The best private islands in the world – that are actually within reach

Ever thought private island resorts were just for billionaires and movie stars? Think again. They’re not as out of reach as you might assume.

Picture this: You’re lounging on sun-kissed sand, the kind of beach you’ve only seen in glossy travel mags, with a backdrop of crystal-clear waters. Sounds like a celeb’s Instagram post, right? But here’s the juicy secret — these slices of paradise are not just for the rich and famous.

Here, we’re giving you the inside scoop on some of the world’s most exclusive private island resorts that are surprisingly accessible. Yes, you read that right — you don’t need a megayacht or a private jet to get there. We’re talking about hidden gems where luxury meets reality, and where “once in a lifetime” can actually happen more than once.

So, if you’re ready to upgrade your vacation game without breaking the bank (in fact you can use points for some of these spots), stick with us. We’re about to reveal how you can rub shoulders with high-end luxury, minus the superstar bank balance. Spoiler alert: Your dream island escape is closer than you think!

Matangi Island


Matangi Island in Fiji is not just a dot on the map, but a 240-acre slice of heaven where the word “crowded” doesn’t even exist.

Tucked away in the Northeast of the Fiji Group of Islands, this private island paradise plays hard to get with only nine bungalows and three tree houses that look like they’ve been lifted straight from a fantasy novel. It’s an adults-only zone, so leave the kiddos behind and embrace the tranquility.

Now, let’s talk activities — because, let’s face it, even in paradise, one can only lounge for so long. Matangi has you covered with snorkeling and scuba diving that’ll make you feel like a National Geographic photographer.

Prefer to stay dry? Kayak around the island, but don’t drop your paddle in awe of the scenery. For the landlubbers, there’s hiking through jungles that would make Indiana Jones envious. And when it’s time to unwind, the spa services will make you forget what stress even feels like, and the fine dining is so good, you’ll want to write home about it.

But don’t just take my word for it. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill island getaway. Matangi Island is so spectacular that its Horseshoe Bay snagged a spot in Patricia Schultz’s “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” Rates start from $628 per night based on double occupancy.

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Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah


If you’re looking for a slice of paradise, Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah is where it’s at. Imagine your own two-hectare island in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It’s just you, the endless turquoise waters, and a bunch of friends.

Related: The 16 best Four Seasons in the world, according to travel experts who have stayed at them

This place redefines luxury with just seven bedrooms split between a beach villa, a water villa and two suites, hosting up to 22 guests. You get the full deal — a beach house with a kitchen for those who love to cook, or you can just let the Four Seasons chefs work their magic.

And the fun part: three pools, an overwater spa and tons of activities like diving, snorkeling and even X-Jetblades. Fancy a yacht trip? The Voavah Summer is all yours. Plus, you’re a quick speedboat ride from the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru.

Whether it’s swimming with manta rays, island picnics or just chilling, they’ve got you covered. And, just in case, there’s a private doctor on call 24/7. Rates start at $40,000 per night (for up to 22 guests).

Huvafen Fushi


Fresh out of a swanky refurb, Huvafen Fushi is back and it’s not playing around. Tucked away from any pesky flight or boat paths, this natural island gem is a quiet slice of paradise just 30 minutes by speedboat from the airport. And let’s talk about the neighbors — resident sharks, rays and tropical fish are just hanging out at their house reef, ready to be your underwater buddies.

When you’re ready to dine, you’ve got options. Five on-site restaurants serve everything from seaside snacks to overwater feasts. But the real showstopper is Immerse … Latitude 4°. This underwater dining experience, 26 feet beneath the Indian Ocean, is the epitome of “intimate.” Picture yourself savoring gourmet dishes while a live show of reef life plays around you.

Sleeping options? Only 44 private dwellings, each boasting its own plunge pool. Whether you’re into mesmerizing overwater bungalows or beachfront pads with powdery sand at your doorstep, they’ve got you covered. And for those who want to go all out, the iconic Pavilions are basically palatial playgrounds.

Part of the Small Luxury Hotels gang, Huvafen Fushi also has a spa and will host outdoor movie nights. Rates start at $1,146 per night.

Related: How to have a splurge-worthy Maldives honeymoon on a budget

Isla Secas


What’s better than one private island? How about 14? Welcome to Islas Secas in Panama, a cluster of 14 private islands that make up one of the most unique resorts in the world. These islands are so exclusive, in fact, that the handful of luxe villas available are only accessible by plane — talk about a VIP entrance!

Owned by conservationist and philanthropist Louis Bacon (the guy behind Taos Ski Valley), Islas Secas is a stunning blend of luxury and sustainability. Think of it as a “reserve and lodge” that offers a nautical safari vibe. With just 14 private villas, the focus here is on preserving the pristine environment, while offering guests an ultra-private experience.

The activities are just as exclusive as the setting. Dive into guided snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing adventures, or explore the jungle and embark on a marine safari excursion. It’s like stepping into your own private nature documentary.

Sure, getting to this remote paradise takes a bit of patience, but once you’re there, surrounded by flourishing wildlife and basking in ultimate seclusion, you’ll know it was worth every bit of the journey. Rates start at $2,500 based on double occupancy, with a three-night minimum stay.

Cayo Espanto


Cayo Espanto, just 3 miles off the coast of Belize, is where luxury meets exclusivity. With only seven villas, this private island resort is the perfect spot for a swanky family vacation or a romantic couples retreat.

Each villa isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a ticket to pampering with a personal butler, your own private dock area and meals whipped up by an on-island chef who’s basically a culinary wizard.

If you fancy learning how to fish, professional guides are ready to share their secrets. When you need to unwind, the tropical spa treatments are so rejuvenating, they might just reset your stress levels to zero. For adventurous souls, the underwater world awaits. Dive into the vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, an experience akin to swimming in a living, breathing aquarium.

But the allure of Cayo Espanto doesn’t stop as the sun dips below the horizon. A private movie screening under the stars makes the nighttime equally alluring. Or you might prefer a quiet evening on your dock, sipping a cocktail as the ocean whispers around you. Rates start at $1,995.00 per night.

Little Palm Island Resort


You don’t have to jet off to Fiji or the Maldives to get a private island experience. Located on Little Torch Key in Florida, Little Palm Island is a quick U.S. getaway that feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle.

From the moment you arrive at the shore station, you’re welcomed into a world of tropical luxury. Greeted with a signature welcome drink, a tantalizing tropical medley topped with rum-marinated shredded coconut, you’ll instantly feel like you’ve stepped into a slice of paradise.

Related: The 17 best all-inclusive resorts in the US for a spectacular vacation

This pampering oasis is a dream destination for couples, home to 30 ocean-facing beach bungalows set amidst vibrant tropical gardens. Each day here can be as relaxing or adventurous as you like. Lounge by the pool, basking in the sun’s warm embrace, or treat yourself to a session of pure bliss at the luxurious spa.

For those craving a bit more excitement, the island offers myriad activities. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the sea with boating and scuba diving, or explore the natural wonders of the Great White Heron Wildlife Refuge through eco-tours. Rates start at $2,890 per night based on double occupancy.

AndBeyond Mnemba Island


Mnemba Island, a romantic hideaway within the Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, offers an exclusive escape with just twelve rustically chic beachside huts. Designed for no more than 24 guests, this private island connects you to the stunning Mnemba atoll. It’s a place where the simple joys of island life transform into treasured memories.

You can unwind on your own stretch of beachfront, where luxurious bandas peek out from the dappled shade of casuarina pine forests onto pristine sands. The thatched dining, sitting and bar areas provide breathtaking open views of the beach and the distant Zanzibar shores.

Related: Plan the ultimate African safari with these 12 bush-to-beach destinations

Wake up to late breakfast trays filled with tropical fruits, freshly squeezed juices and aromatic Tanzanian coffee, delivered right to your beach banda. Celebrate the sunset with fresh sushi and chilled Champagne, delivered discreetly at your beach lounger for a private toast to the day’s end.

As night falls, the island transforms. Romantic candlelit dinners are served on the beach, allowing you to dine with the gentle lapping of waves at your feet. And for those moments of ultimate relaxation, indulge in yoga and massages in the serene retreat of your room. Rates start at $1,585 per person per night.

JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa


While Venice is a mosaic of enchanting islands, there’s one that stands out as a special retreat from the hustle and bustle: the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa. This isn’t just any island; it’s an entire private island resort on Isola delle Rose (Rose Island), offering an exclusive escape just off the Venetian coast.

Spanning 40 acres, this luxurious haven features 250 rooms, four exquisite restaurants, and it boasts the city’s most opulent spa, all amidst the historical charm of an early 20th-century church. But the true highlight is the rooftop lounge and pool. Here, panoramic views unfold in a breathtaking display, inviting guests to bask in the beauty of Venice from a serene, elevated haven.

Related: 10 private-island resorts you can book with points

The resort’s charm extends beyond its stunning vistas. Stroll through the century-old park, or dive into the culinary arts at the on-site Sapori Cooking Academy. Whether you’re a culinary enthusiast or a curious beginner, this is a place where food and culture deliciously intertwine.

And when the allure of Venice calls, the resort offers a complimentary boat service directly to St. Mark’s Square. Imagine cruising from your private island sanctuary to the heart of Venetian life, all on a scenic boat ride. Rates start at $393, based on double occupancy, or 52,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Ambergris Cay


Ambergris Cay, tucked away in the Turks and Caicos Islands, is pretty much the definition of a luxury hideaway. This private island resort is a dream come true for anyone looking for a bit of seclusion with a whole lot of luxury. There are more than 1,100 acres of pristine land just waiting for you to explore.

Accommodations include 17 bungalows, eight villas and some seriously swanky privately owned homes. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, they have something just right, from cozy three-bedroom to grand six-bedroom setups.

Now, about the food — it’s a whole new level of awesome. You’re not just eating here, you’re designing your meals. Want to tweak a dish to suit your taste? No problem. It’s like having a chef who’s there to make your culinary dreams come true.

At this resort, there’s no shortage of things to do. Take a nature walk, strike a yoga pose or dive into some cool watersports. They even sort out your air transfers, making getting here as easy as enjoying the place. Rates start at $2,800 per night, based on double occupancy.

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