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dream islands

Find out what exclusive, ultra-luxurious, dreamy private-island lifestyle is all about. You can be certain they offer much more than just the deep end of the ocean

The world's richest person and Microsoft Chairman and Chief Executive, Bill Gates, is not known to own his own island but has stayed in Grand Bogue Caye, the largest private island in Belize, which is priced at $25 million and has 314 acres and long stretches of pristine beach



LL BUREAU EXUBERANT DANCERS, 500 cases of vintage Pol Roger champagne, caviar and exotic seafood celebrating a European billionaire’s birthday party taking place on a private island in the Maldives, where the guest list includes George Michael and Jennifer Lopez. Such iconic images of island excesses continue to attract public attention, while luxury seekers continue, in turn, to look for even more remote and opulent hideaways. And now, this dream is coming true for many, with people making ever-new lifestyle choices. The aura that a mere mention of St. Kitts used to create is now within reach of the growing tribe of the rich. You can be one of hundreds of A-list celebrities arriving at Male airport for instance pushing Louis Vuitton luggage, before being taken by seaplane to a perfect Maldivian island resort. So, what draws people to islands? It is, of course, the idea of getting away from it all. The blue expanse, bordered by white sands and swaying palms is a theme that never stops to thrill. But today, it is so much more than that. The time and space that it gives couples who lead busy lives cannot be underestimated. Hours of doing nothing

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but staring into the blue, till you feel like a crab yourself, are moments that define an island experience. But there’s much more than merely deep sea gazing. Most private islands offer visitors a wealth of activities that make for memorable lifetime experiences. Take the famed twin island paradises of St. Kitts and Nevis, where uninhabited jungles clothe the steep slopes of dormant volcanoes, fringed by sandy tropical beaches. You can enjoy moonlight and soft music, dinner at a Caribbean waterfront cafe or an elegant cliff-top restaurant. You're staying in a private Caribbean beach villa, with your own sauna and whirlpool, and champagne service at your call. The island is yours to explore. Moving through the glorious days, you can enjoy championship golf, cricket on the green, horse racing at the savana, paraglidging, sunbathing, scuba diving, snorkelling, sunset cruises or take to the sky with a helicopter ride. You can get in touch with your inner self with a guided hike on a trail through the rainforest and up steep ravines to the volcanic rim of Mount Liamuiga. See Ospreys, frigate and other magnificent birds that rest in Barbados




on their long migration flights. See hawksbill, leatherback and green turtles laying eggs along the beach. Learn about costal tides and life along the Caribbean sea shore and island coral reefs. The sun blesses the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus, home to the most upmarket island hideaways. Living on an island in the Cyprus offers an altogether different experience. You are not only surrounded by the blue Mediterranean Sea and the mountains with spectacular views, the unique villages also offer an unforgettable experience that keeps you coming back for more. There’s water sports, walking and hiking during the warm weather and skiing in the cooler months, and a rich history worth exploring. A perfect getaway in the Fiji Islands? This is the place to relax and energise with fresh fruits and punches, ice packs and yoga, aromatherapy, massage and meditation, acupuncture, or a private gourmet dinner on a star-lit beach. Just breathing in Fiijian air exhilarates your soul. You can


either pack your swimsuit with your lap-top or get ready to do business in the sea on an exclusive island, which is hi-tech and connected while giving you a perfect hideaway retreat. You can also virtually vanish into thin air at a quiet island, which proclaims: no news or shoes, you’re here to chill out...even your cellphone won’t work here. One of the few island experiences impossible to beat is to be found on Faafu Atoll, 35 minutes by seaplane from Malé. The Rania is hidden from the world in the middle of the Indian Ocean. From tip to toe, the island is just 0.7 kilometre long, 0.5 kilometre wide and covers just seven acres. It lies just 122 kilometres south of Male International Airport and is the only one of its kind in Asia. This private residence is on the edge of the seaplane fly zone and offers its guests total privacy and laidback luxury– with only the fish and stars for company. The stay is so private, exclusive and unique that you will find a private

island sanctuary all to yourself, as well as your own 86-foot yacht with a crew, butlers and a team of chefs. It comes complete with superb accommodation–both on the island and on board–a spa, a bar on the water’s edge and gourmet cuisine prepared at any time of the day. Cruise the Maldives and return to the seclusion of the island at your leisure. Explore world-class dive sites with the island’s own instructor, or go big-game fishing. Indulge in relaxing and pampering spa therapies, then, dine wherever you wish. The term “private island” is not only a tropical paradise lush with palms; it can mean a remote archipelago that can only be reached by plane, then car, then boat; or an estate close enough to help you commute to work. But visiting an island is altogether different from and renting one out for your own. There’s an element of

A recent ad by Queensland Tourism seeking a caretaker for Hamilton Island with a pay of $150,000 dubbed it as "the best job in the world". Best job or not, getting away to an island far from the madding crowd figures on most people’s list of top-ten dreams

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fantasy to having your own private island, especially given the prices. Though pocket-sized properties without beaches in dubious or chilly parts of the world can be had for as little as $200,000, private islands are increasingly rare. "Islands are very scarce, the good ones," says Farhad Vladi of the international brokerage firm Vladi Private Islands in Hamburg, Germany. ISLOMANIACS Celine Dion owns Île Gagnon, Quebec The towering French-style chateau on this quiet island is all that people know about it. Leonardo DiCaprio owns Blackadore Cay, Belize Leonardo DiCaprio purchased his 104-acre Belizean isle for a reported $1.75 million. He intends to convert it into a landmark example of sustainable development, with a resort and eco-tours. Mel Gibson owns Mago Island, Fiji Joining other Fijian island owners like the billionaire founder of Red Bull Energy Drinks, the Australian actor purchased the 5,400-acre Mago Island in 2005 for a reported US $9 million. Apart from a modest personal residence, the island is in its pristine state. Nicholas Cage owns Leaf Cay, Bahamas Reportedly purchased for US $3 million, it’s now back on the market and could be yours for US $7million. Johnny Depp owns Little Halls Pond Cay, Bahamas Johnny Depp’s haven is in the Bahamas, which he reportedly bought for US $3.6 million to enjoy with his family. The actor announced recently that his island will be run exclusively on solar power. He is reported to refer to his little piece of paradise as “F**k Off Island” Marlon Brando owns Tetiaroa Atoll, French Polynesia Marlon Brando loved the still waters and swaying palms of Tetiaroa, his South Pacific retreat which was not simply an island, but an entire atoll–more than 580 hectares spread over 13 islands. The atoll was recently purchased by hotelier Tahiti Beachcomber SA.




Necker Island is one of the most famous among the privately-owned Caribbean islands, as it is the much-publicised private island paradise of Sir Richard Branson, the CEO of the Virgin Group of Companies; Branson naturally had to choose the British Virgin Islands to have his own holiday pad. All of 74 acres, Necker can house 28 guests in its nine bedrooms located in the Great House and the five private Balinese houses. If one wishes, one can hire Necker Island for exclusive use. And if you are planning to just make a getaway to an island paradise sitting in turquoise waters surrounded by coral reefs and fringed with beautiful white sandy beaches, you can book individual rooms for singles or couples during the Celebration Weeks and enjoy the fabulous island paradise in ‘house party’ style. The Indian Ocean, too, offers numerous options for an island getaway. Dhoni Mighili, located in Ari Atoll in the Maldives, is a gorgeous island located southwest of the capital Male. A 30-minute seaplane flight from the capital over the necklace of atolls glistening in the Indian Ocean leads you to Dhoni Mighili. It happens to be the only island in the Maldives that can be booked exclusively by an individual, or a group. Once on the island, there are plenty of activities you can indulge in–there’s scuba diving, water sports, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing and snorkelling. A 68 feet luxury cruiser offers private excursions that include sunset fishing and deserted island snorkelling. There’s an inhouse bar where guests can help themselves to a fine selection of champagnes and wines. The island spa’s philosophy revolves around nature-friendly therapies, with internationally-trained therapists imparting the treatments.

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Hvar, Adriatic Sea An emerging stunner in the Adriatic Sea is the Croatian island of Hvar. Close by are other sun-drenched havens, which encourage island hopping on the Dalmatian archipelago. Try out Korcula, the birthplace of Marco Polo, or the more sporty Brac, the vivacious Vis, or the lovely Sveti Klement islands. Ibiza, Spain The famous island of Ibiza located in the Mediterranean Sea about 80 kilometres off the coast of Spain is well known for its summer club parties. It offers non-stop partying if that is what you want, or disappear into remote resort retreats where your privacy is guarded. Mykonos, Greece Mykonos, the Greek island, is renowned for its cosmopolitan character and intense nightlife. It offers white sunshine, blue bays, clear air and all the luxury activities you may want to opt for, or even opt out of. Musha Cay, Exuma Cays, the Bahamas You'll have to be friendly with the magician and owner David Copperfield to visit this island, but once you've arrived, you'll never want to leave. Comprising four private islands, 137 kilometres southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas, the mini-archipelago offers some of the best diving anywhere. Huvafen Fishi, Maldives A waking dream and set within its own lagoon, Huvafen Fushi Maldives is a pristine island resort offering 43 naturallymodern bungalows. It is also home to the world's first underwater spa. Mustique, West Indies There's a good reason why rock stars and royal family members jet across the globe to vacation on the private island of Mustique. The 1,400 acres of tropical paradise, with aquamarine surf and pristine white beaches, will cast a spell on you. Turtle Island, Fiji Recognized as the site of the Blue Lagoon film, starring Brooke Shields, the Turtle Island is legendary for even more reasons. From hydroponic and organic vegetable gardens to 500,000 trees planted over 30 years to being a hyper-romantic, gorgeous destination, Turtle Island has dozens of private beaches and a stunning resort comprising eco-friendly villas. Bermuda, North Atlantic Ocean Bermuda's mix of colonial-style architecture and paradisiacal settings has attracted the rich for years. Enjoy Bermuda's pinksand beaches, amber sunsets and green gardens. Barbados, Caribbean The island is completely flat, meaning luxury hotels and finedining restaurants are a plenty along its white-sand coastline. The Sandy Lane Luxury Golf & Spa Resort at St. James was the much-publicised wedding venue for Tiger Woods, a few years back. Cocoa Island, Maldives If Robinson Crusoe had hung out with Kevin McCloud and Giorgio Armani instead of Man Friday, his desert island dwelling would probably have looked a lot like Cocoa Island. The individual over-water villas have soothing white-onwhite interiors and teak flooring. The scuba diving here is terrific, and after an afternoon of reef watching, you can soothe away any aches and pains in the world-class Como Shambhala Spa. Mnemba Island, Indian Ocean The secret is out about Mnemba. Although quite near Zanzibar, Mnemba Island is about as far from civilization as you're ever likely to get, with only 10 beachside lodges, each with their own verandahs overlooking white beaches, blue waters and glowing sunsets. The island is just one mile in circumference, with a conservation barrier that protects the coral reefs, giant turtles, ghost crabs and tropical fish surrounding it. Cousine Island, Seychelles In the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, there is an island like no other, where nature thrives and man is just a silent observer. Part-luxury resort and part-nature reserve, Cousine Island is just 62 acres in size and can only be reached by a helicopter.



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