Located at the northern tip of the Grenadines and bordered by both the Caribbean sea and the Atlantic Ocean, lies an island reserved solely for the super-rich, and to be candid, the pretty damn famous. With residents such as Mick Jagger, Bryan Adams and the late David Bowie, one can only imagine the difficulty level of sneaking ashore to partake in some of the undoubted shenanigans these rock n’ roll legends are engaging in, and on an island so exclusive to boot.
I know you’re all wondering: rock legends, rich and famous people…where on earth am I talking about? It’s the island of mustique, a small, privately owned intimate island, stretching no more than 1,400 acres. This would be part of a cluster of islands that make up St Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies, a region some of you might recognise from the film series Pirates of the Caribbean. The island of Mustique is owned by the Mustique company, which is in turn owned by its various home owners, hence the plethora of rock legends, billionaires and old money. Even visiting the island is an exclusive privilege. If you’re interested in experiencing this celebrity-laden slice of paradise you need to receive the much coveted VIP invite.
There is, however, another way to rub shoulders with the likes of Mick Jagger and engage in your own Mustique adventure without an invitation—that is if you have deep enough pockets to rent one of the 104 villas on the island, or book a room in one of the island’s two hotels—the famous cotton House, or the privately owned, seven-bedroom, boutique hotel, Firefly. As for me, having a particular love for Moroccan influences and awe-inspiring views, I opted to rent the magnificent Toucan Hill—the one property that literally towers above the rest nestled amongst the incredible flora at the highest point on Mustique Island. I rented this seven acre property owned by Tatiana Copeland, named partly for her initials, T.C., but more accurately for her motto in life: Two can, one can’t.
This gorgeous white mansion looks part Greek, part Moroccan at first glance, and was first built by Joachim Construction Company, located in St. Vincent. However when the house was only halfway finished, Joachim retired and the construction was taken over by James Archibald of JAD, Inc. of Mustique, but the name of the official architectural company was Martin Jay Rosenblum & Associates of Philadelphia.
The villa, much like the island, is protected by its strict privacy practices. As I mentioned, no one can visit the island of Mustique without an invite or having rented a property or booked a hotel room, and no one can even fly overhead who doesn’t have permission. The idea here is complete privacy, freedom, fantasy, and anything the heart desires – and no better person to help bring the magic to life, than Tatiana Copeland herself. Fun loving, outgoing, hands on, and always intrigued by a new experiences and adventure, Tatiana is the conductor, if you will, the master of ceremonies, along with the help of her discerning staff – her estate manager, butler, chef, housekeeping staff, gardener and houseman, who all help to create the experience of a lifetime.
Intrigued by the diversity in the décor I recognised from some of my own international travels, I called Copeland while sipping a glass of wine in the living room. I thanked her for the preparation taken by her staff to make everything so perfect for our arrival and asked her about the inspirations and influences of the home. She explained how she placed her stamp firmly on the design by dedicating ten years of her time and passion, attempting to create her own version of a magical Sultan’s Palace, which she achieved beautifully.
Copeland shopped for furnishings, fixtures and textiles in Morocco, India, Syria, London, Tunisia and other far off lands. Her findings offer an elaborate mixture of texture and colour, marrying rich tones, heavy fabrics and antiqued metals with crystals, carvings, archways, mosaics and hidden nooks and crannies throughout this sensational domain.
The sprawling layout affords its guests a generous 10,000 square feet of opulent comfort, bejeweled with dazzling treasures and adorned with colourful jewel tones throughout its four luxurious, air conditioned, king-sized suites: Sultan, Pasha, Toucan and Palm. The silver furnishings in the living room and throughout the home are from India, while most of the lamps and chandeliers are from Morocco and Syria. Funny enough, and quite unexpectedly, two of the large chandeliers in the living room were left over from a casino that was being built in Las Vegas, of all places, while the art work is part of Copeland’s personal collection from her travels around the globe. Some of the TV room finds are antiques from Bosnia. The décor takes an even more glamorous turn when entering the master pavilion, bejeweled in ornate gold leaf, the large master bed was inspired by Colin Tennant’s Great House, while the accessories, fabric, kilms (tapestry carpets from Persia) and ceramics were all brought in from Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia and Bali.
This is to say nothing of the outstanding gastronomy you’ll experience. Menus catering to both your liking and your needs are carefully thought out prior to your arrival. Food is purchased locally from either the Mustique market or shipped directly from St Vincent. Fruit and vegetables are locally grown in St Vincent as well. When guests request non-locally sourced foods, such as raspberries or strawberries, duck or lamb, no request is too difficult to oblige, as the staff at Toucan Hill manages to create these culinary masterpieces, seamlessly.
There’s no shortage of ambience and romantic dining. Toucan Hill sets out to dazzle its guests right across the island. From candlelit dinners to sunset cocktails, from mouthwatering culinary adventures to private poolside yoga, therapeutic massages relieving your last bit of tension to private sailing excursions and everything in between.
The service at Toucan Hill is nothing short of spectacular. I know the word itself is over-used; however I couldn’t be more sincere. Patricia and Jamal on island, along with the entire staff, are there for one sole purpose it would seem: to make your dreams come true. So charter a boat, soak up the sun on any one of the nine beaches, sip a delicious cocktail at sunset or dance the night away under the stars, perhaps even with the stars. At Toucan Hill the world is your oyster and I highly recommend you over indulge!