During these unprecedented times, an exclusive buyout of a private island resort is an attractive option for an extended family or a group of friends who are searching for safety, seclusion and harmony with nature. The following 15 properties rank among our favorite private islands worldwide.
This rustic-chic resort set on an 86-acre island offers everything from gourmet cuisine to its own private reef. Nine thatch-roofed air-conditioned villas built of coral stone are laid out along two white-sand beaches on Mozambique’s northeast coast. They feature four-poster beds, sitting-dining areas, butler service, private decks furnished with sun loungers and daybeds, and baths with free-form tubs and mosaic showers. The four revamped Kusi Villas include private plunge pools, and the Villa Quilalea has a small private beach. Amenities include a spa offering treatments that take inspiration from Africa. The scuba diving here is among the best in the world. Dhow cruises and sea turtle-watching in season (June-September) are also available.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 18 guests per night: $12,650; Nightly rate: Kusi Villa for two, $1,900. (All meals and house wines and spirits included.)
Located 3 miles off the northeastern tip of Zanzibar, this romantic retreat on the Indian Ocean atoll has just 12 airy rustic bungalows. Built of local timber and handwoven coconut palm matting, they are set along a dazzling white-sand beach backed by casuarina trees. Each suite has its own personal butler, a tree-shaded veranda and a stylish bath with a stone shower connected by a palm-covered walkway. Days are spent gazing at the azure sea and pristine coral reefs beyond. For the more energetic, snorkeling, kayaking, fly-fishing and scuba diving are all available.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 22 guests per night: $33,840; Nightly rate: Banda for two, $3,520. (All meals, house wines and spirits, laundry and return ground transfers included.)
Occupying the private island of Tetiaroa, once owned by Marlon Brando, this exceptionally glamorous resort is a 20-minute flight from Tahiti by private aircraft. In many ways, this is the fantasy tropical island with flawless beaches, swaying palms and an aquamarine lagoon. The 35 one- to three-bedroom thatched beachfront villas have decks with plunge pools and outdoor tubs. Dining options include Les Mutinés for fine French cuisine in a formal dining room, the Beachcomber Café for local specialties and a new teppanyaki restaurant overseen by chef Kaito Nakamura. All the expected island activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving are available. This haven also has a full-service spa, and cultural experiences can be arranged, including traditional Polynesian dance lessons, music classes, weaving instruction and cooking courses.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 82 guests per night, three-night minimum stay required: Contact Andrew Harper Travel, (800) 375-4685. Nightly rate: Villa for two, $4,815.
Set on a 4-acre islet, this stunning resort is a 10-minute speedboat ride from Ambergris Caye on the Belize Barrier Reef. The seven guest cottages, each with a heated infinity plunge pool set into a sundeck, showcase chic open-air living and the magnificence of the surrounding ocean. The most exclusive lodging is an overwater bungalow with glass floors at the end of a 150-foot dock. The resort lacks a central restaurant, but meals tailored for each guest are served on private verandas or at beachside tables. The calm and shallow translucent waters are ideal for bonefishing but are mostly too shallow and rocky for swimming. Sailing, plus scuba diving in the nearby Hol Chan Marine Reserve, can be arranged.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 18 guests per night: $50,000; Nightly rate: Casa Ventanas for two, $2,000. (All meals, beers and house spirits and airport transfers included; minimum stay may apply.)
This tropical island sanctuary on its own 62-acre nature reserve is a 15-minute helicopter ride from Seychelles International Airport. Sugar-white sands, crushed seashell paths and immense gray granite boulders unique to the Seychelles are all part of the property’s appeal. The four guest villas, designed in a French Colonial gingerbread style, are nestled along a deserted beach. Overlooking a central pool, a pavilion houses a library, a bar and a dining room for Creole, Asian and Western cuisine. Guided nature and bird walks complement swimming and snorkeling excursions in the clear turquoise sea. Other hotel amenities include a Ligne St. Barth spa in a separate beach house, a fitness facility and a PADI-certified dive shop. This is the ultimate in sunbaked, barefoot luxury.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 12 guests per night: $28,000; Nightly rate: Luxury Villa for two, $4,750. (All meals, laundry and airport transfers included.)
This private island sanctuary is located in Baa Atoll, the Indian Ocean’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Seven stylish guest lodgings include Water Villas stilted above the lagoon that boast two bedrooms and decks with pools and hammocks. The main Beach House features an open-air lounge, a restaurant serving locally sourced seafood dishes, a fitness area and a library. Beach barbecues can be arranged. Days can be filled with spa treatments, yoga and meditation classes and certified scuba instruction. Jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing and boating excursions on Voavah Summer, the resort’s 62-foot two-cabin luxury yacht, can also be arranged. Swimming with reef sharks or diving with manta rays are two of the more exhilarating activities. The property supports numerous marine conservation programs, including a pioneering coral-propagation project.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 22 guests per night: $55,000. (All-inclusive; resort available only as buyout.)
Florida, United States
Reached via launch from a shore station, this tropical retreat occupies the lush 5-acre Little Torch Key, a 30-minute drive north of Key West. The 30 oceanfront thatched bungalow guest suites feature vaulted ceilings, four-poster canopy beds, separate living areas, indoor-outdoor showers and private verandas. A fine restaurant is complemented by the Palapa Bar. As well as a freshwater lagoon swimming pool and a small white-sand beach, amenities include a spa, a fitness center and a private marina. Snorkeling and scuba excursions, birding, sailing, fishing charters, and helicopter and seaplane tours can be arranged.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 60 guests per night, three-night minimum stay required: Contact Andrew Harper Travel, (800) 375-4685. Nightly rate: Island Escape Suite for two, $1,200.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Accessible only by private plane, this glamorous Robinson Crusoe-like resort is set on a remote 2,500-acre island, surrounded by crystalline lagoons edged by dazzling white sands. The 40 rooms offer spacious living areas with floor-to-ceiling windows leading onto private terraces. Beachfront Suites feature paths that extend directly to the beach. Modern Australian cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian inflections is served at the restaurant, and picnic baskets for beach lunches can easily be arranged. Amenities include a tennis court, full-service spa, fitness center and freshwater pool. Spectacular outer-reef snorkeling and scuba diving are both available, as are black marlin and big-game fishing (September-December only).
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 80 guests per night, two-night minimum stay required: Contact Andrew Harper Travel, (800) 375-4685. Nightly rate: Beachfront Suite for two, $2,110.
Georgia, United States
This serene retreat on the 11,000-acre private barrier island of Little St. Simons houses 16 rustic but comfortable wood-paneled rooms in an original hunting lodge and several outlying cottages. Delicious Lowcountry dishes are served in a cozy dining room. An atmospheric lounge encompasses a massive stone fireplace, bookshelves and an open bar. The island provides sanctuary for a wealth of flora and fauna, including nearly 330 species of birds. Naturalist-led bird-watching walks along wild beaches are not to be missed. The property has the relaxed air of a much-loved holiday home, and the exceptionally hospitable staff only heightens the stress-free atmosphere.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 32 guests per night, two-night minimum stay required: $6,960; Nightly rate: Tom House for two, $575. (All meals and boat transfers included.)
British Virgin Islands
This 74-acre private island owned by billionaire Richard Branson is a 35-minute boat ride from Beef Island airport on Tortola. The vibe is laid-back, but the service is unfailingly polite and proactive, while the on-site amenities are sophisticated and state-of-the-art. Eleven Balinese-style guest rooms include a Master Suite with a private outdoor whirlpool and deck, while the stand-alone Leha Lo room offers 180-degree views from a wraparound deck. The Great House, a central common area perched on a hillside, comprises a bar, a four-person hot tub and a dining area with a rooftop terrace. Next to the Beach House are two tennis courts, plus a free-form infinity pool and a seaside bar. All usual water sports are available, and Pilates and yoga classes, plus guided island hikes and spa treatments, can be arranged.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 40 guests per night: $105,000; Nightly rate: Bali House Room for two, $5,000. (All meals, wines and spirits, and return launch transfer included; minimum stay required.)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
This privately owned 115-acre islet, rimmed by coral reefs and white-sand beaches, offers a glorious natural setting and an unsurpassed sense of privacy. Twenty-two freestanding oceanview stone cottages are simply but elegantly furnished and come with louvered windows and wood-tone lanais with hammocks. With no in-room phones, televisions or Wi-Fi, the soundtrack at this resort is the lapping of the waves and the rustle of the surrounding palms as the trade winds blow through. Locally inspired dishes are served at the open-air hillside restaurant or at the casual beachside bar. Aside from the Balinese spa, the resort’s chief amenity is its PADI-certified dive center, created by Jean-Michel Cousteau and staffed with resident naturalists and marine biologists. The Tobago Cays, with some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean, are within easy reach.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 44 guests per night: $36,630; Nightly rate: Cottage for two, $1,640. (All meals included; minimum stay required.)
Turks & Caicos
Set on the privately owned 800-acre island of Pine Cay, this delightfully informal resort comprises 13 shoreline lodgings with alcove living areas, indoor-outdoor showers and screened porches. Decorated with vibrant Haitian paintings and colorful handcrafted furnishings, the accommodations back a spectacular 2-mile-long deserted white-sand beach. Some guest units lack air-conditioning, but overhead fans and louvered windows circulate the island’s year-round breeze. For more privacy, request one of the two Luxury Beachfront Cottages. The property encompasses a cocktail lounge, a casual grill and a small freshwater pool, plus a new gym and spa. Days are filled with calm ocean swimming, sailing, biking, fishing and windsurfing. Snorkeling forays to the nearby national park reef can be arranged.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 26 guests per night: Contact Andrew Harper Travel, (800) 375-4685. Nightly rate: Luxury Beachfront Cottage for two, $1,500. (Minimum stay required.)
This family-owned ecolodge on a private island encompassing a mature coconut plantation is a 50-minute flight north of Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Thirteen 200-year-old Indonesian teak wood farmhouses offer private patios that face gardens and a semiprivate stretch of beach. Stylishly appointed, they feature vaulted thatched roofs, canopy beds with mosquito netting, leather armchairs and baths with wood-floored showers. Breezes supplemented by ceiling fans ensure restful nights in comfortably cool temperatures. A main clubhouse comprises a seafood restaurant and a cinema; a small overwater spa is located nearby. You may want to spend your day fishing, snorkeling, mountain biking, swimming with horses (an activity unique to the island), or maybe just tuning out the world on a chaise longue shaded by a giant vutu tree.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 38 guests per night: Contact Andrew Harper Travel, (800) 375-4685. Nightly rate: Deluxe Beachfront Villa for two, $700.
This idyllic family-owned resort on an unspoiled dot in the pristine Koh Rong Archipelago is a 45-minute speedboat ride from Sihanoukville on Cambodia’s southwest coast. The 24 luxurious accommodations include Ocean View Villas, which feature thatched ceilings and wooden decks, outdoor showers and infinity pools. Overwater Villas are augmented by direct ocean access from balconies. Two restaurants include the waterside Driftwood Bar for a tapas-style menu. In addition to a private beach and large pool, activities include kayaking in the surrounding archipelago, guided rainforest tours and snorkeling trips through nearby coral gardens led by a marine biologist. Wellness programs and spa treatments can be booked.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 58 guests per night: $50,000; Nightly rate: Ocean View Villa for two, $1,860. (All meals, house wines and spirits, speedboat transfers and laundry included.)
This exclusive sanctuary is set on a remote 2,200-acre private island of astonishing beauty. Emerald lagoons and shell-strewn beaches edge a forested, mountainous interior teeming with exotic birds. Ten cottage suites feature living areas, covered decks, indigenous timber floors and cathedral ceilings. As the lavishly appointed rooms lack televisions and phones, the tranquility of the resort is undisturbed. A restaurant pavilion offers Fijian-Continental meals that emphasize fresh seafood and local game. Eighty percent of the ingredients served come from the island or the surrounding sea. Amenities include a freshwater grotto-like pool, a spa, a tennis court and nine holes of golf on an informal course. Cultural excursions can also be arranged.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 32 guests per night: $44,000; Nightly rate: Ocean View Bure for two, $2,000. (All meals, house wines and spirits, and a 50-minute massage per person per stay included.)