10 private island hotels to cure your winter blues

By Denise Bartlett,

Due to the short daylight hours and ongoing cold weather, January often feels like it’s going on forever. In order to lift your spirits and help you get through the last few days (and the next month), we’ve selected ten of the best private island hotels.

Offering amenities such as private pools and direct beach access, with services including private seaplane transfers and secluded beachfront dining, these hotels are the best of the best. From the Philippines to the coast of Florida, live out your private island fantasy in one of these exclusive hotels.

Pangalusian Island Resort

Philippines

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Pangalusian Island, or the “island of the sun”, is located off the coast of Palawan Island in the South China Sea. Guests arrive via daily flights from Manila to El Nido, coupled with a 25-minute boat ride. The resort offers a choice of 42 individual villas in contemporary Filipino design: some have direct access to the 750-metre white powder beach, while others are elevated 17 metres above the forest floor or boast their own private pool.

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Palawan is a diver’s paradise and guests should snorkel or scuba dive in the marine sanctuary, located right on the hotel’s doorstep. Other activities include a private boat for sunset cruises, traditional Filipino Hilot massages in the spa and dining on fresh local produce – either al fresco in the restaurant or in the privacy of your secluded villa.

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Beachcomber Sainte Anne Island

Seychelles

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The Sainte Anne Island branch of the Beachcomber hotel chain is located in the Seychelles, just ten minutes by boat from Mahé, but in a private island paradise of its own. The resort boasts 87 private villas, 29 with private pools and all with the option of an all-inclusive package.

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The island is surrounded by one of the largest marine parks in the Indian Ocean, which the resort makes full use of with three secluded beaches totaling 1.5 kilometres and a sports and leisure centre offering snorkelling and other water-based activities. On land, the hotel offers nature treks, a Spa by Clarins and no less than four restaurants – three located on the beach, all offering seafood, local cuisine and home-grown products.

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The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

Phuket

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The five-star Naka Island Resort & Spa boasts an exclusive location off the coast of Phuket on Naka Yai Island. Villas range in size from 350 square metres to 1,600 square metres, all furnished in a tropical style and featuring private pools, with some located on the beach front and others offering sea views.

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Guests are welcomed with an array of complimentary activities and services, from a speedboat transfer to morning yoga sessions, Thai boxing classes and even daily complimentary ice cream – made from local ingredients such as coconut, banana and mango.

Two beachside restaurants offer ocean views of Phang Nga Bay and the dramatic limestone cliffs, with the My Grill restaurant featuring sunken seating among candlelit pools. If guests don’t fancy that, private diving is offered both beachside and in-villa.

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Lizard Island Resort

Queensland, Australia

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The Lizard Island National Park is situated directly on the Great Barrier Reef, incorporating four islands over 1,013 hectares of protected area. Lizard Island Resort is on the largest island, boasting no less than 24 powder-white beaches and 40 luxurious suites. Guests must arrive via private charter from Cairns Airport, after which they are welcomed with a variety of rooms, suites and villas.

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Resort activities include snorkelling, glass-bottom boat tours and paddle skiing, with night diving, game fishing and sunset champagne cruises available at an additional cost. Five-star cuisine is available in the Salt Water restaurant, while private picnics and sunset dinners can also be arranged for a more al-fresco experience.

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Song Saa Private Island

Cambodia

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Spread across two pristine islands known collectively as Song Saa (‘The Sweethearts’), this resort is Cambodia’s first all-inclusive private island hotel. It is both a seductive and luxurious retreat, with a large infinity edge swimming pool, yoga and meditation centre on the shoreline and an exclusive island boutique.

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All private villas are suspended on stilts above the water, boasting huge beds, oversized bathtubs and outdoor showers, yet created from recycled materials – such as furniture made from driftwood collected from local beaches.

Song Saa should be commended for its dedication to the environment, even building a marine reserve in order to safeguard the reef and allow guests to observe turtles, seahorses and tropical fish in their natural environment.

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The Brando

French Polynesia

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The Brando’s namesake, Marlon Brando, fell in love with the atoll of Tetiaroa, eventually purchasing the island group with visions of creating a sustainable and culturally sensitive luxury hotel. The Brando is the legacy of this vision, created with the help of Brando’s children and designed to reflect Polynesian lifestyle and culture.

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The resort is accessible by private plane from the island of Tahiti and offers just 35 villas, making it a secluded slice of paradise. Villas are at least 96 square metres in size, with indoor and outdoor sitting areas, a media room, king-size beds, outdoor bathtubs and private plunge pools. A sparkling lagoon surrounds the island, which is frequented by sea turtles, manta rays and exotic birds.

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Little Palm Island

Florida

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Perhaps the most accessible of our private islands, Little Palm Island is part of the Florida Keys, reached by sea plane or boat from the Florida coastline. The resort boasts plenty of facilities, including a swimming pool, marina, shopping boutique, library and of course, numerous beaches.

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Accommodation is in the form of “island style” suites, all with comfortable sitting areas, private decks, ocean views and outdoor showers. The award-winning restaurant The Dining Room, which has been praised for its décor as much as its food, serves French-Pan-Latin fare such as yellowtail snapper ceviche. Private dining is also offered at a number of beachfront locations, complete with tiki torches and starry night skies.

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Baros

Maldives

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Baros offers a quintessential Maldives experience, with a choice between 45 beachside villas and 30 water villas, suspended on stilts above the Indian Ocean. In each villa guests will find a private sun deck, dining table for two, espresso machine and bar stocked to guest requirements.

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The Marine Centre offers the first EcoDive Center in the Maldives, where guests can learn to scuba dive in harmony with the natural environment. Excursions to local islands can be arranged, either via a luxury motor yacht or a traditional handcrafted Maldivian sailing dhoni.

Priding itself on its unique culinary experiences, Baros offers a range of private dining opportunities, from a picnic on an isolated sandbank to a sunset cruise aboard the traditional dhoni.

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Royal Davui Island Resort

Fiji

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Royal Davui is an exclusive adults-only resort located in Fiji’s beautiful Beqa Lagoon. With just 16 villas available, Royal Davui can only accommodate a handful of people, meaning guests can expect a private and secluded experience. Each villa (or “vale” in Fijan) is constructed in traditional Fijan style using wood and thatched roofs, yet offers the most luxurious of amenities, including a heated private plunge pool, spa bath, sub deck and wet bar.

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Guests are invited to live out their own personal paradise here, whether that is a champagne breakfast on a deserted sandbar, a Pure Fiji spa treatment, or premium diving or deep-sea fishing. Meal times can be spent under the branches of the resort’s banyan tree or on one of the private dining decks scattered throughout the island.

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Azura Quilalea Island

Mozambique

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Created in a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ castaway style with added African-chic, Azura Quilalea is an uninhabited private island paradise surrounded by the Quirimbas Archipelago marine sanctuary. The sanctuary welcomes a variety of marine life depending on the time of year, from Humpback whales to nesting turtles and pods of dolphins.

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Villas are furnished in wood and cotton, with natural materials such as rope, pebbles and rattan to blend with the island surroundings. A unique energy control system allows guests to control their own eco-footprint – but air conditioning and a minibar are there, if desired. Azura Quilalea believes you should never dine in the same place twice and offers a variety of locations, from an island picnic to a candle lit dinner beneath the stars.

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