I FEEL like an international pop star, zipping across the waves with the wind in my hair.
After a glorious few days in Antigua, we’re setting sail for the captivating island of Nevis (pronounced Nee-vis), just a short flight away followed by a six-minute ride in a water taxi.
Nevis is one of the most beautiful and relaxing destinations in the Caribbean.
Dominated by the 3232 ft Nevis Peak, it is an intensely green, sun hat-shaped sanctuary with long, white-sand beaches, attractive hotels and villas, and an old-style charm.
Add to that some of the most amazing hotels with gorgeous gardens.
We’re staying at The Mount Nevis Hotel, a serene haven with stunning views – and amazing afternoon teas.
So, after choosing which tea we would like from a wide selection and making short work of deliciously fresh, crust-off sandwiches, we move on with gusto to the still warm, home-made banana muffins, scrummy pumpkin bread and coconut cookies. It’s all very old school and civilised, in fitting with the Nevis vibe.
Later, we head out on a tour of the 36-square-mile island. The capital, Charlestown, is small and traditional, with lots of Georgian buildings and 19th century churches.
And the hot spring, reputed to have medicinal properties, is a hot favourite with tourists.
I literally dip a toe in the water then sharply withdraw it. Like its name suggests, the spring is really hot! My sister Linda, however, inches her way in and reveals it feels fantastic. She has always been the braver one!
Nevis is certainly a place to kick back and relax, but there’s lots to see and do – from hiking to the top of the famous peak and pondering the magnificent Nevis Falls, to taking a horseback ride along Pinney’s Beach.
And, of course, the beautiful Botanical Gardens.
It’s hard to believe the privately-owned, five-acre site is maintained by just eight gardeners – but they do a spectacular job.
Amid the gorgeous tropical flowers, shrubs and orchids is a scarecrow, intended to keep the monkeys away. They number around 20,000 on the island and, although visitors are happy to spot them, locals say they can be destructive. We enjoy a refreshing Purple Rain Mocktail at The Oasis Bar, made from the butterfly pea flower and herbs from the gardens, and drool over the menu of Thai cuisine.
However, we let our hunger linger a little longer as we’re heading to the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club for dinner.
Here, the young British Navy Captain Horatio Nelson met Frances “Fanny” Nisbet, niece of the President of Nevis and widow of Dr Josiah Nisbet, owner of Nisbet Plantation.
Nelson and Fanny quickly fell in love and were married on March 11, 1787 at Fig Tree Church on Nevis.
And if I had a picture of the Caribbean in my mind before I visited, this hotel steeped in history was it.
There’s an aura of calm about the place; relaxed people reading outside their cottage-style accommodation or sipping bottled beer at the aptly-named Sea Breeze Bar.
There’s no way to describe it other than “paradise”.
It’s easy to imagine a live reggae band playing of an evening on the beach and local traders selling their wares in this stunning setting.
There are no TVs in the rooms but if you are having withdrawals there are two on site. Either visit the gym or head to the communal area in the Great House.
The latter, full of books and games, is the perfect place to mingle with other guests, many of whom are old friends as people tend to return year after year.
And I can understand why.
One visit to the Nisbet Plantation is enough to see why people fall in love with the Caribbean.
Repeat guests are always greeted by name by staff who have worked here for many years, including Patterson, the dapper gentleman who welcomes us for dinner.
Apparently, back in the day, a guest commented on the fact that Patterson always wore the same tie, so gifted him one. This started something of a trend and Patterson, now affectionately known as the tie man, has amassed a collection numbering more than 8000.
Dinner is nothing short of amazing. I choose the jerk chicken while Linda orders lobster for the second time in her life (the first being more than 30 years ago).
We certainly feel like celebrities in this wonderful place which effortlessly oozes class and sophistication.
And it’s a lifestyle we could definitely get used to.
Saga Holidays runs a Hidden Gems of the Caribbean tour staying on three of its enchanting islands – Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis.
Prices for 14 nights, including accommodation and flights, start from £2799pp, departing June 3, 2018.
For more information, call Saga on 0800 056 0464 or visit saga.co.uk/caribbean