Reprinted from travel Agent magazine
Article by Erin Frances Sternthal, Jan 2001
Island of Mustique
The secret success of Mustique lies in its lavish accommodations touting the utmost privacy
One of the Caribbean's best-kept secrets lies just 17 miles south of St. Vincent and 107 miles west of Barbados on the tiny island of Mustique. One of the Grenadines' hidden jewels, the 1,400-acre private island is only one and a half miles wide and three miles long. This exclusive hideaway is owned by the Mustique Company and draws the rich and famous from around the world, with such villa owners as Princess Margaret, Tommy Hilfiger and Mick Jagger.
Though the island maybe a popular retreat for the stars, it is also the ultimate escape for high-end guests who will appreciate its romance and seclusion, whether they choose to rent a villa for a week or stay at the Cotton House, the island's only hotel.
According to Linda Bruno, marketing director for the Mustique Company, clients traveling to the island come from the top 2 percent of the market. "We have a lot of celebrities and captains of industries," she says. While the prices for accommodations on the island may be high, Bruno says the company doesn't get a lot of rate resistance. "We don't try to be all things to all people," she says. "And those who have come say it's a good value for the money."
Bruno says that 50 percent of the clientele are from the U.S., with the other half from Europe. She adds that about 70 percent of business is repeat guests, and many clients return to stay m the same villa. Mustique has been so successful because it gives clients the "kind of experience that can't readily be duplicated," she says.
Unlike other areas that may sell villas based on the number of people or price, representatives of the Mustique Company try to customize the vacation for the traveler and match them with a villa based on the purpose of their holiday. "[We ask if] they want to stay in a Tuscan villa, an Asian-influenced home or West Indies style accommodations," she says.
For people who are interested in the villa experience, there are several that cater to different group sizes, budgets and tastes. There are 85 villas on Mustique, 50 of which are available to rent. Two- to nine-bedroom accommodations will make you feel as though you have their own luxurious home for the week, complete with a butler, cook and maid service. Guests buy their own food once they arrive on the island and customize their weekly menu with the cook. Typically, customers can expect to spend about $100 per person, per day, for food.
Each villa has a name, and its own distinct feel and personality, which is evident the moment guests walk through the entrances. An excellent choice for large groups or families is Sleeping Dragon, set on five acres, inspired by Chinese culture and architecture. About a year old, the six-bedroom villa can accommodate up to 14 people, with a main cottage, two guest cottages (each sleeping two adults) and a children's cottage. The main house features two large bedrooms with sitting areas, large dressing areas and private bathrooms. Each room has an ocean view and is equipped with air conditioning.
A separate dining quarter features a breathtaking view of the 70-foot infinity pool and ocean. In addition, set on each end of the pool is a gazebo, one of which is reserved for dining. A workout room is also on the property. Sleeping Dragon's layout allows your clients to receive the utmost privacy while enjoying the company of others.
Another new villa in the group is the Balinese-style Serenissima, which overlooks Macaroni Beach. The five-bedroom escape features deep woods and marble bathrooms, four-poster beds and a veranda in each room. The entire home is built around a pond, and guests must take off their shoes when entering the home, in true Balinese style.
Located at the top of a hill is Oceanbreeze, another newcomer to Mustique designed around the theme "Out of Africa." Rooms are light and airy, decorated in soft colors, such as pale green and peach. Up to 10 guests can be accommodated in five bedrooms. Private verandas are a feature in all bedrooms, as are dressing areas and bathrooms. Guests at the villa will also enjoy an infinity pool with a sitting area and views of Pasture and Britannia Bay.
More Villa Options
Smaller villas are ideal retreats for honeymooners, groups of couples or small families. Not all villas accept children, so it is best to check the policies of each. Two-and three-bedroom villas include L'Ansecoy, Seascape and Heron Bay.
Travelers who prefer hotel accommodations will find the Cotton House equally as elegant and charming. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the 13-acre inn has 20 rooms, cottages and suites. Each room features air conditioning, a ceiling fan, safe, complimentary minibar, bathrobes, a pillow menu, CD player and twice-daily maid service. In addition, guests are treated to unpacking and pressing services upon arrival.
The hotel has four room categories: five Coutinot House rooms and suites, which are located in one of the oldest buildings on the island; four Garden Suites with king-size beds, marble baths and private terraces; eight Deluxe Terrace rooms, popular with families; and three Pool Cottages, with private entrances and partial ocean views. The Cotton House also features a mini-spa, pool, two tennis courts, a boutique, a fine-dining restaurant and a casual restaurant, dive shop, and a variety of activities and excursions. Other services include 24-hour room service, airport welcome and transfers, and concierge service.
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