Full disclosure: booking a private island isn't for the faint of funds. But for those whose credit limit is insanely high, chartering a private island is just about the swankiest travel experience there is. These ten tropical resorts -- sprinkled throughout Oceania, the Caribbean, and beyond -- offer island buyout rates or offshore private islands that you can have all to yourself.
Owned by the Coppola family, Turtle Inn is a laid-back (but still celeb-attracting) luxury resort in Placencia, Belize. Of the property’s 25 ultra-luxe room options (including cottages, villas, and private homes), the most exclusive is Coral Caye, a two-acre private island eight miles offshore. Up to 12 people can stay on the remote isle, sleeping in its two eco-chic cottages, exploring its coral beach and mangroves, and kicking back in its living room/bar/kitchen area (an indoor/outdoor space, complete with sandy floors) or hammock suspended over the water. The island is off of the Belize Barrier Reef — the second-largest barrier reef in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site — so snorkelers have their investigative work cut out for them. And don’t worry about cooking — island butlers and chefs visit Coral Caye to prepare all meals, like Creole seafood barbecues.
From the moment guests step foot on Nukubati, the resort’s authentic Fijian atmosphere is palpable. Staff members graciously welcome new arrivals by shaking their hands, learning their names, and gifting them with handmade leis. Though incredible hospitality is a Fijian trademark, Nukubati’s staff members are the best in the business, and the resort’s intimate nature is hard to replicate. Nukubati is an adults-only resort, unless the entire property is chartered by a large group or extended family — then children of all ages are allowed. With only seven rooms, Nukubati offers plenty of privacy and a supremely quiet atmosphere, making it popular with honeymooners and vacationing couples. Nukubati is also a popular wedding destination, and hosts several throughout the year.
This South Pacific Four Seasons outpost, located in French Polynesia’s Leeward Islands, is one of the best resorts in Bora Bora. The hotel experience begins at the airport, where resort reps greet guests with flower leis and cold towels before whisking them away on a boat to the hotel’s private motu (tiny island). The resort’s stunning natural beauty is its best feature, but it is also packed with fantastic amenities, like a beautiful infinity-edge pool with massive private cabanas and four on-site restaurants. For a mighty cost, high rollers can claim the entire island for themselves (and 249 of their nearest and dearest).
For a millennial Maldivian experience, the five-pearl W Maldives is the place to be. In addition to its picture-worthy lagoon and beach, casual gourmet restaurants, and chic bars, the W is home to the Maldives’ only underground club (with a resident DJ, no less). Many of its 75 large and trendy rooms rooms sit over the ocean, but for even more sea views and privacy, the W can shuttle guests off to its own private island, Gaathafushi, for the day or an overnight stay. The resort also has an 80-foot yacht available for private cruises and overnight journeys on the sea.
Azura Quilalea Private Island, Mozambique
Swathed inside the Quirimbas Archipelago marine sanctuary, this uninhabited 86-acre island is a faraway paradise for snorkeling and diving lovers. Its nine waterfront villas can accommodate up to 18 guests, with each unit containing an indoor/outdoor shower, a stocked minibar, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and a private front porch with unobstructed views of the sea. Serenity is the name of the game here, as the island lies fully within protected waters and not even a far-off motor boat will disturb the unreal beauty and utmost peace.
Koh Munnork Private Island Resort by Epikurean Lifestyle, Thailand
Crystalline waters lap on all sides of Koh Munnork, an island resort in the Gulf of Siam — purportedly the only private-island resort in Thailand. Each of its 24 rustic-chic cottages comes with queen-sized beds, free bottled water, rainfall showers, and private balconies or terraces, and the seven Beachfront Cottages have direct access to the sand. A handful of resort essentials are at hand: an open restaurant on the beach, a beach bar, a pool with all-day food and drink service, and plenty snorkeling and kayaking gear.
Le Sauvage Private Island, Avatoru
Crowds and commotion are impossible at Le Sauvage, a private island that’s a one-hour boat ride south of its main resort, Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa in French Polynesia. Here, there are just five Polynesian-style bungalows, made from bamboo and pandanus, and a dining area where an island host prepares meals, often using seafood caught that day. The bungalows feature canopy beds and bathrooms with hot-water showers and eco-friendly toiletries, but there’s no electricity or Wi-Fi on the island. Le Sauvage guests (10 max) spend their days ranging over the seemingly endless South Pacific lagoon by kayak or stand-up paddleboard, and, at night, hanging out under the light of lanterns and the stars.
Petit St. Vincent Resort, Caribbean
Just 22 units (one-bedroom cottages and two-bedroom beach villas) are scattered about the 115 acres that form this private island in the Caribbean’s St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The eco-friendly resort accommodates parties of up to 56 people, who have use of the two restaurants and bars, wine cellar, spa, fitness center, andseven beaches. Island buyout rates include all meals, non-alcoholic drinks, and butler service (Petit St. Vincent’s staff-to-guest ratio is more than two to one).
Royal Davui Island Resort, Fiji
Set in Fiji‘s dramatically beautiful Beqa Lagoon, Royal Davui Island Resort is a distant micro-world of powder-soft beaches, vivid blue waters, and lush greenery. The island’s 16 villas deliberately lack Wi-Fi, phones, and TVs so the focus is on the surrounding natural beauty and handful of amenities and activities, like two restaurants, a lagoon-facing spa, reef tours, beach barbecues, kava ceremonies, and diving (oh, the diving).
Velaa Private Island, Maldives
A Maldivian getaway is about as exclusive as it gets. Really, the only thing more exclusive is a Maldivian island takeover. Many resorts in the Maldives offer island buyout packages, but we’re spotlighting Velaa Private Island for its exceptional luxury (think Clarins spa, major wine cellar, and an eight-staff-members-per-guest ratio), exhaustive available activities, and stunning waterscape. The resort’s 47 units consist of luxe houses and hovering-over-the-lagoon villas — one of which, the Romantic Pool Residence, is only accessible by boat.
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