Lost at sea: the best private islands available for hire or purchase
If an ultra-exclusive, secluded holiday seems like a far- off dream, never fear: an idyllic island paradise may be closer than you think
Endless stretches of white sand. Palm trees swaying in the tropical breeze. Cotton hammocks casting freckled shadows on the surface of an infinity pool. And an entire island to yourself.If it seems like something you’d be more likely to see on a social media post playing fast and loose with reality, think again.
With Covid-19 restrictions finally lifting after two years of chaos, renting a perfect island paradise to yourself –and for your friends and family – is the ideal way to discover new destinations and truly unwind in extraordinary style. Here, Tempus takes a look at the best luxury islands for your dream getaway.
ORPHEUS ISLAND, AUSTRALIA
Perched halfway between the Queensland coast and the Great Barrier reef, Orpheus Island has made a name for itself as an exclusive hideaway for the rich and famous. The island, which consists of a large national park punctuated by a series of 14 boutique bungalows, has served as the destination of choice for celebrities from Thor actor Chris Hemsworth to Sir Elton John, and for good reason; this resort is infinity pools, ultra-chic interior design and lush wildlife as far as the eye can see.
If hired for private use, the island comfortably sleeps 28 guests who will be treated to gourmet meals, drinks and curated activities including snorkelling and fishing, plus treatments in the Gwandalan Spa – bliss.
The vast majority of the Mediterranean’s privately owned islands are off limits to outsiders; setting foot on them remains an unattainable feat. But the owners of Tagomago, situated just one mile from the eastern coast of the party island Ibiza, have bucked this trend by making their entire island available for hire.
Tagomago’s landscape is defined by dry, rugged scrubland, the centre of which is dominated by a stylish luxury villa complete with five double suites and an outdoor pool. As the sun dips below the horizon, guests can head to the resort’s multiple terraces for stunning views of Ibiza rising from the waves of the Balearic Sea; its angular peaks fading into the early evening haze.
NECKER ISLAND, THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
The Caribbean is inextricably linked with private island ownership, and what feature on private islands for hire would be complete without a mention of Sir Richard Branson’s famous Necker Island home? This 70-acre stretch of land in the far east of the British Virgin Islands archipelago was purchased by the Virgin Group founder in 1978 at an extraordinary 97% discount.
Now, travellers can opt to rent the entire island, which sleeps 40 guests in 20 bedrooms in the Great House and the island’s nine Balinese-style private villas: Leha Lo, Bali Hi, Bali Beach, Bali Cliff, Bali Lo, Bali Buah, Bali Kukila, Temple Master and Temple Sunrise. Guests also have access to a dedicated team of staff, two freshwater infinity pools, a beachside hot tub, two floodlit tennis courts, watersport equipment and, of course, everything you need for a truly legendary beach party. »
CALIVIGNY ISLAND, GRENADA
If renting a private island is a means to escape the crowd, Grenada is taking this mantra a step further. As one of the Caribbean’s less touristic nations, Grenada is sorely overlooked by many European holidaymakers, remaining under the radar for decades despite its abundance of superb gastronomy, cultural prowess and historical significance.
Calivigny Island, consisting of 80 acres of dense jungle and pristine white sand beaches, sits just off the southern tip of the country’s mainland, and while many may be drawn to the outdoor pools, swim-up bar, fitness centre and football field, the real centrepiece is the astonishing 4,000sq ft master suite. This remarkable feat of interior design is embellished with beautiful French cherrywood, while its jacuzzi room features marble floors and handcrafted sculptures for a touch of old-world European extravagance.
THE NAUTILUS, MALDIVES
In a country known for its wealth of private island resorts, it takes something special to stand out from the pack – and The Nautilus is a cut above. Guests can purchase exclusive use of the entire island, located in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, which includes fully staffed accommodation, indulgent breakfasts and a number of additional benefits. The true ace up The Nautilus’s sleeve, however, is its transfer scheme.
The resort has partnered with private jet firm Dominvs Aviation to provide what is essentially an entirely bespoke journey to the island. A jet will depart at the guests’ convenience from a secure private terminal at what the firm rather discreetly refers to as “one of London’s business airports” and will bypass the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport, instead landing directly on the Noonu Atoll from where a private yacht will whisk guests to their secluded island getaway.