Had the Four Seasons arrived on the Caribbean island of Nevis before Christopher Columbus, the New World may have been different. Perhaps he would have fallen for the graceful way the pools are worked into the terrain. Maybe he would have been won over by the beach huts, where he and Nina could have enjoyed a most civilised day. If nothing else, he would have stayed for the rum punch served on the boat from neighbouring St Kitts.
It wasn't the rum punch that won us over, although it did make our arrival at the beach pier all the more delightful. What did it for us, quite simply, was the beauty of the resort combined with the excellent care you receive when you stay at a Four Seasons. The two extra buckets of ice required to properly chill the Champagne in your late-afternoon-sun-filled room. The stuffed monkeys and monogrammed chocolate turtles left for your children. The mid-morning and mid-afternoon beach and pool snacks - just when you really need them. The smile you get from every single person on staff - smiles that are, in most cases, real. The feeling you get that at this moment, on your precious holiday, everything is as it should be. MasterCard would call this priceless. We would call it pretty much worth every penny. (Maybe we did have a bit too much rum punch.)
My family and I arrived at the Four Seasons Nevis after four nights at a big, mass-market resort on the northern side of St Kitts. While we had a great time with our extended family (and won $5 in a casino), it made the Four Seasons feel that much more intimate.
The resort centres around the Great House, comprised of an airy lobby and terrace (which also serves lunch and dinner), the dimly lit Library Bar (which is tastefully sexy), the breakfast restaurant Neve (which in high season also serves Italian food in the evenings), and the chic, beach-formal Coral Grill (which will leave you wanting coral prints in your home). From there, five low buildings of guest rooms extend on either side along the shore, giving you the feeling you're never more than a few dozen steps from the beach.
In front of these buildings are grounds which seem to be respectful of the island's topography. The three free-form pools have infinity edges and waterfalls leading to mini-pools, but aren't at all bombastic. In fact, they can barely be seen through the palm trees. One of them is far removed from the rest of the resort, and you're required to have a drink in your hand before entering. (That would be the adult pool, obv.) The west-facing beach has soft sand and a calm surf, and we found ourselves there multiple times every day.
Behind these buildings are nine tennis courts that would satisfy even the most serious player. Court One even features a mini grandstand - particularly appropriate if your child is having his first tennis lesson. From the same pro shop stems the beginning of a golf course that winds its way up a volcano, a golf course which also happens to be home to hundreds of monkeys (and employees who will help you find them, golfer or not). The full-service gym (where you can watch TV or gaze out at the flora) is also part of the complex. The next-door spa, which is built around a garden filled with hummingbirds (hummingbirds!), traditional West Indies plantation-style gingerbread-trimmed (gingerbread-trimmed!) treatment huts, and hot and cold plunge pools, is a fitting mix of botanic, organic luxury. (Or maybe that's how I should describe my Nevisian Massage, which uses black volcanic sand from the island mixed with aromatherapy oils, and is perfect for someone who likes a little massage and a little exfoliation.)
On the water's edge at the north end of the property was our favourite restaurant, Mango. It's an elegant beach shack, with an expansive deck perched over the rocks. The night of our first dinner the roof was open, and with the constellations over us and the open sea in front of us, it almost felt like we were eating in a planetarium. It was incredible. The second night, the awning was closed because of rain clouds, and though we were still on the deck right next to the water, it felt a bit less magical. But really, looking over toward St Kitts, where as our waiter said, "The lights of the island remind me of a cruise ship," Mango has to be the most special place for dinner on the resort. The excellent conch and lobster fritters, Fisherman's Choice (stew), plantain crusted dorado, and bread and butter pudding made the experience taste great, too.
The rest of our meals were also good, and by the end of our visit, we had our favourites from the regular offering: Johnny cake accompanying a delicious made-to-order omelette, and Cabana's chicken sandwich, which we only discovered on our last day. We were pleasantly surprised by how good the meat was at the Coral Grill (wagyu flank steak and rack of lamb), and how much better everything tastes when you're eating it in your private beach hut.
I won't lie. It was hard to leave. And there was no rum punch on the boat back to St Kitt's to ease our pain. No rum punch! All the more reason we should have stayed.
To find out more about the Four Seasons Nevis, click here. During high season, there are non-stop flights to St Kitts from Londonon British Airways, and from New York on American Airlines.