Anybody arriving on the shores of Mustique for the first time will immediately realise that this island is something very special. It is small and exclusive and a treasure-trove of breathtaking sights.
It takes approximately 1 hour to fly from Barbados to Mustique in a twin engine "Islander" plane (seats 6 - 8 people). My first action was to rent a
motorized four wheeled 'mule' for my TV-crew and myself. The first impression or rather sensation you get of this Caribbean island are the bumpy stone roads. Luxury on Mustique, one of the group of islands which makes up St. Vincent and the Grenadines , has its own individual character here. This is a very private island visited only by a few who seek seclusion and serenity. In fact, it is a bit like an exclusive club. Each “applicant” has to be thoroughly screened before he or she can hope to be welcomed into the “Mustique Company” paradise.
Click to enlarge photos. From left to right: Photo1-3 Villa Jacaranda. Photo 4 (right): Entrance of Villa Gingerbread.
Security and a clean environment have top priority. Here well- to-do personalities from industry, the aristocracy and show business come here to relax and escape the stress. David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger are proud villa owners here. The late Princess Margret of England has made Mustique famous. You can also rent most of these fine properties yourself, such as the beach villa "Jacaranda" - an elegant retreat occupying the quitest corner of the island. Prices start from around 4,500 dollars a week.
This airy, octagonal-shaped beach pavilion with its lemon- yellow rooms, Asian bamboo chairs and a breathtaking view of the snow-white beach offers dream accommodation. The villa's centerpiece, a freshwater pool, further emphazises tha aura of outdoor living under the palms and sky.
Or are you in a “red roses” mood? If so, “Gingerbread”, a villa with a particularly rosy complexion provides the perfect alternative for a honeymoon. Several levels, including a pool area, remove the master bedroom with its own terrace, from the main living area. Winding downhill through jungle, a path leads to a guest beach cottage, a romantic banmboo hut, contrasting in simplicity to the lavish decor of the main house.
There are 45 magnificent villas on Mustique. Each villa has its own distinct furnishings, their themes ranging from an Indian Palace (The "Great House" belonging to Lord Glenconner) or Asian temple to a luxury version of a typical Caribbean abode. If you're looking for a lot of action, though, this is not the place for you. Here on Mustique, parties are with the family or with good friends. It was actually the English brewery heir, Colin Tennant, who bought the exclusive island years ago for a mere £45,000. He gave a promontory in the south of the island to his friend Princess Margaret when she got married to Lord Snowden. Shortly afterwards other members of the international high society started buying villas for themselves on Mustique. The Mustique Company administers the island and is responsible for the strict screening of the paying guests for the 70 owners of the villas, in order to ensure that they are let to the right people. The boss is smart Englishman Brian Alexander.
As the villa's name suggests, “Discovery” is a real find..... Rocks, waterfalls, streams and lily-ponds form an integral part of this architectural masterpiece. Perched 300 feet above the ocean with 360' views, this incredible house epitomizes the concept of indoor/outdoor living. Built as a complete circle around one of Mustique's premier hilltops, each of the 4 bedroom has a different panorama. The main bedroom and sitting roomn, perfect for viewing the sunset, have completely open walls to the west with huge natural boulders retained as part of the structure. Three levels of natural stone pools connected with rivers and waterfalls are designed for family enjoyment.
Click to enlarge photos of Villa "Discovery"
During our visit, we meet the landscape architect Danny, who is currently checking the 10 pools and cleverly hidden water-tanks, which originally cost millions of dollars.
Nobody who takes a holiday on Mustique has to worry about a thing from the moment they arrive. In the house I rented for my crew and myself - Cactus Hill - everything is ready for our arrival. A butler and his wife have prepared a meal, the cocktails and a basket of exotic fruits. The villa has been designed by Robertson Ward as a quadrangle around a central garden and small waterfalls. The living room, dining room and terrace lead directly to the beautifully-shaped swimming pool, all perched on a ridge in the Endeavour Hills, affording both Atlantic and Caribbean vistas. With a charming smile, the staff waits on you; your wish is their command. Surrounded by a flowering garden, pathways and little bridges, this spacious residence with its comfortable English furniture, 5 bedrooms and kidney shaped pool costs approximately 7,000 dollars a week.
If you prefer Asian refinement, then try renting “Stargroves”, Mick Jagger's private temple. Located directly on the beach, this Japanese inspied designer home is ideal for entertaining. Six Living Pavillions are joined by a stunning raised walkway, wound through tranquil landscaping. Play in the fully equipped Games Pavillion, or unwind in a sunken hot tub in the Bath Pavillion. Askmen.com wrote: "As it turns out, Mick Jagger is rather fastidious when it comes to the guests that he'll allow to stay in his villa: He personally reviews each application from parties seeking to rent,
which must include each of the hopefuls' names and occupations. If approved, and providing that your check for anywhere between $13,000 and $16,000 clears, you'll be set
for a week's reprieve in what stands as one of the most lush villas around.
On the premises are a Jacuzzi, pool, croquet court, games pavilion, and Mick's personal Jeep, the use of which is included in the price.Perhaps the highlight of this residence is the meticulous staff of six,
who will prepare anything from cheeseburgers to lobster and champagne picnics. Tempting though it may be, don't lock yourself away for the entire week --
the gorgeous island of Mustique deserves exploring, as other frequent visitors like Tommy Hilfiger would attest to."
The three-bedroom villa "L'Ansecoy" has the most beautiful swimming-pool that follows the line of the cliff below the house. A magical optical trick makes the pool appear to be part of the sea.
Click to enlarge photos. From left to right...Photo 1&2: Mick Jagger's Asian inspired villa "Stargrove"
. Photo 3 & 4: The Villa "L'Ansecoy" with its unique swimming-pool that seems to appear to be part of the sea.
On the ruins of an 18th century English fort, high atop Mustique's hills, the four bedroom villa "Fort Shandy" commands exciting westerly views of Britannia Bay. Or how about a bit of royal flair? The five-bedroom villa "Les Jolies Eaux" belonged to Her Royal Highness, the late Princess Margaret of England. The coral color stucco exterior balances well with citrus and white coloured interiors.
A highlight for us was a visit to the private villa belonging to Swedish architect Arne Hasselquist, who came to Mustique in 1969 when there was neither electricity or water on the island. Today, over 60 of the villas bear his signature.
Click to enlarge phots. Photo 1+2: Fashion-Shooting at a Mustique Villa for Nathalie's TV-show "Nathalie's Lifestyle". Photo 3+4: Sarongs and kaftans designed and hand-painted by Lotty B. - exotic sensuality not only for hot nights...
Before we leave we learn more about what's hot on this island: "Moskito", for example, is the name given to the beach fashion on Mustique. The models are designed exclusively for the extravagant Mustique clientele. While we were there, the creative head of the line was Adam Best who already worked with Joop and Gaultier in Paris.
Let's talk about the more important fashion gurus. Inspired by his love of Mustique, Tommy Hilfiger has named one of his spring collection "Island Getaway." For those to whom Mustique is a mystique, Hilfiger cheerfully clarifies:"It's a place my family and I can go and completely relax and stay barefoot."
Very elegant and chic are the sarongs and kaftans designed by Lotty Bunburry. When in 1993 her husband took on the job as Mustique's Island Doctor, she started to paint sarongs by hand - inspired by the colors and nature of this tropical island. Now she is offering a small resort collection combining sumptuous charmeuse and chiffon silks with soft linens creating a look that is simple but very cool. Elizabeth Hurley and other VIPs wear Lotty B - alos available in St. Barth, St. Tropez, London and New York.
MUSTIQUE'S HOT SPOTS
The place to be at cocktail hour: "Basil's Bar".
It is well known for its casual atmosphere and may be the best West Indian food in the Caribbean. During our visit, a steel band entertains the guests. Timewasting.net writes:
"These days Academy award winners and rock's upper crust still make for a heavily skewed demographic but, as the sun sinks into the South Seas, Basil's is the place for them to recover from their arduous day, along with local musicians, sailors passing through the Grenadines and tourists on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. At the outset, Basil adopted a bar philosophy of “come one, come all” which put him at loggerheads with eccentric aristocrat Colin Tennant, former owner of Mustique, who saw the island more as his own private members' club from which he could summarily eject anyone whose jib wasn't cut correctly. But since Colin's departure and Basil's outright purchase of the bar in 1981, the Wednesday night “jump-up”, featuring live music and a buffet of epic proportions has been as regular as clockwork, and the renowned New Year's Eve celebrations are 1,000 strong, with bankable TV attractions like Oprah Winfrey sailing in on a flotilla of yachts. But, equally, there are nights when a reclusive billionaire can just kick back and read a book, undisturbed. “In a way, [the bar] is a great leveller”, Basil muses. “People drinking here just forget who they are back home.” He's keen that the unpretentious, bamboo-laden construction of a wooden deck on stilts is thought of as a beach bar although, as Tommy Hilfiger's $40m residence nearby is referred to as a “beach hut”, semantic distinctions are clearly rather delicate.
The "Cotton House" is the one and only hotel on the island. The 25-room West Indian inn was built around an 18th century cotton barn and sugar mill.
Cotton House Resort combines Caribbean elegance with French Cuisine in a beautiful setting.
But the best place, however, is to rent a villa with welcoming houshold staffs. The Mustique villas are spread generously apart and are particularly appealing to families and friends sharing holidays together. You can get a thick catalogue with all the details as well as a
rate sheet for the villa rentals
from the Mustique Company.
Click to enlarge photos: Photo 1 (left): Mustique Boutiques. Photo 2 + 3: Famous Basil's Bar. Photo 4: You have to fly with an "Islander" plane to get to Mustique and to leave again via Barbados.
After a few relaxing days, we are flying back from Mustique to Barbados - in the same twin engine "Islander" plane in which we came to discover this unique island belonging to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
And who knows - perhaps you will soon be watching the orange-red colours of the sunset from a terrace in Mustique, too, and enjoying a few unforgettable days in this sunny garden of Eden - in the middle of the Caribbean !
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* This special feature "Mustique" has been one of more than 300 Portraits, produced by Nathalie Gütermann for her TV-Shows 'Nathalie's Lifestyle' and 'Nathalie's Art of Living' that were broadcasted between 1990 - 2003 in Germany and in 15 countries world-wide. The content has been updated with actual information in 2004 for Nathalies-Lifestyle.com © 1990 - 2004. The reproduction or other use of any text, photographs, etc. needs the prior written permission of the Chief Publisher.