Charlestown Nevis
Historic Walking Tour
Part 3

The Bath Hotel is an impressive reminder of the island's former wealth.

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Charlestown Nevis
Historic Walking Tour

9) Bath Hotel:
What an incredible place this must have been during its heyday. Earthquakes have knocked down so many other apparently sturdy Charlestown structures, it's a marvel that the rickety Bath Hotel still stands.

Its last guest checked out in the late 19th century; since then, the government has shored up parts of it as a tourist attraction, and the Spring House with its five hot thermal baths has been reopened. It costs only 50 cents for a plunge into the steamy, 108-degree waters, a pittance compared to what it once cost upper-crust Brits.

Designed to house only about 50 guests, The Bath Hotel was the ultimate getaway spa of its time and helped make Nevis ' reputation as the "Queen of the Caribees" in the 18th century.

John Huggins built the Bath Hotel in 1778 at an expense of 40,000 pounds. A novelty in its time, the Bath was reputedly the first hotel built outside of Scotland .

The abolition of slavery in 1834 so disrupted the fortunes of the sugar planters, the hotel--like the rest of the island--went into decline. In the early 1900s, the Bath Hotel reopened as a health resort.

Though its mineral waters supposedly help sooth rheumatism, gout, arthritis and sap burns from the infamous manchineel tree, the attempt failed. So have all other attempts.

You can explore the interior of the old hotel through an entrance at the back. Parts of it are in fairly good shape; others should obviously be avoided.

10) Government House: A relative newcomer to Charlestown, Government House was built in 1909. Closed to the public except by appointment, it is the residence of the deputy governor-general of St. Kitts-Nevis.

11) Fort Charles: This is more of a ruin than a monument. Originally called Pigeon Point, the fort was built on the site before the 1690s. Additions/renovations continued until 1783-90. Although as many as 23 cannons faced the waterfront. If your time is limited, Fort Charles is a better place to read about than to actually visit.

12) Williams Grocery: This is more than a good place for a drink or snack, it's a good example of functional Caribbean architecture. The bottom floor is used for commerce, the upper for residence. The steeply pitched roof serves two purposes: the high- ceiling rooms underneath stay cool, and the larger roof surface provides a larger drainfield for rainwater, which is stored in a cistern.

13) Treasury Building (Customs House): These government offices are typical of Caribbean buildings of the early 19th century. Built in 1837, these ministry offices are on the site of a much older structure; pipes and pipestems dating back to 1650 have been found in the rear garden.

14) H.F. Henville Hardware Building : Another good example of a Nevis commercial building from the 1840s.

15) Cotton Ginnery: Yes, indeed, one of the last true cotton gins still in use anywhere. It's open during the cotton picking season, but not to the public.

16) The Pier: This is where you catch the ferry to St. Kitts.

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Charlestown Walking Tour Part 1

Charlestown Walking Tour Part 2