At a glance
Montpelier Plantation - an exquisite Caribbean plantation hotel - manages to combine the best of traditional West Indian graciousness with worldly modernity and style. Set in immaculate lawned gardens looking to Nevis Peak in one direction and to the Caribbean Sea in the other, it centres on a restored great house and its conical windmill, whose very stones ring with West Indian romance. Inside though, the air of Montpelier is distinctly contemporary. The central areas and the 19 rooms and cottages have a crisp tropical touch. Family owned and run, Montpelier is in the very best tradition of the plantation hotels that Nevis does so well. And with its keynotes of international style and excellent cuisine, it is a top notch tropical hideaway.
- Best for:
- Weddings & Romance, Culture & Heritage, Spas & Wellbeing, Eco & Nature
- Who for:
- Well heeled and sophisticated independent travellers
- Not for:
- Anyone looking for a traditional beach resort
- How to get there:
- Fly to Antigua, St Kitts, Puerto Rico or St Maarten, which are all served by airlines from Europe and the US, and take an inter-island flight to Nevis. Those arriving in St Kitts can also take the ferry to Nevis.
Famous Nevis hotel, 19 rooms in a hillside garden setting and a private club house on a nice stretch of Pinney's beach. Large freshwater swimming pool. Breakfast Terrace, Pool Bar for lunch and afternoon tea, Indigo for tapas, Great Room lounge and bar, Restaurant 750 and Mill Privée restaurants for elegant dining. Tennis court, full service spa suite, concierge, gift shop, book & DVD library, games room with TV, beach shuttle and complimentary WiFi.
Contemporary plantation luxury - understated elegance in the romantic and historic setting of a restored stone 18th Century plantation house and gardens, but also sharp interior design and modern levels of comfort
An easy mix from both sides of the Atlantic.
There is a wonderful sense of historic romance about Montpelier. From the moment you pass through the hefty metal gates at the entrance to the inn, you are immersed in the elegant air of traditional plantation life, surrounded by beautiful cut-stone walls and flattened Georgian arches with their burnt-black eighteenth century authenticity, by the cannon standing guard on the steps of the great house and the twelve leisurely acres of gardens that are planted with colourful sprays of tropical bushes.
The Great House, with its huge ficus tree, is the heart of the hotel and (although it is a restoration) its stones recall the grace and finery of centuries past, when Nevis needed a fleet of ocean going ships to keep it supplied with luxuries (and the machinery of sugar production). A windmill, originally built to crush cane, stands above the Great House - marooned in bougainvillea now, it is an intimate restaurant, Mill Privée. Montpelier is the most refined of Nevis’s plantation house hotels.
It is also the most contemporary. Once you enter you will find a shift in atmosphere from the traditional to something more contemporary, with crisper, more modern design. The Great Room, where pre dinner drinks and cocktails are served, is furnished with lean fabrics to offset the traditional masonry and decorated with stems of bamboo. As you move through to Nevis Restaurant 750 on the western veranda, you pass the massive pre-mould of a cog of sugar hardware. The terrace is one of the lovely spots around the hotel - at night the garden is often utterly dark, interrupted only occasionally by the lights of passing ship, as undeveloped as it was two centuries ago.
The atmosphere of modern-day Montpelier is made of other things besides traditional West Indian grace too. Its service is attentive and very personal – the staff know you by name. On arrival you are greeted with a chilled towel and a rum punch or a juice made with fruit from the property. The Hoffmans, the owners of the inn, will also be there to welcome you and will take you to your room. You are simply asked to register some time before you leave. Everywhere the atmosphere is low key, but carefully steered to be casually elegant.
The sixteen rooms are set in modern buildings scattered around the huge lawned gardens. These don’t have the same traditional appearance of the main house at all, or even the character of the wooden, red wriggly-tin-roofed administration building, but inside they are large and extremely comfortable and they are very well decorated in contemporary style. There are generally two bedrooms to a cottage, but the entrances, fed by their own paths through the greenery, are completely separate and there is no sense of sharing a building. Each room has some very private outside space.
A new two-bedroom stand-alone villa was introduced during the 2010 winter season. The ‘Little House' is an old Nevisian cottage that has been fully renovated and has a sitting room, fully equipped kitchen, wrap around veranda, MP3 player, TV and DVD player, and en suite bathrooms.
If you are feeling active then there is a large swimming pool just above the Great House with lovely views of the island around. There is a tennis court in the grounds and even a croquet lawn. And if you want to visit the beach, Montpelier also has a beach house, Montpelier by the Sea, which is set at the northern end of Pinney’s Beach, with its own facilities. A daily shuttle takes guests there.
If there is a sense of historic romance about Montpelier, it is fitting that it has been the site of romantic history. In the 1780s a young Horatio Nelson was stationed in the area, in command of HMS Boreas. He spent a lot of time in a lookout on Saddle Hill nearby, bored by all accounts. But then in 1787 he was married, in another great house on the Montpelier estate (a few hundred yards up the hill), to a widow living in Nevis, Fanny Nesbit. She was given away by Nelson’s friend and naval colleague, the future King William IV. Their signatures can be seen in the register in the local church, Fig Tree Church. See the story of Montpelier Plantation.
Like many Caribbean hotels, Montpelier specialises in giving the opportunity to do very little, in stylish comfort and often in interesting company. Guests tend to scatter by day, some to explore the island but many to enjoy the solitude of their balcony, enjoying the quiet and dreamy tropical afternoon, or on one of the benches placed strategically around the grounds. From where the view carries down to the Caribbean Sea and then to infinity.
Montpelier Plantation offers bookings via the following tour operators:
A small and knowledgeable UK tour operator with a good depth of accommodation in the Eastern Caribbean, from the BVI down to Tobago.