The Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on Nevis Island is one of those places which, as a kid, you probably had pictured in your mind as the definitive tropical island paradise. It’s that palm tree postcard from nowhere. Granted pretty much everyone has that dream holiday once or twice as they bask in a computer’s glow, gazing out into the grey.
But this tiny Caribbean island does have a magical, fantastical quality. With its picture perfect volcano rising from the lush, thick undergrowth, it’s the sort of Neverland one can imagine, but from a dank flat in east London never believes is real.
That is until it does become real. The word breathtaking gets thrown around a lot in the world of travel, but for Nevis it hits the nail on the head. And Nisbet Plantation exemplifies everything that is wonderful about the island.
There are no direct flights to Nevis so you have to travel via St Kitts. I’ve no problem with St Kitts whatsoever. It’s a beautiful island and everything anybody could possibly want from a Caribbean holiday. But a good deal of St Kitts is dedicated tourist fare. And golf. In some of the busier areas it can feel like it’s all been laid out for you, rather than leave you to do your own laying.
A quick transfer to Nevis though – it is literally 3 km away, they could practically catapult you over – and the story is remarkably different. Nevis feels raw, untouched and begging to be explored.
The Nisbet staff are there to handle everything for you, all smiles, from the moment you touch down in St Kitts airport (find other St Kitts and Nevis holiday packages here). And the attention falters not until that blissful moment you step out onto your veranda. What’s more, they all know your name. Now it should be argued this sort of personal touch should be de rigueur across all luxury services everywhere, but of course we know this isn’t always the case, and my is it wonderful when it does happen. Quite simply it is just one of those simple things that can make every guest feel more at home.
Equally the resort has an incredibly homely quality to it. The rooms feel more like your flat, or at least the flat you aspire to have once you’ve cleaned it and ordered new furniture.
It is no wonder, therefore, the Nisbet Plantation has received accolades from the likes of Condé Nast Traveller and TripAdvisor – voted “Best Luxury Resort in the Caribbean”.
Terraces and patios poke out of the architecture, clearly taking its influences from British and French colonial styles of the 17th and 18th centuries, and in front of you lies an avenue of palms pointing to an azure sea. The completely unspoiled and idyllic Nisbet Beach meanwhile is widely regarded as one of the exceptional Caribbean beaches. The other one, incidentally, is Pinney’s Beach, also on Nevis (I realise this could be the result of certain biases).
The beach of course is incredibly peaceful. The water and its undulating coral reefs come complete with idyllic shipwrecks and a thousand underwater fairytales, inviting you to swim, snorkel, and dive for the treasures.
Nevertheless, the design stops at colonial buildings and palm tree avenues, and the adventure starts beyond. The island is a haven of paths less-trodden, not least climbing to the crater of its magnificent mountain. To me however, nothing could have been more blissful than to cycle through the thick foothills of Nevis Peak.
Finally – the food. It is nothing short of spectacular. A cacophony of (amongst other dishes) tropical seafood delicately constructed, presented with the utmost elegance and bursting with flavour as delicious as, or indeed surpassing, any seafood or fine dining restaurant I’ve encountered in Europe.
All I can say is this probably isn’t for the kids. You make your own entertainments, and you dictate how much or how little you want to do. One piece of advice I would give is bring your laptop and a film or two. The resort has designated no TVs or radios on its mission of complete seclusion (it does have WiFi). You might be the type that actually does want to get away from it all, but if like me you’re not averse to a spot of Die Hard in your downtime, come prepared.
You will never want to leave Nisbet. You run away there once and feel like you’ve come home. The child in you that was lost all these years finally comes out to play; to explore; to indulge. And everybody knows his name.