Spa of the Month: Montpelier Plantation and Beach, Nevis


Not too many people go to Nevis. There are many Caribbean islands that are far better known and certainly a great deal bigger. Even its sister island of St Kitts gets more visitors – perhaps understandably many of them decide the flight there is more than enough of a journey. Just across a two-mile stretch of water (about ten minutes by water taxi), however, is this little gem of an island, well worth the extra hour.

Nevis is the perfect island if your aim is slowing down, relaxing, chilling or, as they say here, limin’. Because international travellers have to come in via St Kitts (Nevis doesn’t have much of an airport to speak of), visitor numbers are low and the pace of life is slow. There’s a sense of tranquility here – you could say the whole island has the atmosphere of a spa, in fact.

Nowhere is this more true than at Montpelier, an 18th century former sugar plantation in the foothills of Nevis Peak, set in 60 acres of lush tropical gardens and with a shuttle to its own private beach. It’s a quiet secluded spot (well, except for the tree frogs who like nothing better than to serenade you in the evenings) and, while not perhaps a conventional spa, they have a holistic approach with an emphasis on delicious, local and seasonal food, as well as fine wines and excellent cocktails. We’re not talking austerity here. Instead, this is a place to unwind and disconnect.

There are plenty of opportunities to be active – there are tennis courts and a massive swimming pool on site, as well as lots of outside activities, from hiking in the mountains or cycling round the island to sea-based adventures including sailing, deep sea fishing, diving, kayaking and windsurfing. Montpelier regularly hosts yoga classes and retreats, too.

Montpelier’s spa is also not quite what you’d expect. A bit like Nevis itself, it’s tiny and it’s entirely out of doors. So, rather than complexes of saunas and steam rooms, what you find here is an open-air treatment area that looks out over rolling green (there’s a hammock slung between two trees) to verdant mountains and the deep blue sea beyond. White muslin curtains float in the breeze and vines grow across the ceiling.

There’s a menu of massages (Swedish, deep tissue, reflexology, pre-natal) as well as Caribbean experiences. Most of these are various kinds of massage, too, including a Ginger Lemongrass Warm Stone Massage (there are some wonderfully spicy scents in these treatments). I’d particularly recommend the Montpelier Signature Massage which starts with a scrub of mango butter and sea salts and is followed by a coconut oil massage – products good enough to eat, in fact.

This was, perhaps, even more the case with my Custom Facial which included two masks, one of green tea and the other cocoa – who doesn’t love the smell of chocolate? It is a facial, though, that’s really all about cleansing and detoxing. Nomi, my therapist, introduced me to the Circadia range. As you might guess from the name, the name derives from circadian rhythms and the idea that during a 24-hour cycle, there are biological rhythms and changes in our physiology, right down to our skin. When these rhythms are disrupted by pollution, UV light, toxins or (eek!) jet lag, the skin is at risk of damage. Circadia products aim to correct and protect against all these factors.

So Nomi began with a cleansing oil that turned into a wonderful facial massage followed by a cleansing gel that foamed up into a lather. At each stage, everything was followed by a hot towel wrap that covered the face and helped open the pores. At this point, there were extractions (ouch) and the pores were closed up again with a light misting. Then it was time for the first mask (cocoa) and an absolutely blissful foot massage that crept up as far as the knees.

Later, when the green tea mask was hardening, I had a long shoulders, neck and scalp massage – and surely a scalp massage is the most relaxing thing on the planet. Finally re-misted and with a light moisturiser and sun screen applied (by now it was after 5pm but you can never be too careful in the Caribbean sun), Nomi applied a muslin mask over my face and used an electronic probe to settle the skin and close any pores that might still have had the temerity to remain open.

I was very relaxed and received plenty of comments about my glow. A perfect way to start the Caribbean evening, in fact.

Montpelier Plantation & Beach was selected as a Reader’s Choice in the Conde Nast Awards 2023. For more information, including details of its Open Spa, please visit