Winter Travel: The Caribbean

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Basil's

Mustique Island
By NIcole Cusick

Mustique Island is a private island
of the archipelago that makes up
St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
It is approximately two and half
square miles, covering 1,400 acres. At its highest
elevation the island has a view point of 500 feet
giving way to a series of small valleys leading to
pristine palm fringed beaches. The coconut tree
plantations, added more than 50 years ago, give
the island its thick and luscious vegetation. A
once hidden gem, Mustique is a growing tropical
destination.

Where to Stay:
The Villa Collection
Mustique has a collection of over a hundred
unique and individual houses. Many of the villas
are available to rent. House sizes range from
the intimate two bedroom cottages, suitable for
honeymooners and couples, to the 8-10 bedroom
private estates.

The Cotton House Hotel
The Cotton House Hotel, formerly the old
cotton warehouse is the oldest building on the
island. Converted by architect Oliver Messel,
who designed many structures on the island,
the Cotton House has 17 rooms, ranging from
a presidential two-bedroomed suite with private
pool and drawing rooms to single rooms.
Both locations offer a full hospitality staff to
help provide a relaxing experience. The team
includes a cleaning staff, a kitchen staff to stock
up on all of your favorite foods upon arrival,
child care and spa professionals trained in various
spa treatments.

Where to Eat:
The Firefly
The Firefly’s cocktail bar is famous for its
legendary sunset views over Britannia Bay.
Home to the Mustique Champagne and Martini
Clubs, favorites amongst the island’s regulars,
the restaurant serves a range of dishes using
fresh, local ingredients with a Caribbean flair.
They also serve pizzas, which can be delivered
to you on the beach.

Basil’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
In the heart of Britannia Bay, Basil’s Bar
extends over the water and has been hosting an
international crowd for over 25 years. In season,
Wednesday night features a barbeque buffet dinner
with live music. Sunday night features sunset
jazz, followed by á la carte dining. Basil’s is
home to the legendary Mustique Blues Festival
in late January and early February, where A-list
musicians come to play, offering guests the
opportunity to enjoy world class music.

What to do in Mystique:
Taking advantage of the beach is a must, but
there are many other things to do in Mustique.
For the adventurous, several water sports, nature
and fitness trails, bird watching and horseback
riding are all available. The island also supplies
entertainment through an open air movie theater,
local museum and island library.

Explore what else this hidden treasure has to
offer and more at mustique-island.com.

Caribbean Tourism
By Terry Robe

One of the most popular destinations for
winter travel, the Caribbean is a region
of surprising diversity. While the 30
members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization
– from Anguilla to Venezuela – share a sea, theircitizens may speak English, Spanish, French or
Dutch.
To gain insight into Caribbean travel trends,
The Georgetowner recently spoke with Sylma
Brown Bramble, director of CTO-USA, Inc.,
the New York-based subsidiary of the Caribbean
Tourism Organization.

The Georgetowner: How important is the
North American market to the region’s tourism?
SBB: North America has delivered the most
visitors to the Caribbean over the past several
decades. In 2012, the region welcomed over 21
million long-stay visitors (not including cruise
visitors) to its shores, 60 % of whom came from
North America. As product offerings such as
sports, faith-based, adventure, cuisine and multigenerational
vacations continue to gain popularity,
we expect to see an increase in the numbers.
The Georgetowner: Many people think of
cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts when they
think of the Caribbean, but is this an outdated
picture?
SBB: Absolutely. There is a wide variety
of hotel choices in the Caribbean, from guesthouses
to tony boutique properties to villas to
time-shares to elegant luxury resorts.
The Georgetowner: Is the Caribbean also a
cultural heritage destination?
SBB: Yes, our cultural heritage is intimately
relevant to the development of tourism. Its
authenticity and diversity can be found in no
other destination. There are music and cultural
festivals, such as the Music Festival in St. Kitts,
the Reggae festivals in Jamaica and the Creole
Festival in Dominica. Trinidad and Tobago is
well known for Carnival, but in the Bahamas
it is Junkanoo and in Barbados it is Crop Over.
Our cuisine is another area that reflects our cultural
heritage and in which there is much variety.
In the French and French-influenced territories
of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Martin, there
is an unmistakable creole flair to the dishes. But
in all local fare in the Caribbean there is a delicious
infusion of locally grown ingredients with
the influences of European or African ancestry.
The Georgetowner: What is meant by
Leading Sustainable Tourism, CTO’s stated purpose?
SBB: Because the Caribbean is the most
tourism-dependent region in the world, we
have an immense challenge and opportunity:
to maintain tourist flows necessary to guarantee
economic stability; to ensure the proper use
of our resources for the benefit of visitors and
locals and to see that the resources that currently
attract visitors are protected and preserved
for future generations. The Caribbean Tourism
Organization, as the region’s tourism development
agency, is the leading advocate for development
issues, hence the purpose. CTO holds
an annual Conference on Sustainable Tourism
Development to share best practices and keep
our stakeholders updated. So we live our purpose
both in words and in deed.

Islands at a glance:
Aruba
Language: Dutch
The 320-room Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, opened
in November.
The first international flights for Southwest
Airlines, announced this week, include flights
from BWI to Aruba (and also to the Bahamas
and Jamaica), beginning July 1.

Barbados
Language: English
The SoCo (for South Coast) Hotel, allinclusive
but intimate with only 24 rooms,
opened in 2013.
One of the newest and best-rated restaurants
– in one of the Caribbean’s top dining
destinations – is Chez Max.

Grenada
Language: English
Grenada’s carnival, SpiceMas, will begin
in May instead of June in 2014 as part of the celebration
of the 40th anniversary of the country’s
independence.
Spice Island Beach Resort is on Island
Magazine’s new list of 15 of the World’s
Greatest Escapes.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Language: English
Two islands in the Grenadines – Bequia
and Canouan – made a recent Huffington Post
list of Caribbean Islands You’ve Never Heard Of
But Should Visit.
Saint Vincent’s new Argyle International
Airport, designed to accommodate large jets, is
scheduled for completion late in 2014.

Trinidad and Tobago
Language: English
“Voluntourism” opportunities are available
between March and September, when up to
12,000 nesting leatherback turtles come to the
beaches of Trinidad.
Tobago recently launched a tablet and
smart-phone app.

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