Since I don’t get to go on vacation that often, I make the time I have away from work really count! No eating peanut butter sandwiches and sleeping in motels for me. Rather, I prefer being pampered in luxurious comfort…and play tennis whenever I want, of course! And what better place for such an escape this winter than the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies!
Nevis is a tiny volcanic island, roughly 8 miles in diameter, with a shallow channel called “The Narrows” separating it and its sister island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. The name Nevis derives from the Spanish “Nuestra Señora de los Nieves,” which means “Our Lady of the Snows,” presumably for the white clouds that often shroud Nevis Peak. But I call it Paradise, and if you keep reading, you’ll see why :)
The Four Season Resort Nevis opened in 1991 with the second largest tennis complex at any of the Four Seasons worldwide: a 10-court (hard, artificial grass, and red-clay) facility that wraps around the central plaza of the Sports Pavilion. This location has emerged as one of the foremost tennis destinations in the Caribbean, if not the world.
As at any other Caribbean resort, the tennis directly competes with the stunning beaches (a battle it will almost always lose between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.) There is also world-class golf on a gorgeous golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II, that meanders along the base of the 3,232-foot dormant volcano of Nevis Peak.
For those looking to relax when off the courts, there are also 3 crystal clear pools, a pristine beach, and tons of other activities, both in water and on land.
The resort has 196 rooms and suites and another 50 luxury villas sprinkled throughout the property. The rooms and suites can be found in two-story, shingle-roofed clusters with weathered wood and white stucco facades and latticework trim, and have a view of either the beach or golf course. In general, they follow the curve of Pinney’s Beach behind lush lawns and gardens, and occasional palm trees. These are spacious accommodations, with off-white tile floors, designer furnishings, and a subdued but colorful tropical decor.
First floor rooms open out onto patios and have direct access to the beach; second-floor rooms afford more privacy and have balconies. All are equipped with a variety of creature comforts, including flat-screen televisions, DVD players (a selection of free DVDs to watch is available in the gift shop), coffee makers, complimentary WiFi, and oversized marble baths with soaking tubs and separate walk-in showers. Each cluster of rooms has a free guest laundry–there’s even complimentary detergent!
The luxury villas range from 1 to 7 bedrooms and feature large living areas, fully equipped kitchens, and expansive balconies and terraces along with private pools or plunge pools.
The Four Seasons Resort Nevis boasts four restaurants, with its signature eatery being the Coral Grill, an oceanfront steakhouse with twin sand-colored chandeliers hanging from its exposed beam ceiling. A fan favorite, however, is Mango in a former plantation beach club at the northern end of the property. Steps from the water and open to the breeze, it specializes in West Indian-inspired fare like crab and mango salad, Mango’s famous glazed ribs, locally caught whole fried snapper or a Caribbean roti, washed down with, say, a Mangojito made with the local Brinley mango rum. In addition, there is Neve, for a buffet breakfast or casual Italian dinner, and the open-air Cabana near the beach and pool for light fare during the day. And for a more romantic setting, you can have your dinner right on the beach surrounded by billowing canopies and soft candlelight. Lastly, there is the Kastawey Beach Bar, located at the southern end of the property, serving up creative rum cocktails and light bites featuring locally sourced ingredients from land and sea.
Alternatively, you can catch a cab to dine at Montpelier Plantation or at the Golden Rock Inn, or stroll up the beach to celebrity favorite Sunshine’s (don’t miss their Killer Bees, a rum drink), Chevy’s, or the Double Deuce.
The six hard courts (one with bleachers) two artificial grass courts, and four red-clay courts wrap around the two-story golf-and-tennis clubhouse in an area of the resort known as the “Sports Pavilion,” which also includes the spa and fitness center. Weathered wooden pavilions at the edge of the courts provide shade, benches, and a supply of chilled water, tropical fruit juice, and regular or scented chilled towels. Five of the courts also have lights for night play.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, head pro, David Wilson played both the Australasian and European tennis circuit before opting for a coaching career in his hometown of Geelong, Australia. In 2006, he became the tennis director at the Grand Hyatt Seoul, South Korea, while also working seasonally at sites at Caneel Bay and Four Seasons Singapore, eventually taking the head pro job at Nevis in 2017. He has a well-run program of adult and junior clinics, social mixers, game matching, and private lessons as well as men’s round robin that brings together tennis-playing staff, locals, and guests.
- Private and Semi-Private Lessons
- Social and Competitive Tournaments
- Daily Tennis Clinics
- Player Matching
- Junior Tennis Program
The beach. Pinney’s Beach stretches for four miles along the western coast of Nevis. The section that borders the Four Seasons was substantially reconfigured in the aftermath of Hurricane Omar in 2008, so the resort created a berm seeded with low grasses and plants to protect the resort from the sea. Four supremely comfortable beach houses, each with a flatscreen TV, iPod dock, room service, and lounge chairs, stand atop the berm and can be rented for the day. Behind them and to the east is the watersports center, which has Hobie cats, kayaks, seaboards, paddleboats, snorkel gear, standup paddleboards and more (non-motorized equipment is complimentary with your stay.) There is another, quieter pool for adults only at the southern end of the property.
The resort also offers scuba diving lessons and boat dives, catamaran snorkel tours, deep-sea fishing excursions, guided kayak tours, and a Laser sailing school.
The golf course. Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, this 18-hole course climbs up and down the lower slopes of the 3,232-foot dormant volcano of Nevis Peak. The 15th is among the most spectacular, requiring a 240-yard carry across a ravine to reach the fairway while green vervet monkeys provide commentary from the adjacent trees, though, for stunning views, the 9th hole stands out, a fairway that spills down the mountain slope toward the Caribbean and St. Kitts beyond.
The spa and fitness center. Located just off the plaza that borders the tennis courts, the Fitness Center contains an array of cardio machines, each with its own TV screen, arrayed along a wall with windows on the tropical foliage and Nevis Peak outside. Behind those machines is a row of LifeFitness stations, supplemented by dumbbells and free weights.
The Spa has a dozen treatment rooms, six of them in tiny cottages with cedar-shake roofs, yellow clapboard siding, and white gingerbread trim. They flow through a courtyard filled with tropical gardens. Guests can use the time before or after treatments to relax in an air-conditioned lounge or sit outside on a covered patio paved with stones or around a plunge pool with views of Nevis Peak or around a second pool with a waterfall. This award-winning spa is a tropical sanctuary for the spirit, mind and body offering rejuvenating body treatments, massage therapies, facials, salon services and custom perfume blending, all with the personalized Four Seasons touch. Yes, please!!
Get to know the locals and go on an island tour: Visit historic Charlestown dating back to the 1600’s, stop by the public market, and see some of the island’s architectural sites and natural beauty. And enjoy some of the island’s lively libations at the 101 Rums Bar, where you can sample some of the world’s finest rums. Then strap in for the Funky Monkey ATV Tour to get you moving. Don’t worry, it’s not fast and furious; it’s just a relaxed ride around the island as you work your way to the remote parts, stopping at numerous scenic points and historical buildings. Be sure to bring a camera and/or a GoPro to capture the memories!
Other fun outdoorzy stuff to do: There is something for everyone on Nevis. Whether you prefer to get to know Nevis on a leisurely horseback ride, or from the air as you zip through the lush landscape on a zip line. Or perhaps you’d like to be one with nature on foot on a relaxing hike. You might even see some of the cute Vervet Monkeys that live on the island.
Just for the kiddos.
The “Kids for All Seasons” program accepts children ages 3 to 9 for a full day of supervised recreation, creative and educational activities highlighted by a sea turtle education program that focuses on Nevis’s endangered sea turtles.
With 196 rooms and suites and an additional 50 luxury villas scattered throughout the property, there are plenty of accommodations for everyone. Minimum stays may apply at certain times of the year, and rates vary seasonally so be sure and check the website well ahead of time for the dates you’re interested in traveling. The winter months (here) are their peak season, and more expensive than say, if you went in the summer. But to get away to paradise for a while and escape the cold…isn’t it worth it?
Four Seasons Resort Nevis
P.O. Box 565
Pinney’s Beach, Nevis, West Indies
Travel tips: There is a small airport at the north end of Nevis served by turbo-prop planes and other small aircraft from Caribbean hubs including San Juan, Puerto Rico, Antigua and St. Martin. The alternative is to fly to the nearby island of St. Kitts, which has with direct flights from Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta, New York, Newark, Toronto and London. The Four Seasons staff provide transport from the airport by private taxi and boat directly to the resort pier.
General tourist information: For information about Nevis, check out the Nevis Tourism Authority website or phone 866-55 NEVIS (toll-free.)