Breaking Travel News interview: Alistair Forrest, general manager, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Breaking Travel News interview: Alistair Forrest, general manager, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Having recently taken the title of St Kitts & Nevis’s Leading Hotel at the World Travel Awards, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club has seen its profile in the Caribbean skyrocket.

Here Breaking Travel News editor Chris O’Toole sits down with general manager Alistair Forrest to see what the future holds for this one-of-a-kind property.

Breaking Travel News: Thanks for taking the time to talk to Breaking Travel News. Perhaps we could begin with a brief overview of the property? What is on offer there and what makes it unique in the Caribbean?

Alistair Forrest: Nisbet Plantation is a boutique property with just 36 rooms set in 30 acres of lush tropical gardens. 

We are unique in being the only historic plantation inn in the Caribbean to be set directly on the beach.

Nisbet Plantation has a history stretching back to the 18th century when it was the family home of Fanny Nisbet who met and married Horatio Nelson on the island in 1787. 

Guests can get an impression of life from yesteryear in the Great House that now features an award winning fine dining restaurant and a cocktail bar. 

We also serve traditional afternoon tea on the patio every day.

We are also noted for the iconic Avenue of Palms that stretches from the Great House to the sea and our white sand beach.

Our facilities include a beachside restaurant and cocktail bar, a freshwater swimming pool and hot tub, the Palms Spa, fitness centre, tennis court and croquet lawn.

BTN: Who do you welcome to the hotel? Is it a largely North American clientele, or does the relationship with Britain attract guests from Europe? How accessible his the hotel to guests travelling from these destinations?

AF: The greater proportion of our guests come from North America but we also have a substantial number of guests from the UK. 

There are numerous options from the US and Canada that bring guests directly to Nevis or to St Kitts with flights available from New York, Miami, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Toronto. 

British travellers can fly directly with BA to St Kitts or via Antigua with BA or Virgin to St Kitts and Nevis.

There are also connections available via other Caribbean destinations such as Puerto Rico.

For guests arriving in St Kitts, we run a water taxi service to make the transfer process as quick and easy as possible. 

We take guests from the airport, directly to a beach where they board a motorboat that crosses to Nevis is just six minutes. 

From there it is just a short drive to Nisbet Plantation.

BTN: Do you have any plans to expand or develop the property in the near future?

AF: We don’t have any plans for expansion at present.

Rather we continue to invest in enhancing the guest experience by being innovative while retaining the old world charm and Caribbean authenticity that attracts visitors to the resort time and again. 

We always listen to guest feedback and introduce new ideas wherever practical.

We have a programme of continual maintenance and improvement, which is undertaken, during our annual shutdown each summer. 

For example this year we updated the décor of our beach bar, Coconuts, enhanced the seating available around the beach and upgraded some of the bathrooms in the Superior rooms as well as planting 30 mature coconut palms in our renowned Avenue of the Palms.

BTN: Nisbet Plantation Beach Club was recently recognised as St Kitts & Nevis’s Leading Boutique Hotel and St Kitts & Nevis’s Leading Hotel by voters at the World Travel Awards. How did it feel to take these prestigious titles?

AF: We were obviously delighted to receive these awards. 

These awards are a tribute to the exceptional team at the hotel and the great service they provide to each and every one of our guests to ensure they have a memorable stay.

BTN: Do you feel accolades of this nature are helpful for the hotel? Do they help in getting your message out to potential guests?

AF: We certainly value awards such as this. 

They offer potential guests reassurance knowing that they are choosing a hotel that has been rated the best in its class by a third party. 

BTN: Can you describe the islands of St Kitts & Nevis for our readers? Is this purely a beach destination? What else is on offer there?

The main thing to remember about St Kitts and Nevis is that they give you the chance to experience the authentic Caribbean. 

Both islands have great beaches and a wide choice of water sports but there is so much more to enjoy.

In Nevis you explore the rainforest-covered slopes of Mount Nevis – a dormant volcano.

If you are feeling very energetic you can even climb to the top for spectacular views to St Kitts and, on a clear day, Montserrat. 

Mountain biking is also popular and a great way to explore the island or you can tour the island on an ATV. 

There is plenty of history to discover such as the numerous sugar mills that are dotted around the island, the hot springs on the site of the Bath House Hotel, the colourful streets of the capital, Charlestown as well as the Nelson museum. 

We also have a pottery where you may well see our barman, Dan, working on creations that can be bought at souvenirs. 

The Botanical Gardens are a wonderful way of discovering local plants and trees in a beautiful location with great views. 

If you fancy a flutter we even have a racecourse and there is also a golf course.

Interview: Chris O’Toole