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Montpelier Plantation, Nevis

Once a Sugar Mill, Now a Boutique Hotel

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Ancient tree shades the Great House.

Montpelier Plantation.
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A bungalow bedroom.

Montpelier Plantation.
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Pool beside the historic sugar mill. The beach is a 10-minute shuttle away.

Montpelier Plantation.

At one time, Nevis was divided into highly productive and profitable sugar plantations, making it one of the richest places in the world. The British called the island the Queen of the Caribbean. Nevis is too diminutive to be a queen, but it does deserve a royal title from us, as it sits at the top of our list of Caribbean favorites.

Nevis has much that a romantic could want—warm, crystal clear waters; gardens and flowering trees; solitude (there are only 400 hotel rooms on the island); a mountain view no matter where you are; excellent restaurants; land and water sports; and a story about a famous naval officer proposing under a cottonwood tree. The noisiest aspect of Nevis is the cricket-like chirping of tree frogs. They begin at sunset and quit at sunrise.

This five-by-seven-mile, nearly circular island with a mountain in the middle retains much of its 18th-century splendor. Nothing reveals this better than a stay at one of the several rehabilitated plantations now converted into small hotels.

Situated on a plateau halfway up the slopes of Nevis Peak, at 2,000 feet elevation, 60-acre Montpelier Plantation provides splendid views of the Caribbean and offers cooling breezes year-round. It is a former sugar mill that was transformed into a boutique hotel in 1960 after a century of neglect. Today this Relais & Chateaux member is both historic—an original sugar mill, stone houses, period furniture—and contemporary with a large swimming pool and  outdoor restaurant and bar. Large abstract paintings by Kirk Mechar hang throughout the public space.

Guest Rooms at Montpelier Plantation
Buildings at Montpelier Plantation are single story, with the exception of its sugar mill. Cottages, set amongst trees and bushes, provide plenty of privacy.

Montpelier Plantation has eight bungalows and seventeen guest rooms. We stayed in a modest bungalow with a white tile floor and pitched roof. Hanging above the bed was a bamboo frame draped with white gauzy fabric. One window opened onto the lawn looking toward the sea; another faced dense foliage. 

If you have preferences for the firmness of your mattress, let them know. The Montpelier will provide you with exactly what you request. The bathroom, however, is smallish with a tub/shower combination. There is no TV or clock in the room but wi-fi is provided.

Dining at Montpelier Plantation
The  Mill Restaurant at Montpelier Plantation is inside a conical sugar mill. The top has been covered over with a tarp and all is candlelight once the sun goes down. Since the restaurant  is a popular dining spot,a reservation is suggested..

The tasting menu one night included pan-seared sea scallops with pear and vanilla vinaigrette; wild Coho salmon steak with papaya and raisin chutney; lamb chops with celeriac and cinnamon purée; and a chocolate dessert.  

Montpelier Plantation also has dining in Restaurant 750. Lunch can be poolside or in the Courtyard, where breakfast is also served. Tea is offered by the pool is from 3 to 5:30. After-dinner cocktails are served in the Great Room, which is furnished plantation-style.

When Montpelier Plantation lights a barbeque at their private beach, expect an array of grilled shrimp, conch ceviche, roast pig and spiny lobster.

Weddings at Montpelier Plantation
Montpelier Plantation is where Horatio Nelson, he of the Battle of Trafalgar fame, courted and married Frances (Fanny) Nisbet underneath the cottonwood tree. Today destination weddings (and proposals) take place under the very same tree. And it is easy to get married in Nevis. Montpelier Plantation can make the necessary legal arrangements. Couples can get married anywhere on the grounds or on the private beach. Or you may prefer the grounds of the remains at historic Cottle Church, the first racially integrated church in the Caribbean. 

Activities at Montpelier Plantation
There isn’t much to do at Montpelier Plantation; that’s the point. But the property does have a large swimming pool, hard-surface tennis court, card room and library. Or simply relax in the hammock on the lawn. The resort is walking distance to the Nevis Botanical Gardens. The private beach, about a ten-minute drive by private shuttle, is one of the nicest on the island, with a view of St. Kitts less than two miles across the narrows.

Nearby Montpelier Plantation
Sample history in the capital of Charlestown at the Alexander Hamilton Museum (he was born in Nevis), the Horatio Nelson Museum and the Jewish burial grounds (1684-1768). You can climb, walk or ride a bicycle around the island. You can hike through the rainforest with or without a guide, as we did with our informative guide from Sunrise Tours. There’s horseback riding, too. And a variety of water sports can be arranged.

Find Out More
Montpelier Plantation
P.O. Box 474
Nevis, West Indies

Phone: 869-469-3462

Official Hotel Website

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As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see the Ethics Policy.

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