When it comes to luxury getaways, exclusivity matters (especially during the pandemic), which is why private island buy-outs are booming. Sam Ballard reports
Whether it’s a Caribbean paradise or more unusual European and US private islands, these resorts all have one thing in common: they are designed for exceptionally wealthy individuals.
However, during the global pandemic, staying on your own private island has an added significance – health security. The ultra-wealthy do not have to expose their families to potential carriers of the virus, instead they can cocoon them in pure luxury on a private island…
1. LOPUD 1483, Croatia
Sitting on the island of Lopud, just off the Croatian mainland, LOPUD 1483 is a 15th-century Franciscan monastery that has been restored over the last 20 years by the Thyssen-Bornemisza family, whose vast private art collection sits in the famous Madrid gallery.
Guests can book the entire property until September for €10,000 per night, after which its five suites will be available to individually book. Those who do take it over exclusively can customise their experience completely.
Property manager Anne Roberts-Nissen can oversee the organisation of extravagantly executed anniversary parties, birthday get-togethers or wedding celebrations and says her team will happily arrange for world-class wellness practitioners and yoga teachers to be flown to the resort for bespoke wellness programmes.
As you would expect, LOPUD 1483 is full of masterpieces, including Franco Maria Pretti painting that dates back to 1645.
2. Joali, Maldives
Joali – found on the remote Raa Atoll in the Maldives – is 45 minutes away from Male by seaplane and about as close to paradise as you get. Surrounded by uninhabited islands, Joali has 73 beach and over-water villas and residences that range from one to four bedrooms.
Those with deep pockets – and a lot of friends – can book the entire island from US$90,000 per night between until September 30, and US$185,000 per night between October 1 and November 30, 2020.
For guests 12 years and above, an all-inclusive full-board meal plan (including alcohol for adults) will cost an additional US$450 per night per guest.
3. Felicité Island, Seychelles
Home to Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Felicité Island is the perfect place to unwind. The private island, which can sleep up to 20 guests, boasts spectacular villas, some of which are nestled amongst the giant granite boulders.
Turquoise offers a week’s exclusive buy-out of the Six Senses Zil Pasyon from €330,000. This includes bespoke full-board dining, total privacy, full access to the island and resort facilities, and a host of experiences available once per week – blue water fishing, sunset cruise, guided snorkelling, sustainable marine educational evenings, an “Eat with Six Senses” chef’s table and a sunset tasting of Billecarte Salmon champagne and Provence rosé with the team.
4. JA Enchanted Island resort, Seychelles
Located in the middle of the Saint Anne Marine Park, the JA Enchanted Island Resort can host groups of 24 guests who want to have the lush, 20 sqkm island all to themselves. There are ten villas available, eight of which are 130 square metres and have their own private pool.
The ultra-luxury hideaway offers a variety of bespoke, private experiences including breakfast in bed, moonlight dinners and private barbecues with dedicated chefs. Buy-out rates start from €9,950 per night.
5. Little Palm Island, Florida
Located just off the coast of Key West, Little Palm Island is reportedly the only private island resort in the US.
The island can accommodate up to 60 people – although is limiting this to 30 during the pandemic – across a range of impressive suites, some of which come with their own outdoor copper soaking tubs and private beaches. Prices start from US$250,000 for three nights.
There is also an on-site event planner who can organise cooking classes, yoga sessions, beach BBQs, casino nights, and cigar rolling lessons.
6. Vommuli Island, Maldives
There are few more opulent buyouts than Vommuli Island, home to the St Regis Maldives. The 154-guest island costs US$250,000 per night to rent out – although those who do will have access to the Vommuli’s six restaurants and a fitness centre that offers anti-gravity yoga.
Of course, if it is your name on the booking then you may as well reserve the John Jacob Astor Estate for yourself – it’s the biggest overwater villa in the Maldives.
7. Thanda Island, Tanzania
Those looking for something a bit more intimate – and less expensive – may consider the US$25,000 per night Thanda Island in Tanzania, which can sleep ten adults and eight children.
It comes with its own marine biologist, who will take you out to see the whale sharks that patrol the waters nearby. Thanda sits in the Shunhimbili Marine Reserve where fishing is illegal – making the area a treasure trove of tropical fish. Perfect for scuba enthusiasts.
8. Kokomo Island, Fiji
In Fiji, the private island of Kokomo is can accommodate up to 140 guests across five luxury residencies and 21 beachfront villas. Guests have access to an array of activities such as waterfall hikes, shark diving and coral reef restoration with an on-site marine biologist – at the grand cost of US$150,000 per night.