Mustique -- not so great

Old Mar 20th, 2007, 05:14 PM
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Mustique -- not so great

We just got back from a week in Mustique, and came away unimpressed.

The things we like in an island are natural beauty, snorkelling and friendly people. We could care less about nightlife and shopping anywhere we go.

That said, Mustique was pretty, but the snorkeling and beaches were sub-par. One side of the island the beaches were too rough to swim (and definitely too rough to snorkel), and the other side had so-so snorkeling and rocky shorelines, even the beaches were very rocky.

I'm not saying it wasn't nice. It was. But it wasn't worth the hype or the price. The villa we stayed in was $13,000 per week and felt like one that would cost $5,000 on any other island.

The Villa staff were friendly as were most people we encountered (not many as it seems that most of the "rich & famous" that all of the books hype either stay in their villas, or weren't on the island).

We probably won't go back because it's overpriced (IMHO) for what's there.

Just an opinion -- no head-biting please!
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 05:16 PM
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p.s. Add about 40% to the weekly rate to cover all the fees you'll pay when you check out... so expect a $10k/week villa to end up being about $14k when all is said and done.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 05:31 PM
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Sorry to hear that Mustique wasn't to your taste. It's an island that doesn't get a lot of press here on Fodor's.

I hope this doesn't come across as "head biting," but I have to ask why you ended up with Mustique in the first place. You must have done some amount of research to have even heard of the island, so how is it that you didn't realize that the snorkeling and beaches are not its strong suits? Or for that matter, that there is any kind of local culture or population, since the island is privately owned?

Would you care to share the name of your villa as well as some details about it? That would be helpful to anybody thinking of staying there in the future.

At what price point would you have been happy with your Mustique vacation? And what made you decide to go there in the first place if it wasn't for seclusion?
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 05:55 PM
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Truthfully my parents were going and the villa had an extra room, so we went along with them and brought our 5 year old son. We did have a very nice time, by the way, but we felt you were paying for the "hype." (Not just at the Villa -- the groceries at the market were inflated way more than any other island we have been to).

We started staying at Blue Waters villa but after 3 days with no hot water (or shall I say 3 days with only cold water) they moved us to Ultramarine. Ultramarine was Beachfront though the beach it was on was very narrow and steep with pretty choppy waters. Blue Waters had a nice very though it was blocked by some bushes -- it was slightly elevated with a walk down to the beach that the Cotton House shares. Snorkeling there was OK but because the beach was so rocky you had to snorkel off of the pier, lest you get smashed up by the rocks trying to get in and out.

Overall we preferred Blue Waters but they ended up digging up the whole yard to find the water problem so we're glad we were moved. Fortunately our cook (Barbara) came with us.

Ultramarine was nice but the pool is in dire need of painting/refurbishment. On first sight it looks downright gross -- but actually the water was clean but the surroundings and bottom of the pool are just discolored (green/brown/etc), but not with algae like it *appeared*.

My parents are always looking for the "perfect" island -- quiet, beautiful, with good snorkeling -- Mustique isn't it.

I know there isn't a lot of talk about it but just thought I'd post our opinion.

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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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That was fast! No hot water for the first part of the stay? That's unfortunate. And I suppose the villa was too tony to use solar panels to heat cistern water...

It's rare to read anything about Mustique here that's not centered around the Cotton House, so thanks for posting.

What's the closest that you and/or your parents have come to finding the "perfect" island in the Caribbean?
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 04:39 AM
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Thanks for the report. I am going to have to go and look at my map to see where it is located in the chain!!

Whether a review is good or bad, they are always helpful. I enjoy learning about the various islands.

EJ mentioned it was a privatley owned island, who owns it??
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 05:19 AM
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It's part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, next to Bequia.

It is not really a privately owned island-but it is pretty exclusive.

I understand what quiktix is saying. It is a gorgeous island-but the the prices really reflect the "exclusiveness" of it rather that the "experience" of it.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Mustique isn't owned by Lord Glenconnor? If not, did he use to own it and then sell it?

I apologize for spreading misinformation if that's the case. I just remember reading a couple of articles about him, how he moved from Mustique to St. Lucia, etc etc and is now the eccentric man dressed in the caftan who breakfasts at Jalousie most mornings...
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 09:01 AM
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ejcrowe:
Lord Glenconner founded the Mustique Company, which owned the island, (so in a sense he did own it?) then sold the company, now it's run by the villa owners.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 10:11 AM
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Sounds like an interesting story/man, I will have to read up on it!!
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for the report. I first heard of the island as Mick Jagger owned a home there and have since seen some spreads of private homes that are gorgeous. It's a place I would have expected to hear about wonderful restaurants with cuisine that would have exotic flavors and all kinds of very high comments. I'm really shocked!
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 01:50 PM
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Three places to dine besides your villa: Cotton House Resort, Fire Fly Inn, and Basils (tasty West Indian food along with basic burgers, etc). That's it.

We love to stay on Mustique for about three days, then it's time to go somewhere else with more to do.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 04:09 PM
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There is a video called "The Man Who Bought Mustique" about Lord Glenconner and the island. It's a documentary and quite entertaining. I bought it on DVD on amazon.com and watched it while we were on the island -- the staff of our villa really enjoyed watching it. We donated it to the Mustique library before we left, so it's there if you go. Or it's only $20 or so on Amazon.

ejcrowe: I've been to quite a few Caribbean islands but my parents have been to more. Some of their favorites have been Necker Island and Guana Island. I've also heard good things about Jost Van Dyke.

We're heading to St John in a couple of weeks and taking a day trip that goes to the Baths and then Guana Island and Jost Van Dyke so it'll be interesting to see them as I've never been. (I have been to the baths, but our 3 kids (5/8/10) haven't and we're bringing them).
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 09:26 AM
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So if Mustique is privately held by various villa owners, doesn't that make it a private island? Like Pine Cay in Turks & Caicos being owned by the Meridian Club members? Or am I missing something?

quiktix, it sounds like your parents definitely like privacy & exclusivity. Have they stayed on Little Thatch, also in the BVI?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:09 PM
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quiktix: Thanks for your candid report on Mustique. I was always very curious about it since it seemed so popular with the celebrity crowd. I guess one always wonders whether the rock stars are having more fun... but I guess not! I think that's what you're referring to when you mention "hype," you know, Princess Margaret... Mick Jagger, etc. If you would write a report after your trip to STJ, I'm sure many of us on this board would love to read a comparison. Also, I see that your parents, the well-traveled and apparently well-sandaled Caribbean travelers' favorite islands are all in the Virgin Islands. Hurray for the Virgin Islands!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:23 PM
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Yes, it's like a VERY upscale, luxury version of Pine Cay. The property/villa owners have a management company that runs the island. They have their own school for children too.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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Just curious, When an island is as expensive as this one wouldn't the cost of living for the people be outrageous? How do they make it? Tourism is not big like on so many other islands,so I wonder, what do they do?
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 04:11 PM
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My guess is that most of the local Vincentian population would be relatively well paid full time villa staff.
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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The Mustique Corporation has done its best to ensure there is no longer a local population of Mustiquians - as an example, you are not allowed to give birth or be buried on the island. One of the last of t he 'Mustiquians wept as he told me of no longer being able to find his grandmother's grave.

There is a separate compound which has been built on the island for 'the local help' required to run the island infrastructure and the villas. These folk are from the main island of St. Vincent, transported back and forth by ferry service dedicated to the Corporation. They bring their provisions from home and don't shop locally unless desperate!

About The only other locals you will see are Bequia fisherman who stay in cabins on the beach to the east of Basil's (quite nice cabins, built by the Corporation, and replacing the former tent city).
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Old Apr 18th, 2007, 07:13 AM
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We were there last May and had a tour of the island. I wouldn't call the area that the locals live a compound exactly, more like a neighborhood. We went through it and it had its own church, but I think the only school is by the Cotton House.

The info we got from one of the employees of the Cotton House that befriended us is that they work for a number of weeks (can't remember exactly, 6 or 8) and then have 1-2 weeks off and go visit their families in St Vincent. Most ( at least Cotton House employees)were on the island w/o their wives, kids, etc.

I think that the Cotton House has employee housing on their property and she also had a number of friends that lived at the villas where they worked. According to her, many of the villa owners were only in Mustique a couple weeks a year and there are quite a few parties in the meantime.

As far as the original post, I think it is all about researching your destination and having realistic expectations. I went knowing that Mustique was not known for its snorkeling and therefore didn't expect it, though there are boats that will take you out to snorkel spots (I believe the Tobago Cayes?) We used scubamoms website to help decide where to go and found it really accurate and helpful.

I loved Mustique and it was pretty much exactly what I expected. It is totally low-key, which is what I liked. As far as expensive, yes it was, but it ended up being less expensive than the Barbados part of our trip.
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