I’m fresh off a fabulous trip to the Four Seasons Nevis. Until recently not only did I not know how to pronounce Nevis (by the way it’s Nee-Vis) but I had no idea where it was even located. Geography was never my subject–guess they didn’t teach a class on luxe travel destinations at my high school. As soon as I learned about the exotic island of Nevis, where luxury abounds and monkeys nearly outnumber the residents, I knew I needed to visit.
I’m not ashamed to admit that when I find out that there is a Four Seasons in a city, I immediately assume that the destination is worthy of a visit. The Four Seasons chooses only the most amazing places to create FS outposts (with maybe a few exceptions that are big business cities–sorry Baltimore). Case and point? The Four Seasons Carmelo! I never would have found this charming town had it not been for my faith in the Four Seasons’ location scouting.
So, for those of you who haven’t been to the blog before, ‘Welcome Travelpanties’ is my column where I give a very detailed account of a hotel property based on my luxury expertise and my experience during my stay. I try my best to identify the things you are most curious about when you are deciding whether or not a hotel is right for you–the stuff other reviews don’t tell you.
Nevis is really a stunning island and the islanders are so charming and warm I never wanted to leave… I truly enjoyed my stay at this classic Caribbean hotel.
There are many ways to reach the Four Seasons Nevis. Most involve a flight into St. Kitts Airport (SKB) and then a boat ride over to Nevis. There are also some small flights to Nevis like the non-stop flight from Puerto Rico with Tradewind Aviation straight into Nevis’ Vance W. Armory International Airport. Saves you a boat ride and it’s a luxury plane! Next time I’ll have to try this. But for this trip, I was a little worried because sometimes small planes freak me out–St. Barth! So I opted for the non-stop flight from JFK to SKB (there are a couple a week).
Immediately after customs we were greeted by a Four Seasons employee who directs you to someone who will take your luggage and send you to a van. You then take about a 10-minute drive to the boat marina where you reach the Four Seasons’ private boat. The crew passes out (complimentary) rum punches, Carib beers, waters or fruit punch. We had to wait for about 20 minutes to leave for a few guests but no one was complaining (my guess is that the free drinks had something to do with that!) We then set sail for about 40 minutes to the Four Seasons Nevis. The boat ride itself is lovely, we happen to experience the sunset during ours–added bonus! Sunset cruise? Yes please! I loved this ride and found it very exciting to be headed to such a remote locale.
Upon arrival, you’re greeted at the the boat pier by friendly staffers who take you directly to your room. You don’t have to deal with your bags, they are taken directly to your room (ours took about 15 minutes—very quick!). On our way to our room we were given a mini-property tour, our guide just pointed out a few things as well as the general direction that the lobby, spa, fitness center and adults-only pool were in. We then signed a few forms in our room and he was on his way.
Welcome Amenity? I would say that they one-upped a welcome cocktail with the complimentary open bar on the boat ride over! Cheers to that!
The grounds are stunning and they are also sprawling. The property is comprised of a total of 350 acres. The property features West Indian plantation-style decor and classic Caribbean architecture. Its covered in lush tropical greenery and tropical flowers. And as of December 20, 2013, the property now has its own organic herb garden (hello house-made herb cocktails)! There are a total of 179 rooms and 17 suites. Rooms are just steps away from Pinney’s beach. There are also 40 private residence villas that are available for rental as well (if you’re part of the lucky one percenters!). Four Seasons Nevis is also home to 5 pools,10 tennis courts, and an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II. There is also a 1500 sq. ft. fitness center and one of the most gorgeous spas I’ve ever been to–more on that later.
Fitness Center? If you want to be guilt-free you can work off some of the fabulous calories you ingest in the fitness center. There are plenty of machines and the equipment is all very modern. The room is light, airy and cool–no mildewy smells or anything unpleasant here.
Adults Only Pool? Yes. It was huge too with plenty of seating options, including large round couches for snuggling couples.
The Beach? The Four Seasons Nevis is located on Pinney’s beach, which is on the island’s sheltered west coast (the east coast’s beach is much choppier). There aren’t large waves and the water is pretty warm but it still takes a second to wade in if you’re like me who is always cold. There are plenty of chairs and several beach attendants who constantly walk around offering up cold towels, cold water and taking orders for food and drink. I highly recommend renting a private beach cabana. These cabanas are stocked with mini-fridges, four lounge chairs, a flat-screen TV, a couch and small dining table, board games and an iPod dock. The cabanas are surrounded by shrubs, which give you plenty of privacy from your neighbors. There was also highly attentive service–whenever you wanted to order something you just had to raise a flag and cocktails and a full menu of delicious options were brought to you quickly.
The open-air lobby is beautiful and sophisticated. Since I was here around the holidays I had the pleasure to experience a Caribbean-style Christmas tree. I absolutely love Christmas and this tree was so special, decorated with warm colors, crystals and starfish! Its high-ceiling and comfy furniture give it a plantation feel. My favorite seating was at the back, which overlooks the water, the terrace and lush gardens. One of my favorite experiences during my stay was checking out the live piano player and sipping champagne at sunset.
Rooms are set in two-story buildings that feel like cottages. This allows the property to retain a laid-back and undeveloped feel, which is what you want at a resort in the Caribbean–no high rises obviously.
I was in room 228, which is a standard guest room with an ocean view. We had a lovely view of the water–especially around sunset! Rooms in the 200s have this benefit, however, are a bit further away from the adults-only reflection pool. Personally though, I didn’t mind the walk and you can always call for a golf-cart if you prefer.
I love nothing more than waking up, opening my window and being able to see and hear the water. To me this is the ultimate luxury! As much as I wanted to invite the Caribbean breeze in all the time, because rooms all have spacious balconies and sliding doors, there are not screens–so open at your own risk because there are mosquitos (and they happen to adore me). I should also add that I had a chance to check out the rooms with a view of Nevis Peak (these are the Mountain View class of rooms) and thought it was stunning as well. If you’re looking to save a little money, Mountain View rooms are slightly less money. Plus, it may provide a refreshing change if you’re spending your days on the beach to have a view of this unique volcano. Really, you can’t lose though. That said, I would opt for a second floor room since these have more unobstructed views of whatever it is you’re hoping to see. (And also the New Yorker in me is always a little freaked out by ground level rooms with balconies–but I am paranoid so there you go).
Room decor is understated, neutral and distinctly Caribbean (with a little Ralph Lauren flair). It’s definitely not overdone but there were still plenty of charming details. I loved the intricately carved four-poster wooden bed and pops of color like the yellow couch and the throw pillows on the bed. Speaking of the beds, even though this Four Seasons has not yet been updated with the new Four Seasons mattress it was insanely comfortable. No adjusting to a different bed here, the second I climbed in I was fast asleep.
I will say that although the room was beautiful I wasn’t a huge fan of its ivory tiled floor, which I felt dated the room a bit. I also would have enjoyed a more up to date coffee machine–but what can I say–even the best of us need some work done now and again, dahhhhling? That’s what botox is for (or so I hear)!
Closet/Dresser Details? There were actually two huge closets and a large dresser with plenty of storage. There were proper hangers in the closet–not the thief-proof ones. I suspect the clientele at the Four Seasons have better things to do than steal hangers.
Charging Situation? This day and age we all need easy access to charge up our electronics. I loved that by the couch there was a little charging station for easy access and extra plugs (even a USB port).
Turn-Down Service: Yes–maids come automatically and restocked anything you might need. They also made sure to lock the sliding door for your safety.
Bottled Water? Yes complimentary at turn down and you can always call and order more.
Coffee maker? Hamilton Beach. While it was a nice model, these days at a Four Seasons I think that I would expect an espresso machine of some sort or at the very least, a Keurig.
Reading Material in the Room? They had a copy of Four Seasons Magazine, Town and Country and one other I can’t quite remember. These were laid out nicely by the couch. I loved this and don’t think that hotels do this enough.
White Glove Inspection: The white linens were perfectly pristine–I even pulled back the duvet cover a little to see the state of what was going on beneath the surface. I am happy to report that even with close inspection I have nothing to report!
The bathroom featured his and her sinks and was well-lit. To the left was a large soaking tub and a standalone shower. The shower had a standard head (not rain shower) and had strong pressure. I also did not experience any water temperature issues. The toilet was in a separte, small water-closet, which I appreciate for added privacy. Also helps move things along in the morning–if your man likes to take his time in there, you can be doing your makeup.
Makeup Mirror? Yes! Mounted at eye-level and it lit up!
Hairdryer? Small, travel-sized hairdryer (not attached to the wall though). This was a little disappointing to me. I expected more from a Four Seasons.
Designer Toiletries? The bathroom featured L’Occitane products (as many Four Seasons do). These aren’t my favorites but that’s just because the shampoo never seems to do much for my long locks.
Towel quality? Amazing, really thick and absorbent. And plenty of ‘em.
Robes? Yes, they were thick terry with the Four Seasons logo. There were also fluffy white slippers! My favorite!
Amenities? Shower cap, individually wrapped Q-tips and cotton pads. There was also after-sun lotion, which I thought was a nice and much needed amenity!
The Food & Drink
The restaurants at Four Seasons Nevis are definitely some of the finest on the island. They all use locally sourced ingredients like eggplant, papaya, lemongrass, coconut, mangos and coconut.
The resort’s fine dining restaurant is Coral Grill and it serves high quality cuisine with top notch ingredients from all over the world. While the steaks and seafoods here were phenomenal, the Macaroni and cheese here is not to be missed. You can customize your dish by choosing protein and cheese on the spot. The desserts here were also my favorite on the property. The souffles and the cheesecake lollipops were delectable.
Right around the corner is Neve, where the fabulous breakfast buffet is served. Fresh fruit, eggs, pastries, pancakes, waffles, you name it. The highlights here for me were the freshly made nut butters (cashew and almond) and the variety of locally-made hot sauces (my fave was the mango pepper!) that I generously poured all over everything. While it’s tempting to order breakfast in bed, you need to experience this buffet at least once during your stay.
Cabana is the resort’s outdoor and laid-back restaurant. The signature dish here is the spiny lobster risotto. While it was delicious, I must say it was outshined by Mango and Coral Grill.
And speaking of Mango–wow! I absolutely loved it here. Dinner here is exactly the experience you’re looking to have at a luxe Caribbean resort. The building itself is lovely and the food is incredible. Mango is famous for its BBQ ribs. I didn’t think I liked ribs actually until I ate here–turns out, I just hadn’t tried the perfect ribs. Absolutely delicious. A must-have while on the island! I will dream of these until I return!
During the day you can order food from the pools or eat lunch at Cabana restaurant. The food here was spot on no matter what we tried. The chopped salad was delicious and plentiful. The tuna tacos were amazing. But probably our favorite thing was the Mediterranean pizza, which they fired up in their own brick-oven. Thin crust and just the right amount of cheese, sauce and veggies. We actually ate this twice during our stay.
Classy Hotel Bar? Few bars anywhere compare to how much I loved the Library bar here. They seamlessly integrated a rich environment with a Caribbean feel!
Specialty Cocktails? The Ginger Angostura was one of my favorites and my husband loved the Mango mojito–and trust us we really tried many of the specialties. My other favorite though was the dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives at Coral Restaurant. Also a local favorite is the Ting with a Sting!
The Spa at the Four Seasons Nevis is not only one of the best I’ve been to in the Caribbean, but probably even anywhere in the world. Its grounds are simply stunning and I’ll let the photos do the heavy lifting here since words just would never be enough to capture its beauty. The service is super. Not only are the staff extremely professional but they are friendly and very knowledgeable about the treatments and the spa’s philosophy. In addition to the usual treatments like massages, body treatments, salon services and facials, the spa offers Ayurvedic treatments. I also highly recommend getting a Rum and Tonic body treatment! It is absolutely heavenly–and unique to the resort!
The Little Things
Did I feel truly welcome by the staff? Staff made a huge effort to learn guests names and remember them. If I had a server in a restaurant and saw them a few days later on the property they always knew exactly who I was and also remembered everything we told them and made sure to ask about it. I always find this incredible since I have the worst memory in the world.
Wi-Fi? Yes, throughout the property. However, it was a bit spotty in my room because they were having internet issues. Internet is not complimentary, which can be a pro or a con. On one hand you won’t use it the entire time, but if you need to, then it can be a little pricey. However, there are two computers in the main lobby–one in the Library bar and one in the center of the lobby, available for guests to print boarding passes.
Mini-Bar? It’s a Four Seasons so of course it’s stocked with fancy (and pricey) snacks and liquors. They had special tea bags you could purchase for your eyes to depuff. I never got the chance to try them but I thought they were super cool!
Cocktail Quality? I have nothing but positive things to say about every cocktail I experienced while at the property. Especially at Mango where they have 100 different kinds of rum! I recommend trying a Ting with a Sting, Angostura Ginger or the uber impressively muddled Mango Mojito.
Any other quirky things? There is free laundry available for guest use. Although I never had a chance to try it out it’s a great feature, especially for families (or New Yorkers who don’t have access to their own washing machines!). They also include laundry detergent free of charge.
Flowers: I loved the tropical flowers flourishing around the property.
Special Treats: I am sad to report that there were no special treats at turndown service. However, in the typical Four Seasons style, special treats were passed around at the pool and down by the beach, cold towels, Evian spritzes, frozen fruit kebabs and my personal favorite–lemongrass water!
Good For Families: Absolutely! The hotel is large enough for families and couples alike to enjoy. There is also a kids’ club, playground and even a small game room.
Where do Most Guests Hail From? Most guests are North Americans, many families but also lots of honeymooners. Like I said earlier, the property is so large that there is definitely room for everyone to enjoy the property as they wish. We never experienced any annoying children during our stay
Service Fee? Yes, check your bill it usually includes a charge for service–however, be sure to ask how much of that goes to the employee. I asked at the spa and only a small percentage of it went to the employee herself. So if you have stellar service you still may want to leave an additional amount.
Room for Improvement
Although non-motorized watersports are complimentary, other recreational activities will cost you a pretty penny (for example, you have to rent tennis courts if you’re not playing with a pro or having a lesson).
Rooms should stock bugspray.
The floors in the standard rooms need to be updated. What can I say, I know I’m nitpicking here but that’s what I’m here for.
The Wow Factor(s):
My most memorable experience was the day we had a private beach cabana. This same day we participated in the hotel’s Dive and Dine program. You can actually scuba dive with the hotel’s specialist and chef and then enjoy a beachside BBQ with the lobsters that you caught yourself! If that’s not the catch of the day, I don’t know what is!
Also, while standard rooms are nice, the luxury suite is one of the most gorgeous hotel rooms I have ever laid eyes on! Seriously, I was snapping photos for a home I plan to one day decorate–and I plan to try and emulate this exact room–especially the closet! If you’ve got money to spend, this would be well worth it. Stunning!
I also think that an effort to connect with the local wildlife was very unique. We took a golf-cart one afternoon (you can also go in the early AM) and watched the monkeys playing out on the golf course. You can also take garden tours with the hotel’s botanists or take a moonlit walk to go check out the sea turtles.
The Bottom Line: Would I recommend it? Am I coming Back?
The Four Seasons Nevis laid-back, sleepy atmosphere suits its Caribbean locale perfectly. It’s entirely unstuffy and unpretentious so all guests feel comfortable at all times. I think that the Four Seasons Nevis’ ambience, decor and dining options do a nice job capturing the essence of the island. The staff at Four Seasons Nevis makes the guests feel extremely special and like they have had an authentic island experience.
It’s also worth noting that I had a chance to see rooms at both Golden Rock Plantation (though I did not see the honeymoon suite) and Montpelier, I will tell you that the rooms at the Four Seasons blew them out of the water. Although both of those properties are gorgeous and definitely worth visiting for a meal, the rooms at the Four Seasons are far, FAR more luxe and truly the only place I would have been happy resting my luxury-obsessed self.
I would definitely come back and many of their guests agree. There was more than one occasion when I saw guests arriving and staffers literally running towards them with excitement. The reunion was equally as joyful for the guests. The people and the West Indian hospitality at the Four Seasons Nevis are truly what makes it so memorable.
Basically, this is an amazing escape for luxe-loving couples (and even families) off the beaten path of the usual Caribbean destinations. I loved it! Travelingpanties approved!
Four Seasons Nevis Information
Address: The Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies, P.O. Box 565, Pinney’s Beach, Charlestown, Nevis
Cost: Rooms start at $345 during off-season and about $1200 during high season.
*Disclaimer* As is common in the travel industry, writers are provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Although my visit was part of a press trip–meaning that I did not pay, all opinions herein are my own. You can’t buy the love here, people! Just ask my husband!