Guests of The Meridian Club can dine in the poolside club
house, then retire upstairs to the library for drinks and
Opposite, top: One of the best kept secrets of the British
Virgins, Guana Island is a bird-watcher's nirvana where more
than a hundred species have been carefully encouraged to
nest. The island's only resort is a serene retreat with fifteen
no-hills guest units. Bottom: Unobstructed ocean views and
breezes can be yours for $5,500 a day when you rent seventy-
four acre Necker Island and the Balinese villa Virgin Records
founder Richard Branson built there.
purposely hard to reach. All but one must be approached by boat But
isn't that, after all, the perfect way to arrive on an island, to feel from
the beginning the water, the waves, the rhythm of island living? Most,
but not all, are deluxe accommodations. All are unforgettable places
where the two of you can be alone...together.
Mustique Never mind that you arrive in Mustique "par anion,"
that you land on a frightening, 2,500-foot airstrip that resort brochures
describe as "paved" as though this were some sort of luxurious, added
attraction. Just being in this Caribbean idyll is all that counts.
Mustique makes no apology for being an exclusive enclave of the
rich and famous. In 1960, diming the island's initial phase of develop-
ment, a ten-acre plot of land was presented to Princess Margaret as a
wedding present by the Honourable Colin Tennant, the Englishman
who purchased Mustique in 1958. The princess still pays calls in Mus-
tique, as do other celebrities: Mick Jagger and David Bowie, among
them. Many luminaries own homes on Mustique; others rent villas or
take a room in Mustique's 25-room inn, one of the most appealing in
all the West Indies.
Part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mustique was once dotted
with sugar plantations. The island went into a decline during the 19th
century when Europeans developed other markets for sugar. The jun-
gle has consumed all of the island's seven original plantations; only the
sugar mill at Endeavour and its "cotton house" survive.
That structure, brilliantly restored by British theatrical designer Oliv-
er Messel, opened for business as an inn called the Cotton House in
1969. At once stylish and sophisticated yet distinctly down-island, the
Cotton House is all stone and timber with a broad verandah and a cool,
spacious interior filled with period antiques. Dinner is served night-
ly, and luncheons by the pool are an island tradition.
Messel also designed the first villas on Mustique. Pastel fantasies
wrapped in gingerbread filigree, these cottages look as though they've
•JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1993 •
popped from the pages of a fairy-tale book. Today there are some sev-
enty privately-owned villas on Mustique, more than forty of which are
available for rent. The houses are spread generously apart for privacy.
Each one opens to views of water and jade-green mountains and comes
with its own household staff.
Some serious action takes place at Basil's Bar and Restaurant, a
thatched affair, vaguely octagonal, resting on stilts over Britannia Bay.
Divers and drinkers at this convivial gathering place are likely to mix
with yachtsmen and monied Mustique types, not to mention the in-
comparable Basil, a portly native known throughout the Grenadines.
Thanks to the Mustique Company, which owns the island, electricity
and telephone service are reliable; and in this part of the world, that's
close to a miracle. There's also a clinic with a
physician. Although Mustique is a planned
community, nothing about the place feels
"planned." There's no country-club atmosphere;
dress is barefoot informal. Mustique is not for
everyone, but if it's for you, you'll return for a
second, third and perhaps even a fourth, hon-
eymoon. (Cotton House: rooms and one-bed-
room suites from $300 to $760 per night, double
occupancy, including breakfast and dinner; call
800-223-1108. Two bedroom houses: $2,500 to
$4,500 for seven nights; call Resorts Manage-
ment, Inc. at 800-225-4255.)
Guana Island Although it is situ-
ated just above the eastern tip of Tortola in the
popular British Virgins and only a ten-minute
launch ride from the Beef Island airport, Gua-
na Island remains a well-kept secret
Unique among the Caribbean's private is-
lands, Guana is a botanist's nirvana. New York-
er Henry Jarecki purchased the island in 1975
and turned it into a wildlife preserve. He did
not simply restore the 1930s resort, he also "cu-
rated" it Now there are more than a hundred
species of birds, ranging from the roseate
flamingo (recently reintroduced to the
Caribbean) to masked boobies and the com-
mon brown pelican. The "lost planet" environ-
ment has attracted scientific research by such
heavyweights as Harvard, the Nature Conser-
vancy, and the Smithsonian.
The island's single resort, the Guana Island