From the moment you set off to feeling white sand between your toes, it’s never been easier to arrange a much-needed getaway to a private island. Whether you're looking for an all inclusive getaway, a back-to-nature Crusoe experience or an environmentally friendly retreat, we have the ideal island escape for you.
Private island getaways present a unique opportunity to genuinely immerse yourself in a tropical paradise amid impenetrable down-time. By removing tiresome distractions like traffic, crowds and over-excited tourists from the travel equation, you are creating a formula for the perfect luxury holiday spent indulging in life’s finer pleasures. Of course, you might enjoy the warm sunshine, gorgeous beaches and glittering ocean in every direction around you too.
Pressing pause on your schedule to take a tailored island break opens up a peaceful pocket of time amid the fast life you’re leading. The experience can do wonders for your personal wellbeing and mental space to focus on big ideas while, say, exploring island rainforests or enjoying a transcendental spa treatment. Luxury island resorts are designed around the enhanced wellbeing of guests, so your destination will be a permanent state of bliss.
Despite leaving the city hum behind, many a private island can offer superlative amenities such as holistic spa treatments, fully equipped gyms, jet skis, golf buggies or yachts for transport, 24-hour security and even generously stocked wine cellars. Island cuisine is always supremely fresh too, and the opportunity to snorkel or dive in some of the world’s top coral reefs is far too good to be missed.
In search of harmony
If your idea of paradise is staying in an environmentally friendly haven, walking with Aldabra giant tortoises and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, visit the North Island of the Seychelles. Located 18 miles from Mahé island and a mere 20 minutes away by helicopter, this tiny paradise represents the ultimate expression of barefoot luxury. North Island recently underwent a 10-year rehabilitation programme to help more than 200 plant species and endemic birds thrive there, so there’s now a resident ecologist on site too if you have any questions about the wonders all around you.
Keen snorkelers and divers, meanwhile, can fly to Fiji on a private plane bound for the exclusive island sanctuary of Kokomo. Located on the cusp of the heavenly Kadavu Island Group, south of Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu, this deluxe resort was once the paradisiacal dream of Australian property developer Lang Walker. Kokomo opened in March 2017, welcoming guests to 21 modern beachfront villas. World-class diving in the Great Astrolabe Reef is at your fingertips, alongside seamless hospitality at the authentic Fijian spa, Yaukuve. Organic cuisine is sourced from Kokomo’s 5.5 acre island farm, starring edible flowers, exotic fruits, beehives, free-range chickens and a vanilla plantation. If the occasion calls for it, a magnificently skilled chef will prepare a private dinner for you on the helipad – where better to enjoy the panoramic island views than that?
The simple life
Interestingly, the largest island of all 700 in the Bahamas, Andros, is also the least-developed. Accessible by boat, it was also voted the number one resort in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos for two years running (Conde Nast, 2016-17) – quite the honour, given the competition. Once you’ve planted your feet on the white sand of Kamalame Cay, you’re welcomed into a relaxed tropical retreat dotted with classic West Indies cottages, villas and bungalows, far removed from the normal tourist trail. You can stay in a private villa directly beside the breathtaking Andros Great Barrier Reef or swim in the only overwater spa in the Bahamas
An entertaining stay
Four Seasons opened their first private island in the Maldives in 2016, claiming to be the world’s most luxurious hideaway. Located on a five-acre stretch of Voavah island, this is the only exclusive accommodation in the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Stays can be booked for a maximum of 22 people and you can spend your break sampling the spa, gym, library, jet skis or 62ft yacht waiting in the lagoon where you’ll be surrounded by the world’s largest known population of manta rays. Oh, and the 28 staff members are known to perform Bollywood dances at short notice. Yes, really!
The magic of an island retreat has proven irresistible to several celebrities and many prominent names have purchased their own slice of paradise. Musha Cay in the Bahamas is one of the 10 private islands David Copperfield owns, forming Copperfield Bay, and the guest houses there are a top choice for affluent travellers. Reachable by charter flights and with Miami only 90 minutes away, you can retire to your own private beach, play tennis or take the 28ft Nautilus Rib Catamaran for a spin.
Off the coast of Belize, meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio has created the greenest luxury development ever built. Blackadore Caye is now the world’s first restorative island development, with the second largest barrier reef in the world on its shores. The hotel focuses on health, wellness and sustainability – a truly ‘off the grid’ escape. DiCaprio’s island also includes a research station on climate change and habitat impact, seeking to educate global influencers.
Travel to the island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia to see why Marlon Brando said it was “beautiful beyond my capacity to describe”. Named in tribute to its former owner, The Brando is an exclusive, ecologically minded resort located 30 miles from Tahiti and is accessible by private plane. Naturally, it ticks the essential boxes: private villas, white sand, sparkling blue lagoon.
On the horizon
One small, intimate option will open this year and it is already predicted to be Southeast Asia’s finest island resort. Six Senses Krabey Island, just off the coast of Cambodia, will be 30 acres of sustainably minded design, indulgent luxuries and select technology. Travel here to declutter your mind, supported by the Cambodian healing traditions offered by the island’s spa. There is an unidentifiable attractiveness to holidaying on a private island that goes beyond the five-star luxury element. Perhaps it’s the natural surroundings? Could it be the welcome solitude? Maybe it’s the complete lack of noise and air pollution? Or possibly it’s the sensation of landing directly on your island of choice, knowing this is exactly where you want to be. Well, for a few days at least.