Nothing much happened on Mustique, until everything did. The island’s name comes from the French for mosquito — a tiny, inconsequential, almost invisible thing, floating somewhere off the coast of the Grenadines for most of its known history. There were South American settlers at one point; the Arawaks gave it a go later on. The Spanish called is Los Pájaros, because they thought it looked like a distant flock of migrating birds, while the pirates just thought it looked like a good spot to hide some looted rum.
Then Colin Tennant came along. An eccentric aristocrat with friends in high (and low) places, he bought the island for £45,000 in 1958 — Tennant justified it to his wife, Lady Glenconner, by claiming it would be cheaper to spend their winters there than to heat the family’s Highland castle. At first, Tennant thought he’d resuscitate the overgrown plantations and transform the island into one giant cotton farm. But the numbers didn’t stack up, and Mustique soon began to look like a very expensive (albeit beautiful) rock. There was no running water or infrastructure; no roads or jetties or landing strips. But the island did have one special trait — the very same that had made it such a lucrative haven for the pirates of yore.
It always felt completely, beautifully isolated, and just the right size: small enough to feel intimate and navigable; big enough to ensure privacy and adventure. Tennant changed tack. Mustique would no longer be a farm. It would be an escape.
Princess Margaret shows Queen Elizabeth ll around Mustique during HRH and Prince Philip’s visit to the island, January 1st 1977.
Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall on a beach in Mustique, February 18th 1987.
Colin Tennant on the island of Mustique, March 1973.
Today, thanks to the steady, adoring patronage of the People That Matter (Princess Margaret did a lot of the heavy lifting, followed by Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Bryan Adams and Tommy Hilfiger), Mustique retains a unique atmosphere — famous but down to earth; sociable yet discreet; progressive and yet traditional.
Longtime residents say that Mustique has changed over the years, but only a little. The roads have gotten better, the water and electricity is more reliable, and the days of waiting by the jetty to buy food and wine off the incoming delivery ships are long gone. But the atmosphere — that heady cocktail of good-natured individuals seeking adventure and escape — remains.
There are only around 100 houses on Mustique with a cast of owners as eclectic as ever before, and a hugely welcoming social set maintained on trust, camaraderie, and decent rum. Here, we look at three houses available to buy on the island now.
Guide price: $8,750,000
6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 1 reception room, Balcony, Garden, Island, Restored, Swimming pool, Terrace, Private parking, Sea view
Price on application
13 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 7 reception rooms, 17.57 acres, 2 swimming pools, Tennis court, Lift, Independent guest villa, Staff accommodation, Terracing/balconies, Panoramic sea views
Guide price: $7,450,000
4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 reception rooms, Garden & terracing, Swimming pool, Staff accommodation, 180-degree sea views
See more from Knight Frank here…
Want more on Mustique? Take a detailed look at The Terraces…
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