A Guest Bure Suite at Dolphin Island // © 2016 Dolphin Island
Feature image (above): A stay at a private island resort feels like a personal retreat. // © 2016 iStock
Seclusion definitely has its benefits. Sequestered by the sea and reached solely by a helicopter, small plane or speedboat, private island resorts can feel like a personal retreat, complete with uncrowded beaches, quiet pools and tailored service that’s only possible when you’re one of a handful of people on an entire island. They’re not cheap — true luxury never is — but clients are sure to find their own paradise at the following spectacular resorts from across the globe.
Mozambique’s Indian Ocean coastline ranks as one of the most beautiful on Earth. Long off-limits because of a protracted civil war, the country is now in the midst of ramping up its tourism development — and its pristine beaches are leading the way. Something of a secret kept by mostly South African holidaymakers, Mozambique's luxurious resorts are slowly gaining a global following.
One such property, Azura Benguerra, has a string of 18 superluxe villas set right on the beach’s white sand. Each handbuilt villa is equipped with its own thatched hut and beachside loungers, plus a full-size pool, so clients can while away the days in the cool water with a bottle of French rose and glasses within easy reach. Or, they can choose to be as active as they would like — an island-hopper tour takes visitors to several different islands along the coast where they can snorkel, climb sand dunes or search for sand dollars.
More private than most, Dolphin Island — located about 20 minutes by boat off Viti Levu, Fiji’s “mainland” island — hosts only one family or group at a time (with a maximum of eight guests). That means once clients book the resort, they’ll have the whole place to themselves. While the boat ride is included in the rate, many guests transfer to the resort from Nadi International Airport via a helicopter or seaplane.
Dolphin Island comprises just a handful of “bures,” luxurious yet low-key villas, with freestanding bathtubs, private gardens and outdoor showers. Here, nothing is set — clients create their own schedules and can partake in a variety of activities, such as kayaking, yoga and in-room massages. At meal times, guests will dream up their own menus, ordering everything from steaks to lobster harvested just offshore.
Fogo Island Inn
Set among seas known best for their tumultuous nature, Fogo Island in Canada's Newfoundland may not be anyone’s initial picture of paradise. But Fogo Island Inn — accessible from the rest of Newfoundland by ferry — has quickly become the toast of the travel world.
Its striking design was created by local architect Todd Saunders and inspired by traditional Atlantic Canadian outport buildings. The 29-suite inn is integrally linked with the surrounding cod-fishing community. Art and furnishings were sourced locally, and a series of workshops have been created so that resident artisans can demonstrate their work for guests.
Additionally, top-drawer gourmet fare is foraged and grown on the island, and the concierge will happily connect clients with natives who can share everything they want to know about life in this remote place.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Situated between Maui and Oahu, Lanai is Hawaii's smallest inhabited visitor island and was once a place dedicated wholly for one purpose: growing Dole pineapples. While Lanai provided as much as ¾ of the world’s supply of pineapples, the plantation closed in the 1980s, and the compact island — about 90,000 acres in size — turned to tourism.
Recently renovated, Four Seasons Resort Lanai is set on the calm, clear waters of Hulopoe Bay, a protected marine reserve. Suggest that clients take it easy by the pool, head down to a cabana on the beach or explore the island via jeep. From the secluded Shipwreck Beach to the eye-popping Garden of the Gods, Lanai awaits.
Fowl Cay Resort
Once home to the local community’s chickens — hence, the name — Fowl Cay and the surrounding islands of The Exumas in the Bahamas have lived many lives, from the time of the native Lucacyan Indians to the 1700s, when the loyalists fleeing the American Revolution attempted to establish cotton plantations here.
Now, the destination is mainly a playground — a place to soak in the sun and splash in the perfect turquoise water — and Fowl Cay Resort is perhaps the best place within all of Exumas’ 365 islands to do so. Each of its six villas comes with a fully stocked kitchen and its own motorboat. Clients can choose their adventures, such as spending the day on a nearby deserted beach or opting to stay put at Fowl Cay for drinks and stories with the other guests, a time-honored tradition.
Kokomo Resort Gili Gede
Clients should get here fast — and then take it slow. Indonesia’s Gili Islands have long been a fabled stop along the backpacker trail, located between the two larger islands of Bali and Lombok. But, in some ways, they’ve become victims of their own successes: They have limited space but an increasing number of visitors arriving on their shores every year.
One such island, Gili Gede (pronounced “ged-ay”), is very traditional, and life remains largely unchanged from decades — and even centuries — past. Gili Gede and its first luxury property, Kokomo Resort, are best reached by a direct transport from fast boat service Gili Getaway.
Kokomo Resort Gili Gede has several one- and two-bedroom villas (each with a private pool), as well as a slow pace that could inspire anyone to unwind. Clients can snorkel on a nearby reef, dive with hammerhead sharks, fish for barracuda or simply take a slow stroll through the neighboring village to get the truest taste of this hidden island.