Sunday, 16 June 2013

Mustique travel and holiday report – Part 3 The Island
It really is a very pretty island with a number of amazing unspoiled, often empty beaches to enjoy. The best thing to do is jump into your ‘Mule’ and explore in order to get your bearings and then plan your stay.

Probably the best place to find is Macaroni Beach . This beach is everything most people want. It has pure white sand, it is clean and the water is crystal clear. It has waves but nothing to be too afraid of as the currents are usually very benign. All along this small beach are tropical trees for shade and under these are all sorts of amenities from volleyball courts to picnic spots. The latter can be booked in advance and you can even order a picnic and have it delivered to your chosen spot. Nobody tries to pinch your place or your belongings. Remarkable in the modern Caribbean!

There are other equally beautiful beaches. Lagoon beach is terrific although it can get a bit sea weedy in some seasons. Some of the other beaches on the Atlantic side are pretty wild yet beautiful and swimming is not recommended here. All of these are within 10 minutes from where you are staying. Snorkeling is good by Caribbean standards and one of the better places is just off the Cotton House Hotel beach. You can get a great lunch there too which will set you back around US$60/70 for two with a drink.

The island is a great place for activities particularly on and under the sea. There is a dive centre too on Cotton House beach with great tuition and a strong safety ethic. You can rent all kinds of snorkeling and diving gear from them as well as catamarans, sailboats and windsurfers. Next to the tiny airport is the sports area where they play cricket and base their Equestrian centre. The island is great for riding and trekking with lots of paths and fitness trails for those that enjoy that sort of thing. Some people complain that there is not much to do but I don’t get that.

OK, so what about the social side? This just might be an area where some folk enjoy perhaps more than they think Mustique can offer, and they may be right. There are only four places most people will find for a drink. They are The Cotton House, The Firefly, the famous Basil’s Bar and a new place called Lisa’s overlooking the harbour.

 You have to know where you are going to find Lisa’s.  You go to Lovell's Village where most of the workers live and it is almost immediately on the left as you go in. I have heard Lisa and her husband are a great and hospitable couple and the bar is open to both locals from the village and guests from anywhere. You can just turn up, get cheaper drinks, enjoy the view and eat great local cuisine.

The Firefly is a very small but chic hotel with 5 rooms (I think) and a very nice bar and restaurant area. We did not go this time because we heard mixed reports about the food and what it cost. Words like over-priced and sub-standard were used by one couple we spoke to. In saying that it was just one or two opinions and it reminds me of the term ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. Some people think it a fabulous place. It is built on the side of a steep slope the other side of the bay to Lisa’s and the rooms are very pretty and chic.

Right down in the port/yacht harbour you will find Basil’s. It is built on its own pier sticking out into the bay and is quite an experience. We went there most nights for a sun downer or two, or three and enjoyed the relaxed ambiance of this unique setting. They have a ‘jump up’ night on Wednesdays and often feature Jazz on Sunday lunch time. Sometimes it can get quite wild (in a fun sense) especially if something is being celebrated at the time. I have heard people who didn't like it say they were glad they went on one of these nights. As for me? I got myself introduced to a cocktail called T Punch which looked pretty harmless but.....

The last place I want to talk about is The Cotton House which is the only larger (17 rooms!) hotel on the island. This is where we stayed and we loved it. Would you? I don’t know. Some people expecting a ‘Chav Fest’ of glamour, celebrities and parties might have been disappointed. We found it a masterpiece of what I call ‘relaxed luxury’ or ‘understated elegance’. I will tell you about it in my next update.

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