No.1 – Musha Cay – Exuma Cays
You’ll have to be friendly with famous magician and owner David Copperfield to pay a visit, but once you’ve touched down in Musha Cay with your Louis Vuitton bags in tow you’ll never want to leave. Comprising four private islands, 85 miles southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas, the mini-archipelago offers some of the best diving on the planet, with transparent waters and miles of jaw-dropping coral reef. There are five houses in which to hunker down for the night, with every conceivable luxury found inside, and more than 30 staff members to cater to your every whim. Copperfield also claims to have found the Fountain of Youth on the island, but even if you don’t find it while you’re here, you’ll still return home looking 20 years younger.
No.2 – Mustique, West Indies
There’s a very good reason rock stars and royal family members jet across the globe to vacation on the private island of Mustique. Spreading across 1,400 acres of tropical paradise, Mustique is located in the southern Caribbean and is owned and operated by the Mustique Company (made up of the island’s privileged homeowners). Upholding its exclusivity and protecting its natural beauty, the firm allows only a select group of people to stay on the island, with visitors ranging from Prince William to Mick Jagger. While there, designer-clad guests can frolic in the aquamarine surf, sprawl on its pristine white beaches or party the night away at Basil’s bar, a favourite haunt of the jet-set vacationers.
No.3 – Turtle Island, Fiji
Although Lost is actually filmed in Hawaii, it’s supposed to be set in Fiji – meaning that a real Fijian island is going to be even more beautiful than the sets on the TV show. Turtle Island lives up to that promise, with more than 500,000 trees planted over 30 years by its entrepreneurial owner, Richard Evanson, dozens of private beaches and a stunning resort comprising 14 eco-friendly villas — it’s no wonder The Blue Lagoon, the 1970s film starring Brooke Shields, was filmed here. If this place doesn’t take your breath away, then we’re afraid nothing will. And this is the place to honeymoon if you’re serious about your marriage.
No.4 – Palm Island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Made up of 32 jaw-droppingly beautiful islands, it would be easy to miss Palm Island in the cluttered archipelago that makes up Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Nevertheless, once you’ve found it and taken the mile-long boat trip from Union Island, you’ll never want to leave; 135 acres of tropical paradise await you, with a private resort catering to your every whim no matter how frivolous. Casuarina Beach runs along the entire length of the western coastline, and is quite a sight to behold. Crystal clear waters swoosh against its sand beaches, coconut trees shimmy on its coast and general gorgeousness abounds. The resort itself is small but perfectly formed, with just 40 guest rooms to maintain exclusivity, a Michelin-star restaurant serving up the best international fare, and a bar in which you and your loved one can grab an umbrella-free sun-downer at dusk. Wish you were here? We certainly do.
No.5 – Bermuda, North Atlantic Ocean
While sailors may get mysteriously gobbled up trying to get to the island, Bermuda does offer Old World luxury for those who make it ashore. The second-oldest British settlement in the New World, Bermuda’s aesthetic is a mix of colonial-style architecture and paradisiacal settings — a heady mix that has attracted the filthy-rich for years. The Fairmont Southampton is the best place to stay; from there you’ll be able to enjoy Bermuda’s iconic pink-sand beaches, smudged amber sunsets and lush green gardens. Whittle your day away beneath a crisp white umbrella at the hotel’s private beach club, enjoy a game of tennis (very popular on the island), or indulge in the finest cuisine at The Newport Room, the only AAA five-diamond restaurant in the entire Caribbean/Atlantic. Breathtaking stuff, we’re sure you’ll agree.
No.6 – Barbados, Caribbean
While it may be one of the most prominent luxury islands out there, Barbados still hasn’t lost its exclusive appeal. Hundreds of celebrities still flock there each and every January, hoping to catch a ray or two of glorious winter sunshine. The 166-square-mile island is completely flat, meaning luxury hotels and fine-dining restaurants are aplenty along its stunning, white-sand coastline. Highly recommended is the Sandy Lane - Luxury Golf & Spa Resort at St James, the island’s most prestigious place to stay and much-publicized wedding venue to Tiger Woods a few years back.
No.7 – Cocoa Island, Maldives
The perfectly named Cocoa Island has it all: silky white sand underfoot, a lagoon that couldn’t be bluer if it tried, and a specifically built five-star resort that, for once, matches the pictures in the travel brochure. Set over water, 33 villas are available for guests to check into, while facilities include beautifully manicured gardens, shimmering swimming pools, an on-site spa, yoga pavilion, water-sport center, and an elegant restaurant offering lip-smackingly good Thai food. The actual island itself is about as eco-friendly as it gets, with a strict green policy that ensures its pristine natural environment remains pristine. Think Castaway, but with romantic teak decking.
No.8 – Mnemba Island, Indian Ocean
Although it’s a mere 2.8 miles off the eastern tip of Zanzibar, Mnemba Island is about as far from civilization as you’re ever likely to feel. Every vista here looks like a shot from a honeymoon brochure, with 10 romantic beachside lodges each with their own verandas overlooking the sea, untouched white beaches, shimmering blue waters, and the type of glowing sunsets only ever seen in the movies. The island is just one mile in circumference, with a conservation barrier that protects the coral reefs, giant turtles, ghost crabs, and tropical fish that surround it. It’s no wonder it was voted one of the top three most romantic islands in the world by trusty Condé Nast. Walk barefoot along the shore in your linen trousers, indulge in fresh fruit for breakfast and fresh lobster for dinner, enjoy a spot of windsurfing, deep-sea fishing or kayaking, and sink into crisp linen sheets all in one day at Mnemba Island.
No.9 – Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
Second home to Sir Richard Branson, Necker Island is the Virgin entrepreneur’s very own private island in the heart of the British Virgin Islands. Spread across 74 glorious acres of tropical forest and fine sand beaches, this luxury island was snapped up by Branson in the late ’70s and transformed into a glamorous, first-class island retreat for no less than $10 million. For $47,000 a day, well-heeled guests can have free reign of the island, which includes a Balinese-style villa with 10 bedrooms, two private beaches, a number of swimming pools, tennis courts, a personal chef, water sports, and amenities galore. Decked out with luxurious Brazilian hardwoods, antiques and authentic Balinese furniture and fabrics, it’s no wonder the likes of the late Princess Diana, Mariah Carey and Oprah Winfrey have stayed here. Fortunately for us, Branson is a man who likes to share — and who can blame him?
No.10 – Cousine Island, Seychelles
Part luxury resort, part nature reserve, Cousine Island is one of the most visually stunning remote islands in the world, and it’s just 62 acres in size. One of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles, this tropical isle is like something out of Robinson Crusoe and can only be reached by helicopter. The five-star Cousine Island Resort and Spa is the perfect place to stay on the island for travellers looking for high-end creature comforts, while the stillness and natural beauty that surrounds it affords all-important peace and quiet so desperately sought by city slickers. Brimming with lush vegetation and all kinds of birds and turtles, Cousine Island is like the Garden of Eden of the modern-day world.
A Private Island Vacation at Cayo Espanto Belize