The Bath Hotel in Nevis is considered to have been the first tourist hotel in the Caribbean. Built in 1778, it was a rather grand “spa” hotel, and it rapidly became a very successful venture, attracting many wealthy European visitors who were hoping to treat their various ailments using the healing waters of the nearby volcanic hot spring, the Bath Spring, and perhaps more importantly, to enjoy the social scene at this tropical spa hotel on what was then the busy colonial island of Nevis.
John Huggins, a merchant and aristocrat built the large, stone hotel at a cost of 43,000 “island” pounds, and surrounded it with lush landscaping, statuary, and goldfish ponds. The hotel was 200 feet long and 60 feet wide.
Dignitaries such as Lord Nelson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Prince William Henry, who was the Duke of Clarence, visited the hotel in its heyday.
With the downturn of the sugar industry, Nevis stepped into the world of tourism with this hotel, which flourished for about 60 years. Since then the hotel has had various uses, reopening as a hotel from 1912 until 1940. It was used as training center for the West Indian regiment during World War II, and most recently, the headquarters of the Nevis Island Administration.
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