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out rig canoe off a remote island in French Polynesia

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The Best Private Island Luxury Escapes

Very little can match the pleasure and profound serenity of vacationing on your own private island

Milaidhoo Island, Maldives

This boutique overwater resort is concealed at the center of the paradisical Baa Atoll in the Indian Ocean. Wander through the island’s palm groves, and relax on the deck of your luxurious villa before diving directly into the calm, cobalt shallows.

Part of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, Milaidhoo Island offers incredible underwater experiences, from snorkeling over the teeming coral to diving in dolphin-rich seas. Check into the resort’s spa for a dose of deep relaxation and dine beneath the stars while you eat exquisitely prepared, ultra-fresh produce with exactly the right wines.

Isla Secas Resort, Panama

Set a course for the luxurious atolls of Islas Secas, where thatched cabanas, luxury spa treatments, and umbrella-hatted cocktails await those in need of serious R&R in spectacular paradise island surrounds.

At this eco-resort set across a pristine archipelago, you’ll discover its underwater abundance on an incredible marine safari. Swimming alongside giant manta rays, sea turtles, and hundreds of the dazzling tropical fish in bathwater warm seas.

Expand your marine adventure by witnessing the humpback whale migration to the Gulf of Chiriqui or visiting the UNESCO-designated protected marine area of Coiba National Marine Park.

& Beyond Mnemba Island, Tanzania

A mile-long circle of white sand marking out swaying emerald jungle mingled with thatched roofs, &Beyond Mnemba Island is a castaway island paradise.

But it’s more than just balmy tradewinds, ultra-luxurious yet authentic bandas, and dinners on the beach in utter seclusion. Mnemba Island has two stunning ace cards. First is that it’s located near some of Africa’s finest diving sites. With its own Padi Dive Center learn the skills or suit up and get started. If you’ve arrived between April to August, keep alert for a tsunami of sea turtles.

And then there’s the Ader’s duiker, the island’s signature antelope. An endangered species that was relocated to the island, glimpses of this shy inhabitant add a dash of something special to your stay. Ideally, it’ll stray into view while you’re sitting on your private veranda, hoping your butler won’t be too noisy when he returns with the freshly baked snacking bread.

The Brando, French Polynesia

For the ultimate barefoot luxury escape, head to the Polynesian Islands and The Brando private island resort. Situated on the atoll of Tetiaroa, The Brando is a boho-chic haven of sumptuous island décor interiors, exotic marine life, and gentle waving palms.

Wade into the tranquil waters of the encircling lagoon, or make your way to the Varua Te Ora Polynesian Spa with its nature-based therapies. The Brando offers the island dream plus all the modern luxuries.

Cayo Espanto, Belize

A scattering of villas in pastels concealed amid the palms, Cayo Espanto is a luxurious island retreat shot through with romance, incredible diving, and spectacular culture.

Set on the second largest barrier reef system in Belize—a fantastic winter sun destination—you’re superbly located for richly rewarded kayaking adventures or plunges into the deep with a diving expert. And it’s not all marine-based thrills with the incredible Mayan ruins of Altun Ha and Lamanai a day trip away.

Once you’ve returned to your villa, washed the salt from your hair, and set up on the veranda with a view over the empty beach and glassy breakers, you might consider the full island buyout for next time.

Fregate Island, Seychelles

A farflung island paradise that doubles as an eco-sanctuary, Fregate Island has to be seen to be believed. Arriving by exclusive helicopter transfer, you’ll get a chance to pre-inspect your choice of seven private beaches from above.

Once you’ve decided, flip the “Beach Occupied” sign. Your sojourn on the sugary Seychelles’ sands will come with a well stocked cooler, towels, and attentive staff as required. However, while the beach is private, the staff can’t guarantee the arrival of one of the 3,000 Aldabra Tortoises or rare Hawksbill Turtles that the island acts as a sanctuary for. Dive into the waves and see the vivid residents of the expansive reef.

Find yourself among the island’s dazzling array of birdlife as you sit down to eat at the resort’s Banyan Tree House dining experince. The delicious cuisine elevated to your gastronomic roost reflects Fregate’s strong eco-credentials: 80 percent of your ingredients are island-sourced, with a rare species nursery, and a hydroponics house growing over fifty varieties of fruits and vegetables.

Calala Island, Nicaragua

Exclusive Calala, with its four beachfront suites, is found among Nicaragua’s perfectly formed Pearl Cays. These isles of sugary sand and richly jungled interiors sit in clean, clear, and thriving seas—ideal for snorkelling—and are also the nesting sites for the endangered Hawksbill turtles.

Sip vivid cocktails brought to you by the friendly staff as you relax in hammocks strung between palms. Your meals will consist of exquisite Caribbean cooking using island-sourced ingredients and whatever fresh, delicious and juicy main event has been pulled from the ocean that day. Sated, slip off to sleep lulled by the lap of the sea on the breeze.