Let’s get down to the bread and butter of why, even with significant trips south and to France slated for the first half of this year, Meredith and I spent quite a few hours in front of the computer this January, trying desperately to figure out the logistics of squeezing in a trip back to Nevis in between other trips (sadly we ultimately decided that we couldn’t this year, but it’s a must for next year). Montpelier Plantation, in my book, has to be one of the purest examples of a relaxation getaway that could possibly exist. I’ll start with what the plantation doesn’t provide. If you’re hoping to find a place for your screaming children, don’t look here. If you’re looking for a casino, an in-pool bar, or gimmicky resort props, don’t look here. If you are, however, looking for a quiet haven, nestled in a picturesque island setting, where you can drown your stress in a few nutmeg rum punches on a private beach or beside the pool in the shade of a colonial sugar mill, look no further. If you’re looking for world-class meals, three times a day, and a resort staff so friendly that they leave you feeling like you’ve made life-long pals, look no further. I’m seriously sold on Montpelier, and I’d all but guarantee that if you spent 5 minutes here – approximately the amount of time it takes to be greeted by the concierge and served a complimentary rum punch by the pool on the walk to your room – you would be too.
It might be easiest to explain the attachment you’ll feel towards the plantation by talking about the patrons of Montpelier. This is not a place you visit once, and never return to. The people that we shared drinks with during the pre-dinner, highly-suggested, cocktail hour were longtime patrons of the plantation – people who visited yearly, stayed in the same cottages, ate nightly at the on-site restaurants, and just like the staff, approached the other guests (especially the two newbies) with an interest in making friends, and ensuring that they too, felt the same way about this special place.
The staff. Everyone knows your name at Montpelier. Not a single time was I asked if I was a guest at the plantation, or for my cottage number. I wasn’t a number, I was Mr. Cain, or maybe even Michael to a few. It’s hard to imagine the effect this has on your stay. I don’t know if there were notecards with pictures and names, or dossiers in the break room, but people I hadn’t even met yet would introduce themselves, already knowing who I was, making me feel like I belonged. And as far as I could tell, this wasn’t an act. This was a genuine interest by the staff in making people happy, because they too love Montpelier. Hours after our heart-wrenching goodbyes, standing in the line at the airport, a staffer that had served me drinks the night before went out of his way to say hello and ask if I had enjoyed my stay. He didn’t have to stop, I would’ve never noticed, but he did, and I’ll always remember that. If only I was as good with names as he was.
If you attempt to skip the sentimentality, the plantation still has everything one would look for in an island getaway – a private beach, pool, tennis court, bar, comfortable beds, and spacious bathrooms – things are just geared towards a different pace. If you’re looking to relax on a Caribbean island, Montpelier simply is an unrivaled way to do so.