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Golden Rock Inn on Nevis Wonderful

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My wife and I just got back from 8 days at the Golden Rock Inn on Nevis, under the ownership and guidance of Pam Barry. Incredible time in our cottage at the edge of the rain forest half way up the volcano. Great food, dinner time conversations with other guests (Hi to Carl, Pam herself, Todd and Chantele, etc.). Have an hour of videos of green vervet monkeys, the wild mules, goats, sheep, flora and other fauna. Much relaxation and hiking the wildlife jungle trail was an experience...the monkeys got to know me real well. Exploring the old sugar plantation ruins was interesting. Robert

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    I debated long and hard (over 24 hours) whether to respond to Robert's posting, and decided at long last for the integrity of this site to
    be truthful and give my experience
    from nearly the same time period.
    I had visited Nevis before, and specifically wanted to stay with my family at one of the plantation properties (the others of note are
    Hermitage and Montpelier in the hills, and Nisbet on the beach). I had
    researched many web sites, reviewed the most current (1993)
    Fodor's Caribbean guide for Nevis
    (which gave glowing reviews to the
    food at Golden Rock) and so booked
    for March 2003 at the high season
    rate (which was not cheap). To begin with, I must say that Pam is a kind and genuine person who clearly
    loves the island and her family's history there. That said, our visit
    was less than acceptable. The food
    was barely edible, and without variety. We were served the same watermelon slice every morning, with
    the same glass of canned juice. No choices, no attempt at freshness.
    Basically, the same bread and an egg were offered. There was a pancake option (very poor), and the
    French toast was so soaked in grease that it was untouched. This in an island where there are various
    fresh fruits and vegetables (in comparison, just take a look at Nisbet's breakfast with 6-8 juices,
    fresh items, etc.) There was one option at dinner, with Pam asking if
    an alternate was needed due to dietary concerns. The main entree
    was acceptable, but the alternate
    entree (poultry) on one evening was clearly spoiled and old (leftover) and fortunately my family member did not eat at all rather than become sick. The same tired iceberg lettuce salad was served each night, and the dessert choice was very marginal. When a family member could not eat (due to an allergy) the one nut-based dessert served one evening, and asked for a substitute, the same morning watermelon slice was provided! I am not being overly
    critical, but this property is rated very highly, especially the food. Due to the war in Iraq tourism was down
    all over the Caribbean, but in my opinion Pam had few "reserves" to
    deal with the downturn, so the guests suffered terribly. The main focus of her day was serving lunch
    at her beach shack, which provided
    some revenue. Again, this is unfortunate, but guests paying full
    high season rates should not have
    been treated as afterthoughts. One
    couple staying at Golden Rock with
    us had rented a car and ate all their dinners at other properties (and incidentally raved about the food
    at Hermitage and Montpelier). We, however, did not have that option.
    The rooms were clean and pleasant,
    but water pressure was nil and the
    smell of sulfer in the showers was
    overpowering. Also, it had been advertised that transportation would be provided to the beach and back,
    which it was, but at Pam's convenience, not the guests, and only when she was ready to take her
    van to her beach restaurant with the
    daily supplies to serve day travelers.
    All in all, while I try wherever I travel
    to support local, personal properties,
    this was an expensive and totally
    disappointing experience. By the way, I am not some spoiled person
    who expects Four Seasons/Ritz Carlton amenities, but this experience really made our family
    feel we had wasted our hard earned dollars and limited vacation time.

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    For the benefit of the board members, I must refute your claims regarding the food, water pressure and sulphur smell in the showers, etc. The meals, quite frankly, were quite excellent. The fresh lobster dinner with the special sauce, along with the home made pies for desert and the taro root blended into a potato texture with the Golden Rock's special seasoning was unmatchable. The special homeland drinks to go with it, consisting of natural and blended island fruits, not canned, were a great compliment to the dinnders. So exotic and tasteful, something I'll never again experience in the states. The ocean fish, which was fresh and swimming in the waters that morning, were uncomparable as well on other nights at the Golden Rock. I didn't hear visitors from other establishments complain, when they drove over to the Golden Rock for dinner as well. The dinner time ambience was most pleasant, with Pam and the guests staying after among the ancient stone walls, discussing world events, American culture, and Nevis' native culture, flora and fauna. Your description of Golden Rock's food being barely edible and lacking variety is laughable. In fact, every dinner was different and the meat, salad, and side dishes never overlap, at least for the 8 meals we ate there. Dittoe for the desserts as well, homemade pie, homemade ice cream, a rich cake baked with native fruits and nuts, etc. The salads we were served do not fit the description you gave; ours had multi-colored lettuces which were firm and crispy.
    For the real reason we ventured to the Golden Rock...intimacy, quiet surroundings, beautiful uncrowded grounds...our expectations were likewise met. The rainforest trails begin at the Golden Rock grounds, and the green vervet monkeys, breadfruit trees, genip trees, kapok tree, bamboo, mahoe, golden apple, and nutmeg trees lining the rainforest paths beginning just 45 seconds from our lodge will never be forgotten. I have it all on video, including the vervet monkeys, which finally got to know me when I hiked below their forest canopy nests (at first, they threw mango fruits at me!) We were all friends by the time I left, and their babies would recklessly crawl down jungle vines to a close proximity). Pam was a great host and we'll never forget the great recommendations she has for activities on the island; she knows who to send you to. For example, instead of a "cattle boat" snorkel or scuba dive experience, she sent us to a marine biologist who gives each family a lesson in the coral reefs before the trip begins, so you can snorkel with a real purpose. The horseback riding operation Pam sent us to was run by a man named John, who is an ecologically-minded businessman on the island, and who explains the environmental splendors as you ride through the forests and beach environs. As far as our showers, the spray was firm and the water was better than tap water in the states...no farming runoff complete with pesticides! The water was pristine with no smell of sulfur at our lodge. Overall, it was all we expected and well worth the price. Oh, Pam's parrot greeted us each morning as well. Quite a friendly and homespun atmosphere, and I can see why Fodor's Caribbean guide gave the Golden Rock glowing reviews for its meals. Robert

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    Robert,
    It is possible that if you just returned
    from your trip, you were there during a period where there were more guests (due to Easter/spring breaks), hence improved food choices. Your reply to mine seemed
    to focus on the dinner issue. I stand
    by my original comments which
    correctly depicted our experience.
    The juice to which I refer was at
    breakfast, not dinner, and it was indeed canned and the same every morning. As for ice cream, we never saw it once, and it would have been an easy and welcome substitute for the breakfast watermelon offered to the non-nut eating person in my family. Our salad was the same on every evening, and it bore no resemblence to your lovely mixed greens - it was basically the same plain lettuce on each night. We were also served the same vegetable, broccoli, on two nights out of three. It is true that lobster is a specialty of the Inn, but on the one night it was offered to us it came with the same broccoli and boiled potatoes (no sauce). As to the water issue, our cottage had truly marginal water pressure, and the smell of sulfer was overpowering. The fact that you did not experience this does not mean that the situation did not exist. As for the nature trail on the property, we found it to be ill maintained. We did enjoy seeing the green vervet monkeys and other wildlife, but the flora and fauna you enjoyed can be
    found all over the island. As to your
    notation that Pam arranged various activities, such as the marine biologist, this fact does not conflict
    with my original comments that Pam
    is a kind and genuine person with
    a regard for her guests. It should be
    noted, however, that these activities,
    while pleasant, are available to all
    visitors to the island and are not directly related to the quality of the Inn
    itself. Information on the marine biologist, horseback riding and most other activities are readily accessible on the Nevis1 website. This does
    not, however, diminish Pam's efforts
    and assistance on your behalf. Most of your comments about the Inn proper seemed to focus on your nice dinner experiences. You are fortunate that during your stay things were different from our experience, but my comments are an accurate description of the conditions during
    our visit.

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    Actually, a large part of your interpretation of your Golden Rock experience centered on the meals, thus my reply. As noted, much of my reply centered on the beautiful grounds and the fact that the rain forest trails began on the Golden Rock property. The overall ambience was also mentioned as total relaxing, including another of Pam's specially selected, personal friend and Yoga expert, who conducted classes by the rain forest fed swimming pool in the mornings afte breakfast, in the shadows of the extinct Nevis valcano. Robert

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