(Nevis, West Indies)
It might seem like David vs. Goliath, but tiny Nisbet Plantation, a 36-room luxury hotel in Nevis has thrown down the gauntlet and is taking on Mother Nature in a major conservation project to reduce beach erosion, preserve its native palm trees and create a more hospitable marine habitat.
Rather than using a sling-shot, Nisbet”˜s weapon of choice is the construction of an artificial reef just off its shore.
In the 1700’s, long before air conditioning, all the Caribbean’s sugar plantation Great Houses were built high in the mountains where cooler air came naturally. The lone exception is Nisbet Plantation which today has become famous for being the only deluxe plantation inn located directly on its own private beach. Preserving the beach is a priority for environmentally conscious Nisbet.
Over the last decade wave erosion has caused the loss of several palm trees close to the sea. Nisbet, which received its Green Globe Benchmarked Certificate last July, has initiated its new conservation project to preserve all its trees and reduce erosion of the beach. It is embarking on the construction of an artificial reef to reduce the energy of waves reaching the beach. When completed, the artificial reef will measure over 65 yards in length.In addition to creating a calmer swimming and snorkeling area for the hotel’s guests, the reef will also provide an improved marine habitat attracting more fish and, eventually, providing the perfect growing environment for soft and hard corals.
Glen Hurd, general manager of Nisbet commented, “The beach at Nisbet Plantation has been a feature of the property for hundreds of years having originally been used to load sugar and coconuts onto ships moored offshore. Today it is one of the hotel’s many distinguishing features making it essential we preserve this historic landscape. It represents a major capital investment for such a small hotel, but we believe it is imperative we make it.”
Coastal Restoration, Inc., based in Gulf Breeze, Florida will construct Nisbet’s artificial reef. It is a modular reef engineering and manufacturing firm totally dedicated to the development and restoration of our world’s fragile oceans and endangered reef ecosystems. Through years of research and development they have successfully engineered and tested the most efficient and productive reef system available called the Fish Haven®.
Fish Haven is a series of pyramid shaped structures with triangular holes fish and other sea creatures can easily pass through. The pyramids are constructed on land using molds and concrete and are eventually lowered in specifically designated spots to create the reef. More information and videos of the construction and deployment process as well as how the sea comes to life can be found at www.artificialreefs.com
Construction of the reef at Nisbet begins February 23, 2007. Photographs of the production process and progress will be posted on Nisbet’s web site: www.NisbetPlantation.com
According to Mr. Hurd, “It should be noted that Nisbet’s artificial reef will be created in what is now a vast and lifeless undersea desert. We are looking for our new reef to not only preserve the beach and our palm trees, but to bring the sea to life”.
About Nisbet Plantation
Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is the Caribbean’s only deluxe plantation inn located on the beach. It is also one of the Caribbean’s most historic sugar plantation’s and the ancestral home of Fanny Nisbet, the loving and ever-faithful wife of Britain’s most famous naval hero – Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson.
The plantation’s beautifully-restored Great House, which dates from 1778, and 36 charming cottages with all modern conveniences are set in 30 acres of lush tropical foliage. A broad lawn, flanked by stately royal palm trees, sweeps down from the Great House to a half-mile-wide white sand beach.
A lovely freshwater pool, hot tub, restaurant and beach bar are conveniently on the ocean. Guests can play tennis, croquet or go snorkeling at Nisbet, and keeping with the resort’s value-added focus, the use of all sporting equipment is complimentary.
The resort recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation adding a spa treatment room, a new fitness center and hot tub by the pool overlooking the ocean. Every guest room and bathroom has also been updated making Nisbet the newest resort on Nevis. The Great House is now one of only three restaurants on the island where guests can dine in air-conditioned splendor.
In July 2006 Nisbet Plantation Beach Club achieved the prestigious Green Globe Benchmarked Certificate recognizing its commitment to operating at the world’s highest environmental standards.
Nisbet is regularly named one of the top ten values in the Caribbean and voted one of the “world’s best” by the readers of Travel + Leisure. It was proclaimed one of the “world’s best places to stay” in the CondÃ© Nast Traveler’s 2005 Gold List and TripAdvisor.com rates Nisbet as the most popular hotel on the island of Nevis.
It is a favorite of honeymooners and lovers and is one of “the Top 10 most romantic resorts in the Caribbean,” according to TheKnot.com, the leading web site for weddings and honeymoons.
The island of Nevis, where no hotel is higher than a palm tree, is as welcoming and relaxing as the resort. Locals smile and say “good morning” to visitors and the people at Nisbet Plantation go out of their way to please guests.