10 Private Island Resorts for Vacationing Without the Crowds
Hot off the press from the salty seas
You may not have a Hollywood star with your name on it, but you can vacation like one! Just head to one of these private island resorts.
For a vacation off-limits to everyone but the staff and a few other guests, a private island resort is the way to go. It’s the chance to experience the life of luxury like a 21st-century castaway. The seclusion, peace and top-to-bottom indulgence are incomparable to say the least. Below, discover 10 of the best private island resorts – some of which have caught the eyes of A-list celebs.
1. Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
Sir Richard Branson’s 74-acre private island is just about as secluded as it gets. Typically, the high-profile Caribbean island is hired exclusively for large groups of up to 30 guests. However, during select weeks throughout the year, individual rooms are available to book. Like one would expect from a Virgin Limited Edition property, the resort touts some of the most outrageous amenities. These include a rooftop jacuzzi, a 1,500 square foot master suite and a zip line that connects from the main house to the beach. In the end though, it’s all about Necker Island’s azure waters, coral reefs and sandy beaches.
2. Laucala Island, Fiji
Only accessible by private plane, Laucala Island is one of most opulent private island resorts in the world. The 25 Fijian-styled villas are widely spread out along the northern tip of the island. Impeccably furnished bedrooms and living areas open to an infinity-edge pool. The scenery is otherworldly with views that unite rainforest-laced landscapes and dazzling white beaches. Among the activities are golfing on the 18-hole championship course, watersports, diving, horse riding and island tours. Lastly, the service is as superb as the island’s setting with a staggering 350 staff members.
3. Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
Being the first completely overwater villa resort in the Maldives, Gili Lankanfushi offers what I call the best ‘walking on water’ experience. The private island boasts powdery-white sand and warm, crystal clear lagoons. Jetties thread across the tide leading to multilevel overwater bungalows, while the more exclusive villas are only reachable by boat. You can even have your bed set up on your roof terrace and sleep under the twinkling stars. The atmosphere is casual, the food is amazing and the views are blue and blissful. Additionally, nothing is too much trouble for your personal butler, Mr. Friday.
4. The Brando, French Polynesia
The Brando is one of those private islands resorts fit for a Hollywood film star. In fact, Marlon Brando’s family owns the island and Leonardo Dicaprio is a frequent guest. The eco-resort is located on Tetiaroa, a private atoll made up of 12 small islands that surround a lagoon. To get here, guests fly by private plane from the main island of Tahiti. Each of the 35 luxury villas has its own private beach area and plunge pool. To the nature lover’s delight, sea turtles, manta rays and exotic birds are frequent visitors. Moreover, the beautiful spa is in the shape of a bird’s nest and offers holistic treatments in a unique setting.
5. Fregate Island, Seychelles
Part tropical paradise, part wild isle, Fregrate Island is like a mini Galapagos in the Seychelles for the few to discover. Rooms can be booked individually or the entire island is available to rent. With only 16 villas and one presidential villa, this is most certainly the epitome of a first class hideaway. Not to mention the 7 dream beaches that surround the secluded island. Dining “whenever, wherever” is a real thing. So, why not enjoy breakfast in a treehouse set up just for you? Explore the island trails by foot, bike or golf cart. Furthermore, take advantage of the private inland harbor and yacht club with a PADI Dive Center.
6. &Beyond Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
How could a property once rented out by Bill Gates not be listed as one of the best private island resorts? &Beyond Mnemba Island, located off the northeast coast of Zanzibar, is everyone’s happy island hideaway. With only 12 beachside bandas, it’s easy to feel like you are the only ones around. Yet, a mojito is only a wave of the hand away, thanks to your private butler. Underwater enthusiasts can take advantage of the island’s PADI dive school, which offers daily snorkeling and scuba diving excursions. No matter how you spend your days in paradise, be sure to set sail on a sundowner dhow cruise.
7. Lizard Island, Australia
Australia’s coast is rich in private island resorts, but Lizard Island is the only one with direct access to the Great Barrier Reef. Guests can literally snorkel and experience the most diverse marine life by simply stepping off the beach. Speaking of beaches, there are 24 of them! And with only 40 suites and villas altogether, that means a private beach for every guest, couple or group. The rooms are stylish, but it is the location and wild beneath the waves that makes Lizard Island like nowhere else. The Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Site and Natural Wonder of the World is completely yours.
8. Turtle Island, Fiji
Experience pure indulgence at Fiji’s Turtle Island where guests are greeted by singing staff and a glass of bubbly. This all-inclusive island resort is home to only 14 couples at a time. The panoramic views of the world-famous Blue Lagoon can be seen from your Fijian villa. A personal ‘Bure Mama’ will care for you during your stay, should you need a refill or activity planned. With 500 acres of pure bliss and a slew of private beaches, Turtle Island is the ultimate adult playground. Snorkel, kayak and swim by day and end the evening with a romantic floating dinner on the resort’s pontoon deck.
9. Aman Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, the Aman Sveti Stefan is a tiny islet on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro. The charming seaside hideaway pairs cobbled lanes, shaded courtyards and 15th century red-tiled roofs with 3 pink-sand beaches. Each of the cottage dwellings are individually styled to preserve the historic features while providing all the modern luxuries. The beautiful Adriatic Sea offers new discoveries around every bend. Chartering a boat to secluded bays and picnic spots is a fun way to explore one of Europe’s most beautiful coastlines.
10. Sindabezi Island, Zambia
Uniquely located on its own private isle in the Zambezi River, Sindabezi Island is the discerning traveler’s best kept secret. Of all the private island resorts in the world, this one fascinates me the most! Wandering hippos and elephants pass through during the dry season. Because you’re in animal territory, there’s no swimming allowed. BUT, you can visit the majestic Victoria Falls during your stay. With only 5 open-sided chalets on the island, guests get to proclaim Sindabezi as their own personal retreat. The best part is the outdoor bathtub overlooking the Zambezi.