|LIFE’S A BEACH: Watch the sailboats come and go from the pool.|
FANTASY ISLAND: Surely you’ve imagined how the other half lives. Well, Musha Cay (www.mushacay.com), owned by businessman John Melk, who originally acquired it for a family retreat, offers an insider’s glimpse. Bahamian Colonial-style houses, situated for optimum views, light, and breezes, are far enough away from each other to ensure seclusion. A staff of 36 is dedicated exclusively to one client and his party of up to 24. Hollywood types, musicians, and pro athletes escape to Musha regularly. (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill loved Musha so much they bought their own island nearby.) Nowhere else will you experience the level of elegance, tranquility, warmth (from the sun and the staff), or service that Musha Cay provides. YOUR WISH IS THEIR COMMAND: Most resorts promise to meet your every demand, but few can actually match Musha’s level of service. The staff is ready for you long before you set foot in the sand. Each guest submits a list of preferences, food-wise and otherwise, so refrigerators and pantries are stocked accordingly and meals are prepared to meet those expectations. Hate eggplant? The chef wouldn’t dare prepare it. Want nothing but hot dogs? They’ll grill up frankfurters for every meal. Foie gras your favorite? You’ll find an assortment at the dinner table. But that’s just the small stuff. As long as it’s legal and safe, there’s nothing the staff at Musha won’t do. Would you like Jimmy Buffett to serenade you with “Margaritaville”? Well, it’ll cost you, but his number’s probably on the Musha Rolodex.
|A warm staff greets you at Landings.|
SLEEPING PRETTY: Expect unique quarters in each of the accommodations. The two-bedroom, two-bath Pier House has a wraparound porch and a private pier from which you can dangle your feet and gaze out onto the sparkling turquoise waters. The ultra-romantic, thatched-roof Beach House has only one bedroom and one bath—outside. But no worries: no one will see you showering because you’re on a private beach. Families appreciate the five bedrooms and five baths at Palm Terrace, while those who demand the very best will require all 10,000 square feet at Highview, the palatial house on the hill, with 360-degree views of the island’s lush foliage and the waters beyond. HOW TO WHILE AWAY THE DAY: Should you tire of napping in a hammock or sunbathing on the private, sugar-white beach just steps away from your door, Hobie Cats, sailboats, wind surfers, Sea Doos, speedboats, and snorkeling gear are at your disposal. (Fishing and snorkeling are made unforgettable, thanks to Richard Ellis. See sidebar.) Or ask to cruise around the Exumas and have a drink at nearby Staniel Cay, where you can watch the fishermen fillet their catch and throw the scraps to scavenging sharks cruising the shallow waters. Another treat is a jaunt out to Musha’s private sand bar, where the staff serves late-afternoon cocktails while you shell or dig your toes in the sand for sand dollars.
|Take a stroll on the private sand bar.|
How To Get There
Musha Cay is 85 miles southeast of Nassau. You can fly from Nassau or Miami to Mosstown, Great Exuma, where a 15-minute charter flight will take you to Musha’s private airstrip. Or, if you’ve got your own jet, you can fly straight to Musha. No matter how you get there, look down at the water on your approach: the starfish are so big you can see them on the sandy bottom from your seat on the plane.
What It Costs
The island is rented to only one party at a time, for $24,750 per day, up to eight people, plus an additional cost per person up to 24. During the week of July 15–22, couples or small groups of friends can rent one of the island’s five residences. Cost for that week, with meals and most activities, ranges from $8,000-$20,000, depending on the accommodations. For more information, call 877-889-1100 or
e-mail [email protected].
|Richard Ellis makes fishing unforgettable.|
Fun with Fish
Part of Musha Cay’s charm is its resident captain and all-around island expert, Richard Ellis, who was born on the small island of Farmers Cay—pop. fewer than 100—next to Musha. He’ll take you out on the boat, find the best spot to fish, and prepare your bait as only he can. He’ll hammer away at a live conch, pull out the flesh, cut it into chunks, chew up the bits, and put it on your hook. Can’t cast your line? He’ll do that, too, and he’ll let you have all the glory when you reel in a snapper, which the chef will prepare later, if you desire. He’ll also re-bait your hook—or tie on a new one, if required—when a barracuda runs off with your conch (and, most likely, the fish trying to eat it). During a snorkeling adventure, Richard will lead you around secret caves—holding your hand if you seem a bit nervous—and point out all the shy sea creatures hiding in the nooks and crannies. And, if you discover a great pink conch during your journey, he’ll clean it up for you to take home as a remembrance of your travels.