Paradise on earth might seem like a farfetched idea, but on an island sandwiched between the iridescent Caribbean Sea and the rolling Atlantic Ocean, something close to it exists.
There are places that label themselves as 'secret island getaways,' and then there are secret island getaways. Mustique is just that. A tiny island located near a scattering of lush isles known as the British Virgin Islands, it’s the type of place you could compare to a cool best friend who never seems to try too hard, yet manages to be the best dressed, most interesting person in the room.
Mustique has been the go-to island destination for the upper echelons of British society since Princess Margaret was gifted a villa by Lord Tennant, who purchased the island in 1958. It quickly gained a reputation amongst music royalty and It-girls as a party-filled getaway island, and is still the perfect combination of relaxed island life and luxury. With a tiny airstrip that has remained unchanged since it was created—only one flight arrives and departs each day— it feels at once both intimate and incredibly chic. It’s the kind of place you can spend uninterrupted hours lying on a beach, or if the mood strikes snorkeling amongst untouched reefs or hiking through jungle with resident tortoises.
No press (that includes paparazzi) is allowed, and with a monitored guest list privacy has become the island’s secret to success (what happens in Mustique really does stay in Mustique). Second to that is accommodation. Rather than erect multiple resorts, Mustique is an island of villas. From the super luxe (Frangipani house sleeps 10 people, and is modeled in the traditional Caribbean gingerbread house style, replete with stunning ocean views and incredible shell motifs), to a smaller, family-friendly size, villas are available to rent by the week. Each comes equipped with everything you need, including staff—and a chef—who all partake in making your stay an incredible experience from arrival to departure. The freshly cooked seafood and parade of endless rum punch are proof.
The only thing you need to worry about is whether you want lunch by the beach or the pool.
Besides a plethora of incredible villas, The Cotton House is the place to stay. A former cotton plantation, its main house is a vision of pre-war British glory and was recently refurbished by Tristan Auer—the brains behind London’s Chiltern Firehouse. While the Main Room restaurant is idyllic for lunch, the House also offers a beachside restaurant and bar, where Tuesday night lobster dinners are a hit, and the island’s only spa provides plenty of local treatments.
Mustique’s inherent chilled out vibe means that you’ll only need a few essentials in your suitcase (hat, swimsuit, cover-up and sandals), and as such, shopping isn’t a main attraction. The Cotton House’s namesake boutique is stocked with beautiful caftans, chic basket bags, and cult-loved fashion label Yosuzi hats, while the Pink and Purple Boutiques offer knick knacks to take home.
Basil’s Bar is one of two spots to sip a rum punch at sunset. Run by local (and legendary) barman Basil, its charm lies in its laid back atmosphere. In recent years the bar has become home to an annual Blues Festival, drawing some of the best musicians from around the world.
The beauty of Mustique lies in the ability to craft your own version of a perfect vacation. Spend your days lazing by your villa’s pool, head to The Cotton House for lunch or explore the island—hiking, snorkeling, swimming—via a golf cart/dune buggy hybrid locals refer to as a mule.
Chances are you won’t want to leave the incredible meals prepared by your villa’s chef, but if a night out should entice you, head to The Cotton House.