Best private islands for a (really) secluded escape
From Richard Branson’s new spot in the British Virgin Islands (move over, Necker) to a chic islet off the coast of Maine where Whole Foods is delivered to your jetty, Suzannah Ramsdale presents a private island wishlist
Even before the pandemic, the elite craved isolation and total privacy — and nowhere provides beauty and seclusion quite like a private island getaway.
Here are our pick of the best (and most exclusive)...
Gladden Private Island, Belize
With one island for you and another for the staff (there is a ‘privacy meter’ to alert guests when a member of the team is on their island), Gladden island is the ultimate in luxury and privacy - it’s actually billed as ‘the world’s most private island resort’.
On the edge of the Belize Barrier Reef and 20 miles off the coast of beautiful Belize, it’s accessible by chopper or speed boat. The island comes with a personal chef to create meals whenever and wherever you want with organic produce grown in Gladdens Garden and fresh fish straight from the surrounding waters.
On the agenda? Scuba diving, snorkelling, spa treatments and island hopping. The easily bored can head back to the mainland for ancient Mayan ruins, jungle trekking, cave tubing and treetop zip lines. All excursions are included in the price.
From $4,050 per night for four guests, all inclusive; gladdenprivateisland.com
Moskito island, British Virgin Islands
Necker? You’ve been there and done that. Moskito is Richard Branson’s newest private island. Until now, the Virgin boss has kept this patch of pristine land in the Caribbean to himself and the only way to bag a stay was via an invite from the man himself. Split into two estates - The Oasis Estate and the Point Estate - each comes with a dedicated estate manager to make sure even your wildest dreams are fulfilled.
There’s a tennis court, guided hikes, beach games, all the watersports and reams of activities for the kids such as pizza-making classes. The theme is ‘barefoot luxury’ - there’s nothing too flashy, just a perfect corner of paradise. Oh, and look out for the Necker Island flamingos which come to say hello.
Rates for the Oasis Estate and the Point Estate start at $19,000 and $17,500 per-night, respectively.
Thanda Island, Tanzania
A private slice of the Indian Ocean just for you. Thanda was designed as a family home for Swedish owners Christin and Dan Olofsson - and it feels like it, with cosy touches and charming antiques.
Activities such as kayaking, jet-skiing, snorkelling, cooking classes, and yoga on the beach are all included in the price, while discreet security guards keep a watchful eye so guests can rest easy in one of the five villa suites.
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Situated within the Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve, the island has partnered with local NGO Sea Sense on conservation programmes with a particular focus on protecting sea turtles, dolphins, whale sharks and coral reefs for luxury that’s (almost) guilt-free.
From $33,000 per night, minimum five-night stay, all inclusive; thandaisland.com
Clapboard Island, Maine
The super-chic 13-bedroom, 9-bathroom mansion sits within 22 acres with six private swimming beaches, a guesthouse, antique gardens, running trails and a zip line. The local town of Falmouth is only five minutes away and Whole Foods delivers to the dock. Isolation near to civilisation — the best kind.
Having just undergone a huge makeover, the interiors of the main house are all painted wood, exposed brick and faded stripes - in the most perfect New England way. A castaway fit for the Kennedys, Astors and Vanderbilts.
Price on request; clapboardisland.com
North Island, Seychelles
George and Amal Clooney spent their honeymoon here, as did the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It turns out, they were on to something: with silky white sand, granite peaks and glass-clear water, this is one of the most beautiful islands on the planet — and you’ll have the run of it.
A boutique hotel (though it is possible to buy out the whole island), there are 11 secluded villas scattered throughout the lush forest. Head to West Beach for sundowners and pastel sunsets, while it’s over to Honeymoon Beach for private champagne picnics.
Doubles from £6,195 per night; north-island.com
COMO Laucala Island, Fiji
The holiday hideaway of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is brilliantly over the top. The seven-mile island is bursting with five bars and restaurants, a spa, a stable, and a 18-hole championship golf course, as well as 350 staff to cater to your every diva whim.
OK, it is a 32-hour trip from the UK but, oh boy, is it worth it. The resort has a private plane (a King Air B200) to jet you over from the mainland and to ease some of the travel fatigue.
For a real pinch-me moment, head out on a beach horse trek before swimming and playing with them in the bath-warm ocean. If the thought of sharing the island with other guests sends chills down your spine, there’s the option for a buy-out at $672,000 for a minimum of seven nights for you and 19 friends.
From $5,600 per night; laucala.com
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