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“Memorable in every way. Loved it”
Review of The Cotton House

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The Cotton House
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Mustique
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Memorable in every way. Loved it”
Reviewed March 27, 2010

We met a lovely lady one night at The Cotton House who told me that coming to Mustique would change our lives forever. She was spookily right as it happens but thats another story.
As a non famous, non celebrity, non ultra rich Josephine Average, I like to think that Mustique is a magical place and i can tell you this. If you are lucky enough to go there, treasure the experience and pray you can return one day once you've left.
It is so far removed from any UK city that it doesn't feel real at all. There is a feeling that you might be in an episode of Lost or Fantasy Island (ze plane, ze plane is coming!) or on a private tour of a Florida theme park where everywhere looks a bit too perfect, man made and well kept that it cant be real. Strange but lovely. I loved the tortoise roaming around everywhere and the fact you felt really safe.
There are 2 hotels on the island and as we quickly discovered, you are either Team Firefly or Team Cotton House. The Cotton House is the best place to stay if you are after a relaxing, secluded and private experience as we were. The Firefly is more sociable and will suit if you are looking for late nights sat drinking and chatting at the bar with the host and his lovely wife.
We enjoyed the Firefly for a change of scene but couldn't wait to get back to The Cotton House.
We were upgraded to a suite called Tamarind which was perfect for us. It has it's own plunge pool and everything honeymooners could ask for. We even had a ginger cat visit us for some cheeky milk. We found out it belonged to lovely Simonique, who looked after us throughout our stay. She showed us some of the other rooms but we were very happy with the room we had.
Great pool, great beach, a stones throw from the hotel with diving and snorkelling gear available.
The food in the hotel's restaurant is very good and also the Beach Cafe where most people come from around to have the catch of the day and a cold beer.
The staff at the Cotton House are wonderful. Jason was very friendly and helpful.
The general manager was, and is a lovely young man who is a credit to the owners of the hotel, and his mother. He always had time for us and made us feel welcome.
The spa is very nice too. I had my usual pedicure which i use as a measure of how good a spa is. It was a caribbean style pedicure. Relaxed, and that was just the therapist. No..kidding. It was lovely, what else could it be?
Tips- Hire a mule( golf buggy), get a map and drive round the island. It doesn't take long to get round and you get to see some lovely villas and beaches. The village and Basil's Bar, which everyone goes to, is 5 minutes away from hotel by mule.
Take advantage of the picnic on the beach. You can choose which beach you want your picnic delivered , and when. Then as you relax on your chosen beach, someone from the Cotton House drives to the beach and delivers a big cool box full of goodies. Wonderful.

Everyone knows everyone on Mustique and, what everyone is doing. Its a very sociable island with private parties and social events happening in private villas and on the beaches every day.The Cotton House hosts some of these events and as guests, you get invited. Its very interesting meeting the Mustiquians and hearing all about the history of Mustique. I have always had a bit of an interest in Princess Margaret and was delighted to see pictures of her villa there and read about her part in the development of the island.
It is an extraordinarily expensive island if you are not a millionaire so if you are one of those travellers who enjoys moaning about the cost of everything, stay in Barbados!
Be prepared to pay a lot for food and drinks. Everything has to be brought in from St Vincent which inflates the prices but it is an exclusive island for a reason. Just try not to think about it too much while you are there. When you get back home, you'll think everything is really cheap in your local shops and restaurants!

All in all, The Cotton House is stunning, Mustique is stunning. A perfect honeymoon.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank villarospo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
MA
1 review
Reviewed March 4, 2010

mustique is a must-see for anyone who enjoys relaxation and beautiful beaches. the food was great at cotton house and it had a friendly cosy atmosphere. i loved the dining room and the setup. it's a very quiet island so it's not for those who want a vibrant nightlife and a day filled with super energetic outings. it's a place to reconnect with someone and disconnect from the world

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank islandangel100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Suffolk, UK
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2009

I have just returned from my honeymoon, 1 week of which was spent at The Cotton House. Our experience of The Cotton House was fantastic. On arrival our room was upgraded from a cottage to an ocean view room with plunge pool, the room was stunning and had complementary champagne and canapés laid out for us. The level of service provided by all of the staff was exceptional, from the restaurant staff to our very efficient housekeeper. The advantage of such a small hotel is that the service you receive is very personal and most staff will greet you by name. We really enjoyed the evening events that the hotel invite you to which include a wine tasting evening, the cocktail party and the sunset champagne cruise around the island. We would certainly consider returning to the hotel in the future and would recommend it to anybody. We were on a half board basis and this was a good idea because the evening meals worked out as expensive if you were paying as you went. We spent the next leg of our honeymoon at Sandy Lane in Barbados and it was very disappointing when compared with our experience at The Cotton House.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Diana009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2009

My wife and I recently spent 10 days at the Cotton House on Mustique, and while we had an amazing time in general, there were also a few reservations about the hotel which were really unexpected at this level. So sadly it didn't quite live up to our (admittedly very high) expectations.

The Cotton House was converted from an 18th Century coral warehouse and sugar mill, and has been expanded and updated - including a pool area and spa/gym. It's located right on Endeavour Bay - a lovely spot on the NW corner of the island near the airstrip, and is the only 'full service' hotel on Mustique. It was one of the first places to open to guests, and was originally created to look after wealthy prospective homeowners while they visited the island.

The hotel's in a beautiful setting - fantastic grounds, a great pool area, a spa and gym, restaurant, main lounge area (the 'Great Room'), and beach café. No beach is private on Mustique - meaning everyone can access all beaches on the island (which is amazing) - but to all intensive purposes this one's for the Cotton House guests and is a great place for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling and diving.

We stayed in a Cottage room, which was nicely designed, well positioned, and in keeping with the style of the hotel with an airy feel. No sea view - but since you are very close to the beach and we were generally outside during the day it didn't really matter to us. It had a large balcony over the gardens, and plenty of space inside - with pretty much all the amenities you need. Considering the next category room up was nearly double the cost, for longer stays I would definitely recommend staying in a Cottage room and spending money elsewhere on the island. We didn't see them but some of the other rooms would have sea views, or plunge pools - and I would go for a sea view as the main pool is so undersubscribed that you can treat at as your own, especially early morning and late afternoon.

It's generally fairly informal at the hotel - but unfortunately, also with a slight air of stuffiness and sometimes unfriendliness or coldness - which let it down quite a lot for us. This may of course be partly subjective - we much prefer a 'casual elegance' rather than the more snooty 5-star.

Staff were a mix of either really lovely, or slightly moody or unfriendly. We're very picky travelers and have high standards - but even a few slightly 'off' or cold staff are unacceptable at this level as it doesn't take much to be helpful and friendly and doesn't cost anything. This, and the lack of service in certain areas, are the main reasons for the lower rating. This is such a shame as in a lot of other respects the hotel was amazing, and the island itself magical - so it really lets itself down unnecessarily here.

There's also a little dive centre on the beach (not sure if part of the hotel or not), which was fairly well equipped and the manager (and dive instructor) Janette was really helpful and friendly.

So - to the pro's and cons:

Pro's:
ο Unpacking Service - at no charge, all bags were unpacked, clothes pressed and then put into drawers in the room all while we were out for the afternoon. A really nice touch.
ο Landscaped gardens and location.
ο Pool area (apart from lack of service).
ο Good room facilities.
ο Some lovely staff - like a waiter who cut strips from an Aloe plant for us a few times to help with sunburn. Amazing.
ο The little birds constantly trying to get food was actually quite cute - contrary to some other reviews. They were more interesting than annoying. Very persistent. Same for the slightly feral but very cute cats in the grounds.
ο Weekly outdoor cinema evening, and sunset cruise.

Cons:
ο Some unfriendly/cold staff, and lack of service in general. What does it take to be smiley and friendly to guests when they're on holiday!
ο No real service anywhere in the casual areas - i.e. main lounge room, the beach, or pool. We were only actually offered a drink once during our stay. We always had to ask someone to try and find someone to get something for us - and this wasn't always done with a smile by any means. It would be easy to get a staff member to wander through all the communal areas regularly, to allow guests to 'catch their eye' if they needed anything.
ο 'Piped' music at breakfast, dinner, and beach café at lunch and evenings, and generally continuously at the communal area - was a bit irritating. We only heard one song even vaguely 'Carribean' in our 10 days, versus loads of overplaying of Sinead O'Conner, Elton John and other 80's stuff which seemed out of place.
ο Trousers 'preferred' for dinner was one welcome greeting that didn't go down well with me. I would have dressed in them anyway most likely - but making appoint of it seemed old fashioned and out of place. Compared to a similar level stay we've had on the Maldives - where as long as your covered in some way no-one cared - this 'guideline' seemed unnecessary.
ο Website draws on the romance of the golf cart 'Mules' that you can drive around the island on. It doesn't really explain that these are charged out to you at $75-$90 USD/day. When hiring a villa you get them included, and you really need them for at least a few days of your stay.
ο The interim manager was quite friendly, but personally I prefer not to do the 'chat with the manager' at breakfast and dinner - it just makes it too formal. Also caught him checking his watch a few times as he spoke to us, and just thought to myself 'if you're busy, just leave us out - we don't mind!' It seemed a bit forced and formal again.
ο Food/drinks are expensive for what you get. We were B&B, and the average meal for two with bottle of lowest-end wine and without desert was over $200 USD. The food was good, but not in that league. There's limited choice on the rest of the island and that was similarly expensive - but still for the Cotton House I expected excellent food for that price.
ο Room aircon was super noisy inside - couldn't sleep with it on at all. On the night we watched a movie, we could barely hear the TV over it. Outside there is also the background noise of other a/c units and generators. I don't really agree with a/c anyway as it's not environmentally friendly, but since its there, a quieter one would be good for people that want it.
ο Generally poor eco-credentials in general for what is such an exclusive hotel on a wealthy island. No solar anything, petrol mules, generators, a/c, and loads of lighting everywhere. Lots of bulbs were low energy, but not all. Anything that came back from laundry was in plastic coverings even when we asked for it to not be - it was the only thing that let down the fantastic unpacking service was the huge environmental waste. We were told only 1 property out of about 120 on the island had solar hot water, none had solar electricity - rather a huge diesel generator running 24/7 serving the island. Shameful for one of the wealthiest places on earth, promoting how little pollution there is in that part of the Caribbean! Hopefully the island will sort this out in the future. The general issue isn't the Cotton House's problem obviously - but worth a note.

Overall, the hotel just didn't quite get the balance right of trying to be more 'boutique' and casual in an 'up market' way, and came across just a bit too stuffy and cold for us.

Firefly had a much friendlier ambiance, and a really welcoming owner, but then again it wasn't in the same league in terms of facilities, and space, and beach access - and had similar issues with food quality/costs.

One other little note is that when we were showed to our room, we were told very excitedly that they would upgrade us as we were staying for 10 days. I never expect an upgrade, so this seemed like a really lovely gesture. The strange thing was, no one ever mentioned it again, and it never happened. Why bother saying such a thing and then not going through with it? It just left us thinking we were getting an upgrade, and wondering when we would be shifting room - so when it never materialized it was obviously a bit disappointing at that stage.

So perhaps it's slightly unfair to give 3 stars (maybe 3 and a half would be better but we can't give that) but the Cotton House just missed the boat on making us feel really special while we were on holiday - and that's not on at this level. It's a shame as it would be really easy to fix!

That's not to say the Cotton House isn't an amazing place to visit - it is, and Mustique is a unique island - a private playground to enjoy. If the service and attitude at the hotel were improved (and we could have just been unlucky) this would be paradise, and you would forgive anything else.

As for Mustique itself there's not much history to see as such - but how it all came about is an amazing story and worth reading about while you're there - there are two amazing books to browse in the Cotton House 'great room' which cover the period since it was first conceived. In any case, we were looking for a relaxing getaway, and Mustique very much hit the mark with pretty much nothing to do except eat, drink, relax and soak up the sun and sand. You rarely see more than 2 or 3 other people at any beach, and some days you even get the popular ones pretty much to yourself.

We would definitely go back to Mustique, but we'd stay in a villa where the service is more tailored and personal, and overall probably better value. You then have the option of visiting the Cotton House for the other facilities.

We looked at a few villas while we were there and they were amazing - all sizes from two bedrooms to 10 and above, and all price ranges, from about $6,000 USD to $150,000 USD per week for the whole property. Even the small ones were huge and had a great feeling about them, each one being unique. There's also a couple for sale if you've got a spare $20million USD.

Will add a review for Firefly, and Mustique in general when have time.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank travelling000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 30, 2009

This post is a little delayed as we spent six nights at the Cotton House during the first week of August 2008 as part of our Honeymoon. We were expecting great things from this property based on the numerous reviews on this site, as well as other travel sites, and honestly our experience surpassed even those high expectations! The hotel was absolutely lovely, and after having traveled quite a bit in the Caribbean I have to say the island of Mustique is by far the most beautiful and enchanting island I have visited.

We stayed in a Cottage room, the most inexpensive room the hotel offers, and were very pleased with it. The room was spacious, nicely appointed and immaculately clean, and was close to the Great Room (the Great Room is where the formal dining room is located, as well as guest services), and was a very short walk to the beach.
Pippa and her staff could not have been more welcoming or gracious and we were greeted warmly by the staff everywhere we went, from the beach, to the restaurants, to the spa.

During our stay we enjoyed daily snorkeling right off the beach at the hotel, as well as sea kayaks and other water sports. Both my husband and I had wonderful massages at the Spa, and used the on-site gym once or twice (which is quite small but perfectly acceptable for a quick 30 minute workout). While you are staying on the island make sure to visit the other beaches as well, particularly Macaroni beach, and ask the hotel to pack a picnic lunch for your afternoon out.

The food at the hotel was good, but quite expensive. However, we also ate at Firefly, the other hotel on the island, and found the prices comparable. The reality is that if you are looking for an inexpensive, casual Caribbean vacation Mustique is probably not the place for you, nor should it be as there are plenty of other islands that offer that. The Cotton House offers guests a unique and first class experience with impeccable service on a romantic and exclusive island.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank pinkfisch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
oxfordshire
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2009

What a wonderful stay and place. Id been to Mustique before and this second time surpassed everything in terms of service and relaxation. Utterly wonderful and yet unobtrusive service.

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank arderne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Green Bay WI
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2009

We spent 5 days at the Cotton House. The rooms were very clean and the staff was friendly and very professional. I was very impressed with the landscaping and all the foliage. The food was out of this world with way too much to eat. The decorating was so fun and different. The one thing we did not like, the Cotton House was on the stuffy side and some of the other guests were a little uppity. Dressing for dinner was kind of a pain. The island itself was the cleanest I have ever seen. Love the idea of riding the mule everywhere we went. Lots of hidden beaches and not crowded. Basels Blues fest was awesome.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Aussiedogs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Cotton House

Property: The Cotton House
Address: PO Box 349 | Mustique Island, Mustique
Location: Caribbean > St. Vincent and the Grenadines > Mustique
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Mustique
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Cotton House 5*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cotton House is as intriguing as it is beautiful. Originally an 18th century sugar plantation hidden away on the private island of Mustique, Lord Glenconner gave it a new lease of life in the early 1970s blending lush tropical beauty with plantation-style elegance and creating an exclusive retreat tailormade for visiting high flyers. Today it is owned by the Mustique Company, who’ve introduced such contemporary ‘must haves’ as a designer spa and infinity-edge pool, the romantic colonial mood remains evident throughout.The resort stands on a picturesque hilltop between the tranquil Caribbean Sea and the windswept Atlantic Ocean. Just 17 charming rooms & suites provide the accommodation dotted throughout the 13 acre grounds and thoughtfully equipped with mini-bars, CD players and private terraces or balconies. Private plunge pools are exciting new additions to eleven of the rooms, whilst a new two-bedroom villa with its own swimming pool and 24 hour butler gives a taste of the island-style living. A perfect hideaway and intimate destination. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Cotton House Hotel Mustique
Cotton Hotel Mustique
The Cotton Hotel
The Cotton House Mustique, St. Vincent And The Grenadines

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