PINNEY'S BEACH, St. Kitts and Nevis -- The island life on Nevis doesn't have to be only yours for a short vacation.
The beaches, the golf, the sunsets, the hike up the volcanic Mount Nevis. Staying at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis gives visitors a taste of the local flavor, but for the lucky few who can afford it, buying property within the Four Seasons Resort Estates delivers the dream Caribbean lifestyle whenever they choose.
OK, let's get reality out of the way. The cheapest listing for sale during my February visit cost a cool $1.3 million. Lots cost $700,000 and up. Think of it this way: You're buying into a world few people get to see, let alone live in.
The Four Seasons community
I've toured countless Caribbean real estate ventures selling a dream. They're stocked with empty lots and promises of future amenities. That's what great about Nevis. The Four Seasons Resort Nevis was the original Four Seasons of the Caribbean, dating to 1991. It's established. They are plenty of homes and villas already built and owned by interesting people from around the world.
Property owners live within the spoils and security of the resort. Tennis courts, a spa, a fitness center, Pinney's Beach, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course and a handful of first-class restaurants are readily at hand. My wife and I stayed in a $2.9 million, three-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom Pinney's Beach villa along the fourth fairway. We used a golf cart that comes with the fully furnished unit to whisk about the resort, heading to the spa or for lunch at Cabanas. A private plunge pool, outdoor shower and open-air concept separating the bedroom from the main dining and living rooms and kitchen were nice touches. Currently, seven of the 15 have been built.
Other pockets of the community offer different options. The original Palm Grove villas, also situated on flat ground near the golf course and resort, are perfectly pleasant for a second family home. The rock-star views and bigger custom-built homes sit up on the hillsides in pockets of development named Mahogany Hill Estates, Belmont Estates, etc. For example, a five-bedroom, 5.5-bath palace in Stewart's Estate is currently listed at $7.2 million. The views, however, are priceless.
You should know that an investment of $500,000 buys into the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment program, which has perks such as visa-free travel to more than 120 countries and no residency requirement.
Property owners aren't just buying a house or villa, but an island to explore. Just a short walk from the villas sits a trio of beach-shack bars. The most famous, Sunshine's Beach Bar and Grill, serves the legendary Killer Bee, a potent rum punch. It's a nice spot for dinner, too.
There are other great hangouts, such as the beachfront Yachtsman Grill, Bananas Bistro higher up the mountain and the Golden Rock Inn, where the ruins of a sugarcane plantation have been transformed into a boutique hotel in a Hollywood-esque jungle setting. The hike up the mountain requires first-timers to use a guide, but once people learn the trail, it's a great workout for any couple or family.
Nevis might not be the biggest or most well-known of the islands in the Caribbean, but I believe it's one of the best.