Escape to Exclusivity: Our Guide to Private Island Vacations

July 10, 2024 by Hidden Doorways

High on the must-have list for every vacation is surely the idea of a complete escape. A break from the daily grind, a chance to reset and an opportunity to properly rest and recuperate. While many kinds of trips can offer the above, there’s surely nothing that can guarantee such a respite from life as that of a private island, which offer a genuine sense of privacy, intimate levels of service and access to some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. If your clients are looking for a real break from it all, look no further. 

Song Saa Private Island (Cambodia)

Spread over a pair of private islands in Cambodia’s Koh Rong archipelago, Song Saa welcomes guests to a world of luxury with a conscience. This eco-luxe escape is dotted with thatch and stone villas that enjoy jungle or ocean-side locations — each designed to feel incredibly secluded. Travel to the island can only be done by speedboat and the resort is dedicated to maintaining their status as Cambodia’s first marine-protected area. Alongside this, their environmental credentials include a dedicated team who work to protect the surrounding forest life, sourcing all restaurant produce locally and sustainably with a farm/ocean-to-table ethos and their own foundation that works to support the local communities. For those looking for adventure, a range of activities are available — from snorkeling and sea kayaking to a nature treasure hunt and an island safari. Relaxation is on offer in abundance too with yoga classes and a spa by the ocean, where treatments are carried out with natural products to revive and uplift. 

The Brando (French Polynesia) 

Once owned by Marlon Brando (hence the name) this slice of Polynesian paradise feels every inch as exclusive as the A-list crowd it draws. Here standalone villas each enjoy their own stretch of white sandy beach with crystal clear waters, hidden amongst trees for that extra bit of privacy — it’s easy to stay here and not see another soul. The Brando has gained a distinction for being the world’s first resort to be awarded with the LEED Platinum Certification (the U.S Green building’s highest accolade) — promising no harm to the environment that surrounds it (especially as it’s the only resort on the island). Staff are always on-hand to help — be it to offer a partner for a tennis game, to babysit little ones or simply offer a drink as guests enjoy the pool. For complete relaxation there is, of course, a spa too where massages are given with elegantly fragranced and locally sourced manoi oils.

Kokomo Private Island (Fiji)

Choose from boat, seaplane or helicopter to land in paradise at Kokomo Private Island in the south of Fiji. A mixture of secluded villas and grand residences for larger groups, where nature lovers can revel in a thriving coral reef with whales, turtles and parrot fish easy to spot from as far as guests’ private decks. An entire menu of activities is available — largely making the most of the crystal waters with diving, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding and even an ocean trampoline. Yoga, fitness and a spa — complete with a menu of healing treatments — allow guests to wind down after a day of adventure, with two restaurants and a pool club ready to replenish with fresh and sustainably sourced local produce.

Little Palm Island (Florida)

Just off the Florida Keys coastline sits Little Palm Island – a destination for those looking for an adults-only, secluded escape. Service here whistles to the tune of the Keys – laidback and casual creating an extra relaxed atmosphere where guests can settle into their thatched roof bungalow, each with its own deck that looks out onto the ocean, outdoor showers and copper bathtubs. Once a secret retreat for former president Harry Truman, the four-acre island was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017, but it made for a blank canvas for something far more luxurious to emerge. The finest seafood can be enjoyed in the main restaurant or brought to guests’ bungalows, depending on their appetite for socializing, and the spa menu includes Biologique Recherche facials and CBD treatments.

Gili Lakanfushi (Maldives)

When someone mentions escaping to paradise, the Maldives often comes to mind. Set on a small island in a large blue lagoon, is Gili Lakanfushi – one of the Maldives’ crown jewels. A short 20-minute boat ride from Male – the capital — this luxurious resort is easy to reach but feels far from the rest of the world. Here, the only rules are ‘No news and no shoes’ — a true dedication to relaxation in a setting fit for a postcard. Being surrounded by water, there are plenty of watersports on offer should guests feel inspired, but incredible marine life can be enjoyed from each overwater villa or one of the many connecting jetties. There are multiple dining options from a beachside restaurant and overwater bar, to plant-based dining in the organic garden as well as completely private dining options. If maintaining an exercise regimen is required, the fitness center is well-equipped alongside a spa and on-site Ayurvedic therapy designed to restore body, mind and spirit.

Musha Cay (The Bahamas)

An archipelago of 11 islands with 40 secluded beaches spread across 700 acres — owned by illusionist David Copperfield. Here, there are five luxurious homes that can accommodate a group of guests looking for an adventure of a lifetime. The only private archipelago available to rent in the entire world, Musha Cay is equipped with everything guests need — from a multitude of truly magical dining options (including in a secret village that’s accessed through a hidden statue in the jungle) and a world-class chef to personalized adventures that only a creative genius could conjure. 

Playa Grande Beach Club (Dominican Republic)

Not quite an entire private island, but a secluded location nonetheless — Playa Grande Beach Club is an easier-to-reach alternative to some of the further flung locations with tucked-away bungalows that bring that all important sense of privacy to a vacation. Set on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, this boutique resort was designed by New York-based interior designer Celerie Kemble as a preppy-meets-tropical escape that still retains a distinctly personal feel. Whether guests are in the mood to socialize at the beach club or simply retreat to their very own bungalow — it offers an exceptional escape from the daily grind in an untouched location rich in raw, natural beauty.

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