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The Best Private Islands Available to Charter
Thinking about where to escape to once lockdown lifts? Take a look at our wanderlust-inducing round up of luxury private islands for charter that we'd love to retreat to.
The Nautilus, Maldives
If you're hoping to celebrate a special birthday or destination wedding in complete privacy, head to The Nautilus resort on the totally isolated Maldivian island of Thiladhoo. Located in an eastern corner of the pristine Baa Atoll, The Nautilus is fringed by swaying palms and white-sand beaches, and has a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on its doorstep. Expect rustic-style over-water bungalows, four indulgent restaurants providing a diverse range of cuisines, and days spent swimming with whale sharks and manta rays during diving trips with the on-site marine biologist. The spa can organise bespoke wellness programmes for each guest and a private butler will ensure that your every need is met.
The Nautilus offers two exclusive buyout options: a group of up to 62 can book all 26 houses and residences, while smaller groups of up to 30 can chose to take over just 14 houses - but the island and all of its facilities will still be exclusively available to your party.
Buyout price: POA
How to get there: Just a 30-minute flight by sea plane will bring you from Malé International Airport to The Nautilus.
Time + Tide Miavana
Intrepid travellers hoping to get off the grid should head to the idyllic isle of Nosy Ankao, situated just off the coast of Madagascar. Home to the remotely located hotel Time + Tide Miavana, up to 40 guests can enjoy the islet and its 14 luxury villas (each one complete with a private plunge pool) all to themselves.
An eco resort that seamlessly blends into its surroundings, each villa at Time + Tide Miavana features semi-open architecture to welcome in the ocean breeze while rattan and seashell finishes fully embrace the island aesthetic. Guests will wake up to the sights and sounds of the Indian Ocean from their beach-facing accommodations, complemented by the calls of native lemurs which roam the island at will. From sunrise yoga to dolphin and whale watching, there's plenty of activities for guests to enjoy during their exclusive stay, and it's worth noting that the retreat is also an ideal base for those hoping to experience an African safari by land, air or sea - just ask for an itinerary to be put together for you.
Buyout price: A group of up to 40 guests can buy out the island in its entirety for a minimum stay of 7 nights at a price of £534,900, when booked through carrier.co.uk.
How to get there: Just a 30 minute helicopter ride will transport guests from Antsiranana Airport to the island of Nosy Ankao.
Encompassed by luminous white sands and sheer granite peaks, North Island offers 11 luxurious villas for an exclusive takeover. The island boasts a star-studded guest list including George and Amal Clooney and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as its own fleet of yachts for exploring the surrounding waters.
This slice of paradise in the Seychelles is ideal for travellers who want to prioritise sustainability without forfeiting five-star service. For over a decade North Island has been actively protecting the natural flora and fauna, meaning that species such as turtles, tortoises and tropical birds can flourish there. Alongside enjoying the Island's natural beauty, guests can spend their day scuba diving amidst colourful corals or receiving custom-tailored treatments at the island's sea-facing spa.
Buyout price: Bookings for North Island can be made through private members travel club Little Emperors, which offers a special buyout package including full board and selected activities starting at €185,000 for a minimum stay of three nights.
How to get there: A scenic helicopter ride will transfer visitors from Mahé International Airport to North Island in less than 20 minutes.
Banwa Private Island
After a 10 year development, Banwa opened its shores in early 2019. Available only for exclusive use, the six-hectare island can host your nearest and dearest in a mixture of contemporary beachfront villas and garden residences, complete with private infinity pools and hot tub decks. Tailored service is the order of the day – from private Pilates to personalised meals using produce grown on the island’s own organic farm – but it’s Banwa’s natural beauty that makes it stand out.
Sitting within the marine protected area of Palawan archipelago, which is famed for its pristine habitats, the island’s perfect white sand beaches offer sea views across distant verdant mountains. Divers, swimmers and snorkelers will also be delighted with sightings of local wildlife including hawksbill turtles and black tip reef sharks, plus rare birds, such as the white collared kingfisher, may be spotted flying overhead.
Buyout price: Starting from $50,000 per night, up to 22 guests can make Banwa their own private paradise.
How to get there: Fly by private jet from Manila to either San Vicente or Puerto Princesa and then enjoy a short helicopter hop to the island.
Picture courtesy of Banwa Private Island
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo
With a $1,000,000 price tag, Raffles' private island could give some of the world's most expensive charter superyachts a run for their money. For five days up to 70 guests can take over this oasis and enjoy Raffles' renowned butler service in complete privacy. While staying in the 21 luxurious villas that overlook the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, guests have exclusive access to the spa, gym and indulgent beachside restaurants during their stay.
This retreat is particularly appealing for dive enthusiasts who want to enjoy their own piece of paradise. Located among waters teeming with colourful marine life and unspoilt reefs, the resort boasts a world-class dive centre complete with an on-site marine biologist. If that still doesn't satisfy your wanderlust, a nearby deserted island can be transformed by the Raffles team to create an unparalleled event space during your stay – use it to experience a sunset concert hosted by a celebrity DJ or take in a champagne-and-stargazing session guided by a personal astronomer.
Buyout price: For a cool $1,000,000, elite travellers can charter the island resort for four nights and five days. The rate includes a 5% charitable donation to the Maldives’ Marine Center and the Olive Ridley Project, an NGO that works to protect sea turtles.
How to get there: Take an hour-long flight from Malé to Kaadedhdhoo, where you will be met by the Raffles team and whisked away to Meradhoo island via speedboat.
Originally bought by reclusive writer, poet and painter Ian Alstergren in the 1960s, Satellite Island is a rugged spot tucked into the south of Tasmania alongside Bruny Island. Wild and picturesque, this 34 hectare paradise is the perfect rural getaway. Guests can spend their days exploring the various walking trails around the island, head out into the surrounding waters atop kayaks to see the island from the sea or even go diving for abalone, urchin and mussels. Those who fancy exploring further afield can travel over to Bruny Island to visit the winery, take a private air tour or go on a nature safari.
Additionally, guests can go fishing in the afternoon before heading up to the top of the island for a bonfire while watching the sunset. The unspoilt nature of the island means that seafood is abundant - dinners can be expected to feature the day's catch of wild salmon or freshly shucked oysters paired with fine Tasmanian wine.
Buyout price: To hire the entire island exclusively, rates begin at $,1950 a night for two guests with a two night minimum stay. Extra guests are $300 per person per night.
How to get there: Cruise south from Hobart and anchor off the island, or moor up in Elizabeth Street Pier in Hobart and travel by private car or helicopter.
Pictures courtesy of Facebook.com / @SatelliteIsland / @elisehassey / @markchewphotography.
Velaa Private Island
Nestled within the constellation of islands that form the Noonu Atoll in the Maldives, Velaa is a private island designed for those who want to be waited on hand and foot. The island maintains a ratio of eight staff to one guest, and each of the luxurious over-water bungalows are equipped with their own personal butler. Highlights of the island that can be enjoyed by guests include the indulgent spa - offering everything from a chardonnay body scrub to a green caviar facial - a private yacht for sunset cruises and even an on-site submarine for exploring the vibrant marine life around Velaa.
Buyout price: The buyout rate for Velaa starts from $1,000,000 (approximately £802,675) per night, with a minimum booking of 4 nights.
How to get there: Guests will be escorted by private limo from Malé International Airport to board a seaplane, which will arrive at Velaa after a 45 minute flight.
If you want to go one better than Leonardo DiCaprio, Pippa Middleton and President Barack Obama then take over the whole of this world-famous paradisiacal retreat for 60 of your closest family or pals (you might suddenly find you have more friends than you think). The best part is that you can lounge guilt-free by your sparkling pool overlooking the spectacular lagoon, because the resort prides itself on being the most environmentally friendly in the world (the air-conditioning is created by a pioneering deep seawater system, solar heating provides all hot water and the resort is fully biofuel capable). Set in the Tetiaroa Atoll, once a favoured holiday retreat for Tahitian royalty, the resort was the passion project of the late Marlon Brando, who discovered the islands in 1960 while filming Mutiny on the Bounty.
Bikes are the best way to navigate your way through its palm-tree-lined sandy tracks and days can slip by paddleboarding to one of the neighbouring motus (small islands) or kayaking above the rainbow-coloured coral gardens. Adding a touch of French flair, the island’s restaurants are overseen by Guy Martin, the chef behind two-Michelin-starred Le Grand Véfour in Paris. The Brando’s fine-dining Les Mutinés restaurant – which is surrounded by a moat and shaped to resemble the upturned hull of a boat – features Martin’s classic dishes with an emphasis on local ingredients such as papaya and reef fish. And, in case you get peckish on your tipsy cycle back to your villa, you leave armed with a patisserie gift.
Buyout Price: Rates start from €79,200 per night to takeover the 30 one bedroom villas, for a minimum stay of three nights.
How to get there: Just a 20 minute flight will bring you from Faa’a International Airport in Papeete, Tahiti to Tetiaroa.
Picture courtesy of The Brando
Elang Island at Bawah Reserve
Environmentally-conscious luxury hunters have had high praise for the Bawah Reserve since it opened in the remote Anambas Islands back in 2017. But those seeking even greater privacy will soon be able to make use of the resort's private retreat, Elang Island, when it opens later this year. Its six sustainable lodges were penned by Singaporean designer Sim Boon Yang and were made using recycled natural materials as well as bamboo, driftwood and hand-cut stone. But the barefoot vibe doesn’t mean there is any skimping on luxury – each villa comes with private butler service. The emerald foliage-covered islet also boasts its own clubhouse – complete with a saltwater infinity pool – a private dining area, spa and beach.
Buyout price: The island can host up to 16 guests, with a buyout price starting From $21,000 per night.
How to get there: Bawah Reserve will organise a private seaplane to take you from Batam airport to Elang Island in 80 minutes.
Picture courtesy of Bawah Reserve
Kudadoo Maldives Private Island
For an experience that combines the Maldives' natural beauty with unparalleled service, buyout the 15 over-water villas that make up Kudadoo Maldives Private Island. The exclusive retreat is the smaller and more exclusive sister branch to the neighbouring Hurawalhi Resort, famed for its underwater restaurant.
From scuba and fishing excursions, to ocean-facing spa treatments, the Kudadoo staff are on standby to organise experiences that will satisfy every one of their guests' whims. As an added bonus, the island's communal area, which houses the bar, restaurant, spa and gym, is both stylish and eco-friendly. Designed by Japanese-American architect Yuji Yamazaki, the interior is decorated with tropical orchids and elegant teak furniture, while the roof is covered in solar panels that power the entire resort.
Buyout price: Kudadoo can accommodate up to 34 guests, with buyout rates starting at $80,000 per night.
How to get there: Superyachts can sail the 80 nautical miles from Malé to reach Kudadoo, but the quicker alternative is a 45 minute seaplane flight from Malé International Airport.
Picture courtesy of Diego De Pol