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Travel guide: Mustique Island
When Colin Tennant bought the West Indies isle in 1958 he sought to find a place of refuge that many people today still yearn to find. As the story goes, the Scottish noble found himself in a state of
ennui when it came to visiting traditional island retreats; that is, until he set foot on the quaint three-mile island. With supreme vistas, flourishing vegetation and waters as turquoise as tourmaline, legend has it that the art of true relaxation can be realized in the verdant landscape and nine white-sand beaches that line the coast.
Indeed, fast-forward some 50 years and Sir Tennant was clearly onto something. Just ask Tommy Hilfiger: “For me the appeal of
Mustique lies in its contradictions. It’s sophisticated yet natural, Caribbean casual yet Upper East Side elegant, endlessly social yet perfectly private.” The American fashion designer has owned his exclusive villa in this oasis for years, and other well-traveled patrons have followed suit: Mick Jagger, Amy Winehouse, even the Royal couple (who vacationed post- wedding) have all taken in the island’s welcome cool.
If you think Mustique is all about the pageantry and swagger, you wouldn’t be exactly off the mark. High-end designer boutiques dot the small village in Britannia Bay and Moët does flit as freely as the ocean winds, but it doesn’t begin and end there. BBQ and beers on the beach is encouraged, as are flip-flops and sarongs. Caribbean casual, as Tommy phrases it, is equally as championed.
Navigate this pure and magical isle with our
Black Book on where to dine, lounge and dance. If a glass of bubbly (or two) manages to be enjoyed while pursuing our suggestions, then you’re already on island-time. Enjoy.
Find out where to wine, dine, and much more on the next page…
Mustique Black Book
STAY: Cotton House (www.cottonhouse.net)
Dating back to the 18th century, this former plantation house is the island’s only full-service hotel. At once sophisticated – think Balinese wood furniture and exuberant artwork by Mustique’s own Szczesny – the hotel prides itself on its comforts: airy rooms with glorious natural light, private plunge pools and, perhaps most soothing, their “Tree Garden” whereby guests can join in afternoon tea while listening to seashell wind chimes tinkle in the breeze.
RELAX: After a day spent taking in the many adventures on-offer (scenic horse-back riding, a private tennis lesson or sailing to a neighbouring island), indulge your body and your mind by booking a treatment at the Cotton House Spa. Our pick: The Deep Sea Detox; a stimulating aromatherapy massage using oils of juniper and cypress leaves to detoxify and leave you glowing with vitality.
SHOP: Considering the size of the island (only 1,400 acres), it is remarkable there is any shopping at all, but fear not. Britannia Bay is where you will find beautiful and original items. Browse luxe hand-painted silk sarongs and kaftans at LottyB (www.lottyb.com) and adorn your newly bronzed arms with multiple silver and beaded bangles found at The Purple House (www.thepurplehouse.com).
DINE: Slip out of your bikini and into your Balmain to attend the Mustique Island cocktail party where, each Tuesday, the Great Room of the Cotton House hosts a lovely soireewith champagne cocktails and lobster canapes. After you have tickled your appetite here, head over to Firefly to continue the night’s affair at their open-air terrace. Feast on local delicacies like spicy Caribbean crab cakes or pineapple-shrimp curry while toasting the views by way of a Dragonfly martini with triple sec, cranberry and lime. DANCE: Your island experience would be forever incomplete if you didn’t manage to pop by Basil’s Bar. Perched on stilts overlooking the Caribbean sea, this ultra-famous beach bar is exactly as you would imagine it to be: Casual picnic tables are situated to give guests the best-possible views of the sunset and bottles of beer are at the ready whenever the mood strikes. Wednesday’s are known as “Jump Up,” a 35-year ritual where island residents and visitors (and the occasional Rolling Stone) groove to a Soka band until the wee hours of the night.
For more on Mustique Island, visit: www.mustique-island.com