GEORGIA, USA, Wednesday June 21, 2017 – For those who long to escape and kick back “far from the madding crowd,” vacationing on a private island is a logical – if costly – choice.
CNN recently chose Five Idyllic Private Island Retreats, and the Caribbean outdid itself, claiming four out of the five spots in the shape of Necker Island in BVI; The Meridian Club in Turks and Caicos; St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Petit St Vincent; and Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino.
Here’s what travel writer Jill Becker had to say about each:
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
One of the most famous and over-the-top private islands is this Caribbean compound owned by Sir Richard Branson.
The 74-acre Necker Island retreat is where the Obamas vacationed after leaving the White House back in January. (You probably even saw the pics of the former president having a kite surfing battle with Branson.)
You, along with 33 of your best friends and family, can live it up here as well for a cool US$80,000 a night.
For that sum you’ll have access to the island’s 17 guest bedrooms, along with the bunkhouse that sleeps up to six kids; multiple pools; tennis courts; spa; a full staff, including Michelin-trained chefs; all sorts of recreational toys and watersports (there’s even a zip line); and more.
If the entire island is a bit out of reach, you can also sign up for one of what they call their Celebration Weeks, when you can rent out an individual room for three to 10 nights.
$80,000 per night for the entire island for up to 34 people; $4,280 per couple per night during Celebration Weeks.
The Meridian Club, Turks and Caicos
One of the most attractive components of a private island retreat is, of course, the beach, and the dreamy Meridian Club on its own 800-acre plot called Pine Cay boasts some of the prettiest stretches of sand in the Caribbean, not to mention calm, clear waters that are ideal for snorkelling and diving.
All of the rooms here look out onto the water and feature a screened-in porch where you can sit back and savour the view.
Another major perk of a stay here is that the Meridian Club is all inclusive, so everything from your meals to your equipment rentals is included. Heck, even the postcards are included.
Rates start at $895 per night.
Petit St Vincent, St Vincent and the Grenadines
No shoes, no phone, no TV, no Internet, no problem. That’s the thinking at Petit St Vincent, an unspoiled 115-acre paradise in the southern Caribbean boasting just 22 luxe cottages and villas.
The way you get the staff’s attention here is with flags; hoist up the yellow flag to let them know you need room service, transportation somewhere or have some other request, and let the red flag fly when you just want to be left alone.
Here, amid the miles of white-sand beach and tropical woodland, you can fully unwind and take a break from all of the texts, emails and phone calls that bombard our daily lives.
Your only tasks involve sampling some locally caught seafood at one of the weekly beach barbecues, enjoying an alfresco massage at the hillside spa and taking a leisurely barefoot stroll under the starlit sky.
Rates start at $1,100 a night.
Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino, Aruba
If the thought of unplugging entirely or having an entire island all to your lonesome brings up a whole scary Tom Hanks in “Castaway” scenario for you, you can always opt for a stay at a resort like the Renaissance Aruba, which isn’t on its own private island, but which has its own private island that you can zip off to whenever the mood strikes.
Just head to the boat dock on the lower level immediately below the lobby for the eight-minute ride to the resort’s 40-acre private enclave, where you can feed the flamingos, go snorkelling, grab lunch and a cocktail, or simply kick back in a hammock with a good book.
The island is even separated into two distinct sides – one for families and one for adults only.
Room rates start at $168.
Rounding off CNN’s favoured five is Spruce Island off Maine in the United States, a remote 80-acre refuge in the heart of New England, popular with sailing, fishing and badminton buffs.
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