5th October 2018

Getting ready for the winter season on Mustique

A gated community for the privileged is how many people think of Mustique. To an extent, this is correct. Even as you descend onto the immaculate airport strip, with its perfectly maintained tarmac, and arrive at the tiny arrivals hall it feels, shall we say, somewhat elitist.

This is partly on account of the demographic arriving and leaving the island, and partly due to the way Mustique is ruled and maintained: no mass tourism is allowed on this dot of a private isle measuring just 3 miles long by 1.5 miles across.

More than 50 years ago Colin Tennant (Lord Glenconner), whose aristocratic family owned land on Trinidad, arrived on what was then the undeveloped, mosquito-ridden island of Mustique. With the approval of his father – whose only stipulation was that the island had water, which it didn’t – he purchased the island for £45,000.

Developing it into a private-island hideaway was to be a bumpy ride, and the history of how Colin Tennant created what Mustique is today is a fascinating one. The most well-known part is how, in 1960, Colin gave his close friend Princess Margaret a plot of land as a wedding present.

Today, there are approximately 80 privately owned villas, a boutique hotel (The Cotton House), a small inn (Firefly), a bar-cum-diner (Basil’s Bar), a bakery, a boutique (there is another one at The Cotton House) and several beaches set up for picnicking and relaxing. Everything works: you won’t see litter; there are no hawkers; nothing interferes with the exclusivity.

The villas are spaced well apart, some retaining the classic Oliver Messel styling, while others have been extended, remodelled and interior-designed. Many are extremely impressive and rank highly in terms of super-prime real estate.

Life is all rather social on Mustique, although that depends on when you visit and who is there at the time. During the holiday season it tends to be home owners, mostly families, with a few celebrity owners thrown in for good measure, who inject some of the party spirit. They are a mixed group, but perhaps more North American than in February, which tends to be more British, whereas Easter is fun and family time.

What Mustique affords is a relatively security-free upscale Caribbean island experience with lovely beaches and a certain amount of life, but the main emphasis on relaxation and fine service. If you want to feel more of the authentic Caribbean rhythm your visit could be combined with sailing through the Grenadines, stopping off at the many neighbouring islands in the chain.

We love it at any time but especially between Thanksgiving and Easter.