On my first visit to Four Seasons Resort Nevis in the West Indies, almost everyone I spoke with had been before. “Oh, we’ve been coming for years—since our kids were as small as yours. Now look at them!”
Others had only missed the years the resort was closed after the hurricanes. “It’s such a special place,” they’d say. “You’ll see.” I did, and I started to wonder how much of it had to do with Nevis Peak.
On the boat from Saint Kitts, a repeat visitor told me every year her son sketched the peak while poolside. “I know I still have those somewhere…” she said. “I’m going to have to dig them out.”
After our first 24 hours there, I realized I was subconsciously seeking out the peak. I wondered what was happening up there. I wondered how much of it was shrouded in clouds. I wondered what shade of blue-green it was going to be. I wondered what was happening inside. I wondered how many monkeys lived on it.
I felt myself wanting to pay homage to Nevis Peak each time it came into view with a quick upturn of my eyes. And it comes into view a lot: when leaving the rooms; relaxing by the cold plunge pool in the spa gardens; hitting tennis balls on the court; walking back to the loungers from the sea; and of course, playing the 18-hole hole course that climbs up the west side.
I asked my husband if he felt himself developing a relationship with Nevis Peak. He laughed and said no. But I must have planted a seed, because later that day he said, “You know, that mountain is really beautiful.” Yes, I thought, I know!
Nevis Peak, which is about 3,200 feet (985 meters) tall, dominates all of Nevis. It more or less stands in the very middle of the island and is exceptionally picturesque. Originally a volcano, it formed what is today the island. The name, Nevis, was given to the island by Christopher Columbus. It comes from the Spanish las nieves, which means “the snows,” because the peak is so often covered in clouds. It’s home to birds, butterflies, wild flowers and cheeky Green Vervet monkeys. You can take the kids hiking, horse back riding or mountain biking up the mountain, though prepare to get muddy.
An aerial view of the island would show that most of the development of the island surrounds Nevis Peak like a ring, which takes about 45 minutes to drive around. So it isn’t just Four Seasons that benefits from a special relationship with the mountain; it’s everyone. I asked a few of the local staff members what it was like to live with Nevis Peak. One laughed and said: “You know, I forget it’s there! Visitors always see more than residents, you know?” I did, and thought about the last time I went up Toronto, Canada’s CN Tower. It was when my father-in-law was in town.
A Nevis security guard, who often works nights, told me that sometimes the moon rises behind the peak and then appears, seemingly out of nowhere. “It’s really beautiful,” he said. And then he went on, “Yeah, actually, I guess I do find myself looking up at it from time to time.”
There are no historical eruptions of Nevis Peak, and the last eruption is thought to have been 100,000 years ago. The resort staff members I spoke with don’t worry about it erupting—though if it did, the whole island would be in peril. And nearby Monserrat, which became active again in 1995, is a reminder that volcanoes do change. “But I don’t want to have those kinds of negative thoughts around me, so I don’t worry about it,” one said.
Forty-eight hours later, I had my answer. Nevis Peak is a special part of this place, true—but not as special as the setting, the staff and the pampering one receives on this sandy stretch below the volcano.
Read more about Nevis in Four Seasons Magazine.
Sarah Western Balzer is the editor of the Life section of London-based Here Is The City (HITC), a global financial news website. She grew up in Tampa, Florida, and spent time in Washington, DC and New York before moving to London, where she lived for seven years. Sarah now lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two sons.
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