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Page 1 of 1Total of 11 messages
Posted by:Apr 14th 2004, 12:15:27 pm
ColinOn Ms. Hicks:

While she has clearly done more for Briland than someone like me, Ms. Hicks does seem to present a logical inconsistency.

On one hand, she says Briland should stay small and lovely and kind and special. On the other hand, she encourages as many people as possible around the world to learn about her adventures and ventures in Briland.

Do I remember that Ms. Hicks pledged not too long ago to move to Eleuthera as Briland was becoming too crowded and too full of BPs (an ancient acronymn meaning beautiful people, a la St. Barts...)??

Now most of this is just being catty, but the great Babson declined to identify Briland by name in his book, Where Sands are Pink, for a very good reason.

While he and most other visitors to Briland kept his troth, the BPs (other than a few royals, who may not qualify as BPs anyway) were absent from Briland's shores.

Then came Blackwell and Hicks. Things changed. Is this just the cycle of celebrities seeking new places to alleviate the crushing burdens of life? Don't many Brilanders benefit from the influx of huge chunks of cash brought by such folks?

I only wonder. Besides, as the descendant of a viceroy myself (Curzon), I like to think Ms. Hicks and I have a great deal in common! Now if I could only buy Rock House or the Blue Ruin, we could be neighbors.

Posted by:Apr 12th 2004, 11:32:12 am
k.evaHi All,

I usually keep up w/ Briland things via my email, but this latest topic has me stymied. I read the article, and also the comments here, and I have only 1 - 2 additional comments.

1. To the person who made the snide (though perhaps justified) comment about the lady's support of her children's school, I say, at least she did that much. Far too many locals and foreign residents in the Bahamas complain about and use what is available without giving anything at all back. Of course, given this lady's apparent propensity for "spreading the word", it would really have been good of her to help with other worthy causes on the island . . .

2) While I agree that Harbour Island is a wonderful place, there are many wonderful places in this country. Maybe Ms. Hicks can be encouraged to speak about other Family Islands?

3. There is a history book out there entitled "The People Who Came". This title refers to ALL of us, whether our families came in the time of Lord Dunmore, were dragged here as slaves in the 1700s and 1800s, or whether they bought vacation homes here in the last 5 or 50 years. Who has the right to say who has outstayed his or her welcome? Maybe we all should hush.

Karen
Posted by:Apr 11th 2004, 08:18:51 pm
Jay-JayI find all of this negativitive energy towards India is foolish. The character of Harbour Island is found it the people and the people of Harbour Island would never try to kick someone off of the island. Who do you people think you are to make such a bold statement? "Move on" As a native, born and rasied i have seen many people make cliam to Harbour Island, then pack up, sell their homes for a big profit and leave. India Hicks is a wonderful lady. She is honest, fun and she cares about the island and the people. You people question what else has she done. Well, if you where truly concerned with Harbour Island you would know that she along with my uncle Humphery "Hilter" Percentie has help with the Beach Clean-up prject for years. She is one of the few non-natives that take the time to ask me about university, and she never fails to encourage me to be the best that i can be. No matter who is in her presents, she has always been curtious and frendly. My grandmother, Ms. Ruby Percentie had her 70th brithday party this christmas and India and David where among the few non-natives to attend. (everyone was invited). As a local i would like to see those that come to the island rent their homes for thousands of dollars and pay the maids pennies leave. Or the "drift wood" that open their mouths and complain any time a native tries to build remotely close to theirs (I am sure everyone knows what i am talking about) And yes i can say this because i am from Harbour Island so is my family. This is so unfair for you people to be so negative. tourism is our number one industry, if the tourists do not come where will the natives be. You people can go back to your homes and continue your lives. This is our lives. How many of you have invited guest to visis the Island for the first time? How many of you have boasted about owning a house on the island in your "elite settings." Come on.....
Posted by:Apr 11th 2004, 07:57:43 pm
Fig Tree News TeamKaren Eva sends this note in from the Bahamafriends list:

"Harbour Islanders can always direct the madding crowds to

Abaco
Cat Island
Long Island
and especially these days
Exuma

There is a lot of the Bahamas to go around, and maybe by sharing out the masses some of the local colour will actually survive . . .

Karen"
Posted by:Apr 11th 2004, 07:37:58 pm
Fig Tree News TeamJim Reynolds sends along this interesting note:

HISTORICAL NOTE.
India Hicks' family has had ties to Harbour Island for centuries. Her grandfather, Louis Lord Montbatten, and her grandmother, Lady Edwina Ashley Mountbatten, in the 1940s chose out of the whole world to come to Harbour Island, just after Lord Mountbatten had resigned as the last Viceroy of India and after having just created present day Pakistan. The members of the English royal family have been frequent quiet visitors to Harbour Island ever since the Duke (and former King) and his American wife, Wallace Simpson, made frequent visits to the Duke's boyhood friend and cousin, Lord Mountbatten and enjoyed the island's famous pink beaches and friendly accepting attitude of its people.

This is probably historically appropriate since, John Murray, Lord Dunmore, first laid out the plat of Dunmore Town in 1791, just before his daughter, Augusta Murray, married into the same royal family by marrying King George III's 9th of 15 children, Augustus Guelph. Again making a tie between the Murrays, the Royals and little Harbour Island in the Bahamas, over which George III, India Hicks' great, great, great, great, great grandfather, had appointed Lord Dunmore as Royal Governor of the Bahamas. All these ties to India's ancestors and royal lineage and this little dot of land in the clear Bahamian waters is, I believe, really quite amazing.

Jim Reynolds
Posted by:Apr 11th 2004, 06:03:34 pm
KimberlyJust playing devil's advocate here ... but when it comes to publicity and promotion, when is enough, enough?

It seems to me that everyone in the local community has benefitted from positive word about Harbour Island, starting with Allen Malcolm's uncle in the 1940s ]Pink Sands] and my grandfather in the 1950s [Coral Sands], and I feel that it's a tad precious to even consider Harbour Island ANYONE's secret.

The Bahamas Out Island Hotel Association's simple mandate from the 1970s forward was to promote Harbour Island and Eleuthera as a prime destination, which created more jobs than Brilanders could handle by themselves.

Now what, though? What happens next? It seems to me that what would be ideal is to see more people getting involved in taking active care of what the island has become, and less critical of the publicity machine currently in place ... because frankly, no matter what you think of the present media coverage, the horse HAS left the barn.

Do we take time to walk more, and use golf carts less? Do we take care to get to know our neighbours better? Do we put our money and time where our mouth is to support local businesses? Everyone on Harbour Island -- taxi drivers, boat taxis, local air charters, bonefishing guides, construction crews, hotel domestics, real estate agents, local business owners, hotels, restaurants, golf cart rental shops, bicycle rental shops, private caterers, etc. -- benefits from tourism, which is Briland's primary export.

So what should we be doing differently to preserve the Harbour Island that we all know and love ... and know is very, very special?

Just thinking out loud
Kimberly
Posted by:Apr 11th 2004, 01:18:18 pm
chapelThanks to Sue Rutherford, who sent the link to the New York Times article:

April 11, 2004
An Invitation to Paradise, but What if Everyone Says 'Yes'?
By RUTH LA FERLA

ARBOUR ISLAND, the Bahamas

INDIA HICKS set out for a fancy night on the town on Harbour Island earlier this month dressed in exotic brocade, with nothing on her feet but a walnut-colored tan and a generous coat of nail polish. Ms. Hicks, a model, the product of proper British boarding schools, with a strain of blue blood, likes to go barefoot even to dinner.

"I almost never wear shoes," she said in the Chinese-red dining room of the Landing, the 200-year-old bay-front hotel, which she helped to renovate. Neither does her companion, David Flint Wood, a former ad man, nor their three towheaded boys. "When we go to London we have to forage for sneakers that they can wear," Ms. Hicks said, but otherwise footwear is not a concern. "After all, it's been months since the boys left the island."

Eight years ago, Ms. Hicks, 36, a daughter of the legendary decorator David Hicks and the granddaughter of Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, put down roots on this three-mile-long Bahamian fishing island. To hear her tell it, her mission since then has been to preserve the island's character as a rustic, slightly drowsy retreat, infiltrated now and then by chicly laid-back tourists.

But if she is trying to keep it a secret, she is doing a miserable job. "India is the undeclared spokesman of Harbour Island," said Clemens von Merveldt, who runs Pink Sands, an exclusive resort here created by Chris Blackwell, the music impresario turned hotel developer.

To promote "Island Life," a coffee table decorating book Ms. Hicks produced with Mr. Flint Wood a vision of Harbour Island out of Maugham or Graham Greene, with mosquito netting, tiled floors and ceiling fans she was feted last month at parties at Ralph Lauren shops in New York, Palm Beach and Los Angeles. On CNN, Larry King checked her connection to Prince Charles (they are cousins).

Ms. Hicks posed with Mr. Flint Wood on the veranda of their 1950's plantation-style house for the cover of a J. Crew catalog, available in June, and she has discussed her island life in glossy magazines in England and the United States. The result has been a flurry of publicity that has some people calling Harbour Island the next St. Bart's, that once serenely chic resort that has become a brassy hot spot.

She insists that seeing Harbour Island become a place like St. Bart's where "every street has bars, fancy stars, megahouses and a Gucci," in her words is the last thing she wants. "I feel quite protective of the place," she said, adding testily, "We really don't need more publicity."

But some islanders bristle at all the attention Ms. Hicks has directed their way. Robert Arthur, a real estate agent and an owner of Arthur's Bakery, a favorite local spot, chided, "There's one side of India, she'll say she doesn't want to advertise, and another blurting out the name of the island all over the BBC."

In truth, Harbour Island remains a long way from other overrun Caribbean resorts. A sliver of rock off Eleuthera that is reachable only by water taxi, the island has no golf courses, no gambling and no rowdy nightclubs. There are only a handful of luxury hotels and just a scattering of restaurants and shops among them one run by Ms. Hicks with Tracy Barry, the majority owner of the Landing (Ms. Hicks has a 25 percent share). Situated behind the hotel, the shop is well stocked with lacy undies designed by Elle Macpherson, the model, and caftans by Allegra Hicks, Ms. Hicks's sister-in-law.

Starting about 10 years ago, Harbour Island became a magnet for the likes of Ms. Macpherson; Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller; Robert Miller, the duty-free mogul; and Millard Drexler, the former chief executive of Gap, who now runs J. Crew all of whom have purchased houses on the island.

"The island is getting very hot," said Hugh Stockton, the president of Island Trading, the developer of Pink Sands. "It's never going to be St. Bart's," he predicted. "To me what really is happening is that this is becoming like a Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket," attracting well-heeled visitors from the United States and abroad, eager to sample Harbour Island's rustic charms.

Vanessa von Bismarck, a Manhattan fashion publicist who paid her first visit last month, staying at a guesthouse on Ms. Hicks's property, is typical of many newcomers. "I wanted to check out Harbour Island because St. Bart's is becoming unbearable, at least during high season," she said.

It is Ms. Hicks, some say, who must share the praise or blame for the island's spike in popularity. "Island Life: Inspirational Interiors" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), which Ms. Hicks first promoted on a tour of England when the book appeared there last fall, is full of pictures of Hibiscus Hill, her home, and the adjacent two-story guesthouse built by Ms. Hicks and Mr. Flint Wood, as well as of the Landing. Her home is shown as a perfectly stage-managed setting, attuned to the rhythms and colors of life on the island with its fishing boats and rows of pink, white and green clapboard houses that front narrow roads where golf carts vie with guinea hens for the right of way.

On a recent Friday, just before her guests were to arrive for the busy Easter season, Ms. Hicks ushered a visitor through her home. No quarter was off-limits, with Ms. Hicks acting as a cheerily vocal guide through the whitewashed nursery; the pink-tiled bedroom with its mahogany-stained four-poster; and the kitchen, where Jenga, a macaw, is permitted to roam freely over the table, nibbling savories.

Direct and a bit self-mocking, Ms. Hicks does not even try to hide a streak of snobbery. There was a glint in her eye as she sat on an oversize sofa, reminiscing about guests at the Ralph Lauren book party in New York. (Mr. Lauren, who discovered Ms. Hicks in the early 80's, has featured her in two recent fragrance campaigns.)

"There were all these ridiculous girls, wearing tiaras, these tinselly little things," she recalled, wiggling her forefingers over her head. "You just knew they had never seen a real tiara in their lives."

"Of course I have never worn a tiara," she added, almost boastfully. "I'm not married, you know I can't."

She fielded questions about her lineage with a gracious aplomb. As Prince Charles's cousin, she carried the bridal train at his wedding to Lady Diana Spencer. She is well aware that Americans find her ancestry somewhat more compelling than her modeling career.

"Obviously European nobility is something that Americans do find interesting," Ms. Hicks said, adding that her pedigree has been a professional boon. "I don't have Elle Macpherson's legs, let's put it like that."

Ms. Hicks was preparing to give a fund-raiser last Wednesday at her home for the Dunmore School, a private school for Bahamian children and a handful of other year-round residents. Except that the event was a bit more than a local affair. "In the presence of Sarah, the Duchess of York," the invitations read, "there will be an auction hosted by George Hamilton."

Ms. Hicks said she had turned aside requests to cover the affair by ABC and Vanity Fair. Nor was The New York Times invited. "My guests would feel uncomfortable with a reporter in their midst," she said.

That explanation gave some island residents, a chuckle. "Anyone can come to the party if they pay for a ticket," scoffed Nancy von Merveldt, who is a co-manager with her husband of the Pink Sands. "Or perhaps you have to be invited to pay for a ticket?"

Mr. Arthur, the bakery owner, said that before the advent of Ms. Hicks and her entourage, "this was a quiet little island," a place where visitors like Robin Williams, Geena Davis and Jimmy Buffett could stroll the streets unharassed. "But lately too much, too fast has brought a lot of influx of people, a lot of cars," he said. "It's all a bit much for a small place."

It seems a stretch to lay all such problems at Ms. Hicks's feet, or to trace to her and Mr. Flint Wood the lion's share of responsibility for the island's increasingly chic image and the traffic that has come with that. Harbour Island has been hospitable to fashion crews at least since the 1980's, when Bruce Weber began photographing there. During high season, from December through April, the hotels fill up with visitors of all kinds, including many families.

At the seven-room Landing, where a double without television or air-conditioning is $250 in the high season, Ms. Hicks does not appear to be getting rich off her one-quarter ownership stake.

"Our aim was not to pull people," Ms. Hicks said. "You'll notice there is no mention of the name of the island in our book."

The couple, who decorated every inch of their house and the Landing, said they produced "Island Life" in the hope of securing future design commissions.

Still, for inveterate people watchers, some of Ms. Hicks's own guests are among the island's chief attractions. Her visitors during the feverish Easter holiday season included Anish Kapoor, the British sculptor, and, of course, Fergie, who was put up at Pink Sands. Other recent drop-ins have included Amy Sacco, the owner of the New York nightclub Bungalow 8.

Ms. Sacco found the island a soothing antidote to the frenzy of more populous resorts. "There's nothing like being on a beach with nobody else on it, nothing like that casual white linen you see everywhere, the wooden floorboards underfoot, that charm that's so untouched," Ms. Sacco said, then added an ominous caveat. "As with a lot of tropical paradises, once somebody finds out about something fabulous, then everybody goes."
Posted by:Apr 11th 2004, 01:17:20 pm
snowyI am sooo sick and tired of India Hicks saying she is not promoting the island! I am so sick of seeing her and her family on every cover of every magazine...move on India...we dont want Harbour Island publicize anymore!!!
Posted by:Apr 11th 2004, 01:16:58 pm
snowyIndia supports the school because her boys attend...do you see her supporting the public school, or perhaps the fire truck fundraising, or perhaps the library?
Posted by:Apr 10th 2004, 03:10:33 pm
KimberlyHi, Lily ... do you have a link to the article that you mention, so that we can all read it?

I see that you have a problem with India's media coverage, but I can only say that her hands-on work in promoting programs like the Dunmore School on Harbour Island has only helped the island community. The island could use many more such engaged citizens ... our community needs many such programs, and many more people to step up to the plate to support them.

Kimberly
Posted by:Apr 10th 2004, 02:59:30 pm
LilyIndia Hicks has done it again. When is she ever going to stop using this Island to promote herself. Does she not realize that she is well on her way to ruining it. Robert Arthur makes a very smart point. She claims that she does not want it to turn into the next St. Barths yet she cant keep her mouth closed. I think she has out stayed her welcome and its time to move on elsewhere.

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