After a hundred Hawaiian vacations, my husband put his foot down and said we were Caribbean-bound!  Having spent 13 years in Florida, I had spent some time in the Bahamas and Virgin Islands, but had never visited the Caribbean Islands.

Dan had visited Nevis before a hurricane nearly devastated the island a few years back and he had fond memories of the people and the place.  So when the Four Seasons reopened their Nevis property last winter, we were first in line.  A super “reopening” package sweetened the deal and we booked an eight day trip arriving on opening day.

We arrived at the resort via a thirty minute private boat ride from neighboring island St. Kitts, and were offered drinks and their special ‘punch.’ A super delish non alcoholic fruit punch.  I had two.

Upon arriving, my family was met at the dock by a staff member who took us directly to our room, our luggage magically arriving shortly thereafter.  No lobby check-in, no credit card swiping.  I was already starting to relax!

STAY

Employing 700 people on the island, THE FOUR SEASONS  has an enormous beachfront property lined with chaises.  The two-story buildings are spread out on the property and share three resort pools.  Our room was sublime!  On the second floor at the end, we had a beautiful terrace with a chaise and chair overlooking the ocean.  We were the first to occupy the room after an extensive renovation and everything was pristine.  In general I like Four Seasons because they have large rooms and big beautiful bathrooms.  This bathroom was so huge we rolled our daughters crib in it and said goodnight! http://www.fourseasons.com/nevis  http://www.twitter.com/FSNevis

Owned by the artist Brice Marden and his wife, THE GOLDEN ROCK INN sits high in the hills on the property of a former sugar mill.  The rooms are simple chic without air conditioning or TV.  The pool is old school fabulous with incredible views.   The property is spectacular with koi ponds and hanging vines, bougainvillea and monkeys running up the long drive.  I love the red canvas chairs that pop against the natural landscape. www.golden-rock.com

DO

The spectacular natural wonders of the island can’t be understated.  The beaches are breathtaking and of course, water sports are a must!  We took our daughter out on a paddle boat (she loved) and my husband went waterskiing.  One day we took kayaks down the coast and had lunch at THE YACHTSMAN GRILL, www.yachtsmangrill.com a sweet place with a nautical theme and surprisingly delicious food. The water is blue (but not quite clear blue) and was pretty calm when we were there.  We spent everyday in the ocean and watched the sunset from the Jacuzzi.  Heaven.

In addition to water sports, Nevis offers a variety of other recreational activities including hiking (the Golden Rock Trail boasts great views and exotic foliage), mountain biking, golf and tennis.  Our Four Seasons package included tennis, and I took a few clinics.  I’m not a golfer, but Dan and I did get out on the golf course one afternoon to look for monkeys.  The monkeys are in the trees lining the course and sometimes in the afternoon you can see a bunch roaming the course.  Too cute!

EAT

MANGO’s is on the water and a better location cannot be found.  Open air with the gentle sound of waves and stars shining in the sky, and interiors so beautiful they prompted me to ask who their designer was. http://www.fourseasons.com/nevis/dining/mango/

On the sand, SUNSHINE’s is a short walk on the beach from the Four Seasons, although I’d recommend a flashlight at night.  We had the local lobster grilled with green and red peppers, and a ‘killer bee’ (a rum cocktail) of course!  My husband has been talking about Sunshine’s and the famous killer bee for 6 years and although completely rebuilt since the hurricane, the place didn’t disappoint.  Expect loud reggae, relaxed service, big smiles, and good food.

Ok so we never made it to GALLIPOT as they are only open Thursday-Sunday and reservations are a must.  I did do a drive by however and even got out to stick my head in a closed shutter!  If the food is as good as the island atmosphere this is a good bet. www.gallipotnevis.com

Nestled in the mountainside, BANANAS is an open-air restaurant that serves up gourmet cuisine with a Caribbean flair. www.bananasrestaurantnevis.com 

PACK

The great thing about an island vacation is that you can pack light!  I practically live in a Calypso sundress.  It’s a beach cover-up by day, and accessorized with a statement necklace and a pair of strappy sandals, becomes my dinner ensemble.  I am always careful to wear lots of sunscreen, and I never hit the beach without a wide-brimmed hat!

For more must-pack items, check out my Destination Nevis collection on ThisNext.com! http://bit.ly/eEQLSf