Princess Margaret made the island of Mustique famous and it quickly became a celebrity haunt. But often it’s the lesser-known destinations that are where the cool kids hangout. And Mustique’s neighbour, Bequia is one of those places.
To say Bequia is a pretty, quirky island is perhaps an understatement. It’s in the bright colours of the buildings in pocket-sized capital Port Elizabeth, the glinting smiles and ‘welcome to the countryside’ hellos of locals, and the fact that goats wander down the road into the island’s hospital.
Nowhere on the island is this quirky-pretty better encapsulated than at Bequia Beach Hotel, the largest on the island.
Guests come here intending on doing a lot of things. They usually do half of them
Bequia Beach Hotel is located in Friendship Bay – a beach I’d dreamt of liming on even before I visited due to this photo.
And it didn’t disappoint in real life – it is a broad stretch of sand fringed by palm and almond trees.
The hotel grounds are extensive, especially when you consider that this boutique hotel has just 59 rooms, suites, cottages and villa, sheltering guests amid verdant tropical gardens.
Bequia Beach Hotel is relatively new. Its phased opening started in 2006 and the villas are still being completed. But it has an inimitable style that affords it a fun yet sophisticated, retro-feel.
Yes, Bequia Beach Hotel has all the usual accompaniments of a luxury stay – a well-equipped gym, spa, two restaurants and bars serving delicious food and cocktails, free wifi throughout (though it wasn’t always a good connection), good quality furnishings in air-conditioned rooms – some with sweeping sea views, and excellent service.
But what I loved about it most was the décor.
It’s rare that I fall in out and out love with a hotel, least of all due to its architectural style and interior design, but Bequia Beach Hotel has something just a little bit special, as the photos here attest.
Bequia Beach Hotel – colonial, kitsch, and green
Its Swedish owner Bengt Mortstedt fell in love with the gingerbread-style of architecture made popular by architect Oliver Messel on Mustique, where timber buildings are framed by cute cut-outs.
Mortstedt combined this with colonial style interiors – wood panelled ceilings, palm-leaf ceiling fans, mosquito nets and more across the hotel. Meanwhile Mortstedt’s wife dressed Bequia Beach Hotel’s interiors with tropical prints, and fun, kitsch ornaments.
Added to this, and fulfilling the modern traveller’s desire to travel green, Bequia Beach Hotel is solar powered, uses all local produce and reuses rainwater across the hotel.
Like most of the hotels I stayed at on St Vincent and The Grenadines, there are no televisions in guest rooms. But with nightly entertainment, dinners facing onto a moonlit sea and a fine choice of meals including locally caught lobster, you barely notice.
“Most of our guests come here with the intention of doing a lot of things,” explained Mortstedt. “They usually do half of them.”
I love getting out and making the most of a destination, but I couldn’t blame anyone for liming in the Caribbean sunshine, and surrounding themselves in Bequia Beach Hotel’s wonderful colonial kitsch.
Useful note: Bequia Beach Hotel has three-pin UK power sockets.