The story of Mustique’s evolution has been well documented over the years. It was a unique concept, the product of one man’s vision that has developed over time into a thriving and desirable destination. Its landscape today possesses the same breathtaking allure that its early residents enjoyed fifty years ago, but now pleasingly combined with a world class degree of modern luxury.
In 1958 Lord Glenconner, Colin Tennant, arrived on Mustique and bought the island for just £45,000 despite the fact it had no roads, no jetties and no running water. Initial ambitions were to see it thrive as a cotton plantation, but these plans did not prove economically viable and Tennant looked for other ways to develop the island. Having gifted his good friend Princess Margaret a plot in 1960, there was considerable media interest in Mustique as a destination and in 1968 he formed the Mustique Company to develop a private island hideaway for the rich and famous.
There were two architects who helped shape the island during its early years; Arne Hasselqvist, a resourceful construction engineer from Sweden, who was employed by the company to bring Tennant’s vision to life; and Oliver Messel, a leading British theatre set designer who had developed a reputation for the houses he had designed on neighbouring Barbados.
With the help of entrepreneurial investors a business model was created. The idea was for the island to be split into plots and sold to shareholders who would invest equally in the infrastructure. Plots were quickly bought by an eclectic group of socialites, rock stars and private individuals who flocked to the island from far and wide to create their fantasy dream houses and to be part of something unique.
The last fifty years has seen Mustique become one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the world, where homeowners frequently return and visitors repeatedly rent one of the many private villas that are available throughout the year. Such is the island’s allure that guests come back year after year to visit old friends and embrace the pure escape that Mustique represents – the quintessential private island paradise.