nevis is a food lover’s dream as well. Two of the restaurants on the list of ’50 Best Caribbean Restaurants 2017 are located on the island and we were fortunate to eat at both of these – Bananas Restaurant and Montpelier Plantation . Here a few of the places we ate on Nevis:-
Bananas – Set above the Historic Hamilton Plantation in an old plantation style setting with shingled walls and wooden shutters Bananas is eons away from its humble beginnings on a two ring gas stove and good help.
It has developed into a world class restaurant with an eclectic and mouthwatering menu. The menu features international and Caribbean cuisine and there is a list of House Cocktails with The Bertini being the signature house cocktail which I just had to try!
The Bertini is a passionfruit martini made with Absolut Citron, Absolut Kurant, passionfruit syrup and a squeeze of fresh lime – very refreshing on a hot and humid afternoon indeed!
On the menu are mouthwatering items such as Creamy Pumpkin Soup, Tania Fritters, Creamy Chunky Lobster Salad, locally Smoked Wahoo (fish) and the ‘Taste of Nevis’ Mezze Platter.
Mr R & I had the ‘Taste of Nevis’ Mezze Platter – Black Beans & Fried Plantains, Lobster Dip, Focaccia Bread (all breads and Focaccia are homemade), Saltfish, Johnny Cakes and Tania Fritters.
Montpelier Plantation – The site of Horatio Nelson and Fanny Nisbet’s wedding in 1787 is now a beautiful boutique hotel with fine dining, five star service and hospitality.
The windmill dining is called ‘Mill Privee’. This is an intimate candlelit dinner opportunity in a 300 year old sugar mill which has been converted into a world class restaurant, perfect for a special occasion.
The Indigo restaurant adjacent to the pool has legendary rum punch and says their lobster sandwich is the best on the island. I must say it is really, really delicious!
Golden Rock Inn – approximately 1,000 ft above sea level in a lush green rainforest location is Golden Rock Inn. This luxury establishment got it’s name because the light at sunset gives this side of Mt Nevis a golden halo.
We lunched here on my birthday. The staff made me feel very special indeed as we sat outside on a very warm lunch time. I had their lobster roll and an ice tea and a special pudding – a very refreshing and delicious lunch in a tranquil and beautiful environment.
Golden Rock Inn has eleven guest rooms in private and individual settings.
When refurbishing the swimming pool they found an underground spring heated by volcanic heat which has been channelled to gently heat the pool.
Sunshine’s on Pinney Beach – is a beach side bar and restaurant known globally for it’s signature rum based drink called a Killer Bee. It is said you don’t drink more than two before you feel the sting of a very big bee!!
The food is local, easy BBQ with traditional side dishes and great sunsets.
Wilma’s Restaurant – on the main road in the capital town of Charlestown sitting right on the main road is Wilma’s.
Wilma makes all of the food herself, with a menu based on local ingredients and menu items. I had the local speciality called Goat Water which is not watery at all but a simple goat stew with vegetables and local spices and is truly delicious.
Passions Bar and Grill – if you fancy eating where the locals eat, sitting outside on pic-nic benches and listening to the braying of donkeys settling down for the night then make your way to Passions. Karen cooks all of the food on the premises in her small kitchen.
The evening we ate there it was quiet mostly because it was low season but a few locals showed up to sit at the bar and share the events of the day with each other. The food is delicious and very local, the drinks flow all night if you want to sit there and the crickets chirp, the donkeys bray and the moon shines bright.
The Gin Trap – a small restaurant with a very impressive stock of gins and all of the tonics and mixers that go to make a very long drinks list as well as cocktails without gin.
We had perhaps the best dish I have had in a long time, the scallops in a gin and brown butter sauce! This was so good we returned a second time just for the scallops. The rest of the menu is adventurous, contemporary and innovative.
But perhaps the biggest pull for The Gin Trap is sitting on the patio, drink in hand, looking over to sister island St Kitts and watching spectacular sunsets! If you are lucky and the horizon is clear you will get a sensational sunset whilst you sip your cocktail and nibble the complementary popcorn!
This post tells you about the places we stayed and some of the great places we ate on our two week stay on the island of Nevis. Nevis may be the Caribbean’s best kept island secret but once you discover it you will want to return time after time. Would we go back – oh yes, in a heartbeat!
We were guests of Nisbets and The Hermitage and were invited to eat at some of the restaurants above. We were not required to write positive reviews. As usual all opinions and photographs are my own. No photographs may be reproduced in any form without my written permission.