Escape to Mustique

For a Caribbean experience like none other, a private island is the ultimate escape. But not just any private island. There is a luscious, luxurious island tucked away in St. Vincent and the Grenadines known for unparalleled service, and legendary parties just 100 miles west of Barbados; a favorite of royalty and rock stars alike, Mustique offers a Caribbean vacation many only dream of.

History

The island was purchased by Lord Glenconner, Colin Tennant in 1958 for 45,000 pounds (around $126,000).

At that time, the island had no roads, no running water, and no dock access. Tennant originally wanted to see the island thrive as a cotton plantation, but after those plans didn’t come to fruition, a fantastic vision for developing the island came to life.

Tennant was good friends with Princess Margaret, and his wife was one of her ladies in waiting. He gifted the princess with a plot of land on the island in 1960 and the media became increasingly interested in the exotic Mustique.

In 1968, the Mustique Company was formed to develop the island as a private getaway destination for the rich and famous.

The original Mustique Company business model is still operating today. The island is split into plots and each plot is privately owned, making the landowners the invested shareholders of this private island paradise.

Private Island, Private Villas

Many landowners have chosen to construct truly stunning villas on the island for their own personal use and to rent. Each villa is fully staffed with its own team, setting this level of modern luxury apart from other islands.

To say some celebrities have owned property here is an understatement. Canadian country star Shania Twain built the Blackstone villa. Mick Jagger still owns and rents out his Stargroves property. Mandalay was formerly owned by David Bowie and of course, Princess Margaret’s famous property at Les Jolie Eaux is still a functioning rental villa today. With more than 90 villas to choose from, travellers are sure to find accommodations to suit their style.

In addition to the beautiful private villas, The Cotton House serves as the island’s luxury hotel property. Located in an old cotton warehouse, the hotel was designed in 1968 by leading British stage designer Oliver Messel. As the island’s social hub, the 13-acre property features stunning tropical gardens, the Great Room Bar, and the Veranda Restaurant.

Villas facing the ocean, suites, and cottages with private plunge pools are among the exceptional accommodations at the Cotton House, in addition to a refreshing pool and sundeck, an organic spa, and gym facilities.

Party, Pamper, Explore

If the elegant villas and charming hotel aren’t impressive enough, the island has activities for anyone to enjoy a truly amazing vacation. Whether you want to lie on the beach or by the pool and simply take in the view, activities in Mustique will not disappoint.

Imagine waking up to a warm Caribbean sunrise and enjoying a chef-prepared breakfast on the terrace of your luxury villa. After a quick dip in the pool, a beautiful horse waits for you granting a riding lesson at the Equestrian Centre which boasts show-jumping and dressage lessons to casual trail rides and swimming on horseback in the ocean; the horses of Mustique will charm and delight.

If the water is calling you, watersports are some of the most popular activities on the island. Some of the best scuba diving in the Grenadines is calling to beginners and experienced divers alike.

A team of PADI-certified instructors and dive masters will guide you through an underwater experience you won’t forget. Snorkelling is a favourite activity for many island visitors and seeing the beauty of the coral reefs and natural marine life is a perfect activity in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island.

Sailing is another popular choice for a day on the water. Take a sailing lesson in Hobie Cats in the bay or experienced sailors can charter a schooner or catamaran to enjoy the stunning scenery.

While there is more than enough to explore on Mustique alone, some island hopping is a great way to see more of the region. With a full range of organised trips or private charter options, a visit to a neighbouring island of Bequia, Palm, Union, Petit St. Vincent, or Canouan is just a sail or powerboat ride away.

Enjoy fishing, snorkelling with turtles, or exploring another island in style. A special experience waits for the movie buff on the Tobago Cays—this group of uninhabited islands is where Johnny Depp was marooned as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean.

For active visitors, Mustique is a tennis-lover’s paradise. With plenty of courts for practice or play, lessons with pros are available, as well as a variety of professional and celebrity-run clinics and tournaments. Hiking is another popular active endeavour and the varied island’s trails are extensive. Explore the island on your own or join a group for a guided tour of Mustique’s fauna and flora.

Children are welcome on the island and have a full range of activities catered just for them. Princess Diana brought Princes William and Harry to Mustique when they were young, and children of all ages have enjoyed sailing, treasure hunts, and the ever-popular pony camps in the Equestrian Centre.

After a day full of unforgettable events, a cocktail at the infamous Basil’s Bar on Britannia Bay  awaits. This legendary watering hole is home to the annual Mustique Blues Festival, as well as weekly jump ups on Wednesday, and Sunday sunset jazz sessions.

Back at the Cotton House, the Great Room Bar offers an extensive collection of vintage rums and a weekly cocktail party for guests.

Cocktails naturally lead into dinner; and the dining options on Mustique can cater to any palate. The Veranda Restaurant in the Cotton House offers incredibly sophisticated a la carte dishes made with sustainable, local ingredients and full of Caribbean flavours.

The Beach Cafe & Bar on Endeavor Bay is more casual and offers delicious bites all day long. This is the centre of social activity after sunset.

Environment

The natural beauty of the island and surrounding waters is of key importance, and the Mustique Company is tuned into the environmental concerns of the region.

The island itself still includes many undeveloped areas that allow local wildlife to flourish in their natural habitat. The shareholder’s of the island take pride in minimising their footprint and are invested in conservation efforts and community development.

Protecting the island’s resources and its people are part of ensuring Mustique is enjoyed by generations to come.

From its royal beginnings to rock star status and now a sought-after luxury getaway, Mustique is an incredibly unique slice of the Caribbean that stays with guests for years to come.

Photography courtesy of Mustique

Sara Sherman
Sara Sherman is a former St. Thomas resident and the editor of Virgin Islands Property & Yacht.
Sara Sherman

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