Notices

nevis trip report

Reply

Nov 26th, 2007, 04:08 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
nevis trip report

Thanks to everyone for their help in planning our trip.

The flights to and from Nevis were all on time or even early. All luggage got where it was supposed to be. I was impressed with American Airlines as we had two connections each way.

We left home at 3:45 am so it was very early and we were very tired when we arrived in Nevis. Took a taxi to the Hermitage -- first hotel where we stayed. It is a nice place but we were disappointed in the service and would not go back there again.

We liked the room and the cottages very much. They had upgraded us. We had a private porch with a hammock on the back. Since I am an early riser, I would lay out there in the am and read and watch the monkeys. The view was of the mountains. We also had a separate sitting room with small kitchen in the front.

Even though this was up the mountain, I had thought that there would be a view of the water. There wasn't. So we felt that we were in the mountains more than at a beach -- which was fine for us.

There are no beaches on this side of the island -- you need to drive about 20 minutes to get to where they are. The roads on this side of the island are not the best. Lots of potholes -- some quite deep -- and narrow. People stand in the road to talk and don't move when you approach! Also goats, sheep and cattle all get in the road. And cars -- people stop and leave them anywhere so often it is a one lane road with traffic in two directions. My husband is an excellent driver and does a bit of off road driving so he did a great job but it was not relaxing.

The first day we arrived, had rum punch -- and we preferred the Hermitage recipe to any other we tried -- and dinner then went to bed.

The next morning we had asked for a guided tour of the island. They had not previously arranged it as I had asked. I thought that a guided tour of the island would take us to ruins etc. The person who did take us was very nice and had lived there her whole life. She drove us around the island and told us a little of the history and stopped at all the resorts. Probably we did not go to ruins because they really are mostly accessible on foot.

We had asked about a car rental from the Hermitage before we arrived. We were told to wait until we arrived which we did. The cost was the most I have paid for a car anywhere else and they were not the most helpful. I went through the phone book looking for companies to rent from. We ended up with an old basic toyota car that cost us $400 for 8 days.

I expected some guidance on what to do from the Hermitage and got no help. Their activity book has very little in it.

So, Friday -- our first real day -- we took the tour in the morning, spent the afternoon getting a car and went to the MT Nevis hotel for a nice shrimp and steak dinner. This was the most reasonable hotel dinner $35 including tas and service each.

On Saturday, we tried to go the the gardens only to find out it was closed on weekends! We went to Sunshines for linch and a killer bee. We drove around and familiarized ourselves with the island. That evening we attempted to gp to Bananas for dinner. We had bad directions so it took a bit of doing -- stopping and getting directions a couple of times! But the place was very nice and we enjoyed dinner when we finally got there! It turned out to be much easier than we had been told -- if you don't mind the horrible roads.

Over the course of the next week, we did 3 hikes with Jim Johnson of Top to Bottom and thoroughly enjoyed it. He is a wealth of information and we enjoy hiking. He also took us kayaking and snorkeling on afternoon. And he gave us a cell phone to use for the week as it was his daughter's and she was away at school. Our time with him was great and I would recommend going with him at least once.

What we liked about the Hermitage was the setting and the cottages and the rum punch. What I did not like was the lack of assistance helping us plan things to do. When you have never been somewhere it is helpful to have some idea where to go and what there is to enjoy. Butr the thing that bothered me most was that they quoted everything in US$ but then the bill was converted to EC using a rate of 2.7 It was totaled in EC and then converted back using a rate of 2.65. This costs you more than the quoted rates and is very sneaky. If you spend $1,000US it is $2,700 EC but divide that by 2.65 and you end up with $1,019 US. I considered that a sneaky way to get a few more dollars from us. When I called them on it, they charged the proper amount in USD. But it set wrong that they did that.

We did learn that the wife has alzheimers -- not very advanced yet -- and they had lost their manager a year ago. The owner did not seem to be very involved in the operation and all of this may explain part of the lack of assistance.
mpkp is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2007, 04:26 AM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
We transferred to Nisbet half way through our stay and really enjoyed it -- we would go back here anytime!

The grounds are beautiful and they have a small beach. The cottages were very nice. Everyone knows your name and checks to ensure your stay is going well. We only had two minor incidents that were put right -- more than right, actually.

The first was that I had cut my foot when snorkeling. We asked at the office about an antibiotic cream in case of infection. We were told there was none. A couple of days later we went for lunch at 1:40 and ordered a pizza which took about 45 minutes to get. Even though we had inquired about dessert -- they have great brownies! -- the kitchen closed at 2:30 locked up and went home -- there were other people eating. I was very surprised that they would do this while people-- there were others in the restaurant -- were still eating. We went back to the cottage and received a preliminary bill with a comment card. So I decided to go to the manager and tell him my concerns -- no first aid kit and the kitchen closing while people were eating -- there were a couple of other minor things as well -- Turns out they do have a first aid kit and he was very concerned that the person in the office did not know about it. And he was not happy about the kitchen closing up while people were still eating. Later when we saw him, he told us he had taken care of our incidentals -- thinking that meant the one soda we took from the refrigerator I thanked him. That was not what he had done -- he had taken care of everything -- we were not on a meal plan and had had two dinners and a lunch or two and he took care of all of it. I was shocked and thankful -- truly went above and beyond what I expected -- as my husband said -- I would have been happy with the brownie! Nisbet takes a lot of pride in everything being right and since the service had not lived up to the manager's expectations, he did this. Truly surprised us with his generosity.

We took one day and went to St. Kitts. Had a guided tour with Thenford Grey of which the highlight was Brimstone. Truly an amazing place.

Never had a bad meal -- we ate at Double Deuce( great hamburgers!), Sunshines, Rumours, Gallipot, Montpelier, Mt Nevis hotel, Hermitage, Bananas and Nisbet.
mpkp is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2007, 05:25 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,870
Ahhhh, Nevis has been an expression many of us on this board have taken to saying. It seems that you have discovered some of its many joys.

So sorry that Hermitage didn't live up to your expectations, but I'm glad that that Nisbet worked out well for you. "Taking care of your incidentals" indeed!

The ruins that you mention--did you ever make it to see them? The ruins of the old Cottle chapel are accessed on foot from Mt. Nevis Hotel, for example.

Will you return to Nevis? If so, would you stay at Nisbet? Would you break up your stay between another mountain inn and Nisbet? Get a villa?
ejcrowe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2007, 07:01 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 405
The service at Nisbet is so great. There are fancier resorts in the Caribbean, but I don't know if there is a nicer staff.
Jimmie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2007, 07:05 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 388
Thanks for your trip report.....I"m trying to decide if I want to go to Nevis. Can you give an idea of what an average dinner was? Lunch? The tours? Thanks.
absolutkz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2007, 10:14 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 264
I'm so sad to read your report on Hermitage. I always suggest it as a place to stay. I hadn't realized that things had become so disjointed. No matter what the family's problems the staff should be more attentive. It is a one of a kind Caribbean experience. Yes, it is in a mountain valley garden but that is one reason the old chattel house buildings are still standing: the hurricanes always blow over the valley. Nisbet is a given winner. We go their for Sunday Brunch at the beach and have also arrived too late when the preacher is long winded. They have, what, 96 rooms? It's low density and high attention. I'm glad that they made up for any shortcomings in the service. Perhaps to stay and Nesbit and Mt. Nevis Resort the next time. Bananas is hard to find at the top of Hamilton. Their little hand painted sign nailed to a huge tree doesn't help! It took us years to get adjusted to the "traffic". You're absolutely right that the worst traffic jams are caused by the herd of goats, sheep and cattle but isn't that a wonderful traffic jam compared to Toyota, Kias and Fords? The stopping to talk to you cousin in the middle of the road still gripes me but, hey, I find myself doing it now too. "Caribbean Time" you know. Nevis and St. Kitts are repaving their roads as evident of the new main road around the island and the new road through Jessup's Village connecting through Fern Hill to Barnes Ghaut. The old roads are nothing more than two parallel concrete lines - sort of like my Grandpa's driveway in Iowa in 1955. By your next trip there will be more new roads for you to explore. Please come back.
Nevisian is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2007, 12:47 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
We did get to see ruins when we went hiking with Jim. The first hike I ducked under a tree on the path and in concentrating to not come up too early I came up into a branch and cut my head. Head wounds bleed a lot and I took my hand away and it was covered in blood. We expected Jim to find a leaf or mix up something from the dirt but instead my husband applied pressure and Jim had a pressure bandage -- it was pretty funny looking.

The second and third hike with Jim we went around a lot of ruins and into a bat cave and several other things. Also he always feeds you local leaves and fruits. Very interesting! We truly enjoyed our time with him but then we are not people who enjoy laying on the beach in the sun -- much rather be in the shade reading and looking at the water and listening to it -- which we got to do a bit at Nisbet.

Would we return to Nevis -- perhaps someday and we would definitely stay at Nisbet. But there are still so many places on our list to see -- the world is so large and we have such limited days off --

If you eat dinners at the hotels or resorts be prepared to spend around $70 each plus drinks. The Hermitage charged $40 plus 19% tax and service for 2 courses or $55 for 4 courses. Montpelier was $60 for dinner plus 20% tax and service. Nisbet was $60 plus 21% tax and service. Bananas was a la carte and the entrees were $20-25 each. There was 9% tax but no service charge there. All of these places you have to dress for dinner.

On the other hand, dinner at Rumours cost us $15 -- but we had no alcohol. Double Deuce was around $12 for a great hamburger and Gallipot was around $60 for two with a glass of wine and dessert each. We did not want the 3 or 4 course dinner every night and enjoyed the casual local places as well.

We were on lots of two concrete strip roads and lots of pot holes. In fact we saw them filling in some one day and the next day it was already starting to wear.

We really enjoyed the cottages at Hermitage and the valley. The grounds are nice as well and we saw the monkeys up there. But as the first place we stayed, we needed some assistance figuring out what to do and where to go and that was not provided. These places usually do not have offices to go into and find out what to do.

Nisbet has 37 rooms and the service and grounds are lovely. Really glad that was the second place we stayed.

Jim Johnson charges $20 per person for a tour except the peak -- he charges $30 for that but it is much longer than the others -- they are 2-3 hours and the peak is 4-6 hours. The tour on St. Kitts was $100 for both of us -- it took 4-5 hours. We could have taken the car over and done our own tour but we have found that it is much more relaxing to go with a guide -- we don't have to figure out where things are and we learn a lot about the area.

Lunch in the resorts is 10-20 per entree, The pizza we split was $17 but the salad I had another day was $9.50 plus tax and service.

We liked being at the smaller properties -- we met a couple from England in one and a couple from Boston and enjoyed getting to know them. The mountain inns have the worst roads and are the furthest from the beach. I am not sure if we would split the time next time as Nisbet was truly wonderful!
mpkp is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2007, 02:51 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 388
Thanks for answering my questions.
absolutkz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2007, 03:12 PM
  #9
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
mpkp,

Sorry that the Hermitage did not pull through for you for activities. We have had an entirely different experience with them the past two years. The women in the office were quite helpful with reservations and car rental.

We've always gone in high season though, and plan to return this winter.

Glad that on the whole Nevis didn't disappoint you. Double Deuce is such a great place for dinner. They cook an excellent fish as well.

CW
cw is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 27th, 2007, 10:06 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 107
mpkp,

Thanks for the trip report. We will be returning to Nevis on December 8 and I am wondering about the tours with Jim Johnson. Did you make a reservation with him before you left or once you arrived on the island?

Thanks,

Dave
DavefromCA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 27th, 2007, 11:44 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,251
We've always made arrangements with Jim J after we arrived on-island and have never had a problem.
RoamsAround is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 27th, 2007, 06:11 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
All our arrangements with Jim Johnson were done after we arrived. The way he works is that whoever asks for a hike first chooses the hike to be done and sets the time of the hike. If someone wants to join that hike, they can. If there is something specific that you want to do or you are limited to one time, you may want to contact him before you go. If you like old ruins, then the Mt. Pleasant hike is great.
mpkp is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2007, 12:26 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5
We have been to Nevis many years and it sounds like you experienced many of the good and bad quirks about the island. Our first visit was less than relaxing but we soon learned that you need to slow down to their pace to really enjoy. I was saddened to hear about your stay a The Hermitage as we love the place and consider the Lupinacci's good friends. It saddens me even more that you would post personal health information about Mrs. L. I find it inappropriate and unecessary information to share with so many people. Sorry, but that's my opinion. I think it would be a very kind thing to do to remove this section of your posting.
flipflopfetish is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2007, 01:15 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,594
I think that was only mentioned to the extent that the op's trip report indicated that the Hermitage's ownership is perhaps not as attentive to guests due to health issues as they may have been in the past.
mah1980 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2007, 02:48 PM
  #15
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
I agree with flipflopfetish and mah. I'm sure the op posted the information as an explanation and meant no harm, but I think those personal details should be removed. I would certainly hate to read this information about one of my family members or good friends on a travel forum. Perhaps those of us who have been through this firsthand, are more sensitive to it.

No offense meant mpkp. I know you had the best intentions.
cw is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2007, 11:39 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,792
Ah, another Nisbet lover

It just shows that the right amount of care and attention from the staff can make or break your holiday.

mpkp - I bet the chap who helped you was called Steve.

We stayed at Nisbet in 2006 and stayed in a room which if I remember rightly was called Jeffers (or am I just thinking of Rosalind??), with a wonderful view of the beach. We requested it this year for our 25th wedding anniversary vacation only to be told that it was booked, a huge disappointment however we stayed in Long Point instead which IMHO has the BEST view of all of the rooms - even the Junior Suites - Steve arranged this for us.

They do remember your names - kind of annoys me because I like to fly under the radar but they do get the feeling that if you want to be left alone - they pick up on that also.

I think that's why Nisbet will always be a favorite with me.
alya is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 5th, 2007, 09:19 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 264
flipflopfetish, It was an unfortunate post about the management of the Hermitage having medical problems but you are the person who named names. FODORS: PLEASE REMOVE THIS POST
Nevisian is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 5th, 2007, 10:46 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5
Hardly a mystery who owns The Hermitage but I have submitted a request to Fodor's Editors that my posting be removed.
flipflopfetish is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 5th, 2007, 03:16 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,594
Nevisian--you attracting more attention to it (I would have never given it a second thought) by continuing to discuss it.
mah1980 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 5th, 2007, 05:53 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 264
Perhaps you are right. But since I have been taking care of Alzheimer's patients in my own family I'm sensitive to the subject. In the last three years I've spent more time off island (in the U.S.) than at home. It's nobody's business what a person's or a family's medical problems are. It is particularly rude to post this information on an international travel web site. I think the posts are crass and cross the line of patient privacy; which is law in the U.S. I too have asked Fodor's to take the post(s) off an otherwise good string of information.
Nevisian is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:21 AM.