Another favorite experience was at the hotel beach. On a Monday at 10 a.m., I was the sole passenger aboard the van that transported guests beachside once a day on a complimentary basis. Following a leisurely drive, we arrived at the 363 foot long hotel beach within three acres of land where I enjoyed the ultimate indulgence as I was the only guest. It was with regret that I departed for a late lunch (there was no food service at the beach although the hotel restaurant offered a picnic lunch), after spending several memorable hours lounging under the ample shade of a large tree, walking along the short stretch of soft white sand, swimming in the gentle surf and the pristine crystal blue water, and wallowing in the luxury of my own private beach, at least for a short while.
I also remember breakfast fondly. Gentle hilltop breezes kept the temperature pleasant and friendly staff made me feel welcome. From my seat in a shady spot of the open air dining room I had a front row view of the historic former sugar mill and adjacent garden and terrace. It was the perfect time to catch up with guests I had met the day before, read the news on my tablet or savor the quiet, and linger while enjoying delicious fruit, homemade pastries and jams and made to order hot dishes.
I enjoyed the Montpelier Plantation and Beach’s serenity and hillside setting, understated service, foodie orientation including locally sourced menu items, comfortable and spotless room with sea view, and facilities, especially the swimming pool and beach.
Class Of Accommodation A four star boutique hotel
Concierge Jackie Morgan
Connectivity Reliable WiFi spots on property were hard to come by during my stay. There was a computer at reception for guest use.
General Manager Timothy Hoffman
Handicapped Access None
Length Of Stay Five nights
Location The hotel was 10 miles from Charlestown, the largest town on the island.
Owned And Managed Muffin, Timothy and Meredith Hoffman
Pets Allowed No. There was an onsite mascot, Ziggy who visited with guests frequently.
Property Managers Jesus Martinez and Pilar Peral
Size The hotel had 19 rooms spread into several buildings, most within a pebble’s throw of each other, in a 60 acre estate. There were 60 employees.
Year Opened-Renovated In 1960, James Milnes Gaskell purchased the estate with the dream of converting the historic ruin into a hotel. In 2002, the Hoffman Family bought Montpelier and began upgrading the property. The most recent work was in the summer of 2014 when six Plantation Rooms were renovated.
Room 5 was one of two rooms in a stand alone building. It had a high wood ceiling with a fan lamp hanging from the middle. White was the predominant color on the ceiling, walls, closet doors and furnishings. White ceramic tile with gray streaks covered the floor. Two double beds were set against the wall on the left side of the room, each one with a matching white night table and night lamp. There was a telephone on one of the night tables. Identical square shaped contemporary wood art hung above each bed. The beds had four fluffy feather pillows each, a thin white cotton bedcover and a folded over white blanket at the foot of each bed. The mattresses were of medium softness. Two identical armchairs with blue and green patterned cushions took up the middle of the room. They faced each other and a white oval table with a flower arrangement.
On the other side of the room, there was a full length mirror hanging on the wall nearest the entrance. The bathroom door was next followed by two closets. The first one had an ironing board and many wood hangers. The second one housed a mini refrigerator with beverages and snacks for sale. There was also a hot beverage service with two cups and saucers, several types of tea and instant coffee and a hot water pitcher. There was also a pitcher filled with water and glasses. There was an electronic safe and a blow dryer. Above them there were shelves and one drawer. Between the closets there was a vanity with a glass top surface and an armless chair facing a rectangular mirror. Blue curtains covered the jalousie windows which had mesh screen to keep insects out. A wall mounted remote control air conditioner above one of the beds cooled the room. Because it was on the corner nearest the entrance most of the cool air hit the first double bed. Despite the air conditioner it was humid in the bedroom. A single door led to a small porch facing a shared garden, the lush green of a hill and the ocean. Twin wood armless chairs with white cushions and a small table in between filled up the terrazzo tiled porch.
On offer in the mini bar there were two half liter plastic bottles of Montepelier water (50 cents of each purchase was donated to fighting cancer in Nevis), Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Spring, Ting (a grapefruit soft drink), Carib beer, Henri Bourgois Sancerre Burgundy wine half bottle, Bouchard Pere & Fils Pinot Noir, a 1.3 ounce can of Pringles, M&M Peanuts and a Snickers bar.
Breakfast was served between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m, lunch between 12 noon and 2:30 p.m., tea between 3 p.m and 5 p.m., and dinner between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. There were eleven items available through room service at meal times. A twelve percent gratuity was automatically added to the bill.
At breakfast there was a cold self service buffet and a hot a la carte menu with eggs, French toast, pancakes, sausage, and applewood bacon. At the buffet there were whole bananas, sliced fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapefruit, pineapple), two types of juice, orange and passion fruit, several types of cereal, dried fruit, nuts, and three types of homemade jam: strawberry, marmalade, and lemon curd. There were homemade breads including mini pain au chocolate and mini raisin rolls.
The French toast dish came with one thick piece of bread sliced in half. It was moist and served with cinnamon, and sugar syrup. The wilted spinach arrived still warm and tasted of olive oil. The applewood smoked bacon was crispy and tasty. The hot chocolate was mainly milk with hardly any chocolate flavor. I enjoyed one of the organic teas (a supplementary fee applied) although they were not on display every day. Ziggy the property dog came by at breakfast when guests would pet him. He was a pleasant presence although when he got close he was smelly. Leslie in the dining room remembered my name (and other guests’) when she greeted me. Since my return home required many hours of travel and I had to leave before the dining room was open for breakfast, I requested something to go. The kitchen staff kindly prepared a box for me, including a delicious fresh made vegetable wrap.
The three dining venues and three bars, all open air, were: Restaurant 750, Indigo and Mill Privée, the Great Room bars, Pool Bar, and Montpelier Beach Bar.
Restaurant 750 served “light and modern cuisine perfected through the use of local ingredients, herbs and spices.” From the covered terrace there were views of the lights of Charlestown and Saint Kitts. I sampled the four course tasting menu, which changed daily, the night of my arrival. Indigo, closed for lunch during most of my stay, offered casual island dining, “high end services and sophisticated style” with fine wines, rare rums, cigars and cocktails. A private five course dinner was available at Mill Privée in the hotel’s 300 year old sugar mill, said to be the only restaurant of its kind in the world. Evening cocktails and canapés were served in the Great Room in the Main House.
Prior to working at the hotel, Chef Caumont was chef de partie at the Grand Hyatt Dubai. Before that, he worked at the Hyatt Regency London The Churchill, the Park Hyatt Sydney, Australia, and was chef de cuisine at the French Embassy in Bamako, Mali.
The property had its own garden for organic herbs (mint, basil, oregano, thyme) and a few vegetables. Staff made homemade jams, yoghurt, pasta, and bread. The hotel had a wine cellar and a broad selection of aged rums.
Beach I spent a blissful few hours at the beach. It was one of two favorite areas of the property. Hotel guests had access to a 363 foot private beach within three acres. It had a handful of small beach cabanas, lounge chairs, one unisex bathroom with a changing room, toilet and sink (no shower), and a main area with sitting space and a staffed corner bar. Most of the land where the hotel structures were located was grassy. A pretty white beach was sandwiched between that section and large grouping of rocks on both sides. It was easy to enter and there was a mild surf the day I was there.
The hotel offered a complimentary van transfer to the beach and back once a day. Departure was scheduled at 10 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. There was no towel or meal service at the beach. If I wanted to eat while at the beach and didn’t drive I had to request a picnic lunch in advance. It was necessary to take pool towels to the beach and bring them back on my return. Because I was the only guest the Monday I went I could choose the time of my return. The beach area was blissfully quiet, the only sounds were of the surf and the Caribbean breeze urging me to relax.
Facilities A tennis court (open from 9 a.m. until dusk), library/TV room, three restaurants, private beach, and pool.
Pool The pool area was my favorite spot at the property, especially in the early morning when I had it to myself and it was quiet (during the day, there was sometimes music in the background). The pool itself was clean and attractive. It was 60 feet long and 20 feet wide, large enough to swim laps comfortably. It varied in depth between three and 12 feet. There were 16 loungers in the sunny pool deck and two tables, seating four each, with umbrellas. The pool area had a shady section with four loveseats and four cushioned lounge chairs under a wide awning. The pool bar was adjacent to the pool and the hotel restaurants were nearby. The historic sugar mill, a small garden and the pool restrooms were to one side. The staff were friendly and attentive. One of them brought me an unsolicited yet welcome glass of ice water when I settled down in a lounge chair one morning.
Spa Treatments were available in a spa treatment room. Following my visit the hotel had added treatments in an outdoor area.
The staff relied on fruits and vegetables predominantly supplied by local farmers, selecting producers using organic methods and sustainable agricultural practices. The property had a policy to support the local community while providing guests with high quality products.
Restaurant remains were saved and collected by the local farmers to feed their animals. The property used paper products with a high recycled content and recycled a large portion of printed material. In the laundry, staff used organic detergents (Ecolab) and water saving methods such as rain water.
There were two cisterns to collect rainwater for use in the laundry and the gardens. There was an automatic lighting system to save energy during the day. To avoid the usage of small plastic bottles and reduce wasteful packaging, the property used dispenser style bottles for bath products in the rooms and for other consumables.
For toiletries the company selected Elemis in part because the brand “does not test on animals and respects the environment.” The hotel encouraged guests to support its effort to be green, placing “green cards” in all rooms concerning the daily changing of towels and sheets.
The property was recognized in the following: Top 20 hotels in the Americas and Caribbean, Reader’s Travel Awards, Condé Nast Traveller 2014; Best Hotels in the Caribbean & Atlantic, Readers’ Choice Awards, Condé Nast Traveller 2014; AAA Four Diamond Hotel Award, 2005 to 2014; AAA Four Diamond Restaurant Award, Restaurant 750, 2005 to 2014; World Travel Awards, Saint Kitts & Nevis’ Leading Hotel, 2013; Certificate of Excellence Award, Trip Advisor from 2012 to 2014; World’s Top 100, Reader’s Travel Awards; and Condé Nast Traveller UK 2012
Date Of Review November 2014
Reviewers Article and Photos by Elena del Valle
Would You Stay There Again? Yes
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- West Indies
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