parallax background

Great Escapes: Top 7 private island getaways

8 February 2024
Bespoke: Cufflinks; wrist decoration
7 February 2024
Driving: Ferrari Roma – la nuova dolce vita
9 February 2024

Small but Perfectly Formed

There is more variety among private islands than one might expect. Here are seven to prove a point

T he world may be getting figuratively smaller and idyllic hideaways may be hard to find, but that doesn’t make the task a particularly tough one. There are a scattering of islands around the world that offer a winning combination of luxury, individuality and discretion in which to unwind and relax. Here is a varied selection.

Frégate Island Private, Seychelles

Four degrees south of the equator and a 20-minute flight away from Mahé, capital of the Seychelles, Frégate is a place of untouched and remarkable beauty.

The island is renowned for its varied animal and plant life and is fringed by seven first-rate beaches, each with suitably tempting white sand, each backed by giant granite boulders and each facing a sea of tempting turquoise-blue.

Environmental awareness and conservation have always been an important part of the island’s philosophy and guests can join guided walks to find out more if they so chose.

Alternatively, they can just relax and wait for members of the wildlife population to fly past in a flash of colour.

Frégate Island Private has 16 villas and one presidential villa and guests can focus on experiencing space and seclusion within a tropical island setting of great beauty.

Lake Mälaren, Sweden

Some 50 miles from the Swedish capital, Stockholm, Lake Mälaren provides a peaceful Baltic escape.

The island in the lake is available for private hire and contains a small but comfortable three-bedroom house with external sauna.

The residence is typically Scandinavian: light, airy and combining modern and traditional design styles.

The island also has its own private boat, which can be used to motor across to the nearby town of Mariefred, where there are restaurants, bars, museums and galleries.

Also on the island is an additional small house with only one room containing two beds, and a more traditional round house with a living room and upstairs bedroom.

The view from the island includes Gripsholm castle, built by the Swedish royal family in the mid 16th-century and possessing a distinctly fairytale appearance.

All in all Mälaren provides a secluded getaway for a family looking for the long summer nights of northern Europe.

The island in the lake is available for private hire and contains a small but comfortable three-bedroom house with external sauna

Lighthouse Grebeni, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Grebeni lighthouse is about as hidden away as a European hideaway can be. Managed by the five-star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, on the mainland about 1km distant, this dramatic, solid, compact building, which dates back to the late 19th-century, is furnished in an appropriately nautical colour scheme of white and blue.

The residential area has three double bedrooms and one single bedroom and there are two bathrooms with shower and L’Occitane toiletries.

An outstanding feature of Grebeni is the outdoor area. There are two large terraces with comfortable deck chairs, sunbeds and parasols. From here guests can enjoy a sense of calm solitude overlooking the Adriatic.

It’s also possible to go swimming from the quay. Butler and chef can be arranged on request from the hotel and all its other services are available to guests.

Experienced divers might want to take the opportunity to explore the wreck of Italian ship Taranto, which hit a mine about 20 metres from the island in 1943.

Isle of Eriska, Scotland

The Isle of Eriska lies just off the west coast of the Highlands of Scotland, two hours from Glasgow airport and directly accessible via a private seaplane transfer that offers exceptional views of the dramatic coastline.

The island is also home to a five-star hotel – sometimes available for exclusive hire – set in 300 acres of private lane and complete with nine-hole golf course, 17m indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and ESPA Spa.

In the winter it is a place of roaring log-fires, perfect after a stroll on an untouched beach. Guests can also enjoy in-house beauty treatments or activities such as kayaking, whisky tasting and clay pigeon shooting.

The hotel has 25 appealing bedrooms, each with their individual style, so there is something to suit most tastes.

The luxury spa suites and the two bed-roomed cottage suites come complete with their own private hot tubs where guests can soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the Highlands’ experience – listen out for bagpipers while you wallow.

Butler and chef can be arranged on request from the hotel and all its other services are available to guests

Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands are often idyllic, but Parrot Cay is as fine an example as any of secluded luxury.

The island contains a small, luxury resort operated by Como hotels that is set amid 1,000 acres of natural beauty and has direct access to a mile-long beach backed by shade-giving trees. The property comprises 70 rooms and six private villas.

Accommodation is predictably airy, well apportioned and glamorous. Rooms are equipped with white-draped four-poster beds, carved Balinese-style furniture, sun-decks, and coloured in appropriate shades of cream, terracotta, pale blue and natural wood.

The six one-bedroom beach houses have plunge pools on hardwood verandas.

Relaxation opportunities are many, from treatments in the award-winning spa, to a dip in the outstanding infinity pool that aligns with the alluringly blue Caribbean sea, to a stroll along that unfeasibly beautiful beach.

Tavanipupu Private Island Resort, Solomon Islands

Located in Marau Sound, around 25 minutes by plane from the Solomon Islands’ capital, Honiara, and about three hours from Brisbane, Australia; the privately owned five-star island was created by English interior decorator Dennis Bellote and his partner Keith Paske in the 1970s.

The place was formerly a coconut plantation owned by Norwegian traders, some of whose graves can still be seen today.

Tavanipupu has managed to steer its way through choppy political waters in recent decades as strife hit the Solomon Islands.

Guests today though will encounter a storybook island, complete with lofty palm trees and surrounded by a huge and tempting turquoise lagoon.

Manicured lawns and lines of coconut palms hint at the island’s past while more than 30 staff cater to the eight guest bungalows, with a dedicated butler for each building, who can be summoned when required by a tap on a tribal drum.

Manicured lawns and lines of coconut palms hint at the island’s past while individual butlers can be summoned by a tap on a tribal drum

Guana Island, British Virgin Islands

There are only a few private islands to be found in the BVI and this one has a certain verdant charm on account of its 850 acres of tropical forest overlooking seven appealing beaches.

A combination of its position and careful management has helped Guana triumph in encouraging populations of threatened species – step forward the stout iguana, red-legged tortoise and white-crowned pigeon.

Rooms and suites offer infinity pools, calming white and pale blue furnishings and magnificent views over forest and sea, while activities include snorkelling, hiking, biking and day trips to other nearby islands.

Many of the buildings are stone-built and some can trace their origins back to the original settlers, who came here in the 17th and 18th centuries. Amateur historians will notice they left behind a cannon or two.

Exclusive lettings are possible, by which a party of up to 35 can have the island all to themselves.

Words: Staff

This article was originally published in Halcyon magazine in 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 + 15 =