Aspen Times Weekly: My, my Mustique
The Cotton House
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With February fast approaching there is one thing emerging on people’s mind – March, and more specifically, Spring Break. The thought of warm air, swimming in the ocean and baking in the sun on the beach are at the forefront of many Aspenite’s minds. On my mind, in particular, is returning to the island of Mustique.
With all of the hype surrounding the island of Mustique — its visits from prince and princesses and celebrity visitors too numerous to name — I was afraid I was being set up for disappointment. But my reaction was far from it. This remote West Indies island, a part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is as close to the definition of true paradise as one can find in the Caribbean. Truth be told, it far exceeded my expectations.
More than 50 years ago, Lord Glenconner, Colin Tennant, arrived on Mustique and bought the infested and undeveloped island for just £45,000. There was absolutely no infrastructure and Tennant’s initial ambitions were to see the estate thrive as a cotton plantation, however his plans were not successful and he looked for other ways to develop the island.
Having given his good friend Princess Margaret a plot in 1960 as a wedding present, considerable interest in Mustique as a destination evolved, and in 1968 Tennant formed the Mustique Company to develop a private island hideaway
Today, the island is both remote enough to deflect the casual island hopper, private enough to attract the discerning traveler, and yet rich enough in Caribbean culture to satisfy those pursuing an authentic experience.
A night at Basil’s, the island’s only bar, restaurant and nightclub, will ensure that. Set out over the water it is one of the most beautiful and fun spots in the Caribbean. Or a day trip to Macaroni Beach, one of the most undisturbed and pristine beaches in the world.
One of the ways Mustique remains so exclusive is its limited accommodations. If renting one of Mustique’s 100 villas doesn’t suit (74 available to let), there is only one small, four-room hotel, Firefly, and a single resort on the island in which to stay — the five-star Cotton House.
What was once a cotton warehouse and adjacent landmark sugar mill, Cotton House was built during French occupation during the 18th-century and then converted to an inn by the island’s owners in 1962. The resort itself is comprised of various cottages housing 17 rooms and suites, as well as the separate Cotton House Residence, which has its own butler. Many have plunge pools and every room offers views of the sparkling Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
The Cotton House is a piece of Caribbean colonial architecture captured in time with the Great Room’s deep, dark mahogany floors, exposed trusses and island-inspired interiors accented in bright hues of corals and turquoise, all framed by a clapboard and stone exterior.
Every Tuesday evening, Cotton House is center stage for island visitors when villa owners and hotel guests gather in the Great Room to mingle over Champagne and canapés. It is one of the most coveted gatherings in the Caribbean with the guest list straight out of the people pages of the world’s most popular magazines. Not that anyone cares, much like Aspen, people visit Mustique for the natural world around them, for the escape from reality, not for who is lying on the beach next to you.
I can only count the days until my return to Mustique. I do hope they number only a few.
Amiee White Beazley writes about travel for the Aspen Times Weekly. Reach her at email@example.com or follow her @awbeazley1.
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