Hide away in your own overwater bungalow in the Maldives. Indulge in the elegance of a celebrity-owned villa in the Caribbean. Or reconnect with nature on a jungle island off Madagascar.... There’s an island for any traveler’s dream. And from the ultimate birthday blowout to a multi-gen reunion or a couple’s retreat, a private island resort getaway fits the bill for nearly every occasion. Read on for our picks of the best private island resorts the world over.
Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a trip to some of our favorite private islands around the globe. Our team can help match you to the island destinations that are right for you and answer questions about logistics, transportation and more.
Amidst the crystalline seas of northern Palawan, surrounded by the largely uninhabited islands of the Cuyo Archipelago, the private Pamalican island is home to the simple but sensual Amanpulo. Bought by the Soriano family in the 1970s, Amanpulo draws visitors in with the promise of seclusion and white sand beaches. It is not unusual to barely see another guest here, and the full-time chef and butler staffed at the villas only further guarantee an escapist experience. Guests also have the opportunity to witness the hatching of Hawksbill turtles or helicopter to a nearby pearl farm and learn the art of harvesting the precious gemstone.
Picture two islands connected by a curving footbridge: one island is lined with quaint overwater villas, and one is awash with greenery, alive with the chorus of birds singing and critters rustling through the leaves. Welcome to Song Saa in Cambodia, a mellow retreat filled with the dulcet sounds of island life. While all the typical water sports are ripe for the picking, the most singular experience you’ll find here is a guided hike through the second island Koh Rong, where you’ll pass through fishing villages and jungle trails before enjoying a picnic on the beach and a snorkel in the clean waters.
Not many have the chance to stay at the most expensive hotel in the world. But for those who can, it’s Banwa Private Island, a far-flung tropical getaway in the Philippines, where you can take yourself and 47 guests for $100,000 a night. This high price tag gets you access to six stylish beachfront villas with private infinity pools, 12 inland garden rooms, fine dining from the open kitchen (expect wagyu beef and top shelf liquor), a nine-hole golf course, a marine sports center and access to the mangrove forests of the Barbacan River from one of the resort’s four boats.
Hop straight from your plane onto a lavish yacht to set off to One & Only Reethi Rah. With an excellent kid’s club, over-the-top attentive service and a plethora of activities, (tubing, parasailing, scouting the islands by seaplane and more) families can rest easy knowing their kids—of any age—will be well entertained. Of course, there’s also the option to spend the entire day lounging at your beachside or overwater villa admiring the marriage of peace and energy in the Maldives. Come evening, enjoy sundowners complemented by Middle Eastern cuisine before dancing all night at the Rah Bar or simply enjoying the stars.
Distinctly European in feel, the second hotel property from the LVMH Group is artfully designed by Jean-Michel Gathy (who’s also behind One & Only Reethi Rah). The Belgian architect and designer gave Cheval Blanc’s 45 maisons a fashionable loft-on-the-beach feel. Particularly popular with families, there are linens, furniture and drink menus designed specifically for kids, as well as a newly upgraded kids' club and a Surf Simulator. The island hosts the usual water pursuits, including dolphin cruises and yacht trips and is home to a state-of-the-art boutique and a luxurious spa. The resort’s “experience alchemists” are pros at tailoring your Maldivian vacation to you, crafting an ideal itinerary for every stay.
Sink your toes deep in the sand at Soneva Fushi, which opened in 1995, and was the first resort to embody that luxe, Robinson Crusoe look that has become so popular on private islands the world over. Shoes are collected upon arrival, allowing you to fully embrace barefoot luxury, and accommodations include overwater villas and cozy bungalows tucked along the coastline, split between the sunset and sunrise side of the island. Highlights include the Flying Sauces zipline dining experience, the astronomical dinner cruise and the outdoor movie theater, where you can watch your favorite classics accompanied by the sound of gently lapping waves.
What’s better than one island? How about six. Indonesia’s Bawah Reserve, in the South China Sea between the Malay Peninsula and Borneo, encompasses six islands, 13 beaches, three lagoons and a protected marine conservation area. At this all-inclusive escape, you’ll find the only resort in Asia that includes complimentary spa treatments, plus impressive culinary offerings, from an Asian fusion restaurant perched in the canopy to the “local heritage” breakfast set featuring delicious Indonesian classics. On Our Radar: In 2022, a second private island will be opening in Bawah Reserve called Elang Private Residence, comprising a spa, three dining options and six cliffside lodges, which can accommodate between 14 and 20 guests. Elang is available for buyout.
Encircled by the Great Astrolabe Reef (the fourth largest reef in the world), Kokomo Private Island is a haven for avid or aspiring divers. No jet skis are permitted here, allowing guests to enjoy the white sand beaches and vibrant marine life in the quiet. But aside from the world class marine experience, what sets Kokomo apart is its style. The interiors of the 21 villas are reminiscent of the chic, breezy, ocean-inspired décor found on Cape Cod and Nantucket while the exteriors retain a distinctly Fijian feel.
Indulge in the best of Polynesian and Tahitian culture at the late Marlon Brando’s luxurious and sustainable private island. This resort is all-inclusive, from the top shelf alcohol and fresh East/West fusion cuisine to the spa treatments and three-hour adventure cruise (which includes a swim at a shark nursery). Whether you’re delighting in demonstrations of Tahitian cuisine and taking Polynesian dance lessons or learning about the scientific research conducted on the island’s ecosystems, a vacation at the Brando is sure to leave you not only rejuvenated, but enriched.
On Lizard island, quite literally on top of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the new Seven Wonders of the Natural World is at your fingertips. Explore the area’s vibrant marine life in one of the places most endangered by the ocean’s rising temperatures. Here, you have the chance to disconnect from the world (there is no cell service) and reconnect with nature and your fellow travelers—be they family or friends—as you enjoy tiki-lit beach dinners, sea views from your villa, glass bottom sea kayaking and, of course, the beauty of the reef.
Thatch-roofed houses hovering over a lagoon, clifftop bungalows linked with wooden bridges, quaint cottages tucked amidst tropical plant life… the residences on Laucala Island are straight out of a Fijian fairy tale. The charm of this private island resort in Fiji lies in its commitment to creating a South Pacific-sexy, yet authentic experience, including a replica Fijian village, complete with a dance ground temple. Days and nights here can be spent relaxing by the water or chockful of activities, like underwater scootering, kite surfing, sailing, wreck diving and night fishing.
Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a trip to some of our favorite private islands. Our team can help match you to the island destinations that are right for you and answer questions about logistics, transportation and more.
Pampering relaxation and understated elegance abound at this celebrity favorite in Turks & Caicos. The spacious freestanding beach houses and light-filled private villas (some of which are owned by the likes of Donna Karan) are set back along the white-sand beach that rings the island and offer the ultimate private experience. With daily yoga, Asian-inspired treatments at the spa (a guest favorite), Caribbean-fresh meals from the island’s two restaurants and paddle board cruises through the island’s mangroves, COMO Parrot Cay is high on our list for a glam Caribbean escape
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Your castaway dreams come true at Little Palm Island, a secluded gem on Little Torch Key. Upon arrival at the shore station, you’ll be greeted with the signature welcome drink, a mouthwatering tropical medley topped with shredded coconut marinated in rum. This pampering private island oasis is beloved by couples, and is home to 30 ocean-facing beach bungalows spread throughout tropical gardens. Days can be spent sunning by the pool, indulging in the luxurious spa or adventuring across the island, where activities include boating, scuba diving and eco tours in the Great White Heron Wildlife Refuge.
The ultimate takeover property, Necker Island is the exclusive private estate of billionaire Richard Branson, known for its over-the-top luxury (thanks in no small part to a staff of 100) and joie de vivre—and for its plethora of sustainability-focused initiatives such as recycled plastic docks. Activities include kiteboarding and tennis, catamaran cruises and exotic wildlife-viewing (look out for flamingos and ring-tailed lemurs), and boredom seems a foreign concept here. Necker’s little sister, Moskito Island, houses two of Richard Branson’s newest estates in the BVI, and opened to guests in the fall of 2021. Each estate comes with private chefs and infinity pools with panoramic views over the cerulean waters.
Have a Caribbean private island experience without ever leaving the U.S. at Lovango Cay. With the choice of a luxury treehouse, a three-bedroom villa, or a glamping tent, plus the option to spend three or four days on a private catamaran, no two vacations need be exactly the same at this new resort. It’s just a short boat ride from the Virgin Islands National Park in St. John or the bustle of St. Thomas, making day trips easy. But the island itself has plenty to offer as well, including a popular, relaxed beach club that brings a little St. Barth’s glamor to the U.S.Virgin Islands. Another highlight of this getaway is the charming Lovango Village, a cluster of fashionable fashion boutiques with a bookstore to purchase your perfect beach read and three waterfront restaurants.
From the same hotel collection as Le Bristol in Paris and Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the French Riviera, Jumby Bay is an island resort known for its sense of community and all-inclusive experience. Traverse the island by golf cart (no cars allowed) and relish the sparsely populated beaches, the delicious (and included) meals and the complimentary activities. Families and big groups of travelers love the option of the thoughtfully designed private estate homes, which are carefully matched to the right guests and come with their own staff. And don’t miss the nighttime beach walks with the island’s renowned Hawksbill Turtle Project.
Dubbed a “reserve and lodge,” Islas Secas is a winning marriage of luxury and sustainability, owned by conservationist and philanthropist Louis Bacon (of Taos Ski Valley). With only 14 private villas, the preservation-focused island provides an ultra-private experience not unlike a nautical safari. Guided activities include snorkeling, scuba and fishing, plus jungle walks and a marine safari excursion. It takes patience to reach this remote island escape but the flourishing wildlife and ultimate seclusion make it worth the effort.
Find your home away from home at Sweet Bocas, where the vibrant colors of tropical fish zipping beneath the surface is only part of the magic of this multi-level villa hovering atop a crystal clear lagoon. The property is a culmination of sustainability, community and style, with an undeniably homey atmosphere brought out by the owner’s eye for design. While the lush tropical gardens and the ability to snorkel from your front deck are certainly highlights, it is the creative meals, prepared with fresh produce and seafood, that are the real showstoppers. The dinner setting? Up to you: Guests can opt to dine and drink in an overgrown pergola, a floating all-white pontoon or an open-air Moroccan-themed casbah.
Once an escape for pirates, this largest island off the coast of Madagascar is now a playground for lemurs, manta rays, chameleons… and travelers seeking chic, open-air villas at a resort infused with an adventurer’s spirit. Miavana's 14 villas each occupy a prime beachfront position and even the most basic is spacious enough to fit a family of four—although with the lure of the turquoise waters and reefs, the Cabinet of Curiosities museum showcasing artifacts and shipwreck salvage and the opportunity to engage with Madagascar’s endangered wildlife through the conservation programs, there is more than enough to entertain out on the island.
This private wildlife sanctuary is a dream for nature lovers and conservationists. Frégate Island is home to more than 100 species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, making it an incredible opportunity to see such rare flora and fauna. And when you’re not joining in sustainability efforts like turtle hatching, coral preservation and tracking endangered species, you can spend the day sunning and snorkeling at one of six deserted beaches or luxuriating in the mashed papaya massages at the cliff top spa. Note: Fregate Island is closed for renovations until 2025.
Imagine thatched-roof villas on stilts primed to catch the breeze, beach picnics at sunset and showering under the stars. That is the kind of barefoot luxury you’ll find at North Island. Whether you’re honeymooners or on your family vacation, the activities are sure to please, from snorkeling among the vibrant marine life and scuba diving through shipwrecks to learning about the island’s wildlife and embarking on guided walks filled with stories and myths about the island’s past.
Have the glittering waters of the Indian Ocean to yourself on this 20-acre private island resort off the coast of Tanzania. With only one five-bedroom villa, Thanda Island is a dream for multi-gen trips or large groups of travelers looking for an ultra-private experience or a luxurious, beachy end to their Tanzania safari. And for the foodie-focused, dining here is a treat, from the kid-favorite pizza-making night to an authentic Swahili feast. Thanda also offers easy access to the rich history of the surrounding islands, including the legendary spice island Zanzibar and Mafia Islands’ 11th-century ruins.
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