(Hollywood Reporter) – “Only in Mustique” is an oft-used phrase on the arguable star of the St. Vincent and Grenadines archipelago, which also comprises Bequia and Canouan. On the puddle jumper from St. Lucia to the three-mile-long private island famous for being the ultra-elite getaway of the late Princess Margaret, Bryan Adams shares vegan ginger cookies from Alberta, Canada, and shows off iPhone videos of the trio of baby possums he rescued.
Only on Mustique does every resident (currently including Mick Jagger, Tommy Hilfiger and Adams) have their folly, as one local describes the way neither design nor proclivities are strictly controlled. Aside from some 100 privately owned multimillion-dollar villas and estates on the island, there is the boutique hotel Cotton House.
Only in Mustique do people whose car collections include Rolls Royces and Bentleys happily get picked up in a Suzuki minivan and cheerily drive themselves between secluded island beaches and dinner parties at neighboring villas in a “mule” (island speak for souped-up golf cart). Only in Mustique is there not only no pretense, but no Teslas. Just a lot of tortoises, slowly roaming the postcard-perfect island reminding everyone the need for no urgency.
It’s been like that for the entirety of Mustique’s half-century history. The island was originally purchased and developed by Scotsman Colin Tennant in 1968; he gifted Princess Margaret a 10-acre plot of land on which she would build Les Jolie Eaux. (The Queen herself dropped by on a few occasions in the ’70s.) Raquel Welch staged video shoots on the island, even building a tiny sandy island and palm tree in the middle of the water at Lagoon Beach. Janet Jackson came on holiday and loved the food at her villa so much that she hired away the private chef. David Bowie built a Balinese-style manse (where he was photographed for Architectural Digest in 1992). Jagger has had a place for decades and is currently renovating a second pad next door.
Beyond the privacy factor, there are dozens of compelling reasons for holidaying on Mustique. First there’s the water: clear, blue and full of colorful fish. Then there’s the seemingly endless array of perfect little beaches, mostly devoid of other humans. Lagoon Beach has a collection of “sheds,” more like palaces for butler-aided picnics. Around the corner is Princess Margaret Beach, where the royals like to swim. Visitors take hikes up to scenic peaks and stop by a charming bamboo chapel where Enrique Iglesias’ sister, Ana Boyer, was married.
January marks the Mustique Blues Festival in front of the open-air bar redesigned by Philippe Starck (and reopened earlier this year). Of course, the real beauty of Basil’s, like the rest of the island, is that the entire adventure of being there stays there.