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Daily Mail, UK – 2 January 2016

Where to travel in 2016: Caribbean Calm

By Mark Palmer

“The little island of Bequia is part of the Grenadines, but has its own take on life. Relaxed, unpretentious and something of a throwback to the Caribbean of old, long before the likes of Simon Cowell started hanging out in glitzy Barbados.

Port Elizabeth, the capital, is a magnet for yachties and from this season you can walk all the way from the town past Princess Margaret beach to Lower Bay, one of the world’s most perfect beaches.
HOW TO DO IT: Just Bequia (justbequia.co.uk) offers seven nights at the Bequia Beach Hotel”

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Sunday Times, UK – 4 October 2015

The 21 hottest hideaways

By Chris Haslam

“Bengt’s place, Grenadines”
Some say “be-queer”, others say “bekwia”, but the right way to pronounce the name of the hippest island in the Caribbean is “bek-way”. Old-money Mustique lies to the south, new-money Canouan even further so, but there’s a bit of a no-money vibe to sleepy Bequia, which remains one of the least developed islands in the Caribbean, or did until the Swedish entrepreneur Bengt Mortstedt set out to build the kind of hotel he wanted to stay in. The result is Bequia Beach Hotel, one of the finest boutique establishments in the Caribbean — 60 rooms of laid-back retro chic in tropical gardens beside the beach at Friendship Bay.

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Sunday Times, UK – 4 October 2015

Island paradise, please, Captain — and hop to it

By Martin Hemming

We’ve written a lot about Bequia in Travel. My colleagues have already exhausted the best adjectives. So I’ll just rather prosaically say that it’s great. Don’t miss Princess Margaret Beach, where she probably got drunk, and where we watched a class of adorable primary-school kids having a swimming lesson. And treat yourself to a lobster pizza from Mac’s (from £22). We stayed at the swish Bequia Beach Hotel, where the barbecue-night band did bravely take on Lady in Red.

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Evening Standard, UK – 25 September 2015

Drift off to Bequia, the island of clouds

By Amol Rajan

“Most people who bother much with the subject know that the idea of a “perfect Caribbean island” is a centuries-old delusion. These glorious places are so varied in their cultures, customs, cuisines and curiosities that they ought never to compete in the same race. For all that, there are islands that answer more or less ideally to the demands of travellers for West Indian sun, sea and all that’s in between. And it is true that the island that might do it best is Bequia.

On a Wednesday night, a fantastic reggae band called Solutions, from St Vincent, created a very Caribbean scene, as genders and generations united on a sandy dancefloor to the sound of Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come — Mortstedt leading the revelry himself.

You should go to Bequia before everyone else does. A long-delayed international airport is due to open on neighbouring St Vincent by the end of this year, potentially altering the course of the sleepy Grenadines. And then when everyone else does go, you can say you went before they did. It has an exquisite climate, outstanding beaches, delicious food, lovely locals, an ideal size, affordability and that Dylan-esque quality of being in a state of becoming.”

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Mail on Sunday, UK – 31 May 2015

Put to the test: Barbados vs Bequia! A fortnight of Caribbean luxury to discover which idyllic island is the best

By Hunter Davies

I said I was never going to Barbados again – 29 consecutive years was quite enough, thank you.

Bequia, the little Grenadine island a short hop away, was my new Caribbean love.

In Bequia, there wasn’t anywhere classy to stay, so over the years I moved around, but now there is the Bequia Beach Hotel on Friendship Bay.  It is so artistic, yet efficient, with rooms bigger, and more stylish, than those at Cobblers Cove, yet mostly cheaper. Like Cobblers, it appeals to the discerning.  No vulgar TVs in the bedrooms. I should think not.

Hmm, I seem to have made Bequia the winner – by 34 points to 29. From now on, should I just go to Bequia?”

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The Telegraph, UK – 27 April 2015

‘Top 10: the best boutique hotels in the Caribbean’

By Fred Mawer, James Henderson and Nigel Tisdall

Bequia is a pretty, topsy-turvy island with a long tradition of boat-building, whaling and taking it easy. Built by a genial Swedish lawyer and his family, the 60-room Bequia Beach Hotel in Friendship Bay is an easygoing mini-resort with colourful wooden cabanas by the pool, retro travel posters in the bedrooms and a sheltered sandy beach bordered by spacious gardens. If you want a relaxed and modern hotel set on a sunny island with charm and character, look no further.

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The Independent, UK – 1 January 2015

Bequia: The Caribbean’s best-kept secret

By Dan Gledhill

“Bengt’s baby is now a sophisticated but charming mini-resort with restaurant, bar, swimming pool, gym and spa tucked into one of the island’s prettiest stretches of coastline, Friendship Bay. So far, so typically Caribbean. But Bequia is far more than just a beautiful island in the sun.

What stands out, you eventually realise, is the absence of billboards for Coca-Cola and the like. Bequia has resisted the Americanisation that blights much of the Caribbean. Port Elizabeth is more bohemian than bling. You can close your eyes and imagine the time Bob Dylan spent here 30 years ago watching his 70ft schooner, Water Pearl, being built by the best of Bequia’s shipwrights. He often sailed it around the island but it eventually sank after hitting a reef off the coast of Panama.

Before I leave the island, Bengt explains to me: “Bequia is one of the few true old-style Caribbean islands left, not commercialised and sparsely developed. Has it changed since I came here? Maybe there are fewer old sailors in the bars. But not much besides.”

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The Arbuturian, online – 1 January 2015

Notes from a Small Island

By Lucy Shaw

“Like a snapshot frozen in time, the island of Bequia is how I imagine the Caribbean used to look before tourism took hold in earnest. Meaning “island of the clouds” in ancient Arawak, Bequia has a rugged beauty and rough around the edges charm that separates it from the pristine perfection of neighbouring Barbados and St Lucia.

After an interminable carousel of trains, planes and automobiles, my home for the next three nights is Bequia Beach Hotel, run by a sandy-haired Swede called Bengt Mortstedt, a local legend known to the islanders as “Mr. Bengt”

My aim was to build an old fashioned beach hotel that doesn’t exist anymore. I want my guests to have the feeling of stepping back in time to a more elegant era of travel. I’m in the industry of imagination – I sell dreams,” says Bengt of his rose-tinted vision.

My spacious room overlooks the ocean. From a distance, the wooden thatched umbrellas lodged in the sand look like the ones you’d find prettifying a Piña Colada. The sea is an urgent shade of aquamarine and the pace of life tortoise slow. So slow in fact, that it forces you to modify your urban impatience. After a day or two the knots begin to loosen and the need to stay connected loses its relevance.

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The Times, UK – 27 December 2014

The warm, friendly of gold of the island of Bequia

By Amanda Linfoot

Looking out to sea from Friendship Bay, on the island of Bequia, Mustique sits squarely on the horizon. This is the Grenadines — not short on fabulous vistas — but this scene is particularly appealing: blue sky, sea twinkling in the sunlight, a holiday island that radiates glamour.

The Bequia Beach Hotel makes a handy base because it’s only five minutes by car from Port Elizabeth. More than that, it’s refreshingly individual. It’s the labour of love of a retired Swedish property developer called Bengt Mortstedt, who fell for tranquil Friendship Bay in 2004 and dreamt of building the sort of hotel he would want to stay at. So forget notions of the identikit resorts that pepper the Caribbean, with their naff, floral soft furnishings: the Bequia Beach Hotel is a triumph of tasteful cream interior design.

Bequia has a warm, friendly heart of gold. Please don’t change. You’re perfect just the way you are.”

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Sunday Times, UK – 12 October 2014

Big times on the little islands – To find the coolest parts of the Caribbean, you need to downsize. Vincent Crump grabs a beer by the bay in itty-bitty beautiful Bequia

By Vincent Crump

“I am staying at the island’s standout hotel, Bequia Beach, the only one with resort pretensions, which sunbathes in flower-filled gardens behind Friendship Bay. It has half a mile of superlative sand to itself, a singing waitress named Bridget and suites arrayed with jazz-era posters and mahogany umbrella stands.

It pulls off the unlikely trick of being luxurious but homely, and is possibly the only five-star Caribbean resort where your room comes with a cat. She’s called Diva, and the staff quietly place her water bowl under the steps of whichever guest she takes a fancy to. This week, it’s me”

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Financial Times, How to Spend it – 1 March 2014

SVG, as habitués know it, has upped its game, from chic stays at Sugar Reef Bequia, Cotton House and Bequia Beach Hotel. Nigel Tisdall checks in

By Nigel Tisdall

“St Vincent and the Grenadines sounds like the sort of colourfully shirted band that played in the days when a party meant taffeta frocks, tombolas and gin and it. In fact, it’s a sprinkling of 32 islands that runs south between St Lucia and Grenada, which for the past half century has been one of those bit-of-a-slog-but-worth-it spots to which the Caribbean cognoscenti like to slip away.

Royalty and rock stars, hippies and done-okay chippies, beachcombers and old salts – plus a winning mix of hairdryer-hot breezes, terrific sailing, ridiculously turquoise waters and friendly “Vincys” – have made SVG, as its habitués know it, a magnet for escapists and eccentrics.”

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Los Angeles Times – 24 Feb 2014

10 islands to love–none in the latest TripAdvisor list

By Christopher Reynolds

“#2. Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is a tiny Caribbean haven, just 7 square miles. I got there on a Windstar cruise 17 years ago and found myself sharing a beach with more goats than people. Yacht people and divers, however, are big fans of the place.”

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Huffington Post – 20 Jan 2014

7 Caribbean Islands You’ve Never Heard Of But Should Visit

“Bequia – The Grenadines are mentioned quite a few times on this list and there’s reason why. The islands are popular among yachters, have (mostly) great beaches and are further south than some people might want to schlep for a week getaway.

First up is Bequia, which has the most protected natural harbor in the Caribbean). This tiny island in the Grenadines is a great under-the-radar destination for divers, boaters and beach goers alike (one of the more popular spots is Princess Margaret beach, named after the actual real-life princess).”

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Daily Mail, UK – 22 Dec 2013

The Beatles in Bequia: Dancing to the Fab Four on the sands of a Caribbean hideaway

By Hunter Davies

“Bequia is my favourite island in the Caribbean – small but perfectly shaped and perfectly balanced. But in the 20 years since I first started coming here, I have never found the perfect hotel – until now.

I headed for the newly completed Bequia Beach Hotel. And goodness, did my cup overflow. And not just with rum punch, but with delight.

Soon after entering this luxurious and ever-so-tasteful boutique hotel, I was thrilled to join in a whole evening dedicated the The Beatles.

It’s amazing, isn’t it?”  Continue reading here

 

Daily Telegraph, UK – 25 Nov 2013

Caribbean: Great boutique hotels in holiday packages

By Lizzie Porter

“Here are some of the best soulful, character-filled Caribbean boutique hotels and villas…”

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Daily Mail, UK – 15 Nov 2013

What a little charmer! Kicking back in Bequia, the tiny island with a big heart

By Mark Palmer

“After three nights at Sugar Reef we move to the Bequia Beach Hotel on Friendship Bay, where a couple of years ago Swedish lawyer Bengt Mortstedt let his heart rule his head and built a 60-room resort that most people at the time thought was an act of folly.

But guests are returning for a second or third year, staying in plush ocean-view rooms or in cottages spread around the eight-acre site. It’s the only big hotel on the island.”

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Daily Mail, UK – 15 May 2012

A tale of two Caribbeans: Blissful in Bequia – and Barbados on a holiday of real contrasts

By Hunter Davies

Bequia is just 50 minutes from Barbados, but it is a world away. There are two flights a day from Barbados, so it’s clear why Bequia is not quite yet a mass tourist destination.

The big attraction of Bequia is the magnificent harbour and the little town Port Elizabeth, strung out around the bay with loads of bars, cafes, shops and little ginger-bread guesthouses. So much to see and wonder about.

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Sunday Times, UK – 29 Jan 2012

‘Sunday Times 100 / Tropical Luxury’ – “Better than Mustique”

By Stephen Bleach

“Mick Jagger’s favourite haunt is the most exclusive island in the Caribbean, the stuff of tropical dreams. Well, I’ve been to Mustique, and you know what? It’s not all that. Big houses, sure, but Lord, it’s dull.

Just across the water, tiny Bequia is loads more fun, with great beaches, friendly people and a little bit of real Caribbean life — Mustique feels more like Surrey. There’s a smart little place to stay, too. The Bequia Beach Hotel is new, but in colonial style, right on Friendship Bay. You don’t need Jagger’s cash to enjoy it, either.”

 

Daily Telegraph, UK – 3 Dec 2011

‘Four of the best small affordable Caribbean Hotels’

By Francesca Syz

“The Eastern Caribbean island of Bequia (‘island of clouds’) may be only a 20-minute boat ride across the bay from Mustique, but it offers a more authentic slice of Caribbean island life, where real local people live, as do a smattering of discerning expats (Anthony Eden lived here for a few years in the 1950).

The Swedish entrepreneur Bengt Mortstedt has developed Bequia Beach Hotel from two existing hotels, and the result is a property with friendly service offering a contemporary take on colonial Caribbean architecture, influenced by the stage designer Oliver Messel, who built some of the first villas on Mustique. Set within tropical gardens, the hotel sits on one of the island’s loveliest beaches, in the residential neighbourhood of Friendship Bay.”

 

Daily Telegraph, UK – 2 April 2011

Bequia: is this the perfect Caribbean island?

By Fred Mawer

“I have been fortunate enough to visit many Caribbean islands over the years, and every one has had a flaw. Much of Barbados, for example, is overdeveloped; parts of Jamaica can be scary; Cuba is hard work; St Lucia has few good beaches; Antigua’s hotels are mostly isolated; St Barts is too flashy; Anguilla’s interior is scruffy…

Finally, however, I have found an island that’s hard to fault. It’s called Bequia (pronounced bekway), a green and hilly S-shaped outpost of the Grenadines, nine miles south of St Vincent. Here’s why, in my opinion, it’s almost perfect.”

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