Island of Mustique

Gazing out the twin propeller plane window the jagged emerald island seems to float in the tri-colored turquoise Caribbean waters.

This is the first site of the illustrious private island of Mustique: The upper crust's best kept secret. Tommy Hilfiger, Mick Jagger, Princess Margaret and Viscount David Linley, just to name a few, all have enjoyed the splendor of the small 1,400 acre island in the located in the Caribbean Grenadines. Luckily for me, this was the location of my best friend's wedding, so I became one of the few who been able to sneek a peek into the secret life of the rich and famous.

The best way to reach Mustique is from Barbados. From there you can charter a flight from $179-$200 per person each way. The 45-minute flight touches down at the quaint Mustique airport where the short landing strip looks more like a ramp. Accommodation arrangements must be made ahead of time, especially since most Villas on the island require minimum of one-week stay. Most of the villas in Mystique can be rented. Prices range from $5,000 per week, for a two bedroom, to $27,000 per week, for a nine bedroom, depending on the villa and the season. There is one hotel in Mustique, The Cotton House, which rents rooms for $410 to $1,300 per day.

The mode of transportation is a Mule cart, which resembles a golf cart. The carts rattle and bounce along the semi-paved paths scattered with hazards such as slow moving tortoises, fallen branches, potholes and deep ravines, which keeps the little island gem a non-commercialized retreat.

Each villa on the island is equipped with a cook, butler, maid and gardener. It was a little uncomfortable for me to get used to being served. My butler laughed at us when we would help clearthe table after meals we also refused to ring the silver service bell: until the last day when we did it as a joke to see how our butler would react.

"Downtown? Mustique consists of a grocery store with a massive selection of rum and two tourist shops. One of the gift shops has affordable items such as tee shirts, post cards and beach toys, the other, sports the island's true side with expensive merchandise like La Perla swimming suits, Tommy Clothes and bright, big brimmed hats.

Basil's Bar is one of the two bars on the island. It looks like something out of a Gilligan's Island episode with thatched grass roofs and constructed of wooded planks on stilts three-feet above the ocean.

After the sun falls below the ocean horizon the disco ball at Basil's begins to sparkle. At night, Basil's is a jumping nightspot with a "who's who? list that would make most big city night clubs envious. While sitting drinking Basil's unique drink called "Mustique Grin? I spot some models sitting in the booth next to us.

An average day in Mustique begins with a dive in your villa's pool, plucking a flower for your hair and meeting in the open dining room under a waterfall of yellow buttercups hanging on vines. Then the rest of the day is yours to read books by the pool sipping run punch, until lunch. After a while I started to loose sense of time even the date.

The cooks of the villas prepare delicious gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Breakfast usually consists of a bowl of juicy mangos, pineapple and bananas followed by eggs and bacon, fresh squeezed juice and bread. Lunches can be packed for day excursions.

Typical dinners are large and exotic followed by dessert. Curry and coconut are used a lot in their cooking. Barbecues near the beach can be arranged ahead of time. Callaloo soup is a must! The olive-green puree soup is made of a local plant similar to a dandelion. It's not pretty to look at, but it is delicious and full of nutrients.

Macaroni Beach is the most well known beach on Mustique. The clean almost deserted beach has stunning, warm turquoise water and hammocks strung in its palms that fringe the sand. I happened tobe enjoying a day on the white sand the same day Tommy Hilfiger was doing a photo shoot. While my friends and I were getting nerve to go ask Tommy if we could be background models one of the photographers came over to us and asked if we would mind moving down the beach out of the shot. Oh well, Tommy doesn't know what he is missing.

If poolside lounging and beach combing get tiresome, Mustique Company offers plenty of other activities for all ages such as, catamaran and deep-sea fishing tours, horseback riding (thoroughbred of course), canoeing, wind surfing, tennis (and private tennis lessons), snorkeling and scuba diving.

Every Tuesday night Mustique Company hosts a "get-to-know-you? cocktail party at the Cotton House. Hors d'oevres and Champaign are passed around as locals stick in tight cliques and vacationers in hushed whispers talk about celebrity citings while their eyes dash around the room for someone famous.

After a week in Mustique, I know what it is to be completely relaxed. I looked at my watch only once, to make sure I got to the wedding on time. Regretfully I must pack my bag and head back to New York. A week was not long enough. Now I plot my return. Possibly as a Tommy model? I doubt it, but they might need a stable girl.