Suite at Cotton House, Mustique, Caribbean

Cotton House

Oliver Messel and Arne Hasselqvist teamed up in the late 1960s to transform the structures of this former warehouse and mill into a small hotel called Cotton House. Then, it was the island’s only hotel, and it’s where Basil Charles first tended bar on the island. Today, it remains the only true hotel and has been glammed up by Parisian hotelier Grace Leo Andrieu of the Lancaster. She brought not only her elegant touch to the design but took over the hotel management, bringing in first-class chefs and adding a spa and beach café. The great room in the main house resembles the living room of a globe-trotting islander with treasured objects mixing in with plantation-style antiques. The twenty-some guest rooms now have every amenity you’d expect at a five-star hotel, yet they manage to feel more like beach house accommodations than anything fussy. The options include bedrooms in a hillside annex, free-standing cottages, suites by the sea and the Cotton Hill Residence, a two-bedroom house with its own large pool and dedicated butler. A stay here is a great way to get a feeling for the island, especially since the weekly cocktail party serves as an informal meet-and-greet for everyone in residence.

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Bedroom at Firefly Hotel, Mustique, Caribbean

Firefly Hotel

The five rooms at this hillside inn are each decorated differently and most have sea views. All are outfitted with old and new touches, such as ceiling fans and wicker furniture and iPod docking stations and wireless internet access. The piano player draws many villa owners after dinner.

Lounge at Villas to Rent, Mustique, Caribbean - Dale Curtis

Villas to Rent

While first-timers might book a room at the Cotton House or Firefly, regulars know that the best way to vacation on Mustique is by renting one of the island’s wonderful homes, which range from cozy two-bedroom cottages to sprawling ten-bedroom estates. All villas are staffed by a chef, housekeeping and butler service, but the range of architecture and interior design couldn’t be more diverse. A few Indagare favorites: a grand hilltop home well-equipped for young families; a sexy, Mexican-style villa with separate guest quarters as well as a private gym, office, media room and tennis court; a Moorish palace boasting some of the island’s best views; a traditional Messel home set on the beach and staffed by one of Mustique’s best young chefs.

All villas rent by the week, except during peak holiday periods when two- or even three-week minimums are the norm, as are sky-high prices and very limited availability. Those who score the best homes at Christmas, New Year’s or Easter plan well in advance and have deep pockets. Because the island has excellent weather year-round, however, there are plenty of alternatives to the peak season. Try for Thanksgiving, Spring Break (European and American school holidays usually don’t coincide) and summer, when many of London’s glamour girls decamp here with their kids.

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