Explore The Moonhole, A Dreamily Unique Caribbean Vacation Spot

In the 1950s, Tom and Gladdie Johnston decided to quit their busy advertising jobs in the United States and up sticks to laid-back Bequia. They gained employments as the managers of the small Sunny Caribbee Hotel and spent their spare time wandering the island. 

During one of these adventures, they happened upon a huge natural rock formation known to the locals as Moonhole.

Their fondness for the arch led them to buy the tract of land that included the arch, and they soon set to building.

With no formal architectural training, Tom enlisted a few men from the nearby Paget Farm to help him build his vision.

He began cobbling together the house stone by stone. He also incorporated whalebones, driftwood, shells and other natural elements he found nearby.

Once he had the main structure built, he set to work on the inside, with the hopes of convincing Gladdie to move there full-time.

A working kitchen, dining area and multiple bedrooms were all part of his campaign to win Gladdie over ... and it worked.

In no time, he got even more than he bargained for; people outside his little Caribbean enclave began to take notice of his Moonhole construction.

Tom's unique aesthetic and the Moonhole's naturally dreamy surroundings earned the home the attention of The New York TimesNational Geographic, Sports Illustrated and more.


He also earned the acclaim of his friends, who begged him to build houses for them as well.

Tom agreed, aiming to create what he called "a people preserve" where a community of artists, dreamers and thinkers could live in connection with each other and nature.

Starting in 1964, Tom spent the next thirty years working side-by-side with craftsmen from Paget Farm to build 16 more houses, a commissary, an office, living quarters for the staff and a gallery.

Every building heavily incorporated the surrounding nature, so that the transition between inside and outside was seamless.

Unfortunately, Tom's passing in 2001 marked the decline of the community. 

Soon, all the original homeowners passed as well, or became too old to visit and keep up the buildings. The costs skyrocketed, while the contributions dwindled. The Johnston's original villa was neglected and condemned and the most of the other homes were sold off.

The Johnstons, however, had made provisions for their beloved and devoted staff.

Moonhole Friends Inc., a charity set up by the Johnstons, supplies help to any locals in need. After a lengthy court battle, the remaining homes owned by the trust set up in the Johnstons's will have been renovated and serve as employment for much of the longtime staff.


The two and three bedroom villas are a slice of paradise, although they do come at a price - $1,500 for a week's stay.

The rate does include the services of a cook and housekeeper, who have worked at Moonhole for 20 years and know their way around the unique villas.

You can also rest easy knowing you're doing your part to help keep the Johnstons's dream and the surrounding ecosystem alive.

The trust that is responsible for the villas also contributes financially to the community and the protection of the local marine and wild life.

Via: Messy Nessy Chic | Moonhole Bequia

Trending Today: