Whilst the super wealthy have always dabbled in private island ownership, most travellers are more than happy to spend their holidays simply visiting and enjoying a luxurious private paradise.
From the white sand and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, to the tropical mangroves in the Gulf of Thailand, we take a look at the top private island destinations for private jet travellers.
Little Whale Cay, The Bahamas
Set in the Berry Islands in the heart of the Bahamas. Little Whale Cay is a beautiful, fully staffed island available for rental. Up to 12 guests can be catered for in three luxury villas, surrounded by white sand beaches and a glistening turquoise sea. Activates cater for all tastes and include anything from indulgent spa treatments to bone fishing from the Island’s own Boston whaler. With a private airstrip, the island is perfect for private jet hire.
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
Famously owned by Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin brand, Necker Island is a 74 acre haven located in the British Virgin Islands. Guests are able to travel by private jet into the international airport on Virgin Tortola and take a 30 minute boat transfer to the island, or alternatively it is possible to charter a smaller aircraft into Virgin Gorda which is only a 10 minute boat ride away. It’s possible to do as little or as much as you want on the island, and there is no shortage of things to do with opportunities to try anything from windsurfing to power boating. It is also possible to rent the Necker Nymph – a 3 seater aero submarine that allows for incredible underwater exploration around the island.
Song Saa Island, Cambodia
The first island to be developed in the largely undiscovered Koh Rong Archipelago, Song Saa lies truly secluded in a sea scape of undeveloped islands, deserted oases of virgin rainforests and tropical reefs. Few luxury island resorts rival the true remoteness from civilisation that Song Saa possesses, yet it is accessible by boat from the port of Sihanoukville, where there is a small airport with plane and helicopter links to Siem Reap International. The resort is thought to be a pioneer of environmentally friendly luxury and intimate villas are available in both jungle and overwater environments, all with private pools.
Lighthouse Grebini, Croatia
Only four kilometres from Dubrovnik’s Old Harbour, the still-in-use Lighthouse Grebini stands on a rugged rock outcropping, and doubles up as a residence offering 3 double bedrooms and a large living area. Whilst there are no beaches, it’s possible to swim from the Island’s quay during the summer months and the more adventurous can scramble its rocky landscape. Intrepid divers can also explore the Italian wreck, Taranto which was taken out by a mine just off the island in 1943. Whilst offering a more unique experience than your typical island in the sun, Grebini offers a genuine sense of isolation only a few kilometres from the stunning coastline and historic city of Dubrovnik.
Nikoi Island, Indonesia
Just 8km off the coast of Bintan, Indonesia, the 15 hectare isle Nikoi consists of shell-strewn beaches, ancient rainforest, reefs and mangroves. Originally purchased as a family retreat, the island was opened as an eco-friendly resort in 2007. Self described as “barefoot luxury”, the accommodation consists of simple yet comfortable beach houses, constructed from driftwood, island timber and local grasses.
Taprobane Island, Sri Lanka
As Sri Lanka’s only privately owned island, this atoll consists of two and half acres of tropical fantasy. Only 20 metres from the shore of Sri Lanka’s southern-most coastline, the island is eccentrically accessible by wading through the surf from the shore, with many guests making the journey on an elephant. Despite its proximity to the mainland, Taprobane stands tall as a very separate and secluded slice of island paradise. It’s also very accessible; the large Colombo airport readily accepts private jet charters and many visitors make onward transfers by Helicopter.
Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands
The 1000-acre cay is arguably the most attractive of the 49 that make up the Turks and Caicos archipelago. Owned by COMO Hotels and Resorts, the resort offers opulence to the greatest degree and provides everything you would expect from the market leading owner of worldwide luxury resorts. Highlights include a mile long stretch of near-deserted pure white sand beach and pristine coral reef. When coupled with the world renowned Shambhala Spa, the island makes for an intensely indulgent experience.
Dolphin Island, Fiji
Just 30 minutes from the shore of Vita Levu in Fiji, Dolphin Island is a very accessible retreat. Guests are able to make a short transfer by a chartered float plane or helicopter from Nadi International Airport. Surrounded by untouched coral reef and shallow crystal clear water, the island is the perfect centre for scuba diving and snorkelling trips, as well as kayaking and sailing.
Spectacle Island, Maine, USA
5 acres in size, Spectacle Island is located off the coast of Maine in Frenchman’s Bay. Described by Private Island Magazine as “America’s best loved island rental”, the isle is the perfect getaway from the hectic mainland. With access to the island’s sail boat, Spectacle makes the ideal base for exploring Maine’s rugged yet beautiful coastline, all the while admiring the majestic Acadia Mountains.
East Sister Rock Island, Florida, USA
Situated less than a mile from Marathon in the Florida Keys, USA, East Sister Rock is seemingly almost perfectly circular and although small, possesses a 5,000 square-foot home. Alongside the ample living area, the island boasts a huge veranda, swimming pool, boat dock and helicopter pad, making heli-transfers from Fort Launderdale and elsewhere a very simple task.
Headline Image – image copyright Taprobane Island
Little Whale Cay – image copyright Little White Cay
Necker Island – image courtesy of Fay Stephens
Song Saa Island – image copyright Song Saa Hotels and Resorts
Lighthouse Grebini – image courtesy of Sailcork
Nikoi Island – image courtesy of Vassily Zeitsev
Taprobane Island – image copyright Taprobane Island
Parrot Cay – image copyright COMO Hotels and Resorts
Dolphin Island – image copyright The Huka Retreats
Spectacle Island – image copyright Spectacle Island
East Sister Rock Island – image copyright East Sister Rock Island
Words by Michael Cooper - Chapman Freeborn