Just below the Tropic of Cancer and 17 degrees above the Equator, lies the island paradise of Nevis. Nevis is not the place you would expect to find a gathering of charming septuagenarians, but the perfect place for a children’s author and her companion researching a new book, “Grandpa’s Gone: A child’s guide to dealing with loss.” Montpelier Plantation Inn was an unexpected place for on the spot research. The average age of the other guests was around 68. At one point, we suspected a premier service of checking on the sunning bodies with a mirror under the nose was in the offing. But it was a great place for a little R&R (Rest and Relaxation). R&R stands for ‘rest and relaxation’: it’s an acronym. The gentle cooing of birds and the nattering of aging Brits by the pool made us feel truly, colonially comfortable.
The room was fine. The bathroom needed a reno, but the king sized bed with fine linens were outstanding. As was the view of the sea and setting sun from our private veranda. It was as if we were watching the sun set, not just over the water, but over a dying empire.
Montpelier has three dining options, very fine privee dining in the sugar mill, fine dining in the main house and casual at the pool side bar. They post the menu daily for the fine dining and one would never think to see Stilton cream and Parmesan frothed pumpkin risotto on a menu in the Caribbean, but at Montpelier such continental gastronomic concoctions are de riguer. That’s French. The food is not bad, not at all, it was one of the allures for us. We just expected a little less cruise ship gourmet and a little more tarted up island rustic. Being from New York City, it’s hard to forget that you can’t get Tonkatsu style ramen delivered at 3am. We did enjoyed the Spanish theme night with bocerones that were likely FedExed in and, better than the tinned ones in Whole Foods. The staff incredulously honored my request for a hang over curing fried egg a top their Angus beef (really?) burger and my companion’s desire for a simple jerk chicken sandwich (on a bun, not a wrap, please). Given my incomplete and anecdotal survey of the clientele, the chef is working to the best he can with the lowest expectations from his diners. It’s as if the nose-to-farm-to-tail-to-table movement blew right by on the Trade Winds. Do get the spiney lobster scramble and any of the salads with passion fruit vinaigrette, they are the few dishes that seem to use local ingredients.
Also, explore the grounds! There’s a tennis court we didn’t use, lovely botanic gardens we didn’t stroll around and a spa we did not get rubbed at. We usually slept in until well past solar apex. Although, we did enjoy a night of pure excess topped with a late night excursion out to the fields to find the best part of the grounds, a hammock. Perfect to lull a dopamine overloaded brain in the breezy tropical moonlight. We did use the pool, though it could use a heater, lest the cold water shocks a guest into a slightly premature heart attack.
Over all, Montpelier was charming, the staff attentive and the rum punch on arrival delicious and sorely needed. I would recommendMontpelier to any one who wants to enjoy a secluded retreat and see what’s in store for them as life is waning. If you like your beach time well spent with doddering British ‘mums’ and avuncular Scottish ‘pups’ then use the private beach and shuttle. Thankfully, we never woke early enough to catch it and we spent our time on Pinney’s Beach which is a $15 cab ride from the hotel. We would definitely return! If only for the hammock and the glimpse into America’s future as the next empire in decline!