Mick Jagger may have colonized Mustique; Cindy Crawford may have married on Paradise Island. But that was another century. This season, the “It” island – make that island chain – is Turks and Caicos, an hour south of Miami in the British West Indies. T&C is leaving St. Barts in its wake as the two getaways compete for the title of highest-end holiday haven. A timeline of Turks’ trendy trajectory:
1512: Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon arrives.
1954: Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, and Gore Vidal hole up in St. Barts’ Eden Rock Hotel. So-called Millionaire Island also plays host to wintering Rockefellers and Rothschilds.
1984: Hoi polloi flock to Turks’ new Club Med.
1988: Wealthy Kuwaiti buys 1,000-acre island in Turks and begins construction on Parrot Cay luxury resort.
1991: Work on barrel-tiled roofs suspended when owner’s finances are flummoxed by Gulf War.
1997: St. Barts is overrun by moneyed East Coasters in Michael Kors bikinis and Calypso sarongs and by cocktail-clutching Hollywood imports.
December 1998: Hong Kong hoteliers B. S. and Christina Ongs, creators of posh Met Bar in London, buy Parrot Cay, adding six bungalows and deluxe Shambala Spa.
January 1999: Puff Daddy’s rental of yacht at St. Barts widely seen as signaling end of resort’s reign.
1999: Winona Ryder, Matt Damon, Quincy Jones, and Amber Valetta book reservations at Parrot Cay. One “famous American film star” can’t get room and pitches tent.
2000: Honeymooners Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Sklar lounge on teak furniture. Donatella Versace arrives with bodyguards. Bruce Willis buys parcels of beachfront. Paul McCartney and Heather Mills take beach bungalow.
2001: Carnival cruise line announces it will add St. Barts as a port in 2001. Next stop, Turks and Caicos?