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Jammin Johnny

Private Island Vacations: 7 Remote Resorts

By Kristine Hansen

Bora Bora
Bora Bora

Photo: Courtesy Accor French Polynesia

Staying at a hotel on a private island means you don’t have to share the terrain with hundreds of other hotel guests or local residents. While amenities such as spa treatments and beach views are par for the course, each of these secluded islands lets you relax in style. Can you hear the tropics calling?


Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach and Private Island

French Polynesia


What: Located on a small island just off the coast of Bora Bora, you’ll find a private dive center as well as a beach. Stay in a bungalow; some are overwater and others are built into the hillside. Enjoy access to super-luxe amenities like a cigar cave, a wine cellar, two on-site bars, a spa, and an infinity pool. Cuisine inspired by many regions is served in the fine-dining restaurant Latitude 16°, including dishes prepared in a Tahitian oven. At Manu Tuki restaurant, tuck into lighter snacks, such as BBQ and Polynesian or French specialties. Tahitian plants are incorporated into treatments at the spa.


How Much: from $511 per room per night


 Kamalame Cay in Andros Island, the Bahamas
Kamalame Cay in Andros Island, the Bahamas

Photo: Courtesy Kamalame

Kamalame Cay

The Bahamas


What: Kamalame Cay takes up 96 acres on this island, providing lots of privacy for guests. Nineteen rooms are housed in a combination of colorful cottages, bungalows, peaked-roof beach houses, and plantation- style villas (one has a 1,000-square-foot game room with a billiards table). Bahamian-style cuisine with a modern twist is served in the Great House. For a more casual affair, the Tiki Bar hosts local bands and prepares fresh fish on an open grill. Adventurous travelers can forego relaxing on the designated three miles of beach area in favor of kayaking through mangroves, deep-sea fishing for King Mackerel, or scuba diving — all of which can be arranged by the hotel.


How Much: from $2,500 per room for six nights


Aerial of Guana Island, British Virgin Islands
Aerial of Guana Island, British Virgin Islands

Photo: Courtesy of Guana Island

Guana Island

British Virgin Islands


What: Formerly a sugarcane plantation owned by Quakers, this unspoiled 850-acre private island now has seven resort-owned beaches. Guana Island Club’s 15 rooms are housed within stone cottages, or you can reserve the entire Beach House for more privacy. Expect a summer-camp vibe, with ping-pong tables, croquet, beach barbecues, and “Old Movie Nights.” You can also enjoy snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, 12 miles of hiking trails, or massage treatments and yoga classes offered through the spa. All meals are served in The Club and incorporate locally-grown fruits and vegetables.


How Much: from $695 per room per night


Young Island Resort
Young Island Resort

Photo: Courtesy of Young Island

Young Island Resort

The Grenadines


What: Johnny Depp slept in one of Young Island Resort’s 30 cottages while filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl — proof of the island’s celeb status. Spa Kalina, in Cottage #15, offers treatments incorporating a product line from Barbados, such as a guava-seed foot. Caribbean-flair dishes (including a five-course menu) are served nightly under a palapa hut or among gardens of tropical flowers and plants. Swim out to Coconut Bar — owned by the resort and just a few yards from shore — for a cocktail.


How Much: from $1,888 per room for seven nights


Cayo Espanto in Ambergis Caye, Belize
Cayo Espanto in Ambergis Caye, Belize

Photo: Courtesy of Cayo Espanto

Cayo Espanto



What: Belize is the new hot spot in Central America — yet Cayo Espanto, on a four-acre island in the popular Ambergris Caye area, remains largely undiscovered. Reserve one of seven chic villas, each with turquoise decorative accents, an open-air design for Caribbean Sea views, and direct access to the beach and water. The world’s second-largest barrier-reef system is just a short swim away. Staff can help arrange an excursion, whether it’s a relaxing deserted-island beach picnic, a jungle tour, or intense scuba-diving or fly-fishing voyages.


How Much: from $5,995 per room for four nights


Beach House in Manafuru Island, Maldives
Beach House in Manafuru Island, Maldives

Photo: Beach House

Beach House

The Maldives

What: With so many amenities to choose from, you won’t even think about stepping off Manafuru Island (unless it’s for deep-sea fishing or snorkeling). Villa options include the Water Villa, built above the ocean with glass-paneled flooring. At Moden Spa, the signature Maldivian massage uses local white sea-salt sand and Maldivian coconut oil. The resort also has yoga classes, an art gallery, and a tea lounge. Eight bars and restaurants serve everything from regional-themed menus to wines plucked from the undersea wine cellar.


How Much: from $429 per room per night


Parrot Cay island, Turks & Caicos
Parrot Cay island, Turks & Caicos

Photo: Courtesy of Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay Resort

The Turks & Caicos


What: Life on this 1,000-acre island is pretty sweet — take your pick of holistic options at COMO Shambhala Retreat; enjoy bonefishing, windsurfing, or hiking; or simply lounge on the mile-long beach. At Parrot Cay Resort, grilled conch and spiced banana fritters are specialty dishes at Lotus restaurant, as are Asian- inspired options like Balinese-spiced mahi mahi. Every Saturday is a barbecue where BBQ Kurubuta baby back ribs slathered in chipotle sauce are the main attraction. Terrace, the other restaurant, is ripe for romantic occasions with an Italian-themed dinner menu and its blueberry hotcakes for breakfast. Lodging runs the gamut from an affordable garden-view room to a duo of four-bedroom maisons (which are owned by Donna Karan).


More Info: from $696-$24,200 per room per night


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