Move over, Mustique – Bequia is in the run-up to becoming the new best Caribbean destination
Bequia (pronounced Beck-way) beckons from afar as one ferries from Kingstown’s Port Louis – a sleepy landmass in the Atlantic archipelago, which is by the looks of it, almost undisturbed. The island is the largest of the 32 ‘Grenadines’ of St Vincent, the collection of islands including the Canouan (where Donald Trump once owned a casino) and the celebrity island Mustique. I am on a mission to find out why Bequia is better than the others in the vicinity, or why it is quickly becoming one of the best destinations in the Caribbean.
And I’m slowly but very surely charmed, just from a few conversations with the laidback locals. There’s nothing not to like about the West Indian way of life, and although Kingstown’s population seemed quiet and welcoming enough, the proud Bequians took it up a notch with their friendly smiles and welcoming nods – never in a hurry with their daily lives, whether it’s driving tourists up and down the hills or sauntering along the roadsides, phone in hand. It is difficult to imagine the unrest this calm and languid island once experienced, being the centre of a battle between the French and the British since mid-17th century.
I’m taken to Bequia Beach Hotel on Friendship Bay, a rather curious hideaway belonging to Swedish businessman and former lawyer, Bengt Mortstedt, the island’s biggest benefactor and job creator according to an effusive cab driver. Mortstedt, a member of the family who once owned a third of The Shard, is also a serial entrepreneur with a range of projects under his belt: a 34-metre Benetti yacht, Star of the Sea, a nine-seater private jet to transport hotel guests from Barbados to Bequia, and a collection of villas in construction on the hilly slopes.
The boutique hotel – the most luxurious on the island – is a colonial tropical trove with 56 rooms, from classic villas, cottages, penthouses, restaurants, positioned between lantern walkways with winding rows of hibiscus plants. My beach front suite is pleasant, a room with elegant rattan furnishing overlooking the sea, sparkling under sun rays in the horizon.
‘There’s nothing much to do in Mustique,’ Mortstedt says over an array of European and island cuisine, ambitious to draw visitors to Bequia instead. I hear rumours about the Kardashians complaining of boredom of the stillness of the private island. But there’s Basil’s Bar there, of course, the shoreside venue of choice for celebrities and royalty, away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. Mortstedt intends to rival the legendary party location with his own Jack’s Beach Bar on Princess Margaret Beach.
Weekly parties and barbecues at the venue, which are often joined in by the enthusiastic Mortstedt, stunning views of the Atlantic with its rival island Mustique within sight, remote location and the islanders’ natural friendliness all make Bequia a viable competitor to the rest of the Caribbean islands. What’s more promising is its quiet and unfussy character, and the swathes of blue in the horizon one is peacefully left to enjoy in this blissfully remote corner of the Atlantic.
Stay 7 nights from £2,080 per person. Price is based on two persons sharing a Classic Room on a breakfast basis, economy flights from London Gatwick with British Airways and One Caribbean Airline, transfers and UK lounge
Based on 3 March 2018 departure
For further information, please contact Elegant Resorts Reservations on 01244 897515 or visit our website www.elegantresorts.co.uk