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Not content with only offering one of the loveliest resorts in the Maldives – Landaa Giraavaru – Four Seasons has also opened a seven-bedroom private island in the Baa Atoll. Even by Maldives standards, the scenery is exemplary: sugary sands sweep into endless turquoise seas, and pods of dolphins dip in and out of the sparkling waves.
On Voavah itself, there are three surprisingly boho beach houses to choose from, plus a floating spa with a plethora of award-winning treatments. To eat, private chefs are on hand to create whatever, wherever – whether you fancy a floating breakfast, sandbank-stranded picnic, or hand-caught-to-order sashimi.
Being in the Baa Atoll, best-in-class snorkeling is a given, but you can also explore the private island’s own private island (yes, really) onboard the Voavah Summer yacht.
This is probably the most reclusive island retreat in the world, which is exactly what first attracted owner Chris Krolow. Arrival is only possible via a 30-minute helicopter flight from Belize, which soars over the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef until you arrive at a pair of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it islands.
The first, the larger of the two, is all yours, with staff tucked onto the second. The resultant vibe is Robinson Crusoe-style remoteness with Michelin-standard meals and full butler service. The villa itself, which sleeps two-to-four guests, is all dark wood interiors and floor-to-ceiling windows – although the best views are from the panoramic roof terrace, where you can glimpse the Maya Mountains in the distance.
It was love at first sight for the Olofsson family when they spotted this tiny landmass. So they named it ‘Thanda’ – the Zulu word for love – and set about transforming it into their fantasy island home. The solar-powered villa has subtle Scandi touches imbued across five four-poster bedrooms and a beautiful wraparound veranda, and there’s even a dedicated Ernest Hemingway library.
Two additional beach bandas make entertaining teenagers simple, as does a boathouse packed with stand-up paddleboards, Jet Skis and kayaks. With such bountiful waters, it’s unsurprising that Thanda’s chefs excel at seafood, although they’re also happy to whip up a Swahili feast on the beach. But perhaps most commendable is Thanda’s commitment to conservation and community.
Its initiatives are designed to benefit people and planet, be it restoring coral reefs or participating in uplift programs on neighboring Mafia Island.
Five minutes from Grenada’s mainland, Calivigny was once a floating wedge of uninhabited jungle. Fast forward 20 or so years and it has been transformed into a luxurious playground for up to 40 guests; if you’ve ever wanted to feel like you have an entire hotel to yourself, this is the place for you.
Three residences sprawl among 13 hectares of paradise and cater to every group size, whether you want to fill a 10-suite beach house with 20 friends or escape the family in a two-bedroom cottage. To eat, Michelin-starred chefs tailor-make every meal, which you can enjoy wherever you please, and all manner of entertainment is possible, from daily sunrise yoga to treasure hunts for the little ones.
This one isn’t technically an exclusive hire, but no list of private islands would be complete without mentioning Richard Branson. While his famed Necker Island has garnered the most attention, it’s his newest spot, Moskito, that we want to highlight. It comprises nine private estates, four of which are available for hire, plus a community recreation area to mingle with other residents (including, if present, Branson himself).
Selecting an estate honestly depends on the vibe of your trip – The Branson, for example, is for family appropriate barefoot luxury, while The Oasis is a Bond-style party pad.
But we’re most excited about its new estate, The Village, which is 100 percent about partying. It’s a collection of 18 two-person cottages dotted down the island’s spine, complete with a slide, hidden DJ booth and firepit sunk into a dry lounge in the middle of the pool.