7 Private-Island Retreats For An Escape To Paradise

Como Laucala Island in Fiji

From having a front-row seat for the world’s most wondrous views to being submerged in nature in your own marine reserve, a private-island vacation will immerse you in a personal piece of paradise. Here, KATIE BERRINGTON chooses seven of the best retreats to book now

Como Laucala Island has a sublime setting, where everything blends harmoniously with the spectacular surroundings

Como Laucala Island, Fiji

A spectacular new opening in Como Hotels & Resorts’ private-island collection, Laucala Island has a paradisiacal setting, where tropical rainforests, lagoons and volcanic mountains are encircled by turquoise water and gleaming white sands. The accommodation is made up of 25 residences built out of Fijian wood and blend harmoniously with their surroundings. These elegant homes have their own butler, private pools, sundecks and outdoor baths, and see-it-to-believe-it outlooks. Around the island there are farm-to-table dining options, spa treatments at the Como Shambhala Retreat and activities including sailing, jet-skiing, diving, horse-riding, hiking and golf.

Thanda Island is one of the world’s most exclusive island getaways – a sanctuary to enjoy in complete privacy with family and friends

Thanda Island, Tanzania

Set within the Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve, off the east coast of Tanzania, Thanda Island is as secluded and exclusive as it gets. Home to an exquisite five-bedroom villa – with additional accommodation in two traditional bandas (beach chalets) – it provides an awe-inspiring base from which to explore this part of the Indian Ocean. Here, guests are invited to enjoy utterly unique encounters – from watching sea turtles nesting to swimming with whale sharks and enjoying conservation-focused activities with your own personal marine biologist. The island also comes complete with a glass-rim infinity pool, tennis court, ocean-front yoga pavilion, super yacht and a fully equipped boat house.

San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Italy

Private-island retreats are few and far between in Europe, particularly situated so close to one of the world’s busiest and most buzzing city-break destinations (Venice). But San Clemente Palace Kempinski is located on the Venetian island of San Clemente, which is just minutes away from Piazza San Marco by boat. Escape the crowds by whisking away to the majestic grounds, which encompass a beautiful outdoor pool and tennis courts, while the rooms serve enchanting views out over the water.

Soneva Jani, Maldives

Private-island resorts might be the norm for the Maldives, but Soneva Jani is an originator of the ‘no shoes, no news’, barefoot luxury travel the region is known for, where total switch-off is pretty much guaranteed. Jani is the younger sibling of the original Fushi property and sprawls across five islands in the Medhufaru lagoon in the Noonu Atoll – all with the same commitment to sustainable practices that the brand is known for. Here, the villas – many suspended over the water with picture-perfect panoramas – have their own pools, while the water retreats also offer direct access into the ocean. There is an over-water observatory and resident astronomer, plus a cinema where guests can relax in over-water hammocks.

Song Saa’s elegant villas offer guests spectacular vistas over Cambodia’s crystalline ocean

Song Saa, Cambodia

Set in the Koh Rong Archipelago, a 45-minute boat ride from Sihanoukville Port, Song Saa is a tropical getaway that invites guests to escape to elegant villas nestled in lush jungle or hovering over the crystalline water. The resort is designed with sustainability in mind, with the immaculate accommodation built using reclaimed materials and the interiors filled with upcycled and repurposed furnishings. The culinary array makes good use of the plentiful local ingredients to give guests a taste of the delicious regional delicacies, too. Dreamy days here are spent on boat trips, forest trails and in an open-air spa, which comprises private pavilions for soothing treatments and rituals – including a night-time session under the stars.

Banwa Private Island, Philippines

Located in north-eastern Palawan in the Sulu Sea, in a marine-protected area, Banwa is the picture of tranquillity. Its six hectares cover a verdant landscape and glistening beaches, which are home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. The villas are designed to celebrate the abundant natural beauty, with vast floor-to-ceiling windows, picturesque garden terraces and infinity pools that appear to cascade into the ocean beyond.

Jumby Bay is a super-stylish Caribbean island retreat just off Antigua

Jumby Bay, Antigua

Accessible via a 10-minute boat ride from Antigua, Jumby Bay is a stunning Caribbean retreat in the Oetker Collection that champions utter relaxation and connection to nature. Here, the rooms, suites and villas marry traditional and contemporary beach-house styles, boasting expansive verandas, open-air bathrooms and incredible oceans vistas. The celebration of the natural surroundings continues at the Jumby Bay Spa, where the menu spans traditional island-inspired rituals and natural and organic treatments from Tata Harper. And the idyllic palm-lined swimming pools are the perfect spot from which to soak up the sun, perhaps with a signature rum punch in hand.