Cotton House – An 18th Century Mill Into a Caribbean Island Hotel

August 14th, 2015

I was assigned to photograph three separate locations in the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Two were on the exclusive enclave on the island of Mustique. And another on a nearby island called Canouan. I allocated two weeks out of my schedule which would include travel from Miami as well as the hop between islands. In the days before digital, when we were using film, the equipment needs were greater than today. Each scene setup would have to be perfectly lit, no matter day or night. Each sheet of film (4×5) would have to be perfection itself. There was no access to Photoshop fixes in those days so the stress was on the photographer to produce completely light-adjusted images which would reproduce successfully in the magazine.


Since we had to transfer from the large aircraft which carried us from Miami to a much smaller one for the hop between San Juan and St. Vincent, we couldn’t carry much of our gear with us. So, in advance, I shipped our cases of lighting equipment via air-freight. This had to include several heavy transformers to convert the island’s 220 volt power source to the 110 volts our units required. And I had to estimate in advance our film (and Polaroid) needs for all three projects. I had never seen these sites prior to the shoot, so I based my estimate of film needs on the many shoots I’d done on past assignments. I have to admit, my estimate was off by a bit and I found myself calling Miami mid-shoot to ask for more film. Thankfully it arrived in time for us to complete our work.


One of the locations on the assignment was a small hotel on the island of Mustique called Cotton House. In the 18th Century, it was home to a processing mill which stored cotton grown on the island for export back to Europe.


A cool guest room looks out onto placid Caribbean waters. Built on the remains of an 18th Century cotton mill on the island of Mustique in the Grenadines.

A cool guest room looks out onto placid Caribbean waters. Built on the remains of an 18th Century cotton mill on the island of Mustique in the Grenadines, the hotel offers a secluded and private environment on an island known for its famous residents. I never know in advance whether any of my images will be cover material, so it’s always exciting to see that one’s been chosen for a cover!


2 Cotton House pp270-271

A view from a nearby hill looks down upon Cotton House with the island of St. Vincent in the distance. And beauty salon opens its doors to the beach.


3 cotton House pp272-273

An indoor lounge with open doorways all around bringing in the freshness of the ever-present trade winds. A place to escape to when tropical showers pass by. And a view of the dining area at dusk, open on all sides to the night air.

4 Cotton House pp274-275

A remnant of the original cotton mill, the conical windmill tower – a familiar shape on many Caribbean islands. And a guest bedroom whose private porch faces the sea.





Cotton House pp276-277

The hotel’s private pool and outdoor lounge which faces east taking advantage of the prevailing breeze.





Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply