Possibly the most idyllic of all vacations is a private island getaway. There’s something about touching down on an exclusive little piece of paradise surrounded by turquoise waters that can’t be matched. Especially when that island is exclusively yours for the duration of your getaway.
For those planning a luxurious private island escape, the choices are pretty much limitless, with private island resorts dotted across the four corners of the globe. Here at Elite Traveler, we’ve shortlisted some of the best private island resorts in the world today, each offering its own unique brand of bliss.
Islas Secas, Panama
Not just one private island, but 14 make up the first destination on our list of the best private island resorts in the world. The Pacific archipelago makes up a hugely diverse marine ecosystem so guests can expect to be sharing the crystal clear waters with everything from turtles and dolphin pods to humpback whales.
A place to escape the everyday and get back to nature, the resort’s dedicated adventure concierge will create the ultimate itinerary for exploring this enchanting wilderness; from diving amidst the rich wonders of the Gulf of Chiriquí; to naturalist tours or surfing the break at the famous Morro Negrito. The accommodation comes in the form of luxurious private casitas with heavenly views and four-poster beds.
Just 24 guests at a time get to enjoy these pristine shores, and with 75% of the archipelago left undeveloped and a resort that is completely powered by natural energy, Islas Secas is a shining example of sustainable tourism.
Four Seasons Voavah, Maldives
There are over 160 island resorts stretched across the Maldives but there’s something special about the compact Four Seasons Voavah. The world’s very first exclusive-use private island resort in UNESCO ocean territory, the Four Seasons Voavah is only available to book privately, meaning you and up to 19 of your nearest and dearest can enjoy this spectacular Maldivian hideaway all to yourselves.
A 25-person team will be on hand around the clock to cater to your every need, including personal chefs to cook up an endless array of culinary delights. Guests will also be able to make use of the resort’s 62 ft yacht and partake in an array of watersports.
At the very heart of the island is the impeccable Beach House, a chic three-bedroom villa opening right onto the sand. Guests can also choose to stay in the equally stunning two-bedroom stilted villa or one of the mezzanine suites, each of which comes with its own private pool.
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
Probably the world’s most famous private island resort, our shortlist of the best private island resorts in the world wouldn’t be complete without Richard Branson’s Caribbean hideaway. Usually hired on an exclusive basis, up to 40 guests can kick back and relax – or throw an epic party – within 74 acres of private paradise.
The resort has recently reopened after an extensive refurbishment following the devastation of Hurricane Irma in 2017 and it’s more luxurious (and sustainable, thanks to the installation of three wind turbines and 1,200 solar panels,) than ever. The 12-bedroom Great House has seen a complete transformation and features a beautiful master suite occupying the upper level, complete with a private outdoor hot tub and sundeck. The Bali complex features an extended swimming pool, as well as private pools in each of the Bali Lo, Bali Buah and Bali Kukila villas.
There is a never-ending list of activities and experiences to keep guests occupied including tennis, kitesurfing or diving at nearby Anegada island, which has the third biggest barrier reef in the world.
Isola Delle Rose, Italy
Maybe an Italian city is not what immediately springs to mind when you envisage a private island getaway but Isola Delle Rose, one of more than 100 islands to make up the floating city of Venice, offers an alternative to the quintessential tropical island escape. A private boat will transport you from the famous Piazza San Marco to the serene island sanctuary, home to the magnificent JW Marriott Venice.
Villa Rose — a three-story villa with its own pool and 4,520 sq ft of manicured gardens — is the most exclusive retreat the private island resort has to offer. One of Elite Traveler’s Top Suites 2021, the property and its surrounds provide the perfect anecdote to Venice’s packed streets in the summer months.
North Island, Seychelles
Just 11 villas are peppered amongst the lush tropical canopy of Ile du Nord, making it one of the most exclusive (and discreet) locations on our shortlist of the best private island resorts in the world.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s honeymoon destination affords unparalleled luxury, tailored to each of its guests’ needs. Visitors can opt for a slower pace with beachside yoga, indulgent spa treatments and starlit picnics or up the ante with exhilarating adventures spent in the turquoise waters paddle boarding, scuba diving and fishing.
The food is equally as exciting with menus at the island’s picturesque dining venues designed by famed South Korean chef Akira Back of Michelin-starred Seoul eatery, Dosa.
Sustainability is king here, and the island has been transformed into a haven for endangered fauna and flora. Now well into its second decade, the Noah’s Ark rehabilitation program is restoring and protecting this natural paradise.
The Brando, French Polynesia
Marlon Brando bought the Tahitian atoll of Tetiaroa in 1966 after first falling in love with it while filming Mutiny on the Bounty. Today, the Polynesian hideaway is known as The Brando; an ultra-exclusive resort consisting of 35 sumptuous beach villas spanning a dozen islets.
Serving as a marine playground for guests (which have included some of the world’s most famous faces), this privacy seekers paradise 30 miles northeast of Tahiti is only accessible via the resort’s private plane which will pick you up from the French Polynesian capital, Papatee.
Surrounded by coral beds, the islets play host to a rainbow of flora and fauna including parrotfish, sea turtles and tropical birds. Marlon Brando was keen to ensure the preservation and protection of this unique biosphere, as well as its connection to Polynesian culture – and the island has remained true to the late actor’s wishes. Completely carbon neutral, the Brando is the first resort in the world to receive Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification and its ‘Ecostation’ facility serves as a base for education, conservation and environmental research.
Laucala Island, Fiji
The Fijian private island spans nearly 3,500 acres of unspoiled rainforest and golden sandy beaches. Organic farms and gardens are freckled throughout the island, growing fresh fruit and vegetables for the kitchens as well as aromatic flowers and spices to be used in the traditional Fijian therapies on offer at the spa.
Twenty-five villas, each with authentic thatched roofs and private infinity pools, are set amongst the coconut groves near the shore or perched upon Nawi Mountain at the center of the island.
Time on Laucala can be spent partaking in any manner of activities; from a round of golf on the 18 hole championship course to hitting the water onboard one of the Water Sports Centre fleet of 14 boats or diving with Hawksbill turtles.