August 9, 2008
With its luxuriously appointed rooms, sweeping views over the western coast of Mustique and footpath to a pristine white beach, the Villa Rocina is advertised as a 'dream' hideaway for honeymooners.
This is where Prince William took Kate Middleton last week for their third holiday on their favourite Caribbean island and, should he want to pop the question, he could not choose a more perfect place.
Owned by Venezuelan millionairess Violera Alvarez, who rents it out for between 4,500 and 6,500 a week, the sprawling stone house was designed by the late British artist Oliver Messel to allow its occupants total privacy.
The master bedroom suite, decorated in sunny yellows and blues, has a flight of steps leading to the beach.
A staff of four servants preside over meals in the dining gazebo on a veranda, with breathtaking views over a seaside swimming pool and the azure waters of the Caribbean.
The Royal couple, who were due to return to Britain today, also enjoyed the use of the villa's widescreen cinema and gym.
A homeowner on the island who knows the Prince said last night, 'Everyone expects that when William finally proposes to Kate it will be on Mustique, because this is their favourite getaway place in the world, and I am sure they chose Rocina because it is so secluded and tasteful and serene.
It's one of Mustique's original gems, surrounded by beautiful gardens, and it can be reached only by a loop road that is served by just two other villas, owned by Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger, the fashion designer.'
William and Kate spent much of their time relaxing by the pool or water-skiing under the protective eye of their security detail and local coastguard cutters.
But on Friday night they joined a crowd of business moguls and celebrities at a gala dinner-dance celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Mustique Company, which manages the affairs of the private island's 55 homeowners. In addition to Jagger and Hilfiger, others at the party included the Scottish peer who originally bought the island, Lord Glenconner, and Jemima Khan.
According to the seating plan, Kate and William dined in a tent with an 'English' theme.
Their fellow diners included Mark Schofield, a London businessman who used to co-own a condom-manufacturing venture called Mr Condom, and John and Belle Robinson, of the Jigsaw clothing chain, where Kate used to work as a buyer.
One of the guests said last night: 'William has been a real breath of fresh air on the island - he likes to mix in with everyone.
'He had a kickaround with some local lads during the week and he and Kate had sunset cocktails at the same hangouts where tourists go.'
Lord Glenconner conceived the idea of turning the 1,400-acre island into a jetset playground after buying it in 1958 for just 45,000.
He presented Princess Margaret - to whom his wife, Anne, was a lady-in-waiting - with a ten-acre site on one of the island's most spectacular peninsulas and she built Les Jolies Eaux, the holiday home which became the backdrop for her notorious affair with Roddy Llewellyn.
Celebrities such as Jagger, Bryan Adams and David Bowie have since flocked to the colony, vying to outdo each other with the extravagance of their homes.
The Princess's villa was bought by James Murray, an American venture capitalist, for 1.6million in 2001 and publisher Felix Dennis purchased David Bowie's 5million estate in 1995.