If you’re questing for a Caribbean sanctuary that prizes jungle feels over beach vibes, Golden Rock Inn delivers. While it’s ensconced in dense tropical forests on the slopes of Mount Nevis, the hilltop retreat offers plenty of breathtaking Caribbean Sea views, with Montserrat and the inn’s namesake—a craggy islet that gleams with golden hues come sundown—visible through the thicket of palm fronds on the clearest of days.
Located on the heritage site of a former sugar mill—the island once had 54 plantations—Golden Rock Inn has transformed some of the old stone structures into accommodations, like the aptly named Sugar Mill (the conical two-story mill has been renovated with two bedrooms and bathrooms). The rest of the rooms are housed in candy-colored bungalows with porches and modern comforts—except for televisions and air conditioning. That’s exactly how owners Helen and Brice Marden want it. The husband-and-wife duo are longtime darlings of the New York City art scene. After acquiring what was then a bed and breakfast in 2005, the couple constructed their own home—a single-story concrete bungalow with an entirely open floor plan—steps away from the redesigned guest quarters.
For the project, the Mardens recruited a dazzling roster of talent to help fashion the hotel into their own dream destination. Landscape architect Raymond Jungles took charge of revamping the land, which was once cleared out for agricultural purposes. Jungles imported dozens of plants, mostly from nurseries in Florida, to reforest the area. During your stay, request a garden tour led by Keith, a native Nevisian and the property’s chief gardener. He’ll tell you everything you need to know about the surrounding flora, from a lesson on natural herbal remedies to thwacking mangoes from the trees overhead.
Aside from the unplug and recharge ethos of the hotel, the greatest draw to Golden Rock Inn is its signature restaurant. Called The Rocks, the al fresco bistro is one of the best eateries on the island. It’s incredibly popular with visitors (especially non-guests) and locals who seek out the fresh Caribbean dishes—and Helen’s famous Moroccan chicken—served in the elegant stone courtyard. You can thank acclaimed architect Ed Tuttle (a frequent collaborator with Aman Resorts) for the serene ambiance, marked by still-as-glass reflecting ponds and a pavilion carved from the island’s signature gray volcanic rock.
Littered across the property are unexpected souvenirs and mementos brought back from the Marden’s globe-trotting days, from collectible design objects to blue chip artwork. Those chairs you’re sitting on in the cave-like lobby? They’re originals by Patricia Urquiola. That painting behind the bar? It’s by Rene Ricard. Even when you’re lounging on a Richard Schultz daybed by the spring-fed freshwater pool, the low-key sophistication of Golden Rock Inn’s never overshadows the real star of the property: the mighty jungle.
- Location: Nevis, St. Kitts and Nevis
- Rating: Five-Star
- The Vibe: Rustic in feel and appearance but peppered with modish interior styling.
- Food + Drink: Golden Rock’s signature restaurant, The Rocks, draws guests and non-guests alike for its modern take on Caribbean fare, served for lunch and dinner. Get the lobster with curry sauce!
- Our favorite part about the hotel: No air conditioning here, so you really get to tune into nature. The sound of chirping crickets and other vocal creatures lulling me to sleep every night. Also, the pool is a swanky place to post up with a pitcher of heady rum punch.
- Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? There isn’t much directly outside the hotel…other than some of the best nature trails in Nevis. Tap the hotel’s team to set up a guided hike, which can range from a two-hour leisurely walk to a nearby waterfall, to a hike—er, mountain climb—up to Nevis Peak.
- Rooms: There are 11 total rooms set inside standalone bungalows and villas. Honeymooners should opt for the Paradise Cottage, while the two-bedroom suite inside an old sugar mill is ideal for families.
- Closest Airport: Vance W. Armory International Airport
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