Is the world getting a bit crowded?  Yes, I think it is.  How many of you can walk more than 10 minutes from your front door without encountering other human beings?  Of course, this is a good thing.  We are not meant to live in glorious solitude like a lighthouse keeper. “No man is an island ….” and all of that. But, step with me, if you will for a moment into a concept that might appeal to your sense of space, freedom, liberty – release those frantic thoughts that swirl within our overloaded minds like busy magpies, into a wide and waiting for sky.  Take a trip onto a perimeter-less paradise and be High King of your own island domain for a time. When you rent a private island you take your holiday experience to an entirely new level.  No fences, no walls, no perimeters … well, not unless you call the vast turquoise ocean a ‘barrier’ between you and civilisation.

The appeal of private islands for rent is growing each year.  Not just for the Robinson Crusoe experience but to allow families that lead fractured lives, due to pressurised work obligations, to forge a loving bond and unite under the flag of shared experiences.  The freedom that awaits for teenagers to explore tropical forests, or for little children to potter about in warm uncluttered seas, for the group to generally lead a shoe-less existence for a few weeks can have a wonderfully unifying effect on family life.

For public figures or celebrity guests who want to step away from the prying eyes of telephoto lenses, this is the ultimate get-away too.  The islands don’t allow day-trippers to drop into the islands.  No one sailing past is permitted to come ashore on these exclusive island enclaves.  The world has responded to the very great demand for a true definition of the word ‘get-away’ and private islands in their diverse forms are the result.

Staff, trained in the art of ‘being there, without being there’, can manage all expectations, serve the needs of the guests and disappear back into their unobtrusive quarters leaving the island and its many charms exclusively to the enjoyment of the guests.

Whether you rent the entire island or share it with other like-minded groups, you can be sure that a private island will offer a fully loaded, luxury experience from the moment you step onto your splendid home set in a turquoise ocean.

The private islands available for rent all offer five-star service, high-end spas and gourmet food.  What I love though are the unique elements that these islands can offer.  The islands are as individual as people:  designed and created to harness the limitless beauty of the terrain.  I have yet to see an island resort that hasn’t unimpeded views like no other across the sea or ocean.  ‘Breath-taking’ is the word most frequently used by guests, regardless of how well-travelled or jaded they might be.  As well, the general peace and tranquillity on these very underpopulated islands and, in most cases, minimum motorised transport, ensure the laid back and peaceful escape so welcome in today’s busy world.  There is no ‘rush hour’ – you set your schedule by the arc of the sun.  A dawn swim, an afternoon snooze in a hammock, dinner under the stars.  You will slip into a deep sleep each evening naturally tired from a day of fun active adventure or simply because you Zen-ed out at the spa.  Bliss.

I am highlighting below some of the fun and fabulous elements that the islands can provide for you.

Petit St Vincent


115 acres of perfection, this little island nestled in the Grenadines in the Caribbean, has 22 one and two-bedroom cottages scattered across its pretty island.  No telephone, no TVs … the island uses a flag system for communication.  You put up the Yellow Flag for room service and the Red Flag as a ‘do not disturb’.  The 135 staff who manage your every need on this island, ensure that your visit is a bespoke and relaxing experience.  For honeymoon island vacation rentals, this is a wonderful choice.  The island is a 20-minute transfer from nearby Union Island.

Song Saa – Cambodia


In a world sinking beneath refuse and waste, it is the happiest of experiences to visit a luxurious private resort island that uses reclaimed wood and oil drums in the creation of a sustainable resort that ‘breathes with nature’ off the Cambodian coast.

The wisdom and ingenuity of the locals who have created this experience for guests are to be admired.  The nearby protected coral reef offers an opportunity to engage with nature knowing that your visit is working in harmony with your environment.  As a private island for rent, this resort has learned a great deal about how to get it right.

45 minutes transfer by speedboat from Sihanoukville Port.

Fregate Island Private – Seychelles


This jewel sitting almost on the equator has the fantastic Castaway Club for kids up to 12 years.  Eco walks through a lush tropical jungle and a visit to the wonderful Tortoise house, where giant tortoises shuffle around and are delighted by the attentions of visitors.

One of the seven beaches where you can hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign is a lovely touch.  The magical staff can prepare a glorious breakfast in a treehouse built in one of the island’s oldest banyan trees.  Fregate is one of the private islands for rent for honeymoon couples is ideal.

A mere 15 minutes transfer by helicopter from Mahe or 1.5 hours by boat.

Necker Island – British Virgin Islands


As a Caribbean private island rental, Richard Branson’s luxury island home is available exclusively to a party of 30 guests.  The entire 74-acre resort of Necker Island, with its large main house and smaller satellite self-contained Balinese, inspired houses, caters for guests who want to enjoy an active holiday on, off and under the water.

The unique element to this island is the ‘underwater aircraft’, a mini-submarine that allows two guests to travel with a trained pilot to depths of over 30 meters under the Caribbean.  An experience like no other if you want to rent a private island in its entirety!

Necker is accessible by boat, 30-minute transfer from Tortola or by helicopter.

Little Whale Cay – Bahamas


If you want to rent an island for a vacation for your family, then Little Whale Cay will offer you the most landmass for the fewest people.

With three individual villas that accommodate 12 people in total, the entire island can be booked exclusively by your group.  In 3 hours, you can fly from NY, slip off your shoes and dive into the exclusive world of relaxation and activity that the island offers.

Transfer in 15 minutes by small aircraft from Nassau onto the private landing strip on Whale Cay

Tagomago Island – Ibiza – Peace then Party …. then Peace again

Sitting less than a mile off Ibiza’s northeast shoulder, this exclusive island allows guests to step away from the jet-set bedlam that is Ibiza in high season to recalibrate and rest before relaunching again into the fun of the party island.  The modern and fully serviced villa shares the island with an old lighthouse.

Plenty of water activities access to a boat and the pretty Formentera only 30 minutes away by yacht, there is much to captivate a group.  If renting a private island is high on your list of things to do but without being too far off the beaten track, then this is the place for you.  A 10-minute transfer from Ibiza airport by helicopter or a 20-minute boat transfer.

Coco Privee – Maldives


When travelling to the Maldives one of the main attractions is the gentle and peaceful nature of the resorts.  Low-intensity developments, the structures harnessing the beauty of nature.  Imagine you can tune this into a higher octave and enjoy all of the exquisite luxuries you expect but in a truly private setting.  Coco Privee is the place to consider when renting private islands if you want that amazing getaway that caters for all your first-world needs in a breath-taking location that seems to floats on the calmest of waters.  35 minutes by yacht from Male Airport.

Gladden Caye – Belize – Dear Adam and Eve – You’ve Found Eden

This tiny island nestling alongside the second largest reef in the world is yours exclusively for your stay.  The staff who will expertly manage your stay, reside in an island adjacent to Gladden Caye.  A privacy meter allows you to enjoy your Caribbean paradise undisturbed and truly return to nature.  As a honeymoon island rental, it gives you a level of privacy that might be so welcome after the hubbub of a big family wedding.  40 minutes by helicopter from Belize, or 40 minutes by speed boat from Placencia.

Calivigny Island – Grenada


As far as private island vacation rentals go, Calivigny Island offers old-world glamour in a pristine setting between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Oscar de la Renta and Christopher Guy furnishings, the eclectic collection of sculpture and artworks, create a beautiful and very opulent decorative finish to the three distinct accommodations available on the island.  50 guests can enjoy the lush surrounds, freshwater pools and 2 beaches along with a fleet of boats to harness the best of Grenada’s beauty.

15 minutes from Port Salines Airport.

Palm Island – The Grenadines


With over 43 accommodations made up of Suites and Villas sitting right on the beach, you are never more than a few feet away from the warm waters of the Caribbean.

Regardless of how busy the island is with guests, there are so many quiet spaces that you can find on the island.  10 minutes by boat from Union Island.

Vamizi Island, Mozambique


In the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Mozambique lies Vamizi Island, part of the Quirimbas Archipelago.  Six distinct villas that can accommodate up to 16 people each await your family or group.  With access to a 12km beach, these villas are luxury retreats from which you can engage with the jungle hinterland of the island, see amazing flora and fauna while being pampered by the discreet staff.  50 minutes by small aircraft from Pemba Airport direct to Vamizi Island.

In Conclusion

I have cherry-picked a few interesting features of some of the world’s most famous and exclusive islands.  What I haven’t elaborated on are what I call the ‘Expected Elements’ of such remarkable destinations.  For instance, whether your island is a small neat paradise for 2 or a larger island that allows a number of groups to share the private experience, the level of attention by staff is second to none.  Most islands offer guests private butler services that build a bespoke itinerary for guests that can include picnics, sailing excursions, diving, dinner under the stars on a bonfire lit beach.  So many of the islands have wisely seen the advantages in providing eco and sustainable experiences for guests without ever reducing the luxurious comfort of the trip.

Wonderful tours are often included in the trip to educate the guests and show them how these island paradises are doing so much to preserve endangered flora and fauna in their corner of the globe.

Holistic spas or spa treatments are all part of the offering as well as menus that allow guests to be as healthful as they might wish while respecting any dietary requirements.

In essence, when you book your accommodations in one of these spectacular islands, you are handing yourself body and soul to a team of individuals who understand how to deliver a personal, five-star experience for the discerning traveller and his companions who want to be as one in Paradise.

So when do you leave?

About Mairead Moriarty

Born and raised in Co Kerry, lived in London, New York, San Francisco, Dublin. Owner of one very battered suitcase, a well-worn passport and a million memories. It seems very fitting for a travel writer that my surname translates as ‘Skilled Navigator’. Apart from an occasion when, aged 3, I got lost in a Supermarket in Tralee, I have managed to live up to my name! Curiosity is probably the driver that has sent me on magical mystery tours around the world. I want to ‘feel’ a place. I want all my senses to be engaged: from the history and geography that has influenced a country or city, the arts and achievements of its natives, anything and everything really. Regardless of whether I am on a local train travelling through Morocco, or poking around in Marconi’s study in Bologna or on a canal boat weaving through the heart of the English countryside, the same rules apply - ask questions, talk to locals, eat what they eat, sit quietly with nature and simply be. Assimilate as much as is possible so as to understand the soul of a place. That is my passion. That is the compass by which I navigate.

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