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Four Seasons NevisEscape in Style: Nevis
Oh, the extended family vacation. We’ve fallen for it time and time again. The thought of memories in the making and built-in childcare – it all looks great on paper. Yet as anyone who has been gently critiqued by her mother-in-law while donning her first tankini can attest… there’s got to be an alternative. Thus, we present the island of Nevis, a tranquil, family-friendly Caribbean escape. Not only do you get volcanic sand beaches, first-class spa and culinary adventures and plenty of activities for the little ones, but the island’s overflowing hospitality will literally make you feel like family. In the good way.
Why now: This small island has one of the strongest endangered sea turtle conservancy programs, and its annual Sea Turtle Conservancy weekend is set for July 18–21. If your kid has ever expressed an interest in turtle camp… well, there you have it.
Good for: Families ready to feel like royals playing and liming (that’s island talk for “relaxing”) on a luxurious island adventure.
Suggested stay: 5–8 days
- Spending the day at your own personal beach cabana on St. Pinney’s beach
- Playing with green vervet monkeys on a sunset tour
- Sailing away on a catamaran and snorkeling the Caribbean coast
- Treating yourself to a round of golf or a signature spa treatment
- Taking an island tour, and exploring the Botanical Gardens and the rich history of the island at the Hamilton House
What to know: Just grab your passports – you can fly direct from JFK or MIA to St. Kitt’s, and then hop a boat or short flight to Nevis. The island has just 10,000 inhabitants, and upon arrival you’ll settle in so quickly it’ll almost feel like home. Except better.
Live Like Island Royalty
The Four Seasons Nevis feels like a luxe island sanctuary custom-built for your needs. A former sugar plantation, the resort has all the five-star trimmings you’d expect. From a family perspective, it’s mastered that delicate balance of child-friendly indulgence and parental pampering. The devoted and attentive staff feel like part of your extended family. The expansive rooms and suites boast ample space for cribs or pullout sofa beds. They’re furnished with large soaking tubs and patios, perfect for enjoying the two glasses of wine you’ll require after one inevitable bedtime meltdown. The room is also stocked with a personal welcome toy, kiddie robes and slippers and all the child necessities you may have failed to fit into your luggage.
Where the wee ones are concerned, the Kids for All Seasons (KFAS) program is packed with indoor and outdoor island activities. Start their day off right with a post-breakfast play in the massive clubhouse. It’s got a ball pit and pirate ship (obviously). Bonus: There are green vervet monkeys on the property. No kid has ever not been excited to encounter a monkey.
And while the children are just as busy as can be, you can retreat to the lush, serene resort spa. Enter a gingerbread-trimmed cottage (that mirrors the natives’ homes) for a massage or hydrating facial. Or hit the resort golf course. The views are impressive and the most skilled players will appreciate the brilliant course design.
The resort’s five fine restaurants all have an ocean view –in fact, Mango is practically in the ocean. Interesting, then, that their glazed ribs are a menu signature, but hey, we’ll call it a new spin on surf and turf. Speaking of, be sure to satisfy your sophisticated tastebuds at Coral Grill. Don’t miss the strawberry gazpacho and lobster and lamb chop. And no matter where you eat on the property, kids are welcome, have their own menus and the under-five set eats free.
Off the resort, head to Montpelier for one of the gourmet highlights of your trip at Restaurant 750 or the hip but island-chill (read: more kid-friendly) Indigo. This hotel is built around one of the island’s original sugar mills, which makes its modern art and design feel particularly unique. By the end of your meal, proprietors Lincoln and Muffin (yes, Muffin – adorable, right?) will feel like family as you walk together recounting your meal under the silkwood tree where Horatio Nelson was married.
For a slightly more adventurous setting, head to Bananas, which is essentially a grand-scale tree house. Climb on up and watch the picture-perfect sunset, tropical cocktail in hand. Then head downstairs for dinner in a comfortable family setting.
Life’s a Beach… or a Jungle
When it comes to activities for the family to enjoy together, you’ve got quite a few choices. Retreat for the day to the cabana-style beach house, complete with your own butler. This private sanctuary is equipped with every imaginable amenity, including panoramic views. Worn out by all the lounging? Your butler will pitch a pack-and-play and close the beach blinds so your toddler can nap while you get your own R&R.
For an experience right out of the jungle storybook, take the sunset green vervet monkey tour. You will literally be frolicking alongside groups of cheeky monkeys – it’s an extraordinary experience that you and the kids will never forget. Or, if you’re feeling nautical, take a leisurely catamaran sail on the Caona. Hop onboard and relax on the large foredeck, sipping rum punch (the tiny set gets juice) as you sail out to a small alcove of beach. Snorkel in the turquoise waters, or just float around with your kids and feed the fish.
The Full (Island) Tour
If given the time, it’s worth it to take a half day to explore the history and beauty of Nevis. Visit the historic Hamilton House and sugar plantations, and admire traditional crafts and Cottle Church. The must-see Botanical Gardens boasts countless varieties of orchids, palms and tropical fruits along with prime views of Nevis Peak and the ocean. Your kids will love the colors and smells (don’t miss the rainbow tree), the dolphins, mermaids and Mayan sculptures and waterfalls. After your Nevis retreat, we’re willing to bet you’ll have a new definition of family vacations.
(Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Nevis)