Ultimate Private Islands in the Tropics

Hugh Thomas

There are those hotels around the world that offer maximum privacy, complete with their own infinity pools, terraces, dining rooms, or in some cases, wine cellars. But none of them can lay a finger on a little something that breaches that exclusive sphere called ‘ultimate luxury’. That little something is the world of private islands, and they’re as close as you might ever get to being prime authority in a world of your own.

Understandably, the tropics are in possession of a whole host of private islands for hire, and provide the sort of location that’s likely to top your list. With water as blue as Listerine, climates warm enough to sleep under the stars, and accommodation in the form of bijou tiki huts (a refreshing notion, not to have a lick of tarmac or a house brick in sight), they can often be the very embodiment of paradise.

In the Bahamas lies the tiny Little Whale Cay; a former pirate hunting ground in the days of Captain Blackbeard and Captain Kidd. Thankfully they’re both long gone, but rumour has it Captain Kidd’s treasure remains somewhere on the nearby island San Salvador. This little-known island is of good repute in the literary sphere as well as the luxury one – Robinson Crusoe’s author Daniel Defoe describing the location as the ‘most pleasant place in the world’.

vamizi island

Then there’s Vamizi Island, an unspoilt paradise off the coast of Mozambique, with seven kilometres of white-sand beaches and a plethora of 15th century relics both well conserved by the lodge. On top of that, the island hosts an agenda of things to do, including seeing humpback whales up close, coral reef snorkelling, and luxury ‘castaway’ picnics prepared by your personal chef.

Just downwater, off the coast of Seychelles, you’ll find Fregate Island, which reportedly set back Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge £3,300 a night for their honeymoon. Freigate is often considered the world’s best private resort, which is mostly down to its seven glorious beaches and its status as a sanctuary for rare and endangered species.

Little Whale Cay

Venturing over to Fiji, which is popular thanks to the year-round tropical climate, is an island slightly more in touch with civilisation. The fact that Vomo Island is not remote enough to get you out of WiFi range might, to some, be deemed a disadvantage. The island has its own 9-hole golf course, but the highlight of the experience may be the private picnic, whereby staff whisk you off in a boat to a tiny and very deserted island with little else but chilled drinks, food and a two-way radio.

Just in case you thought you wouldn’t find an island smaller than that lot, take a look at Royal Davui Island, also in Fiji. The island is essentially an unadulterated, adults-only romantic retreat. Though the private island has much in the way of impressive interiors, tropical bars, and plush hotel rooms, you’ll want to spend most of the time outside. With an outdoor Pool Suite that has panoramic views of the surroundings, you’ll have no trouble deciding where to eat dinner every night.

The eternity pool and cabana at Little Whale Cay

If we’ve only managed to tantalise, and the above doesn’t provide quite enough inspiration for you, see Condé Nasts’ extensive list of private islands around the world.


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