It is sometimes hard to imagine that such places exist when you are caught up in the bustle of city life- but they do! Stretches of golden sugar-like sand, azure blue waters lapping at the shores and the peaceful sound of nothing at all. These are H&L’s picks of the top 12 private islands around the world to get your travel juices flowing.
Amanpulo – Pamalican Island, Philippines
For those of you who already know the Aman name, we are sure that you must be tingling a little inside at the thought of a private island under their name- we know we were! Amanpulo is a private island resort on Pamalican in The Philippines. Fringed by white sand beaches, turquoise waters and a coral reef, the entire island is dedicated to Amanpulo. Accessible only by private plane, tropical Pamalican Island is around an hour from Manila, yet feels a world away from anywhere.
The resort is a dream and comprises of 40 casitas on the beach, amongst the treetops or on the hillside overlooking the Sulu Sea and 11 beautiful villas. Inspired by traditional Philippine dwellings, they feature vaulted wooden ceilings, pebble-washed walls, coconut-shell tables and large Cebu marble bathrooms, along with private outdoor decks. There is also an Aman Spa, swimming pool, picnic grove, Pilates and yoga pavilions, nature walks, biking and watersports, but by far our favourite thing at Amanpulo are the turtles. Turtle hatching takes place from June to October, when endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles lay their eggs on Amanpulo’s beach at night.
A casita at Amanpulo starts from US$1,100 per night excluding tax and service but including breakfast. For more information please visit www.amanpulo.com
&Beyond Mnemba Island – Zanzibar
For couples looking for utter seclusion and serenity, in a location off-limits to everyone except a few guests and staff to cater to their every whim, andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge is the place to go for barefoot luxury. Three miles off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar, this private island is sophisticated yet totally relaxed. Its alluring ‘shoes-off’ ethos is combined with first class treatment, luxurious anonymity and just ten simple but top-notch bandas dotted amongst tropical forest pine and fringed by powder white sand. The calm seas surrounding the island offer irresistible snorkelling, kayaking, fly fishing, windsurfing, swimming and dhow cruises – all directly from the beach.
Accessible only by boat and part of an exclusive atoll which has been declared a marine conservation area, the destination is also home to some of Africa’s most magnificent dive sites. PADI certified guests can enjoy two complimentary dives a day and PADI courses are offered for non-licensed guests. So, fromcatching the first bonefish as the sun drifts towards the horizon, to enjoying an evening Mojito on the beach or watching the tiny turtle hatchlings, Mnemba Island ensures simple pleasures are turned into treasured memories.
Sleeps 20 guests. Rates at andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge from £900 per person per night, based on two sharing and including all meals and transfers. For more information please visit www.andBeyond.com
Enchanted Island – Sainte Anne Marine Park, Seychelles
Enchanted Island is a secluded five-star boutique hideaway set in the spectacular Sainte Anne Marine Park in the Seychelles. A short speed boat ride from Mahé, the island is a true tropical playground with pristine white sand and some of the world’s most colourful marine life just a few yards off shore.
The five-acre island is home to just ten villas – each with a walkway to the beach and its own infinity pool – accommodating up to 24 guests at a time and designed to reflect the unique heritage of the Seychelles archipelago. Four-poster beds, antique furniture and posters dating to the early 20th century are carefully combined with modern comforts and technology. French bathtubs, outdoor rain showers and round-the-clock butler service complete the exclusive luxury offering.
Enjoy contemporary international gourmet cuisine at Bounty restaurant, sip your favourite cocktail at Castaway Bar or dine in the privacy of your own villa on the white sandy beach. Guests can make the most of the vibrant wildlife and snorkel from the beach, explore by kayak, swim with turtles or go dolphin-spotting.
Rooms start from £724 per room per night. For more information please visit www.jaresorts.com
Isla Simca – Panama
Isla Simca offers seclusion like nowhere else – not only can guests rent their own private island, but a short kayak ride away, guests have access to 10,000 additional, private acres on Panama’s Pacific coast. Distant from all civilization, Isla Simca feels truly primordial. The 10,000 acres is now a playground for Isla Simca’s guests: empty seas and mangroves for kayaking, world-class fishing, scuba diving and jet skiing, 40 miles of mountain tracks for ATV riding and horseback riding and long trails for guided jungle walks. Situated at the island’s summit 1000 feet above the sea, is the main pavilion and three guest bedroom buildings.
While on the island, take advantage of some of the islands wild neighbours ; there are rare bird species, howler monkeys, friendly large iguanas and white-tailed deer. Whether you are enjoying the miles of trails on your all-terrain vehicle, taking an early morning guided jungle walk, or kayaking into the dense mangroves, you are bound to be treated to sightings of rare wildlife. With nature and adventure vying for guests’ attention, it may feel unnatural to “sit back” at Isla Simca. But for those so inclined, there are ample options – two swimming pools with their cabanas and wide decks, the observatory at the house’s peak and dozens of beaches.
Prices start from $140,000 per week with Avenue. For more information please visit avenueproperty.com
Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah – Baah Atoll
Having only opened in December 2016, this secluded five-acre oasis transcends the private island experience. “Entirely yours” from the moment of booking, the island’s seven bedrooms, Beach House, Dive Centre, Oceans of Consciousness Spa and 62-foot (18.9-metre) yacht extend the spoils of the Maldives’ only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to up to 22 guests on an exclusive basis.
Voavah days revolve around the double-storey Beach House and adjacent white sands, crystal waters and abundant reef. The Beach House hub offers an open-air living room, dining room, kitchen, pool deck, gym, library and loft lounge, while seven bedrooms span three separate locations: on the beach, over the lagoon or elevated in panoramic Mezzanine Suites.
Dining on the island is tailored to the mood of guests, from poolside to The Beach House dining room, at the water’s edge or on a sandbank, whilst the Oceans of Consciousness Spa offers bespoke over-water spa therapies and rituals; yoga, meditation and pranayama classes; high-end beauty treatments; and Rossano Ferretti hair consultant on call. The island also offers guests a 62-foot (18.9-metre) private yacht – Voavah Summer – invites exploration of a dazzling and undisturbed UNESCO territory. From diving with whale sharks to snorkelling with year-round manta rays, swimming with neighbourhood turtles, fishing for dinner, visiting local islands, surfing unknown breaks and cruising into breathtaking Baa Atoll sunsets, Voayah is the place to be.
For more information please visit www.fourseasons.com/maldivesvoavah/
Kaya Mawa, Likoma Island – Lake Malawi
To visit Likoma Island is to step back in time. Measuring just 17 square kilometres, the local people survive largely by fishing or on rice or cassava farming. The island has hundreds of huge baobab trees and a number of glorious sandy beaches and rocky coves. With a range of water sports from the gentle paddling of a kayak to learning to wake-board, Kaya Mawa has something to suit all ages and stages, and the excellent PADI dive school will teach beginners or escort experienced divers to the wondrous underwater world. Lake Malawi has an enormous diversity of fresh water fish, and the waters around Kaya Mawa are widely known to offer the very best diving in the whole of the lake. This small lodge is built on and around a rocky outcrop jutting into the lake with two beaches and the stunning views over the expanse of blue fresh water. Just 26 guests can be accommodated at any one time and each of the cottages has Ndomo House is set on a private beach 2 coves away from the hotel. This is a four bedroom private house equipped with its own chef, butler, nanny and speedboat. The house has a gorgeous private pool. This is the perfect set up for a group travelling together wanting total privacy and plenty of space.
Scott Dunn offer 7 nights at Kaya Mawa from £3,650 per person based on two people sharing a Standard Room on a full board basis and including flights, transfers and activities including mountain biking, sailing, snorkelling and paddle boarding. For more information please visit www.scottdunn.com
Cempedak Private Island – Indonesia
A unique private island for grown-ups. This tropical retreat is set to open in March 2017 and will feature twenty beautiful hand-crafted sustainable bamboo villas, architecturally designed to create the impression of being cocooned within a lush tropical paradise, looking out to the blue ocean. Each bamboo villa features a generous deck and plunge pool that welcomes the outside in. A spiral staircase leads up to a spacious bedroom with folding glass doors onto a balcony, the perfect private location for intimate sundowners overlooking the ocean. Cempedak Private Island will combine breath-taking eco-friendly design with soft white sand, gentle ocean breezes and sparkling azure waters, all just a few hours away from Singapore. Watch this space!
Rates start from £250 a night (SGD400) on a room-only basis. For more information please visit www.cempedak.com
Eustatia Island – British Virgin Islands
Available for private island rental from July 2016, Eustatia Island emerges from the clear turquoise waters of the British Virgin Islands as one of the world’s most beautiful islands. The lush, self-sustaining 35-acre island is an exclusive sanctuary for travellers seeking to explore and relax. Dotted across the island are four exclusive homes, offering a total of 11 bedrooms each of which are positioned to take advantage of the naturally refreshing sea breezes. The island thrives with year-round ambient water temperature, over 300 days of sunshine per year and fresh trade winds. An elite fleet of boats, vast, superior water equipment and personalized coaches will outfit you with everything needed for the greatest adventures on land and water.
The island is completely off-the-grid and self-sustaining with solar generated power, desalinized water production and a farm to table agriculture program. Also, using environmentally friendly methods, the Eustatia team has managed to eliminate 95% of the mosquitoes on island and is now helping the neighbouring islands do the same. Even the sunscreen is organic, but the Wi-Fi is fast!
Price on request. For more information please visit www.eustatia.com
Miavana – Madagascar
Opening in April 2017, this promises to be a game-changer for the African nation’s tourism industry — a super-luxury private island retreat that will allow it to rival the Seychelles and Maldives for the first time. Miavana, which will cater for a maximum of 44 guests, occupies Nosy Ankao, the largest of five islands in an archipelago off Madagascar’s north-east coast. Guests will arrive by helicopter and spend their time on “blue safaris” — snorkelling, scuba diving and turtle, whale and dolphin-watching as well as enjoying the spa.
Available through Aardvark Safaris from $2,500 (£1930) based on two sharing a one bedroom villa.
*Rates include conservation levy, all meals, accommodation, shared island activities listed below, selected premium wine, champagne, top shelf spirits and bar drinks, laundry and service charge. Activities include: guided lemur trekking (and boat transfers to the mainland adjacent), forest walks, scuba diving around Miavana and scuba diving lessons, snorkelling, cultural visit on Miavana, boat cruises, shore based fishing and half day fishing trips, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, kite surfing, bicycling and the use of one electric buggy per Villa.
For more information please visit www.aardvarksafaris.co.uk
Song Saa Private Island – Koh Rong, Cambodia
Located across two private isles in Cambodia’s lesser discovered Koh Rong Archipelago, Song Saa boasts 27 sustainably built villas where guests can enjoy blissful seclusion in a spot reminiscent of Thailand’s islands before its tourism boom. The first private island resort in the country, Song Saa offers guests access to an untouched paradise, ripe in lush rainforest, coral reefs and white sandy beaches. Each of the 27 villas promises a secluded sanctuary, where guests can enjoy spectacular sunrise and sunset views from their private pools or verandas. Accessible only by a 45 minute journey from the nearby Sihanoukville Port on board Song Saa’s luxury private speed boat, the resort truly is the perfect hideaway.
Highly individual in design, the resort is inspired by Cambodian fishing villages with features such as over-water buildings, thatch roofs, rough-hewn natural timbers and drift wood furnishings. Guests can spend lazy afternoons at the Song Saa Sanctuary, the home of soulful pampering and rejuvenation, or days out snorkelling or kayaking around the isolated islands. Romantic evenings can be spent at the Vista Restaurant & Lounge Bar, hovering above the beautifully turquoise ocean below.
For more information please visit songsaa.com/
Taprobane Island – Sri Lanka
Originally built in the 1920s by Count de Maunty-Talvande, Taprobane Island comprises two and a half acres of sheer tropical fantasy with nothing between it and the South Pole. With a neo palladian mansion as its focal point that once played host to kings, queens, presidents and aristocracy, Taprobane has a colourful history. Boasting five en-suite bathrooms, spacious living areas, verandas, tropical gardens and a stunning infinity pool, the villa on Taprobane Island also comes fully staffed making it the perfect island to take over exclusively. The thrilling way of reaching this stunning archipelago is by walking through the surf itself.
Ampersand Travel offer 7 nights at Taprobane Island from £4,888 per person based on two people sharing on a full board basis and including flights and transfers. For more information please visit www.ampersandtravel.com
Velaa Private Island – Maldives
Make a statement of a lifetime this Valentine’s Day at Velaa Private Island enthralled within the setting of your greatest romantic dream, entice your taste buds sharing smoked Duck Foie Gras or the aphrodisiac of Oysters under the glisten of the Milky Way, encapsulating everything you could possibly desire with your sweetheart. For bona fide barefoot luxury; wriggle your toes in soft Maldivian sand, warm water or on wood for an unforgettable evening of enchantment.
Redefining indulgence, Velaa Private Island is the island of dreams for all couples. Step on board a private yacht to your very own deserted island, dive and discover the rainbow under the ocean within a private submarine, lie back and unwind over the ocean immersed within the My Blend by Clarins Spa, or select a vintage label from the Maldives’ largest wine cellar; Velaa Private Island is the pinnacle of private islands for a romantic rendezvous, whether you are visiting over Valentine’s day or not.
This February Velaa Private Island invites couples to stay for four decadent nights of extravagance with their Valentines Exclusive Package. From £10,800 /$13,250 this exclusive package includes accommodation in a Beach Pool Villa, private limousine service, return seaplane transfers, champagne on arrival, a Valentines Moment Dinner on the 14th February and spa treatments. For more information please visit www.velaaprivateisland.com