Mustique Island is a Private Caribbean Island Hideaway favored by Royalty and the rich and famous for its seclusion. It is ideal for honeymoons, with over 60 extraordinary rental houses, spread across 1400 acres of lush hills, one inn and one small guests house, nine beaches, horseback riding, tennis, sailing, windsurfing, and scuba-diving.
Since 1968, more than $200 million has been invested in Mustique and despite the development, it has retained its unique privacy and tranquillity. Mustique has a clearly defined and well-maintained commercial area with shops, a beach bar and restaurant. Protecting the environment and the peaceful way of life is of paramount importance to all who live and vacation here. It is one of the cleanest and most secure places in the world.
In 1958, Mustique was purchased from a Vincencian family by the Honourable Colin Tennant. No jetty existed when he purchased the island but by 1968, Mustique supported a plantation of 250 acres. In 1969, the airport was opened and the first villas and the Cotton House were built, designed by the British theatrical designer, Oliver Messel.
Other than yachts, like the Royal Britannia, taking advantage of ideal sailing conditions, there were few visitors to Mustique, though word spread about its beauty. Princess Margaret accepted a 10-acre plot of Mustique land from Colin Tennant as a wedding present in 1960 and the parties involving the Rolling Stones and David Bowie began.
The Spa at Cotton House with E’Spa aromatherapy, mountain bikes and scooters; an equestrian centre with lessons and riding on wooded trails or the beach; a fully equipped watersports centre including scuba lessons with qualified PADI instructors, windsurfing, sailing on Sunfish, Hobiecat and Zuma, snorkeling, a fitness trail of approx. 2.2 miles with 15 exercise stations, sailboat charters, day sightseeing trips to other islands including Barbados, Grenada, Martinique and St. Lucia, and fishing excursions.
Mustique also has a paved 2500-foot airstrip with tie-down facilities for private aircraft.
- Mustique Blues Festival happens every year around the end of January. The Blues Festival began in 1996 as the brainchild of Basil Charles (known to everyone on Mustique simply as “Basil”), and London’s Lady of the Blues, Dana Gillespie.
- Basil’s Bar is legendary for parties. For nearly 30 years, Basil’s Bar has hosted the legendary and the ordinary. Music supplied by the DJ or house band motivates guests to dance every night.
- The Cotton House Managers Cocktail Party is a weekly feature on the Mustique social calender. Ask your villa/hotel manager for the schedule.
Banks– Most banks are open Monday to Thursday from 8am to either 1 or 3pm, and Friday from either 8am to 5pm or 8am to 1pm and 3 to 5pm. There are a few banks with ATMs on Halifax Street in Kingstown on St. Vincent (plus one at the airport), and there are also a few on Bequia and Union Island.
Currency– The official currency of St. Vincent is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), pegged at about $2.70 per U.S. dollar (EC$1 = US37¢). Unless otherwise specified, rates in this chapter are quoted in U.S. dollars. Most restaurants, shops, and hotels will accept payment in U.S. dollars or traveler’s checks.
Documents– British, Canadian, and U.S. citizens should have a passport and a return or ongoing airplane ticket. A birth certificate with a raised seal is often accepted with a photo ID, but we always recommend traveling with your passport overseas.
Electricity– Electricity is 220-volt AC (50 cycles), so if you’re traveling with U.S. appliances, you’ll need an adapter and a transformer. Some hotels have transformers, but it’s best to bring your own.
Emergencies– In an emergency, dial tel. 999 or 911.
Hospitals– There is one hospital on St. Vincent in Kingstown: Milton Cato Memorial General Hospital (tel. 784/456-1185 ), Hospital Road.
Language– English is the official language.
Liquor Laws– Liquor can be sold on any day of the week. It’s legal to have an open container on the beach as long as you don’t get rowdy or litter.
Pharmacies– On St. Vincent, try The People’s Pharmacy, Greenville Street, Kingstown (tel. 784/456-1170 ), open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm. There are a few other drugstores in Kingstown as well.
Post Office– The General Post Office, on Halifax Street in Kingstown (tel. 784/456-1111 ), is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4:15pm and Saturday from 8 to 11:30am. There are smaller post offices in 56 districts throughout the country, including offices on the Grenadine islands of Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, and Union Island.
Safety– St. Vincent and its neighboring islands of The Grenadines are quite safe. Even in Kingstown, the capital of St. Vincent, chances are you’ll encounter little serious crime. However, take the usual precautions and never leave valuables unguarded.
Taxes & Service Charges– The government imposes an airport departure tax of EC$100 (US$29) per person. A 10% government occupancy tax is charged for all hotel accommodations. Hotels and restaurants almost always add a 10% to 15% service charge. Ask whether or not it’s included in the initial hotel rates you’re quoted. If it’s not already added at a restaurant, tip at that rate.
Telephone– To call St. Vincent from the United States, dial 1, then 784 (the area code for St. Vincent) and the local seven-digit number. Once on St. Vincent, you can access AT&T Direct at tel. 800/225-5288. To reach MCI, dial tel. 800/888-8000.
Time– Both St. Vincent and The Grenadines operate on Atlantic Standard Time year-round: When it’s 6am on St. Vincent, it’s 5am in New York. During daylight saving time in the United States, St. Vincent keeps the same time as the U.S. East Coast.
Water– In St. Vincent and The Grenadines, stick to bottled water.
Weather– The climate of St. Vincent and The Grenadines is pleasantly cooled by the trade winds year-round. The tropical temperature is in the 78°F to 82°F (26°C-28°C) range. The rainy season is July to October.