Off the Hook: The World’s Most Exclusive Private Islands

Taking luxury to the next level, these gems can be yours (for a price)

Ever since we were kids, we knew that having our own secluded little paradise was something special. From the blanket fort in the living room to the backyard treehouse, we learned early on that an area all to ourselves was a valuable asset. 

Now imagine a lush, tropical terrain rimmed by powdery beaches and unbelievably blue water, where dreams  – like having a movie theater on the beach – become reality. And, much like your treehouse, only those who are invited can join. These exclusive, off-the-charts private islands spare no detail (or expense) in offering the closest possible thing to heaven on earth, and thanks to entrepreneurial owners like Richard Branson and magician David Copperfield, they can be yours, temporarily.

Musha Cay at Copperfield Bay, Bahamas

amazing-private-islandsDavid Copperfield creates magical experiences for a living, so it’s no surprise his private island makes the impossible happen. Occupying a slice of land in the Bahamas’ Exumas archipelago, Musha Cay has room for you and a couple dozen of your best pals. While the half-moon sand dunes that slice through the sea are pretty impressive, the activity inventory is even more alluring: five boats – including a 28 ft. Catamaran – four hot tubs, a handful of Yamaha wave runner jet skis, a tennis court, a gorgeous pool and cabana, and a movie theater are all yours. And that’s just outside.

Thirty staff members live on-site to cater to your every whim, including a chef, butler, and a boat captain to help you navigate all of those fancy water toys. While the endless list of amenities is reason enough to splurge, it’s the small details at Musha Cay that take the experience to the next level. The island has five separate homes, elegantly and thoughtfully designed. Vaulted ceilings and warm beige walls decorated with Balinese-style artwork combine for an interior that’s just as enticing as the dreamy daybed on the beach. Whether you’re a believer in Copperfield’s illusions or not, this island is truly magical.
Stay at Musha Cay

Tagomago Private Island, Ibiza

amazing-private-islandsA swift 5-minute boat ride from Ibiza brings you to Tagomago Private Island. It’s ultra-modern, ultra-stylish, and could easily be the setting for the next James Bond movie. Oh, and if boat transport isn’t really your thing, no problem: you can land your helicopter right on the island’s heli pad. The expansive saltwater pool is lined with daybeds and a hot tub, and cocktail hour is all day long; Tagomago’s staff will keep your champagne flutes full around the clock in true Ibiza style.

The villa’s modern architecture creates a cool and contemporary atmosphere, and the minimalist decor is the ideal setting for a chic soirée. Our favorite place in all of Tagomago is the al fresco dining area, where you can sit down to sunset dinners while the vacation playlist roars through the incredible sound system. At night, the villa is illuminated by bright violet and yellow lights, transforming the home into your very own exclusive nightclub to be shared with only your coolest 10 friends. Ready?
Stay at Tagomago

Calivigny Private Island, Grenada 

amazing-private-islandsA stone’s throw from mainland Grenada, Calivigny Island plays on childhood daydreams –the entire plot of land in the Caribbean Sea feels like a secret playground. From the arts and crafts room to the portable movie screen (yes, you can take it to the beach), and organized treasure hunts, be prepared for endless days of simple fun. If your taste is a little more refined, you can pamper yourself in the spa, get your daily dose of zen with a yoga session, or even play the grand piano on the terrace.

Calivigny is divided into several guest houses and a main house, accommodating up to 50 guests (do you hear wedding bells?). Its Mediterranean-style decor with custom-made furniture, gorgeous artwork and rooms with winding staircases leading to mezzanines makes for an estate that is as striking as the pink sunsets it welcomes night after night. When you’re not out exploring Calivigny’s groomed hiking trails or napping on the beach daybed, we recommend getting a dose of adventure out at sea; scuba diving and fly fishing are activities of choice here, if only to work up an appetite before your chef serves a five-star meal.
Stay at Calivigny Island

Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

amazing-private-islandsIf Princess Diana, Kate Winslet, Jimmy Fallon and countless world leaders have put their stamp of approval on Necker Island, it’s probably worth checking out. This plot of paradise in the BVI is Richard Branson’s treasured home, and the pride Branson has in every aspect is obvious as soon as you arrive. His commitment to environmental sustainability (plastic bottles are banned and the island even produces its own electricity) ensures the flora and fauna is even richer than you’d imagine, and the permanent residents include flamingos and lemurs.

While the animals are certainly happy, you will be too. No aspect of luxury was spared in creating the ultimate natural paradise. Divided into houses, the 34-person island retreat has everything from sailboats to spa treatments and swim up bars. Get adventurous like Branson and try your hand at windsurfing, kite sailing or water skiing. All food and beverages are included, so treat yourself to as much champagne and caviar as you’d like. Pre-cocktail hour, tennis players can enjoy a match on Branson’s famous court, home to the annual Necker Cup where Eugenie Bouchard, Bjorn Borg, Novak Djokvic and even Sean Paul (yes, the singer) have all played. And, don’t be surprised if Branson joins you for meals, he often drops in to see how his guests are getting on.
Stay at Necker Island 

Colleen McNamara