Forget a room of one’s own — how about an entire private island instead? The concept of a private island may feel simply too luxurious for many travelers — too aspirational and out-of-reach for mere mortals. But while private islands tend to invoke the jet-setting exploits of the fictional cast of Succession, this is one dream vacation that you can turn into reality. You needn’t be a Kardashian to enjoy the secluded beaches of a faraway island — and, given the post-pandemic reopening of destinations across the globe, you needn’t be shamed for it, either. From Lovango Cay to Lānaʻi, here are six private islands to visit this winter.
1. Kokomo Private Island, Fiji
(Image of Kokomo Private Island provided by Jacques Louw)
Bula, and welcome to paradise! Kokomo Private Island Resort more than lives up to the iconic Beach Boys anthem of the same name — the resort is a veritable paradise in the Kadavu Islands. (That’s where we want to go, too). Regularly ranked as the top resort in Australia and the South Pacific, Kokomo is home to divine oceanfront villas adorned with elegant Fijian décor where you can lounge poolside overlooking your very own white-sand beach. While the cuisine and spa are (unsurprisingly) divine, there’s also a plethora of adventure activities, as well. The island is situated along Kokomo Great Astrolabe Reef — the fourth largest in the world and a veritable mecca for divers — and guests can go deep-sea fishing in the waters of the South Pacific. Kokomo is where pristine nature combines with Five Star luxury for the ultimate Fijian oasis.
2. Lānaʻi, Hawaii
(Image of cliff provided by PF Bentley)
While you may not have known that Lānaʻi is privately owned, its reputation as the most luxurious Hawaiian Island shouldn’t come as a surprise. Lānaʻi is home to one of the chicest Four Seasons on the planet — the Four Seasons Resort Lanai has earned iconic status amongst travelers for its breathtaking views, delectable East-meets-West cuisine, and unique Polynesian ambiance. Of all the islands in Hawaii, Lānaʻi is the best place to experience this level of lavish, opulent hospitality. But there’s more to Lānaʻi than just massages and mai-tais — tour the Lāna‘i Culture and Heritage Center to learn more about the history of the island, and volunteer with Pūlama Lānaʻi to give back to the island — and therefore its community — via sustainability initiatives to restore native flora and fauna. Be sure to check out the moon and stars from the vantage point of the Four Seasons Lanai Observatory during your stay, and wake before dawn for a hike to Pu’upehe (also known as Sweetheart Rock).
3. Islas Secas, Panama
(Image of Islas Secas provided by Islas Secas)
Panama is the unsung paradise of Central America. While its neighbor to the north, Costa Rica, tends to get all the international attention, Panama remains an untouched oasis of wild jungles, remote islands, and untouched beaches sprawling along both the Caribbean Ocean and the Pacific. Journey to the palm tree-dotted paradise of Islas Secas to disconnect in style amidst the wilds of the tropics. Sustainability meets sophistication at Islas Secas, with jungle walks, scuba diving, marine safaris, and more. The private reserve and lodge is magnificent, and — like all great destinations — it requires quite a journey upon arrival. Located off the Pacific Coast of Chiriqui, this Edenic oasis can be accessed by boat from Boca Chica, a small fishing village, or — more efficiently — by the resort’s private Twin Otter airplane. But once you’ve arrived and received the keys to one of the 14 private villas on the island, all will be worth it.
4. Lovango Cay, U.S. Virgin Islands
(Image of beach chairs provided by Lovango Cay)
Discover a private Caribbean paradise on Lovango Cay — no passport necessary. Book your stay at the Lovango Resort + Beach Club, an elegant property with accommodations ranging from three-bedroom villas to luxury treehouses to glamping tents. Sunbathe at the glamorous yet laid-back beach club or head into town to peruse the book stores and boutiques of Lovango Village. Lovango Cay not only offers guests the chance to stay on a private island but to sail aboard a private catamaran as well. The Virgin Islands archipelago is one of the sailing capitals of the world, and guests can take advantage of the reliable trade winds with three-to-four-day trips out to sea. One activity not to be missed? A quick boat ride across the water to St. John to explore Virgin Islands National Park — particularly the picturesque white-sand beach and turquoise waters of Cinnamon Bay. St. John is known as the nature island of the Virgin Islands, and travelers looking to combine luxury with adventure should book an additional stay at Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground to bookend your journey to America’s Paradise.
5. Kuramathi Island, Maldives
(Image of sand bar provided by David DiGregorio)
Last but most certainly not least, we are headed to the Maldives— famously home to over a thousand lush, tropical islands (many of them private) scattered upon the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean. We’ve already written about the Maldives as the ultimate bucket list trip, but the island nation’s overwater bungalows and white-sand beaches overlooking a turquoise sea must be seen to be believed. And there’s no better place to discover the Maldives than the private island of Kuramathi, which is part of the Ari Atoll. It’s mandated by law that 70% of each island be kept wild, and guests can explore the abundance of palm trees and wildflowers at Kuramathi Resort via its nature trails and hydroponic gardens. Be sure to check out the spa and sign up for scuba diving during your trip as well — thrill-seekers can expect manta rays and sharks aplenty. Finally, be sure never to miss a sunrise or a sunset during your stay on this magical island — walk out onto the sandbar with cocktails in-hand to enjoy sundowners amidst a 360-degree view of the pastel sky before the darkness becomes alight with stars. Though you may be devastated upon departure, we guarantee this first visit to the Maldives will not be your last. Once you’ve experienced paradise, it’s hard to settle for anything less.