Today, disconnecting from the world seems all but impossible. Even on a luxury vacation, it can be difficult to escape the demands of everyday life and venture into wild lands without coming across signs of civilization.
The current conditions of the world also mean privacy and safety are becoming increasingly necessary. We may be dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for many years to come, and there are very few options for going on vacation and celebrating with our friends and family while maintaining utmost safety.
Thanks to their extremely exclusive and remote nature, private island vacations are an exceptional solution to the above problems. Not only are they incredibly safe—for instance, some of the staff haven't left the island for years—they are also some of the few remaining safe havens where it is possible to completely disconnect from the world and fully reconnect with yourself and the natural world.
Niko Contardi, our CEO here at EliteLyfe, has been on a personal mission to scope out the most exclusive private islands on the planet. Here, we present five of the best, each of which he has personally stayed at, met the owners and managers, sampled the food and excursions, and experienced all they have to offer. All to ensure they provide a private, safe, and utterly out-of-this-world vacation experience for you and your family.
The islands of French Polynesia, also known as The Islands of Tahiti, are well known for their popular on and offshore resorts in destinations such as Bora Bora and Mo'orea. But with 118 islands that sit roughly 6,000 kilometers away from the closest continent, they are also home to several highly exclusive and secluded ‘motus’, meaning small islands in Tahiti.
The island of Nukutepipi is one particularly special private motu. Owned by Guy Laliberté, the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, the 5.6km long island is a haven of healing and creative expression. From the moment you step foot on its pristine white sand, you are wholeheartedly welcomed in song by the proud Tahitian locals and feel the pulsing ‘mana’ energy of the unspoiled natural environment—the energy which caused Guy to first fall in love with it.
Every inch of Nuku is meticulously designed as a place to decompress, detach from what binds you in day-to-day life, and discover new worlds. Guy’s love of entertainment means that to complement the island's sense of time standing still, there is an endless range of activities to engage in. You can join the ranks of famous artists and record a hit album in the state-of-the-art recording studio, try your hand at archery or pareo (wraparound garment) making, learn about the universe in the stargazing program, scuba dive in the lagoon, heal your energy with the micro-vibrations of beehive therapy, and finish it all off with Tahitian dance and Polynesian tales that lead long into the night.
The energy of Nukutepipi is unlike any other place our CEO has experienced (and that is saying something). It is available to rent through EliteLyfe exclusively for groups of up to 52.
The island country of Grenada in the West Indies is known as the “Spice Island'' due to its wide variety of spices including nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and more. The name couldn't be more fitting to describe the abundance of exotic and eclectic luxury that is found on the tiny private islet of Calivigny, just off its south coast.
Calivigny began as a deserted island and, after being purchased by French-Swiss billionaire Georges Cohen of France in 2001, turned into one of the world's most exclusive private island retreats. Over many years and thousands of hours of work, Georges, along with artisans and craftspeople from around the world, manifested his vision of a hidden tropical paradise. Some of the sand was even shipped in from the Maldives to widen the island's two beaches.
The result is a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed. The island is home to a palatial, architectural masterpiece consisting of two main residences and several romantic beach bungalows spread over 80 acres of wildlife and activity-packed lush Caribbean greenery. Georges has successfully managed to combine simple, local pleasures with utmost luxury, including full-time Michelin Star chefs cooking fresh fish and lobsters hand caught by locals, a cutting-edge treehouse with games consoles overlooking Turtle Beach, a team of expert trainers, wellness, and water activity professionals, and, of course, festive gatherings that pound and reverberate with the incredibly rhythmic and intoxicating local music of soca and calypso.
Calivigny Island is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is ideal for show-stopping and elite-level events. The island is available for rent through Elitelyfe exclusively for up to 40 guests.
The British Virgin Islands are part of a volcanic archipelago in the Caribbean. The islands are the source of some of the world's most pristine natural beauty, dive sites, beaches, and exotic wildlife. There are few better settings for a private island resort, and lucky for us, the owner of a small island sitting just north of Virgin Gorda has opened and transformed his home into an unparalleled luxury playground for both adults and children alike.
Sir Richard Branson couldn't resist buying Necker island when it came up for sale in 1979 and he realized it belonged to a cluster with the same name as his company. In part to impress a girl, he agreed to a deal of $180,000–an incredibly discounted price as the owner was desperate to sell. His now long-time abode is open to guests, showcasing 74-acres of pure celebration of the natural world. Any wildlife, nature, and activity lover will instantly feel at home there.
On Necker Island, you may start the day exploring the coral reefs surrounding the island or feeding the seven types of endangered species, including lemurs, monkeys, and giant turtles. You may spend the rest of the day kiteboarding, scuba diving, competing in your own beach Olympics, playing tennis in the professional courts that host the Necker Pro-Am Tournament (Necker Cup), playing life-size chess, or hanging out in the beach pool and enjoying the famous floating sushi bar. Whatever you choose to do, you will feel fully looked after thanks to a genuinely caring and friendly staff—who will also most likely end the day singing and dancing with you in one of the resort's many bars or festive-themed nights (Vegas rules apply!)
Necker island is available to rent through EliteLyfe exclusively for up to forty guests. It is also possible to rent rooms for individuals, couples, or families. If you're lucky, when you stay you may even get to meet the man himself.
The archipelago of Bocas del Toro on the Atlantic side of Panama, named after the immense waves that were crashing against the shore when it was first discovered in 1502, has long been home to native tribes and freed slaves building communities. Today, few places in the world maintain such biodiversity and ancient customs, and a visit there is sure to involve learning about local culture and witnessing fauna unseen anywhere else in the world.
Nestled within the Bocas del Toro archipelago is the private island resort of Sweet Bocas. The island began as nothing more than a mangrove and a vision to provide a new way to experience luxury sustainability. Thanks to its owner, it is now an eco-friendly paradise where guests can learn, discover, and recharge. The island is designed with a commitment to protect the environment and the local culture, featuring the largest freshwater private lake in the region and a fully functioning permaculture farm.
As you may have guessed, as well as sustainability, the number one thing the island is known for is surfing. A professional surfer lives permanently near the island and is available for personal instruction. If surfing isn't your thing, maybe boat fishing, ATV jungle tours, and tracking dolphins and exotic species with wildlife experts are. Along with the stunning surroundings and range of activities, the owner of the island used to own five-star restaurants in Montreal, and so you can expect nothing less than world-class, exquisite, hand-selected cuisine and beverages. Our CEO had one of the best Indian meals (and bowls of granola) of his life on Sweet Bocas.
The connection to nature and hospitality of Sweet Bocas is truly otherworldly. The private island is available to rent through EliteLyfe exclusively for parties of up to eighteen guests.
In the Gulf of Chiriqui, on the Pacific coast of Panama, is another archipelago of fourteen volcanic islands. With one of the most diverse marine ecosystems on the planet, the region is a sanctuary for sea life and curious travelers seeking once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Among the islands is Isla Secas, a private luxury island resort that is twenty miles from civilization and has been uninhabited for hundreds of years. Engulfed by crystal clear waters that are unimaginably blue and warm, the island is home to the second-largest reef in the region, 750 species of fish, 50 species of bird, and 128 species of plants. Stepping foot on the island and peering up through its tree-enveloped hills is like discovering an untouched part of the world that is yet to be explored.
Upon arriving at Isla Secas, you feel at once in tune with the natural environment. 75% of the archipelago has been left undeveloped and 100% of the Isla Secas resort is powered by solar energy. All of the activities likewise reflect low-impact sustainable living, from the whale watching tours and eFoiling lessons to birdwatching with a National Geographic expert and mixing cocktails with fresh local ingredients alongside a full-time mixologist. Even the pastries and desserts, delivered daily to your room, are made from local ingredients by a chef that lives on the island full time.
Isla Secas is one of the best value private islands that Niko has ever visited. The private island resort is available to rent through EliteLyfe exclusively for groups of 24 Guests.
Here at EliteLyfe, we are specialists in luxury travel and elite concierge services. We know your time is precious. Allow our highly experienced and professional team to help plan your perfect vacation so you can sit back and get the most out of every single moment of your trip.