Seeking feedback on Nisbet Plantation, Nevis

Old Jan 9th, 2010, 01:34 PM
  #1  
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Seeking feedback on Nisbet Plantation, Nevis

Our travel agent suggested Nisbet Plantation, Nevis, for an early March vacation. We would like feedback from fellow Fodorites about the resort and the island. We are in our late 50's, and enjoy walking the beach, swimming, snorkeling and good food/drink. Thanks.
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Old Jan 9th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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For lots of information about what to do and see on Nevis go to www.nevis1.com It's a very comprehensive website.

As for Nisbet, it's a very nice upscale resort, since the closing of the Four Seasons it's considered the premier resort on the island. There are only 38 rooms at the resort so it never seems crowded. The staff there is attentive and friendly, you'll arrive as a guest and leave as a friend.

Staying at the resort is a bit like taking a step back in time when Sugar was King and Nevis was the Queen of the Caribbean. The resort is on the grounds of an old sugar plantation and you'll be treated like one of the plantation owners. The photos and description on the Nisbet website (www.nisbetplantation.com) are very accurate.

The rooms are well appointed, the grounds nicely kept. The food is quite good but don't limit yourself to eating all your meals at the resort. There are plenty of other very fine restaurants on the island.

The palm tree lined beach is attractive but the resort is on the Atlantic side of the island so the water there can be a bit wavy at times. You should know that while there is some snorkeling around Nevis it is nowhere near as good as you'll find in the USVI's, the BVI's, the Tobago Keys, the Turks & Caicos or Bonaire.
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Old Jan 9th, 2010, 03:52 PM
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Though I've not stayed at Nisbet, I spent a good bit of time there enjoying its beach and having lunch at their beach bar on my trip to Nevis. I can tell you that the staff was absolutely gracious and attentive and couldn't have been more pleasant, despite the fact that my husband and I were not guests at the hotel. The beach was uncrowded and pretty for walking along, the food was good, the bar drinks were outstanding, and I would be hard pressed to find a more pleasant waterfront spot on the island (Montpelier might give it some competition, though).

The snorkeling was practically nonexistent when we were there, as there was a weather front in the area and we were dodging waves in the surf.

I agree with everything RoamsAround has to say about the island in general. It's a mighty fine little island with a lot to offer the discerning traveler who isn't looking for the typical touristy, resort-based vacation.
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Old Jan 9th, 2010, 05:11 PM
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Nisbet Plantation is one of our favorite resorts. Happy to answer specific questions. It has real personality, full of Caribbean charm, service and staff great, food good. If you like to walk the beach, you may be disappointed as you can't really walk that far, but it is a nice beach for Nevis with a great view of St. Kitts. We stayed in both the deluxe rooms and the premium ocean view, I actually like them both because the deluxe have a nice screened porch that is furnished as a living room and some of the deluxe rooms do have view of the ocean from the patios. Lots of peace and quiet and relaxation. Nevis is not known for its snorkeling.
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Old Jan 10th, 2010, 10:49 AM
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Thanks to Roamsaround, ejcrowe, and eileen for the responses. We really enjoy smaller, boutique hotels/resorts. Our two favorites so far are Palm Island in the Grenadines and Galley Bay, Antigua. Nisbet sounds lovely, but I am disappointed that snorkeling isn't that great, and the beach walking is limited. What else do you recommend to do in Nevis? Is Nisbet formal or casual for meals?
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Old Jan 10th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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Wow, B and B, in addition to Nisbet, Galley Bay is our other favorite resort! We like GB a little bit better though. The two are very different in some ways and alike in others. Both are unique, with good, personable service and good food, very special feeling to each of them. Both have a great beach barbecues on Thursday nights (I thought Nisbet's was better). The premium oceanview rooms are comparable at each, but GB's are closer to the beach and water with better views. Nisbet has hammocks on the beach as well as palapas, which is nice. I also like the fact that Nisbet's pool is oceanfront and they have a hot tub! (Really wish GB would get one). Nisbet has fewer dining options -- every dinner is in the Great House except barbecue night, lunch and breakfast are served at the casual restaurant oceanfront (like the Seagrape at GB but not quite as open air). GB's grounds are more tropical and lush, Nisbet has a large green lawn and lots of palm trees. Happy to answer any questions comparing the two. We will return to Nisbet, just haven't had a chance to as Nevis is so difficult to get to and we can get a direct flight to Antigua! And Palm Island is on our wish list because it seems similar in some ways to Galley Bay!
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Old Jan 10th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Nisbet is more formal at dinner (sundresses, skirt & blouse or pants & blouse for the women: long pants & shirt with collar and closed toe shoes for the men). They do have a Thursday Night "Beach Bar-B-Q which is more casual). Breakfast & lunch is casual.

I think eileen is somewhat mistaken as far as walking the beach is concerned - If you start at the northwestern most point on Nisbet's beach (i.e. to the far left when looking at the water) you can stroll about 1 1/2 miles past Herbert's Beach, Camp's Beach and to the opposite end of the area known as Long Haul Bay. There are some spots where the water comes very close to the vegetation at the beach's edge making the beach narrow and because much of that area is undeveloped there are some downed palm trees but the beach is passable for the entire distance. The last 1/4 or so of this trek is not one of the more attractive beaches on the island.

Sorry, about the lack of great snorkeling but volcanic islands like Nevis tend to lack a comprehensive close in reef system thus the snorkeling is only average.

There are 2 man-made jetties at Nisbet where you can snorkel, and there's a small but interesting reef about 200 feet off-shore at the aforementioned Herbert's Beach (about a 7 minute walk from Nisbet). It's fairly easy to locate: From Nisbet, walk northeastward to you see a jetty with a long pole sticking out over the water, about 50' from the pole (back toward Nisbet) running parallel to the beach is an series of concrete blocks that form an artificial reef - you'll some small fish here. Continue swimming past the end of the artificial reef another 75' to 100' and you'll come upon a small natural reef. I've seen quite a few very colorful reef fish, some lobsters, rays, moray eels and interesting coral. It's not a big reef but it is growing and flurishing.

You can also find some decent snorkeling around the "CliffDweller Rocks" at Tamarind Bay and around the rocks at the Northern end of Oualie Beach and around the man-made breakwaters by the Four Seasons Resort (Note: 4S is closed but you can access the beach by taking the road to Sunshine's Beach Bar at Pinney's Beach).

There are lots of things to do and see on Nevis. You can visit the Alexander Hamilton Exhibition and the Admiral Nelson Museum, you can explore the ruins of numerous Sugar Plantations, hike to the lost village on the slopes of Nevis Peak, hike through rain forests or to the top of the volcano (get a guide for this), explore bat caves, visit the Nevisian Village, search for the ghost of Eden Brown, tour the Botanical Garden (admittedly not one of the better ones in the Caribbean), climb Saddle Hill and explore the ramparts from the lookout point, on the way back visit the grave of Phillipa Prentiss (it dates back to the mid 1600's - there's a facinating story about how she arrived in Nevis from England , married and made her life in the islands), you can visit the spot where Admiral Nelson married Fanny Nisbet (yes, the same Nisbet family which owned the plantaion that is now the resort). There are old churches to visit and you can go to Bath Village which is the site of some natural hot spings and one of the earliest "spa hotels" in the Caribbean (now restored and home to some governmemt offices). You can seach for sea glass and seashells, go deep sea fishing, scuba diving, day sailing or windsurfing. That just scratches the surface. Suffice to say, there are a lot of "neat things and places" on Nevis - you just have to search them out.
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Old Jan 10th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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Palm Island is my favorite resort, although my husband and I both LOVE Nevis!
We stayed at the FS there but we did go to Nisbet. We had chatted with some people at the airport who were on their way to Nisbet, so we had dinner with them there and got to check out the resort. My husband's response after we left and it was just the two of us was that he would not have stayed there. I have to admit the pool was incredibly small, among other things. However, the staff was very pleasant and I'm sure it's a decent quiet place.
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 04:10 AM
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Having traveled much of the Caribbean, Nisbet is one of my favorite places. I have a trip report (with photos) here: http://islandtime.homestead.com/Nevis2008.html. Just be aware that while Nisbet is "high-end", it is also very "old Caribbean". So don't expect glitz and polish -- not like a Ritz Carlton; more like a bit of rusticity and genteel service. We are going back later this year.
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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If I may piggyback my question on this thread. We are going to Nisbet in March and landing in St. Kitts. Does anyone have an opinion on the best way to transfer from St. Kitts to Nevis? The hotel offers a private water taxi for $150 / person round trip. From what I understand there are ferries that are closer to $40 round trip. I assume taxis, etc increase the cost but I dont know how much, if its a reasonable difference I'd be apt to go for the option offered by the hotel but this seems a rather steep price.
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 11:27 AM
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We spent 5 days at Nisbet in November several years ago. There was no day when we could go into the water there -- extremely rough, as apparently it often is on the Atlantic side. We also found the beach very small. There was no place to walk as the waves had seriously eroded the beach. We spent all our swimming time in the pool (which is nice but not particularly exciting) or over near the beach at the 4 Seasons where the swimming was very good. Do visit Sunshines which is a Nevis tradition.

We took a snorkeling excursion from the company at Oulie Beach. Not worth the time or the money. Some turtles but little else.

The food at Nisbet was very good but it is just a bit stuffy. Formal seating and service which was fun the first night or two but then got old. Not sure that we would return.
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 12:07 PM
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scoob - The advantage of a "private water taxi" is it will save you some time waiting for the ferry. How much time depends on what time you clear Immigration & Customs in St. Kitts and the next scheduled departure of the ferry. The water taxi is the "best" way to get between St. Kitts and Nevis if you can afford the price tag. You'll be met at the airport when you come out of the customs area and driven to Raggae Beach (about 15 minutes) where you'll board the water taxi for the 12 minute ride to Nevis where you'll be met again and driven to the resort (5 minutes).

Your other option is to take the ferry (a 45 minute trip) which will cost you about $9US PP each way (including the Port Tax). You'll need to take a taxi from the airport to the ferry dock in Basseterre (about $10US - 10 minutes) and again from the dock in Charlestown to Nisbet (about $15US - 15 minutes).

Do the math, compare it to your budget and choose what works best for you.
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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Liked the trip report, Callaloo. It certainly does seem to be a hassle to get there and back. Wish the beach, swimming and snorkeling got better reviews. As Eileen and Knowing can understand, after having such wonderful vacations at Galley Bay and Palm Island, it is hard to know where to go next that will measure up. Any other suggestions as to where we might like?
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 06:01 PM
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What about Biras Creek on Virgin Gorda? Or Guana Island, a private island in the British Virgin Islands? If you definitely want an AI, Spice Island Beach Resort on Grenada is lovely, too, and on a really nice stretch of beach. They're all higher-end resorts, but I'm pretty sure their prices are in line with GB and Palm Island.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 04:52 AM
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Scoob -- I agree you should go private if the price tag doesn't seem exorbitant, there's a huge convenience factor that probably makes it worth it. We stayed on St. Kitts for several days, then took the public ferry over to Nevis, it took quite some time, was crowded and a hassle getting on the boat with luggage (those golf clubs of my husband's are a real pain!), not to mention the fact that some days the schedule is more "casual" than others. On the way back, we ended up taking a puddle jumper from Nevis to St. Kitts because it was a Sunday and we were told the ferry might not run. And if I remember correctly, I think the ground taxis are also included in Nisbet's water taxi price.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 05:04 AM
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B and B -- I hear you, I have the same problem trying to find places I think will measure up. After going to GB in 2008, I did a ton of research, and every place I looked at did not seem as good as GB, so we returned to GB. One place that gets great reviews we have been considering is Tortuga Bay in DR. (My husband must have access to golf so that somewhat limits our choices). That TB beach looks spectacular. We've looked at Spice Island, but there's no golf and what discourages me is there seems to be only one restaurant so I think we'd get bored eating the same place three times a day. Another place I recently found that seems to be similar to both Nisbet and Galley Bay in its Caribbean feel, boutique resort, upscale AI approach is the East Winds Inn in St. Lucia. Gets great reviews. Also take a look at Jamaica Inn. We're doing something different this year and going to The Crane in Barbados. I realize I probably won't love it like GB, but won a bargain on skyauction and with daughter starting college in the fall, needed to be economical this year. With this winter, some warmth and sunshine will go a long way toward making me happy! Since we'd like to go to Palm Island some time, could you compare it to GB for me? What did you like and dislike about PI as compared to GB?
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 01:38 PM
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Eileen, Palm Island is such a special place, with only the resort and a few private homes on the entire island. Very much like GB in terms of great food & drink, friendly staff, beautiful beach and grounds. We enjoyed taking the bikes out to ride around the island. We also enjoy snorkeling and it was fun to snorkel right off shore. The proximity to the Tobago Cays for snorkeling was really nice. We were there over Christmas in 2007 and the place was only about half full if that. Definitely put it on your short list - it is worth it!
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Old Jan 27th, 2010, 08:01 AM
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Everyone, thanks for your help regarding the water taxi. We were able to get the resort to discount the cost of their water taxi 10% and have decided from all of your opinions to go that route. After understanding the details & costs of trying to get there by ferry it seems less a luxury and more of a way to make sure our vacation starts and ends w/ out frustration!

B&B, my wife and I loved Royal Plantation in Jamacia. Its a small beach but it is a lovly place with outstanding food and many different dining choices for the size of the hotel. So you know, it is a little formal but you do have access to golf and to the surrounding Sandles hotels for less formal activities and envirments.
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