Caribbean Paradise at Five-Star Four Seasons Resort Nevis
It was nighttime when we arrived at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis on the lesser-known Caribbean island, part of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Our drive through St. Kitts’ capital, Basseterre, to Port Zante and entry onto the Four Seasons luxury launch was one dark blur after a long day of plane flights from Los Angeles. How do you find your bearings in a brand-new destination when you’re too far away from city lights to see a thing?
I soon realized that didn’t need to be my goal. We were crossing the Caribbean Sea more than 3,000 miles away from the crowds, the traffic, and the chaos of home. Now was the time to take a deep breath and let my body and mind enter island time.
We made the transition by spending the last half of our 40-minute boat ride to the Four Seasons private dock out on the bow of the boat, watching as the blue and orange glow of lights outlining the coast of Nevis came into view. Looking up, I saw the sky was littered with stars. The sea was pitch black, hiding secrets of long-lost ships and pirate tales.
We were making this journey to meet Caribbean travel insider Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, otherwise known as JetSetSarah, and spend a long weekend absorbing all we could about Nevis’ charming five-star Four Seasons Resort. Our arrival was warm (it was still 80 degrees outside at 9 o’clock at night) and welcoming. The property spans a large portion of the coast and, although all resort buildings are within walking distance, we were treated to a golf cart ride to our rooms, a welcome reprieve for a couple of weary travelers.
My guest room greeted me with a rush of cool air. It felt like heaven. The ocean-view room included two double beds, a loveseat and glass coffee table, and a large bathroom with separate bathtub and shower and double sinks. In the closet, I was happy to find bug spray since I had neglected to pack my own. Peeking out onto the patio, I saw my room overlooked the Reflection Pool, which is designed for adults only, and the blue waters of the Caribbean beyond.
After a wonderful night’s sleep, I woke rested and ready to take on all the resort has to offer. The Four Seasons has a variety of activities designed to please every person who stays there. There are 10 tennis courts on property (six hard surface and four clay), and an on-staff tennis pro is available for half- and one-hour private lessons, semi-private lessons, group lessons, and clinics. Player match-up is available upon request.
The spa at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis offers massages, salon services, and body, face, and Ayurvedic treatments in a beautiful garden setting. Treatment rooms are found in charming yellow cottages, and guests can also enjoy the Japanese-inspired cold plunge pool and volcanic stone hot tub. The resort’s signature body treatment involves a fresh lemongrass scrub, hot stones, and warm coconut milk to help detoxify the body and relieve tension.
Golf is another big draw at the Four Seasons Nevis, with an 18-hole, par-71 course designed by Robert Trent Jones II that highlights the island’s stunning views (wait until you get to Hole No. 15!). The island’s local flora and fauna are on prominent display; gorgeous red flamboyant trees dot the course and wild African Green Vervet monkeys come out to play, usually in the early morning and evening. The course also incorporates a little bit of Nevis history, with a sugar mill ruin providing the backdrop for Hole No. 2. Clubs are available for rent, and guests can take advantage of a putting green, driving range, and professional instruction.
Those interested in practicing their swing and feeding the fish at the same time can grab some eco-friendly golf balls and head to the beach. From a turf mat laid out on the sand, golfers can hit the “Ecobioballs” made with fish oil and vegetable protein into the sea; the balls will dissolve into fish food within 72 hours of hitting the water. True, most driving ranges are green, but this one could possibly be considered the greenest.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an island vacation without some time spent enjoying a few water activities. I was more than happy to take a stand-up paddleboard out to sea for an hour or so, paddling toward the horizon and taking in the calm of my surroundings.
For the more adventurous, the resort rents out the materials needed for kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, waterskiing, tubing, jet skiing, wind surfing, sailing, and knee boarding. And for those looking to try something different there’s even an activity called flyboarding, during which a person has his or her feet strapped into snowboard-like boots and is then propelled into the air by a jet stream of water. All you need is good balance and concentration and a bit of bravery to have a whole lot of fun.
If beachside rest and relaxation is more your thing, check out the cabana-style Beach Houses, which include a covered living room with a couch and dining nook and an open-air sun deck with chaise lounges. The houses are stocked with pretty much anything you might need to enjoy a day at the beach, including an iHome mini station, books, games, a flat-screen television, sunscreen, aloe-infused cooling mists, and complimentary soft drinks, and each cabana also comes with a dedicated House Attendant. I could have lounged in one of those beach houses for hours….
But, there was plenty more to see and do, including hopping aboard a catamaran for a leisure cruise out to sea. Our catamaran, called the Spirit of St. Kitts, had an interior section with a small bar and tables at its center as well as partially covered seating at its stern and netted hammock-like beds at its bow. We docked the boat in a cove and grabbed our snorkeling gear for a refreshing swim in the cool water.
For a unique underwater experience, the Four Seasons offers a Dive and Dine excursion, where guests can actually catch fresh lobster then take it back to the beach for a grilled feast. I’m not a certified diver so I left the scuba diving up to executive chef Jason Adams, who used a handmade lasso to catch a couple spiny lobsters the way the locals do. Back on the beach, chef Jason grilled the lobster with a special Nevisian barbecue glaze. It was oh so delicious and such an enjoyable way to spend part of the day.
Speaking of dining, the Four Seasons Nevis has quite a few restaurants on property. There’s Neve, which is open daily for a breakfast buffet, and Coral Grill, which serves dinner every night overlooking the Caribbean Sea. I loved Cabana as a lunch and dinner spot in a casual setting; it has a great selection of salads, wood-fire pizza, burgers, and sandwiches.
Guests can also choose to have dinner at Mango, an open-air, waterfront restaurant that serves Caribbean Rim cuisine. I’m all for eating local so I was excited to see a menu full of dishes that would be difficult to find back at home. I decided to go with the roti, a wrap with a savory stuffing commonly consumed in the West Indies, which the Four Seasons serves with homemade mango chutney, rice, and peas. It proved to be an excellent choice—except for the fact that I’ve been hopelessly craving another ever since I returned to LA.
Connected to Mango is the 101 Rums Bar, where guests choose from—you guessed it—a selected of 101 different kinds of rum. It’s an exhausting list, as you can imagine, so the bar also presents a menu of creative cocktails made with the distilled beverage. We tried the special Spicy Island Turtle, designed by the resort’s master mixologist Kendie Brown-Williams; the cocktail is made with local ingredients and Naked Turtle Rum, which partnered with the Sea Turtle Conservancy to help promote the conservation of endangered sea turtles. The drink is both delicious and for a good cause—a definite winner.
The Four Seasons Nevis is very passionate about sea turtle conservation and works with the Sea Turtle Conservancy to track the turtles’ migratory habits. Every summer, members of the conservancy come to the resort to GPS satellite tag two turtles for monitoring. We were lucky enough to be at the hotel during this time and observed as the conservationists caught a female hawksbill turtle after she nested on the beach, fixed a transmitter to her shell, named her “Coco,” and released her back into the sea, where she can now be tracked. The resort also trains its staff to spot turtle tracks so nesting areas can go undisturbed. It’s a huge effort from a small island, and one the Four Seasons is proud to honor year after year.
I had such an enjoyable and unforgettable stay at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis. From the guest rooms and the food to the activities and the wonderful people who work at the resort, every aspect of the trip was attended to with great detail and care. This is the place to go when you want to leave your cares at home and embrace vacation mode in paradise.