In 1958 Colin Tennat, Baron of Glenconner, bought the island for a real estate development project. He reserved the best ten acres as a wedding gift to HRH Princess Margaret, a personal friend. The Princess accepted the gift and built a magnificent villa, which she named “Les Jolies Eaux,” or ”beautiful waters,” a reference to the magnificent views of the Caribbean she enjoyed from her hilltop abode.
The island started getting a reputation as a playground for discrete billionaires, jet setters, movie stars and aristocrats looking for a verdant island, where to relax away from intruders or mass tourism. Paul Newman, Mick Jagger, Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, David Bowie, William and Catherine of Cambridge are some of the visitors who have chosen the island as an idyllic escape from their busy schedules.
1. Opium Villa. / 2. Pasture Beach. / 3. Hummingbird Villa. / 4. Sunrise Villa. / 5. Cotton House Hotel.
At the height of its exclusivity, visitors to Mustique had to obtain prior invitation to land their private planes on the tiny island. Rules are bit less strict now, especially since the creation of the Mustique Company, which gives each owner their own rights over their property. Today the Mustique Company offers daily flight from Barbados to its guests after they have booked a villa or a stay at the Cotton House.
The reason why the island attracts such a discerning group of visitors is that neither paparazzi nor reporters are allowed access to the guests, whether on a private villa or at the exclusive Cotton House hotel. They successfully achieve this since upon arrival all guest must go through visitor registration. Each villa is equipped with golf carts for comfy travel around the property. The lush Caribbean vegetation, crystalline waters and sandy beaches are just added benefits.
On occasion, properties on the island have gone on sale under a veil of strict discretion, of course. Furthermore, one of the requirements of ownership in Mustique is the obligation to keep a minimum of three household employees responsible for the upkeep of the property. All rentals are handled through the Mustique Company.
Locals flock to the magnificent Cotton House for entertainment and socializing, or to the chic Firefly hotel. But the most popular spot on the island is Basil’s Bar, which hosts weekly events and a wonderful blues festival every January. However, the best parties are usually held at the villas, which by now have become the exclusive meeting place for the international jet set. ■