Mustique Island, Grenadines
|Area||2.2 sq mi (5.7 km2)|
Mustique // is a small private island that is one of the Grenadines, a chain of islands in the West Indies, and like most of these it is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The island is located within Grenadines Parish, an administrative area of the country. The closest nearby island is Petite Mustique, located 1 mile south of Mustique, which is uninhabited and was the centre of a real estate scam in the early 2000s. Ferry service is provided to the island from St. Vincent on the M/V Endeavour.
The island covers 1,400 acres (5.7 km2; 2.2 sq mi) and it has several coral reefs. The land fauna includes tortoises, herons, iguanas, and many other species. Its year-round population of about 500 mostly live in the villages of Lovell, Britannia Bay, and Dover. The population rises to 1,200 in peak season.
The island is owned by the Mustique Company, a private limited company which is in turn owned by the island's home owners. The island has approximately 100 private villas, many of which are rented out through the Mustique Company. In addition, there are two hotels. The Cotton House with 20 rooms and Beach Café is owned by the Mustique Company. The seven room, privately owned guest house, Firefly, has a restaurant and a bar. A separate restaurant also operates, the Veranda.
The history of the island of Mustique, and of the Grenadines in general, dates back to the 15th century, when Spanish sailors first sighted this more or less linear group of small rocky islands and named them "Los Pájaros" or "the birds", because they resembled a small flock of birds scattered across the sea in flight. During the 17th century the islands were renamed the Grenadines by pirates, who used the sheltered bays to hide their ships and treasure.
The Islands, originally inhabited by people who probably arrived from South America around 2,500 B.C., and later by the Arawaks from 250 B.C. to 1,000 A.D. and finally by the Caribs whose simple tools can still be found. They were ousted by European planters in the 1740's who found they could grow sugar there in abundance. Because Europe's only sources of sugar at that time were limited quantities from the Canaries and Cyprus, the West Indies became economically significant. The Grenadines passed from France to the British in 1763; farmers Alexander Campbell and John Aitcheson bought the island of Mustique that year. The British built three forts. Cotton and sugar continued to be grown until 1834.
The name Mustique comes from the French moustique, "mosquito".The sugar industry lasted until the 19th century, when the cultivation of European-grown sugar beet dramatically lessened the worldwide demand for tropical sugar. Mustique's seven plantations were abandoned and eventually swallowed up by scrub, leaving remnants such as the sugar mill at "Endeavor" and its "Cotton House". The Plantation House was built in the 18th century.
The island was mostly abandoned in the 1800s but in 1835, two plantations were reopened after ownership of the island passed to the Hazell family. They grew crops and raised sheep and goats on two plantations; they maintained a school for the island locals. In 1865 the two were merged into one estate by the family.
Mustique was purchased from the Hazell family in 1958 for £45,000 by The Hon. Colin Tennant, who became The 3rd Baron Glenconner in 1983. He initially planned to start farming, "sea island cotton, beef and mutton" but then decided to develop the island into a hideaway for the wealthy, after forming The Mustique Company in 1968. By that time, cotton production was failing.
A report details the state of the island in 1958:
Apart from the villagers’ smallholdings, Mustique was a desolate island covered in jungle, scrub and cactus. It had no natural water, no roads, no jetty for landing a boat and millions of mosquitoes. There was one dilapidated building used for picking over the cotton, and the remaining villagers lived in corrugated tin shacks which desperately needed upgrading.
Significant improvements would be made over the subsequent years. According to a 2018 report, "since the 1960’s, Mustique has been an exclusive sanctuary for royalty, rockstars, celebrities and heads of industry to relax in anonymity".
In 1960, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, the sister of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, accepted as a wedding present Colin Tennant's gift of a 10-acre (40,000 m2) plot of land, where she built a villa called Les Jolies Eaux. She spent time on the island during her honeymoon. In in the early 1970s, the princess often visited with Roddy Llewellyn. Mustique, she said, "is the only place I can relax". Before her death, the princess gave the property to her son, Viscount Linley, to avoid later payment of inheritance tax. He sold it in 1999 for a reported £2.4 million and Les Jolies Eaux was made available for rent.
In 1964, a new settlement was built, Lovell Village, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The original inhabitants of the island were each given a plot of land and a new home in this location. Most of the island locals, who work in Mustique, (roughly 500 people)  live in Lovell and for years were served by a church, school, restaurant, a medical clinic, a store and a police station. A May 2019 report indicates that other businesses are now located in the Lovell area: "a seafood market ... a food market, two stores The Purple House and The Pink House ... and a general store that advertised liquor, wine and cigars". Serving locals and some tourists, the View Restaurant and Bar is located in Lovell.
When The Mustique Company was formed, in 1968, its manager Hugo Money-Coutts was able to obtain import and other tax free status in return for an annual fee. Building and sales of the villas started soon afterward.
The airport began operation in 1969. In that year, several new villas were built, and the Cotton House opened as a hotel. In the following years, roads were built (although golf carts and ATVs are the only mode of transport), electricity and communications became reliable, a desalination plant was built to provide potable water, and a medical clinic was opened. The cost of running the island school and medical care for residents are supported by an educational and medical trust. One report states that "since 1968, more than $100 million has been invested in Mustique".
New ownership and development
In 1976, due to financial problems, Tennant sold controlling interest (60%) in The Mustique Company to a consortium led by Hans Neumann, who, in 1979, arranged for Brian Alexander to take over its management; he did not retire until August 2008. During Alexander's tenure, homes were built for workers on the island. In 1979, Mustique Island was transformed into a private limited company with the 104 homeowners as shareholders.
Tennant remained on the island until moving to St. Lucia in 1992. In 1987, however, he had sold his remaining shares of The Mustique Company. After 2007, major improvements were made on the island including a desalination plant, solar panels to provide electricity and the recycling of certain types of trash. 
As of 2019, The Mustique Company is managed by Roger Pritchard who replaced Brian Alexander. He leads a staff of 450 who oversees every aspect of island life, management of the villas and security. The security and fire services are provided by a team of officers led by a former Scotland Yard Chief. Every visitor must be registered with the security force.
The Mustique Charitable Foundation has been funding programs for the island locals, such as scholarships, arranging for surgeons to visit the island and literacy programs in 2018. The Mustique Charitable Trusts funds projects such as Disaster Management Education, refurbishment of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Saint Vincent, school meal programs, some literacy projects and after school programs, Diabetes and Hypertension screening, a hospice and tree planting.
Amenities and activities
Mustique Island has many notable features. One of the most notable would have to be Basil’s Bar in Britannia Bay. The Bar remains situated right on the water overlooking a striking-blue bay that harbors sailboats.
The business was owned by Basil Charles for over 20 years; he was previously the barman at Tennant’s Cotton House Hotel. In 2017, however he had sold the operation to The Mustique Company. After a renovation, the bar reopened in 2018. One report states that "the makeover of Basil’s Bar sought to pay homage to its heritage (a legendary island institution), while updating it in a chic, sophisticated and playful way. New features include the open kitchen and hide-away corners for private moments". A jump-up is held every Wednesday night (as of 2019) at this restaurant/bar and on Sundays, it hosts Sunset Jazz evenings, both with live music. The Mustique Blues Festival in late January and early February is held at Basil’s Bar.
...scuba diving and sailing, to tennis club and exploring the island on horseback. Try the extreme sports of kite-surfing or deep sea diving and fishing, or take a more gentle approach, with a snorkel in the many hidden coves around the island followed by a nurturing spa treatment. Children are indulged with a host of fun activities, with water sports galore, drive in cinemas for golf buggies, tennis, pony camp, beach picnics and treasure hunts, kite flying competitions and children’s menus everywhere.
The primary beach is Macaroni on the Atlantic side; large waves make it more suitable for surfing than for swimming. Lagoon Beach on the west side is calmer "but too shallow and seaweedy for swimming" according to one review. Gelliceaux, a sheltered bay is preferable for swimming.
Villas for rent (from $8,000 for one bedroom to $150,000 per week for 6+ bedrooms) include the royals' Les Jolies Eaux, the Indonesian-style Mandalay (built for David Bowie), Pangolin, a seven-bedroom Balinese home, Toucan Hill with its Moroccan theme and a "travertine-like palace". Boats can be chartered at Endeavor Bay.
The Mustique Medical Clinic is open daily and there is an island pharmacy. In case of serious medical issues, evacuation can be arranged to Martinique or Miami.
Residents and guests
The island has a core set of names whose influence created Mustique as what it is today. In probable order, they are Lord Glenconner, Oliver Messel, Princess Margaret, Tommy Hilfiger, Quincy Roberts, Shania Twain, and Sir Mick Jagger. Immediately prior to that, the island was home to fishermen.
Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and The Duke of Edinburgh made private visits to Mustique in 1966, 1977 and 1985. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who is second-in-line to the Throne of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, vacation in Mustique often.
David Bowie once owned an Indonesian-inspired multi-pavilion villa on the island, which he left, asserting that "the house was so tranquil and peaceful that he found it hard to get any work done." Bowie then sold the estate for $5 million to business tycoon and poet Felix Dennis in 1994. After the death of Felix Dennis in June 2014, the Mandalay Estate was sold to entrepreneur Simon Dolan.
The British fashion designer Lotty B has been an island resident for 20 years and runs a local boutique called The Pink House.
Other well-known individuals who have vacationed in Mustique over the years include Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Peter Lynch, Denzel Washington, Pierre Lagrange, Tom Ford, John Travolta and singer Bryan Adams.
Other property owners
Several high net-worth individuals have acquired land, which grants them access to the island's private airline and other resources. Among them are:
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- *history-of-mustique| History-of-mustique
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