A very laid back way of living

The 21st century has barely arrived on Mustique

But nowadays Mustique is less of a real-life Celebrity Love Island and instead enjoys a sunny, if sedate, middle age.

Mustique was discovered in the 15th century but the island as we know it - where most villas cost £2m or far more, where every home has full-time staff and where villa rental can be over £1,000 a night - is less than 50 years old.

In 1958 it was bought from the government of the Grenadines - a cluster of small, beautiful Caribbean islands - by a wealthy Briton, Colin Tennant. Only 100 people lived there. In 1960 Tennant gave Princess Margaret a 10-acre plot as a wedding gift and her small house still stands today.

In 1968 Tennant opened the island up to well-heeled outsiders, mainly British. There were strict limits on how many homes would be built and existing residents would "interview" outsiders wanting to live there.

In 1969 the airport was opened and the first villas built under the direction of the theatrical designer Oliver Messel. Improvements followed - a small road network, reliable electricity, fresh water from a desalination plant, and then air services began to Barbados and other nearby islands.

Thirty-six years on, the island still has a post-war "Garden of England" look. Neatly manicured gardens are everywhere and the whirr of sprinklers is the only interruption to a blazing hot afternoon. There is no crime.

"Owners don't come here for a wild time so some kinds aren't attracted," says Brian Alexander, who since 1980 has headed the Mustique Company, which manages the island. He says the residents have rejected a few would-be owners "for financial or criminal reasons.

"People come here to relax. They have fabulous houses on the island with skilled staff and fresh local food so they don't go out. They probably spend the rest of their lives in restaurants and hotels anyway so this is a total break."

Mustique is so laid back it almost falls asleep as you look at it. Seven large, beautiful beaches provide scores of spots to snorkel, fish or swim. Otherwise, most entertainment is inside the gates of houses.

There are no gin-palaces in the harbour as islanders opposed expanding the port, which is used only to import food and for staff moving to and from other islands. The airport is tiny; again residents voted down a plan to extend it to be large enough for private jets.

There are only half a dozen shops and the drive-in cinema is a sheet strung between trees with a large grassy area for picnics. There are a handful of bars and restaurants, the most famous of which is Basil's, where Tommy Hilfiger is a regular. Otherwise the island is quiet and virtually dark after 9pm.

Because much of the island's population is at or near retirement age there is a steady turnover of homes. Those now on sale include Pelican Beach, a two-bedroom villa with grounds taking you within 50ft of the sea. It costs just under £2m. On sale at the same price is Endeavour Hills, a three-level villa above the sea with glorious views of most of the Grenadines. Nearby is the larger Blue Moon, a house with four en suite bedrooms overlooking the "sunset" side of the island. It comes with 3.5 acres, a vast pool and will set you back £4.7m.

Acceptance into the Mustique owners' club requires you to keep full-time staff - even the smallest villas have a gardener, cook and maid at least - but this can easily be recouped by letting out the property, especially during the winter high season.

Ownership also allows you to have a say in the future of the island, which is under review at the moment. Twenty-five more homes will soon be built, which is of concern to some residents; the 1,200 staff servicing the island use around 500 cars on roads designed 40 years ago for horses and the airport is so busy the Company wants residents to use scheduled services instead of private aircraft.

"The 21st century is creeping in but it's a case of managing it in an orderly way," explains Alexander. "The residents are intensely conservative so anything that changes must be gentle and with agreement. Nothing too disruptive can occur." As celebrity islands go, this is a quiet one. Abi Titmuss wouldn't want to live there. But you can tell without asking that the people of Mustique wouldn't allow her to, anyway.

All Mustique property is for sale via Knight Frank, 020 7629 8171.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Property search
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform