If a tranquil slice of authentic paradise sounds like your speed, look no further than Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies.
It may be the biggest resort on the tiny, mostly-undeveloped, 36-square-mile island but it is surprisingly laid back even by Caribbean standards. This distinct charm leads travelers to return year after year to fly under the radar and live life for a bit on island time. Here, the most significant decision is where and how to relax next (or maybe whether or not to refill that tropical drink).
We recently checked in for Sea Turtle Conservancy Weekend, an extraordinary experience that had been on my bucket list since I’d written about it for Four Seasons Magazine. The resort is unique… unlike any other Four Seasons we’ve been to (and our list is long).
The Bottom Line
What We Love
Quiet, comfortable, luxury that caters to families, couples and singles equally well.
Luxury Beach Cabana rentals with multiple seating areas, televisions, indoor space.
The supervised Kids For All Seasons program for ages 3-9 with diverse edutainment and fun programming.
Spotting local wildlife (monkeys, birds, lizards) and sea life.
Onsite water sports and outdoor games.
Sea Turtle Conservation Weekend.
Good to Know
The redesign of all 196 rooms and suites should be complete by the end of 2018. Exciting common area renovations begin in 2019 after high season.
The 350-acre resort also offers fully-equipped luxury villas of all shapes and sizes.
Four Seasons representatives collect luggage at the SKB airport and drive you to a dock for a fun boat transfer to Nevis with rum punch, Ting, water and sunscreen on board.
The island’s small size and one strip airport mean that there aren’t all-inclusives or cruise ships. It’s quiet (those looking for serious nightlife are probably out of luck). File this also under what we love.
Why Nevis (and Where Is It)?
Nevis is part of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and located about 50 miles from Antigua and 250 miles from Puerto Rico. A 2-mile channel of water separates St. Kitt and Nevis. Four Seasons Nevis rests on Pinney’s Beach, the largest on the island.
You won’t find stoplights or buildings taller than a coconut tree on Nevis. You will see mostly unspoiled terrain mixed in with abandoned sugar mills and plantation homes. You’ll come across more goats, donkeys, and monkeys than humans. You’ll love the uber-friendly residents and the surprisingly-long list of activities.
You’ll soon appreciate why it’s called the “tiny forgotten island in the Caribbean” in Hamilton, who happens to be the island’s most famous former resident. Modern-day devotees would probably like to keep it their little secret though.
It’s impossible not to relax here.
Four Seasons Nevis’s gingerbread-style, two-story wood buildings, and immaculately manicured tropical gardens blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings, including Mount Nevis in the background.
Colorful birds sing and live throughout the resort (a dove and her babies nested above our patio). And, evening monkey sightings on the golf course are common.
While the resort spans 350 acres, most guests spend the bulk of their time in the easy-to-navigate beachfront portion where the pools, Great House, guest rooms and suites, spa, tennis courts and pro shop are located.
Within a morning we had the lay of the land. Easy.
We previewed one of the new Four Seasons Nevis room designs, and I love the subtle coastal colors, vibrant patterns featuring flora and fauna of Nevis, and chic furnishings.
The guest rooms have a generous size (490–560 square feet), and ours overlooked Nevis Peak, which I’m told is one of the most popular rooms. It’s not every day you get to look at nothing other than greenery and a (dormant) volcano. But there are Ocean-Side (partial ocean view) and Ocean View rooms as well for those who prefer to be surrounded by water.
Suites range from 760–1760 square feet and, of course, one can book one of the many villas that span multiple bedrooms with poolside entertaining areas, designer kitchens and then some. They’re scattered throughout the resort, private and perfect for multigenerational travel and long stays.
Beach Cabana Rentals
Do rent a beach cabana for the day as, in my opinion, they do not break the bank for what you get and it’s such a cool experience.
We’re talking multiple seating areas, a hammock, electrical sockets, television, indoor living and dining area and WiFi (it’s everywhere) in addition to even more peace and quiet.
If there’s one thing (of many) I know about Four Seasons properties worldwide… the food is excellent. I always find comfort in that.
From our sea turtle themed welcome amenity to my San Juan Sunrise at breakfast (fried Plantain, Beans, Queso Fresco, Sunny Side up Eggs), one doesn’t go hungry here.
We experienced almost every dining outlet during our stay. Some will be refreshed in the second phase of renovations.
Do have dinner at Mango at sunset. The Caribbean and Latin-inspired menu is outstanding as are the cocktails.
Ask the concierge to arrange a hot sauce demonstration with Executive Chef Samuel Faggetti and famed hot sauce maker Chef Llewellyn Clarke. They’ll show you how it is done and, of course, there are samples aplenty for those who can brave the heat.
Outdoor Activities at Four Seasons Nevis
Let’s start with the three pools, including an adults-only pool. Each pool offers chairside service, sunscreen, food and drink menus, and friendly attendants.
Take advantage of that adults-only pool and the Spa while the kids are off having a blast at Kids for All Seasons. The supervised program offers arts, crafts, adventures around the resort, educational activities and more on a full or half-day basis.
Go snorkeling steps from your lawn chair. It doesn’t look like there are fish here, but there are. These nearly-transparent or sand-colored fish of many shapes and sizes feed on the sand here. They’d follow us as we walked and kicked up sand with our feet. We spotted plenty of fish with color, too, a bit further out.
Or, book a catamaran snorkeling sail that takes you to a lovely spot off of St. Kitts. We’ve been on plenty of catamaran snorkeling tours, and this was by far the nicest of them all.
Some watersports are included with your Four Seasons Nevis stay (like kayaking) while others require an advanced reservation (though walk-ups are welcome) and an additional fee.
Our patio opened up to the outdoor game area with shuffleboard, bocce ball and giant chess, in addition to the chef’s garden full of vegetables and herbs.
Golfers should plan tee times at the 18-hole course (the views from it are spectacular).
And, speaking of golf, ask the concierge also to arrange eco-bio golf which we loved. The balls disintegrate into fish food!
Like tennis? They have it, too.
No visit to the resort is complete without at least one spa treatment. I enjoyed the Signature Nevisian Massage which uses a blend of local oils. Treatments (other than salon) happen in your own adorable gingerbread-style cottages.
Plan enough time to use the spa’s indoor and outdoor facilities including a cold plunge pool, hot water pool, multiple lounging areas and more.
Sea Turtle Conservation Weekend
Hawksbill, Leatherback and Green turtles nest on Nevis beaches at night between June and September.
The weekend is so special that it deserves its own post, but let me give you the gist. Sea Turtle Conservation weekend is designed to raise awareness regarding the importance of sea turtle conservation. Four Seasons guests walk the beaches at night under the guidance of Sea Turtle Conservancy and Nevis Turtle Group to find two nesting turtles (one per night) who will be fitted with a GPS tracker and released on the beach the following day.
The data provided by the tracker enables Sea Turtle Conservancy to identify where to invest efforts and dollars because it gives them an idea where important habitats are located. The public is invited to get involved via “Tour de Turtles” a fun campaign that showcases where each turtle has been over the course of several months.
Two turtles, Kali and Coco, were released from Four Seasons Nevis during this year’s Sea Turtle Conservancy weekend. Both are now swimming in the Tour de Turtles. You can follow each turtle’s journey online.
In addition to night walks and morning turtles releases, Kids for All Seasons offers a week of sea turtle themed programming.
One of the brilliant things about Sea Turtle Conservation Weekend is that it happens in July when the kids are out of school!
Getting to Four Seasons Nevis
Most people fly into St. Kitts (SKB airport) direct from Miami, Atlanta, Toronto, Newark, New York City and Charlotte on select dates. From time of arrival to SKB, it takes about an easy hour to collect baggage, clear customs, transfer by van (our driver shared quite a bit of local history along the way) to the dock in St. Kitts, board the boat and enjoy a rum punch or two before reaching the private dock at Four Seasons Nevis.
Overall, it’s easier to get to Nevis than I thought it would be.
Please email me if you’d like to book Four Seasons Nevis. Through my affiliation with Cadence Travel, I can offer Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits. And, you should definitely go.
*Thank you to Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies for hosting our stay.