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The great escape

Mustique’s bohemian neighbour

Bequia in the Caribbean. Getty

For years, the Caribbean island of Mustique was “a devil-may-care playground for the charming and the charmed”, says Mark Ellwood in Air Mail. David Bowie had a house there; Princess Margaret partied naked on its beaches. “But it’s on the slide.” Stuffy newcomers have arrived, turning Mustique into a “dry-clean-only-bikini” sort of holiday spot. This was once somewhere where, “at the end of a party, people used to take the wrong cars, and you’d sort it out the next day”, says one former resident. “Now, God forbid, security would be on you with a letter of complaint.”

So instead, everyone is heading to Bequia – the seven-square-mile island next door, which has retained the “off-kilter glamour” that once defined its neighbour. The houses are a bargain compared to Mustique (where a six-bedroom villa can set you back $16m) and the residents haven’t undergone such an “uptight upgrade”. “If you want to put on your ball gown with flip-flops and some heritage diamonds, and go down to a rum shack on the beach here, it doesn’t matter,” says Nicola Cornwell, a former British TV executive and Bequia homeowner. “No one gives a shit what you did before – you’re judged by how you act, not who you were. They have a saying in Bequia: ‘We’re all here because we’re not all there.’”

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