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Private island paradises

Jan 16, 2018 | Featured, Features, Luxury Trends

Private islands all over the globe are offering barefoot bliss and a break from life as you know it…

The epitome of relaxation and reprieve from the chaos of the contemporary world, a private island transports you to another place and time. A Robinson-Crusoe, sand-between-your-toes state, where time is measured by the sun and your dinner is often the catch of the day. Rest assured there’s no reason to rough it – you can have the best of both worlds thanks to a scattering of hotels in far- (and near-) flung places that cater to your wanderlust fantasies as well as your wish for material luxuries. A flurry of recent launches of new private island retreats offer this fairy-tale experience in varying forms, for a price, and often more than a few plane, boat and ferry rides to your destination.

“Miavana offers a wide range of activities.”

One of 2017’s highest-profile African resort openings, Miavana on Nosy Ankao off the northern coast of Madagascar was hotly anticipated for a number of reasons, among them its eco-credibility, the unusual location and the high-profile design team.

MIAVANA, NOSY ANKAO

MADAGASCAR

It is located in a rare unspoilt part of the world. Part of 15 000 hectares of protected marine space, it’ll also probably stay that way. Naturally, the wildlife is abundant. In addition to the usual watersports, you can trek through the rainforest to spot lemurs, scuba-dive, go manta ray and whale watching, and explore the bays, beaches and lagoons.

The resort is unusual in that it is ultra-luxurious (spas, private pools and in-house helicopters for island hopping), yet is solar-powered and built with locally sourced stone and recycled materials. Fourteen one-, two- and three-bedroom villas and a central social hub, designed by award-winning

duo Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, combine a blend of local craft and modern style, something unexpected to honour this otherworldly location. They wanted to channel a childhood sense of wonder and freedom, and this comes through by way of fortress references in the stone structures and moats, bright colour in the textiles, and a lack of any predictable island “style”. timeandtideafrica.com

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KOKOMO PRIVATE ISLAND, FIJI

Kokomo, a private island on the edge of the Kadavu Island Group encompassed by the Great Astrolabe Reef, has picture-perfect white beaches interspersed with pockets of rainforest. Beachfront villas are suited to couples and small groups, and luxury residences host bigger groups.

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THANDA ISLAND, TAZMANIA

Located in the Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve, Thanda Island off the east coast of Tanzania is a marine haven and celebration of Tanzanian culture and colour.

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CEMPEDAK PRIVATE ISLAND, INDONESIA

White beaches, white granite boulders and a rainforest make for a real Robinson Crusoe experience. There are no shops, restaurants or other accommodation on the island.

KOKOMO PRIVATE ISLAND

FIJI, SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN

Kokomo, a private island on the edge of the Kadavu Island Group encompassed by the Great Astrolabe Reef, has picture-perfect white beaches interspersed with pockets of rainforest. Beachfront villas are suited to couples and small groups, and luxury residences host bigger groups.

Founder Lang Walker’s vision for Kokomo was to create the ultimate island destination to celebrate beauty, family and life, so the experience is tailored to ensure privacy, security and superior service. Children are catered for by nannies and activities, allowing the adults time for themselves.

Open-plan villas with breezy Fijian decor accents, private plunge pools and tropical gardens are oases within an oasis. If you can bear to leave your private paradise, there is snorkelling, sailing and scuba-diving to be enjoyed, and the opportunity to explore the island on foot. But if relaxation is your game, you’ll prefer in-room spa treatments and relaxing by the pool. Likewise, dining is an experience. Fresh locally sourced ingredients are used in six dining options, ranging from in-villa meals to beach braais. Mixologists will even customise your cocktails. kokomoislandfiji.com

THANDA ISLAND
TANZANIA

Located in the Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve, Thanda Island off the east coast of Tanzania is a marine haven and celebration of Tanzanian culture and colour. A getaway in the true sense of the word, it takes a five-leg journey by boat, plane and car to get there. With just one luxurious villa (featuring five suites) and two traditional Tanzanian bungalows (sleeping four each), Thanda is private and personal. A combination of Zanzibari crafts and classic beach-house motifs gives the rooms an eclectic charm. The Swedish couple who originally built the retreat as a personal haven included amenities like a humidor, wine cellar, cocktail bar and romantic copper beach baths.

A full complement of staff is on hand to attend to your every need and wish, including a dive instructor, fishing guide and boat crew. Imagine swimming with whale sharks and experiencing the miracle of sea turtles laying their eggs in the sand or the hatchlings emerging. And if you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of a dugong, a mysterious creature believed to be the origin of the mermaid myth. thandaisland.com

CEMPEDAK PRIVATE ISLAND
INDONESIA

Developed over a number of years in order to preserve the natural habitat, the Indonesian island Cempedak is as close to a castaway experience as you can get. Hosting only 40 guests at a time, adults only and no television, it’s a low-tech, high-relaxation zone in an actual jungle. The owners of Cempedak secured the rights to the island in 2011, with a mission to create a place that exemplifies cultural sensitivity, sustainability and simple luxuries. In an eff ort to veer away from the cookie-cutter expectations of what a tropical holiday would entail, they created an experience that feels more like being at a friend’s island home than at a resort.

The structures, built using bamboo and local alang-alang grass, and designed painstakingly with the help of Indonesian craftsmen, speak to the local vernacular as well as the fantasy of living in a tree house. The bars and dining area are reached via treetop walkways.

Activities include watersports like kayaking and diving, and tennis and croquet on perfectly manicured courts. The island’s naturalist will help fauna-loving guests track monkeys, otters, turtles and birds.

A deep love of nature underpins this resort – with true eco principles carried out in the building process as well as the daily operations. Waste-water recycling, solar power, rain-water purification… their practices align with the setting. cempedak.com

TEXT Julia Freemantle PHOTOGRAPHS Supplied

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