Helen Marden fell twice for Golden Rock Inn. The first time came in the mid-2000s when Marden, an artist, and her husband, minimalist painter Brice Marden were looking for a new spot in the sun. St. Barts, the couple’s longtime haunt, had become “too crowded, too much art world,” recalls Marden, whose own style embodies the bohemian-chic aura that attracted those crowds in the first place. Friends suggested the relatively quiet Caribbean island of Nevis, a rough circle of beach and green forest that’s only seven miles wide. Its better-known sister island, St. Kitts, lies two miles away.
It doesn't seem possible, and yet the landscaped grounds of this Caribbean getaway are every bit as beguiling as St. Lucia's rugged mountains, dense rainforests and sun-kissed beaches. Planted by noted gardening expert Veronica Shingleton-Smith, a British ex-patriot, the hotel's "managed wild gardens" are packed with hibiscus, red ginger lilies and other exotic blooms, while space elsewhere is given over to plants cultivated for their healing properties, such as bananas, Aloe vera and various herbs.