Paradise Found – The Best Private Island Resorts
While it’s widely agreed that no man or woman is an island, it’s fair to say most of us have dreamt of the quintessential castaway experience – with added luxe, of course. Whether you’re looking for slick design and impeccable service, specialist pampering cocooned in a dreamy spa, barefoot chic adventures or under-the-radar escapism, we’ve got the perfect private island resort retreat for you – some of which can even be taken exclusively, for elevated privacy. Paradise found? We think so.
Could Islas Secas be the island resort of dreams? We think so. This ultra-exclusive hideaway is set on an isle off the Panama’s wild Pacific coast, and forms part of an enchanting archipelago of 13 further islands, all of which are free from development.
Dedicated to a goal of becoming a blueprint for sustainable, nature-driven tourism, this low-impact escape is governed by environmentally-sound practices and works in partnership with the local Chiriquí community to ensure equity for all. While big on heart, Islas Secas also goes big on luxe: eight beautifully decorated casitas sleeping up to 18 guests make up the opulent accommodations, complemented by soulful cuisine featuring homegrown produce, local spices and boat-fresh seafood bought from trusted fishermen. A celebration of nature continues in the spa, with its lush, secret garden setting, holistic treatment menu using lotions and potions from indigenous fauna.
There is masses to explore here too: the team is passionate about sharing its ethos of responsible adventure, discovery and conservation with guests, whether that’s exploring the myriad nature trails, whale watching, surfing, scuba diving or wellness activities. Fancy having the entire archipelago to yourself? Consider the private buy-out option.
As its name suggests, Isla Grande is the largest of the Rosario Islands archipelago, a jewel of an isle surrounded by azure waters and cocooned in lush and verdant tropical forest, little more than an hour’s boat ride from Cartagena. Home on this extraordinary nugget of land consists of five air-conditioned bungalows strung across a private beachfront with capacity for up to 14 guests. Rustic lux at its finest, a chilled-out charm extends to the spacious social area, living room and dining room, crowned by a gorgeous infinity pool that overlooks the water. When you’re not relaxing on the beach, fixing cocktails or getting lost in the views or expansive ground, there are tennis courts to enjoy plus kayaks, paddle boards and a sunfish sailboat. Further afield, we recommend exploring the archipelago and the nearby San Bernardo Islands (30-45 minutes away), snorkelling and diving among the coral reefs and wrecks or taking a stroll for a taste of island life – visit a local fishing village and you will experience the magical culture, music and cuisine of the region.
Only a boat ride away from Providenciales is Pine Cay, a secluded private island resort perched on the edge of the world’s third-largest barrier reef. As a proud member of Relais & Châteaux, not only are you guaranteed immersion in one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, plus a further 800 acres of pristine wilderness, but you will also experience Caribbean hospitality at its most distinguished.
A choice of just 12 breezy beachfront rooms and suites, complete with personal beach tikis, a porch or private garden, sit along two miles of brilliant-white sand, ensuring plenty of space for guests to lose themselves in the uninterrupted ocean views or take a stroll along the beach. In the mood to socialise? Hit the elegant Clubhouse, freshwater swimming pool or Tiki Beach Bar, where a lively cocktail awaits. Spend your days soaking up the sunshine or relaxing in the spa, then get set for after-dark delights that include bonfires, barbecues and stargazing. Thanks to island-inclusive rates you can indulge at leisure, whether that’s tucking into gourmet gastronomy or voyaging into the ocean on daily snorkelling expeditions.
Zanzibar has enticed seafarers and traders from far and wide for centuries, lured to its paradisiacal shores by the promise of spices and adventure. This exotic legacy persists across the archipelago today, but we recommend you experience it from the splendour of Mnemba Island. Offering a slice of unadulterated and unpretentious paradise, this romantic hideaway sleeps a maximum of 24 guests from twelve rustic-chic beachside bandas, all of which look out onto the dreamy Mnemba atoll.
Simple pleasures rule on this exclusive private island resort, whether that’s foraging for unusual shells on the sand, cooling off under the dappled shade of the adjacent casuarina pine forest or drinking in the tranquil vibe from Mnemba’s thatched communal areas, which boast beautiful views of the beach beyond. Expect breakfast trays teeming with tropical fruit and Tanzanian coffee or an evening pick-me-up of sushi and champagne, which appear as if by magic as the sun sets. Ramp up the romance with a beachside candlelit dinner, to the tune of waves lapping gently on the shore or indulge in a couple’s massage or yoga class at the spa: heaven.
Built amongst granite boulders tumbled across an ice-white beach, Six Senses Zil Pasyon on Félicité Island delivers wow factor in spades. Slick and seductive, both in terms of its impeccable staff and James Bond-inspired design, it’s the ultimate location for an exotic escape.
We love the achingly cool three- and four-bedroom private residences, complete with slick glass-bottomed swimming pools that hover above each private sitting room. The contemporary, minimal aesthetic continues throughout the communal areas, offset by hammocks swinging over the ocean – ideal for lazy cocktail sessions.
Looking for elevated rest and relaxation? The distinguished spa is a feat of creative engineering, boasting five double treatment villas blasted into the rocks, backed by lush jungle and overlooking the glittering shore. A stunning saltwater pool with a terrace for sunbathing, as well as a yoga and meditation pavilion join superb holistic treatments, drawn from Félicité’s abundant flora – it’s even possible to arrange a consultation during which the therapists will create a bespoke spa programme especially for you.
Imagine an island, off an island, situated at one of the four corners of the Earth and you have Fogo Island Inn. Comprising 29 one-of-a-kind guest rooms and suites with dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the wildest and most powerful ocean on the planet, this epic hideaway is built on the principles of sustainability and respect for nature and culture
Not only does the Inn provide a striking refuge from the stresses of everyday life for its guests, but it also acts as a local asset, with 100% of operating surpluses reinvested into the community to help secure a sustainable and resilient future.
In this remote and harsh landscape, activities revolve around the seven seasons (yes, there are seven distinct seasons in this part of the world), from whale watching in the summer and bountiful wild berry harvesting in autumn to snowmobiling under the stars and snowshoeing in the depths of winter. There is also an on-site art gallery, a cinema, library, sauna and hot tubs. And, as one would expect from a stay so rooted in nature, all food served here is crafted using ingredients foraged, farmed and fish locally, so you are guaranteed full immersion in Newfoundland, from field to fork and beyond.