four seasons nevis reviews
Four Seasons Nevis beach “preventative maintenance”

So we’re enjoying the pool at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, chatting with a couple that checked in the same time as us.

We ask them where they went for dinner the night before and they say:

“We went over to the Four Seasons Nevis: DON’T GO.”

Don’t go? We were scheduled to spend four nights there after our time at the Park Hyatt. What’s the matter with the Four Seasons?

They explained that they’re huge fans of Four Seasons hotels. That they’d been to a bunch of them. But the Four Seasons Nevis wasn’t just sub par: It was downright awful.

They said the lobby was closed, most of the restaurants were closed, some of the pools were closed, and the resort was generally very tired and undergoing a much-needed massive renovation.

I thought for sure they were exaggerating but I could see from the looks on their faces they were earnestly trying to give us helpful guidance.

I’d read a lot of Four Seasons Nevis reviews prior to arrival and they looked mostly positive. What was going on here?

I call over to the Four Seasons to speak with the front desk. I explain what I heard and how I was concerned the hotel wasn’t prepared to give us the kind of experience we were looking for.

What I heard from the front desk at the Four Seasons was what our fellow guests at the Park Hyatt were telling us: The hotel is undergoing heavy renovations. And our stay will be impacted.

Pre-Arrival

Let’s turn back the clock a bit. Remember how I wrote a couple of months ago how I booked this stay?

The Four Seasons Nevis had a 4th night free offer with daily free breakfast and a $250 resort credit. I booked it through the Citi ThankYou portal to stack Citi Prestige 4th night free with 1.25 cent per point uplift through the Citi Premier card.

The upshot of it was I paid about $2,100 (by way of bank points) for a four night stay in an entry-level suite.

I intentionally booked the Four Seasons after the Park Hyatt thinking I’d leave the best for last. In hindsight, I had no idea what was in store for us at the Four Seasons.

While on the phone with the Four Seasons from St Kitts, I asked what kind of compensation they could offer for the inconvenience of the renovations. I felt we weren’t adequately informed of the state of the resort before arriving.

If you go book a stay at the Four Seasons tonight, this is what they tell you:

Inadequately informing guests of the extent of the renovations

If I’ve never stayed at the hotel before, I have no idea what any of these restaurants are. It just sounds like “some restaurants are closed, but others are open. Oh well.”

I went back and looked at my email from a few days before I arrived. It said:

Thank you again for choosing Four Seasons Resort Nevis! The team is looking forward to welcoming you to our Resort in Paradise and offering you our warm Nevisian hospitality.

Prior to arrival, I want to take the opportunity to inform you of some operational adjustments during your stay with us.
The Caribbean is still recovering from last year’s hurricane season while simultaneously preparing for this year. To that end, a few days ago the Resort was given the opportunity to perform some preventative maintenance to our beaches, which will protect our guests and the Resort during any future potential storms. During your stay, one of our three pools and half of the beach will be unavailable, however our other beach and pool areas will be open for your enjoyment with our team on hand throughout the day to welcome you.

Your dining options will include Cabana and Mango, as well as Burgers on the Beach. Cabana will be open for breakfast and lunch daily, and will serve dinner on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Cabana will also be featuring dinner specials like delicious fried chicken on Mondays with all the fixings, taco night on Wednesdays, served with house made guacamole and Italian night on Fridays with freshly made pasta and garlic bread.

Mango will be offering dinner service on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, featuring all of their regular Caribbean-Latin fusion favorites. And, finally, Burgers on the Beach on Wednesday and Friday, will be serving a delicious variety of premium burgers, appetizers, rum punch and local beer.

Please rest assured that our entire team is ready to make sure you enjoy you enjoy your time with us in Nevis. We look forward to welcoming you!

I found the timing of the email too late to alter course. Once I booked non-refundable flights I felt committed to visiting the resort. Plus the email is rather abstract (“the Resort was given the opportunity to perform some preventative maintenance to our beaches?”) and I was left thinking [hoping?] they’d still be able to provide a quality experience.

The hotel said they’d call me back in a couple of hours. They did, and offered a $500 resort credit on top of the $250 resort credit and daily complimentary breakfast.

Wanting to experience the island of Nevis we decided to adjust our stay to include 4 nights at the Park Hyatt and just 3 nights at the Four Seasons, even though we paid for 4 nights at the Four Seasons.

Arrival

The Four Seasons would have you believe this is what arriving at the resort looks like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABpVYRPMwUg

Our arrival experience was nothing like what’s shown in the video.

Arrival at the Four Seasons Nevis by boat

I told the resort we’d be arriving at 6:30p. We arrived at 6:37p and our first impression was “why is the beach a big wall of sand?”

There was nobody there to guide us where to go and it was getting dark. The resort is poorly signed, so we bumbled around with our luggage trying to find our way to the lobby.

We eventually found the temporary subterranean lobby and got our room assignment. The hotel upgraded us to a slightly larger suite than we booked.

The first impression of our room was: Musty

But we were tired and wanted to get settled in so we accepted the room. The room wasn’t terrible on its face, but it was indeed surprisingly musty for a room with a tile floor. One of the lamps in the room was blinking like a neon sign outside a cheap motel room.

And the mattress was lumpy. Would you like to be the last person sleeping on a mattress at the end of its useful life?

The next day we were moved to a smaller, fresher room. But I get the sense they pounded it with air freshener prior to our arrival because the familiar swampy odor eventually revealed itself in the new room as well.

Musty room with lumpy bed

Dining

Depressing “Burgers on the Beach”

So many of the restaurants were closed they were supplementing dining options with “Burgers on the Beach”.

Sounds great, but immediately upon arrival I felt an air of dread. I sensed that everyone staying there was frustrated with the state of the hotel. And the staff was tired of apologizing for sub par conditions.

We had a Rum Punch, a burger, and Carib beer and called it a night…

The restaurant closures are such that the resort is, hopefully, as bad as it will ever be. They’ve taken what should be a beachside/pool bar and turned it into the main restaurant. So breakfast is served in a spot where it’s not normally served. And you lose what’s normally a beachside bar.

Breakfast is being served at what’s normally a poolside bar

Birds were picking off the improvised buffet, so we tried to get into the spirit of the island by ordering one of the more local a la carte options off the breakfast menu.

It was fine, but so far off the pace the Park Hyatt St. Kitts set it was disappointing.

A la carte breakfast

At this point I was getting concerned about our ability to enthusiastically spend $750 in resort credit during our stay. So I booked a table at Mango, their oceanfront fine dining establishment.

It’s undeniably a beautiful venue. But the menu was uninspired and the service wasn’t very good.

For example they cleared our silverware after the appetizer course. When our entrees were presented they dropped them and ran without replacing the cutlery. We’re looking around trying to get a server’s attention for 5-10 minutes and I’m thinking:

“Are we seriously going to have to snag silverware off a nearby table at the Four Seasons?”

Mango: Beautiful venue with bad service and mediocre food

The last night of our stay the only dining options were Cabana (the poolside bar where breakfast was being served) and Burgers on the Beach.

Both options were unappealing to me so I inquired about a Couples Beach Dinner I saw featured here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VBGedsBesY

We thoroughly enjoyed a private dining experience at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts so we wanted to try to replicate that at the Four Seasons.

They informed me they weren’t offering the Couples Beach Dinner with all the renovations going on so I instead booked room service on our patio.

That worked out well in a sense, but the roar of heavy machinery moving sand on the nearby beach made for a comically lousy situation.

Crews were noisily working on the beach (and the lobby) from 7a-7p every day.

Resort Overall

To me, the resort felt like a Sheraton in need of a remodel.

And while some areas are under heavy renovation others remain untouched and in a state of disrepair.

Take for example this random abandoned bar. Cabinets hanging askew off their hinges with beautiful palm trees and construction vehicles in the background.

Random dilapidated bar

The resort’s main pool was closed during our stay. But it wasn’t clear whether they were renovating it or just cleaning it.

“Getting set up” by the pool is one of my favorite things to do at a Four Seasons resort. It’s telling that we didn’t visit the pools once during our stay. The pools that were open looked small and in need of repair (broken/missing tiles, etc).

Main pool: Closed

When I heard the lobby was closed for renovations I thought “big whoop, who cares about the lobby?”. But the lobby also houses the main restaurant and a bar. So it’s more than just the initial impression of the resort. It closes off the hub of the resort.

Machines were hard at work in the lobby making noise all day.

Lobby: Closed

Good Things

The resort does have some undeniably good things going for it.

The grounds are mature and has a tropical feel. We thoroughly enjoyed walking the adjacent golf course each morning and especially seeing monkeys.

View this post on Instagram

Can’t get enough of the #monkeys on #nevis

A post shared by Robert Dwyer (@robertdwyer) on

The beach, though in shambles at the moment, has calmer waters with less seaweed than the Park Hyatt St. Kitts.

The island of Nevis is inherently more tropical and beautiful, from what we saw, than St. Kitts.

Since the resort was so “meh” we were anxious to get out and explore, and I’m glad we did. We caught a taxi over to the nearby Alexander Hamilton birthplace museum. I asked our driver, “Humpy”, how we could catch a ride back when we were done. He said he’d wait for us.

The museum is a quick stop, but we liked him so we spent the afternoon getting a tour of the island. Our stops at Hermitage, Golden Rock, and Montpelier Plantation are all spots I’d love to visit in the future. Absolutely gorgeous.

The spa was nice.

Four Seasons Nevis Reviews

Overall I felt like I was staying a different hotel than I booked. It felt like a classic Oyster hotel fakeout situation.

After staying, I thought “How did I miss this? How could I have found out about this before we arrived?”

The Oyster review is very positive. Ironically, the one “Con” they list for the property was the small size of the spa. I felt this was one of the nicer parts of the resort. Likewise, Oyster says “The gorgeous room here may be the highlight.” Seriously? Why are they investing so much money to renovate them if that’s the case?

When I checked recent TripAdvisor reviews they were all sunshine and flowers. Until one very recent review that was published during our stay.

Perhaps these renovations appeared completely out of the blue, but they looked to me like they’d been going on for quite a while.

Bottom Line

I think the Four Seasons Nevis should be closed during these much needed renovations. The property is owned by Bill Gates so you think he could take the hit.

If they’re not going to close it they should inform guests of the extent of the renovations while booking and price it to the quality they’re delivering.

To do otherwise shakes guest confidence in Four Seasons as a collection of hotels. I’ll definitely do my homework in the future before trusting that all Four Seasons are quality hotels.

I’d be leery of visiting the hotel even after the renovations are done because, as extensive as they are, I don’t think they’re going to bring the property up to par. We experienced quality issues and service gaffes that had nothing to do with the renovation. I have no reason to believe they’ll resolve once the job is done.

Staff told us the renovations were supposed to be done by “November”. From the article it makes it sound like it will be until November 2019 rather than 2018.

Ultimately, they squeezed some money out of me for this stay but they lost a big fan of the brand.

I followed up with Four Seasons corporate asking for compensation. I’ll follow-up if I hear back from them.

My rating: 60/100 points. Unacceptable conditions and a terrible value.

I recommend avoiding the Four Seasons Nevis until further notice.

– Written by Robert Dwyer, contributor at Milenomics. Connect with me on Twitter @RobertDwyer

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17 thoughts on “PSA: Avoid the Four Seasons Nevis until futher notice

  1. So you looked at Oyster reviews and TripAdvisor. Not sure what else you could have done to find out the true state of things beforehand.

    An incredibly frustrating story and I’m sorry you experienced this.

    • I looked up TA reviews for the hotel and found the recent reviews to still be mostly positive. What gives, TA?

      (Also, you gave the hotel 60 out of 100 while telling everyone to avoid it. Makes me wonder what a less-than-60 hotel looks like to you! 😕😎)

      • Thanks for reading and commenting, Bluecat!

        You should know I’m biased/operating off Wine Spectator’s 100 point scale:

        95-100 Classic: a great wine
        90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
        85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities
        80-84 Good: a solid, well-made wine
        75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
        50-74 Not recommended <--- Four Seasons Nevis

        • Yes, all wines are above average I guess. Nothing less than 50 under the assumption that any wine is better than no wine. I don’t buy that. Sometimes water is a better choice.

          But a hotel room could be a zero, for sure.

          If we reduced your rating to a real 100 point scale I think that 60 on a 50-100 scale would equate to 20/100 in old math, 20% of the scale.

          What a terrible experience for you.

    • We rented a private home on Nevis.
      It was clearly the way to go….the island is just beautiful in every way.
      However, we did get a couple’s massage in the spa at Four Seasons It was just so-so. Sub par for a hotel with it’s market stature.
      2 rum punches cost $55!
      Dowdy and shabby.
      Bill Gates ought to pony up, shut it down and do it justice to the island and the people who will be working and living there.

  2. Yikes. Thanks for the follow-up. They hadn’t even begun the beach restoration when we were there and we did not face any of the issues you had. The resort did have a dated feel to it but while we were there they made up for it with service and soft product. We thoroughly enjoyed the resort. Sorry your stay went the way it did and you are right, they should have just closed down temporarily.

    • Y’know – that’s a really good question.
      This is the 2nd time I’ve gotten caught in a major remodel this year.

      I think one takeaway is to take any mention of a renovation very seriously.
      If they’re mentioning it, expect it to be much worse than they’re revealing.

      And if a hotel says renovations are going to be done by a certain date, be sure they’ll run longer than expected [like any remodel].

      Finally, I think I need to be a little more open to changing hotels at the last minute.
      We were within the cancellation window when we discovered how bad things were, but I bet I could have gotten a refund from the hotel given the circumstances (heck, they may have wanted me to cancel).

      I think I overly glom on to the idea of staying at the property I’ve booked in advance, especially in a resort situation like this.
      If there was another option nearby I was interested in staying at I would have pushed to stay there instead one way or another.

      As it was, you don’t really have a lot of options on these islands and direct return flights are once a week.
      So we rode it out and tried to make the best of it.

  3. Yikes, what a mess. ran into a similar situation at an airbnb in iceland a few years ago but it obviously wasn’t a four seasons

  4. I was there two weeks ago and absolutely enjoyed our stay. The staff were very friendly and accommodating in every way possible. They went out of their way to make sure we had what we needed including milk for our one year old. Although there were only two restaurants on the resort, there are local places to eat just a five minute walk from the property. We also visited restaurants off site that requires transportation, one of our recommendations is the Golden Rock – food and staff are excellent. Oh and burgers on the beach was a hit – at least when we were there. Definitely looking forward to visiting again.

    Hey Humpy!

  5. That’s what happens when you come with a negative mind set. It makes you look for the negatives and cause you to miss the positives. Sorry you had such experience. Nevis is really nice and hope you’ll be back when there is no renovations.

  6. A hotel avoiding mentioning renovations is absolutely unacceptable. I’ve had this happen to me a number of times, almost always when my wife and I are looking for a quiet vacation while getting power tool noises all day. The one hotel that was professional enough to mention this in advance was the Four Points by Sheraton in Orlando, and I have to give them huge props for integrity. The other hotels were acting in a despicable and shortsighted fashion. There should be a law requiring a hotel to mention renovations before booking. Short version, you got hosed royally. I’d be exceedingly unhappy in your circumstance, especially considering the price, while my wife would be apoplectic. Did you reach out to Four Seasons corporate?

  7. Hi Robert,

    Did you ever stop to think about what would happen to all the staff if the hotel did close? The Four Seasons is the second largest employer on the island. Every family would be negatively impacted and the economy would come to a screeching halt. Your friendly driver Humpy? He’d have no guests to give tours to. Beach bars would close. Less money for locals to grocery shop with. Domino effect. You get the picture.

    Just something to think about!

    • I did think about that, and discussed it with staff quite a bit while we were there.

      I see it’s even a bit of a political issue:
      http://www.sknpulse.com/rumours-abound-that-over-200-pink-slips-to-be-given-out-during-renovations-to-four-seasons-nevis/

      I was thinking it could be akin to a “dry dock” on a cruise ship.
      Staff doesn’t get laid off. They do other jobs while the renovation is going on.
      I remember talking to a server on a Disney Cruise about what she does during dry dock.
      She said she watched a welder do his work to monitor the area for fire safety.

      If the hotel is going to stay open and you want to strike a compromise, you need buy-in from guests shelling out money for the stay.
      For example, you have a deeply discounted rate – and make guests fully aware of the extent of the renovations.
      Some people would see this as a great time to try a Four Seasons at a discount.

      Or, you shut down the standard hotel rooms and put everyone up in villas.
      They have plenty of these and the looked to be lightly occupied.
      You could have displaced waitstaff drive golf carts around.

      Just some ideas how this could have been handled better from a guest perspective.
      I think the key is clear communication to guests *at the time of booking*.

      • Completely agree with Rob here. At the end of the day, hotel guests are booking a luxury hotel such as this one because they want and expect a certain quality and a certain experience. Their primary purpose is not to provide money to locals living on the island – that is a by-product, not a primary goal.

        If the goal was to provide money to locals living on the island and not receive anything in return then people could choose to donate to a charity and would expect nothing in return since that is how charities work. This may sound harsh but in my mind it’s common sense.

        As Rob pointed out, people should (1) be clearly informed of things that may impact their stay (2) rates should reflect any negative factors.

        If you go to a luxury hair salon that charges $150 for a haircut and they have a new trainee who is on his/her first week at the job, do you think it would be fair to pay the normal $150 rate that people with years of experience charge or do you think you should get a discounted rate? In my mind the salon should (1) disclose that this person is a trainee and (2) charge a lower rate. That way people can decide for themselves, am I comfortable going with “the new guy” and are the $$ savings worth it to me due to the potentially increased risk that a less experienced person does not do as good a job.

    • Hey @Stvr, I’m not surely exactly the context you’re suggesting Citi points played a role in this, but:

      The hotel saw it come through as an Expedia booking.
      Based on how other bank-point funded hotel stay refunds have occurred (for example when rates drop after booking but before stay due to a newly announced promo) the hotel can issue a refund back to Citi who in turn can decide whether to re-enstate points -or- cut me a check.

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