Picturesque, surreptitious and unique, the private-island experience is the perfect escapism from the rigours of daily life. Picture a secluded strip of sand where you can relax and gaze at the serene sea, cut off from the outside world of high buzz and connectivity.
And if you’re in the market to make permanent the experience of being isolated by water, take a look at our guide on how to buy a private island. Otherwise, find your own transient Shangri-La in this list of top 10 idyllic island hotels where sunny vacations are assured to be exclusive and exceptional in service and style.
Enchanted Island Resort, Seychelles
On Round Island, a 15-minute boat ride away from Seychelles’ largest island of Mahé, sits the 10-villa-only Enchanted Island Resort. With a maximum occupancy of 24 guests at a time, the five-star boutique hideaway is a reserved tropical playground. Each villa comes with a walkway to the beach and its own infinity pool. French bathtubs, outdoor rain showers, antique furniture and four-poster beds are among the traditional touches combined with modern comforts and technology.
Exclusive stays of up to 24 guests start at US$9,400 per night. For more information, please click here.
Cempedak Private Island, Indonesia
Nestled in Indonesian waters, approximately two hours from Singapore via Bintan Island, Cempedak Island will feature 20 hand-crafted villas. This will be the second private island resort owned and developed by banker-turned-hotelier Andrew Dixon of Nikoi Island, which lies 30 minutes away from Cempedak. The barefoot luxury and bamboo-only lodgings will be an interesting display of eco-friendly textured design, juxtaposed with soft sand and gentle waters. The private retreat is set to open in March 2017.
Rates start from US$280 per night on a room-only basis. For more information, please click here.
The entire island of Pamalican is dedicated to Amanpulo. About an hour’s flight away from Manila, you’ll be greeted with the standard five-star Aman service, as well as powder-white beaches and crystal-clear seas. Amanpulo’s 42 casitas and 16 villas are set along the shoreline and hillside, each with an electric buggy to explore the island, its hilltop Aman Spa and numerous dining venues. You can also snorkel or learn how to dive with the resort’s PADI centre.
Rates start from US$1,800 per night on a room-only basis. For more information, please click here.
Six Senses Krabey Island, Cambodia
Six Senses Hotels Resorts & Spas’ debut into Cambodia marks a new wave of luxury offerings in the country. Set on a 30-acre island off the country’s south coast, Six Senses Krabey Island comprises 40 villas, all with a private plunge pool. The island’s spa will feature several ancient Cambodian healing traditions and multi-day rejuvenation journeys, detox, yoga and workshops. The true isolation also allows for a blanket of starlight to illuminate a poolside outdoor cinema.
Six Senses Krabey Island is due for completion in 2017. For more information, please click here.
Cayo Espanto Private Island Resort, Belize
Cayo Espanto is one of the best untouched hideaway islands of the Caribbean with six secluded beachfront cottages and an overwater bungalow. Ten minutes by speedboat from the country’s biggest island, Ambergris Caye, the four-acre private island vacation destination is known to grant every wish or whim of guests. The island’s location allows many to feel like they are miles away from civilisation, but it is close enough to the mainland that guests can go in for day trips and explore the ancient Mayan ruins.
Exclusive stays of up to 18 guests start at US$13,500 per night. For more information, please click here.
andBeyond Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
Off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar, andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge includes just 10 top-notch beachside bandas, or bungalows. Each banda is decorated in natural fabrics and features a palm-frond roof, a shaded veranda and a stone shower. They are dotted among tropical forest pine and fringed by powder white sand just steps away. Freshly caught seafood is the delicacy of the island. House reef can also be reached without a boat, ideal for a leisurely snorkel.
Rates start from an all-inclusive US$1,100 per person, per night, based on twin sharing. For more information, please click here.
Eustatia Island, British Virgin Islands
Eustatia Island emerges from the clear turquoise waters of the British Virgin Islands. The lush 35-acre island is an exclusive sanctuary, housing only four homes with a total of 11 bedrooms each. It is completely off the grid and self-sustaining with solar-generated power, desalinised water production and a farm-to-table agriculture programme. The Eustatia team has managed to eliminate 95 percent of the mosquitoes on island.
Price on request. For more information, please click here.
Dolphin Island, Fiji
Dolphin Island is 14 acres of tropical and traditional fantasy where four palm-thatched bures (the Fijian word for a wood-and-straw hut) accommodate only up to eight guests. The exclusive-use-only boutique island resort is located north of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu. Seaward, aquatic adventures abound, including snorkelling, diving, sailing, kayaking and fishing with selected operators whose local knowledge is invaluable. However, a very short hike within the island takes you to the divine Hilltop Sleep-out Bure, a pinnacle of luxury accommodation with its woven ceiling opening to the sea breeze and the stars.
Exclusive stays of up to eight guests start at US$6,400 per night. For more information, please click here.
Vahine Island, French Polynesia
In the heart of a blue lagoon, a stone’s throw away from French Polynesia’s vanilla-producing main island Tahaa, lies Motu Tu Vahine, which translates to ‘Island of the Woman’ in Tahitian. The 23-acre private-islet hotel has just nine beachfront and overwater bungalows. There is an aquarium table in the water bungalows to watch and feed the abundant wildlife below, while the beachfront lodges have a lazy hammock on their spacious decks with dreamy views of the lagoon and nearby Bora Bora.
Rates start from US$1,180 per night, based on twin sharing. For more information, please click here.
Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives
While the Maldives is home to a copious amount of private island resorts, the Indian Ocean archipelago lacks ultimate overnight seclusions. So, if you don’t want to see another honeymooning couple during your sojourn, the Owner’s Villa at Cheval Blanc Randheli is set on its own private isle the size of a football field — accessible only by five-minute boat ride from the already far-flung LVMH resort’s main berth. The four-bedroom retreat has a reception space adjacent to a 25m-long swimming pool, while the best sea views are from the master suite sprawled on the upper floor.
Price on request. For more information, please click here.