Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
For some of us, a “private island” means pristine, golden beaches without another soul in sight and a lavish cabana where you’ll sleep to the sound of ocean waves. But private islands don’t have to be just for the ultra-elite. From far-flung luxury hideouts to more affordable, easy-to-reach cottages, here are six private islands you can rent for the night.
Located on Nosy Ankao, off the northeast coast of Madagascar, the five-star resort of Miavana opened this June. Dubbed a luxury eco-resort, the place runs on solar power and was built with sustainable materials like thatch and grass. The resort is made up of 14 oceanfront villas, a communal square, and an infinity pool on the edge of the Indian Ocean. Your nightly rate—starting at $2,500—includes meals, butler service, and guided outings like kite surfing, snorkeling through shipwrecks, and whale watching.
One of the most pristine and secluded of the Hawaiian Islands, Lanai is a 90,000-acre private island purchased in 2012 by Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle. In 2016, Four Seasons Resort Lanai reopened after a massive renovation, offering views of a marine sanctuary to go with extravagant accommodations. Rooms start at $1,075 a night. Out of your budget? Try the 11-room Hotel Lanai, a historic inn in the old pineapple plantation town of Lanai City, where rooms start at $186 a night and include breakfast. While on Lanai, you can hike to secluded beaches, snorkel among spinner dolphins, or mountain bike rugged red-dirt roads.
The Inn at Cuckolds is a two-room establishment inside a restored 19th-century lighthouse, about 15 minutes by boat from the town of Southport, Maine. Breakfasts and afternoon tea are included in your stay. You can book the east- or west-facing suite for $500 per night, or get the whole island to yourself for a loftier rate (whole-island rentals start at $1,450). By day, take a sail or kayak tour of Boothbay Harbor.
Kokomo Island, Fiji
This new luxury resort opened in March on a private island owned by Australian billionaire Lang Walker. Located among Fiji’s Kadavu Island Group, Kokomo Island is a 140-acre tropical haven with white-sand beaches and lush rainforests, accessed via seaplane or helicopter from Fiji’s mainland. You’ll snorkel and dive through the Great Astrolabe Reef, the fourth largest in the world, trek through the rainforest, and sleep in private beachfront villas with infinity pools overlooking the ocean. It’s pricey—starting at $1,995 a night—but your rates include all meals, plus butler and nanny services.
Eagle Island, Georgia
To get to Eagle Island, you’ll leave from a dock in the fishing village of Darien, Georgia, and take a 15-minute boat ride to your own private ten-acre island. This isn’t a resort—it’s a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house that can sleep up to 12 people and starts at $475 a night—but you’ll get resort-like services, including a stocked kitchen, kayak and boat rentals, and a friendly boat captain named Andy who answers your questions. Watch the sunset from a hammock, hike a nature trail around the island, or go crabbing off the dock.
Hatchet Caye, Belize
Hatchet Caye, a seven-acre private island an hour-long boat ride from the coastal town of Placencia, Belize, is home to a laid-back resort that first opened in 2011. Here, you can book one of eight oceanfront cabanas or four rooms in the main house starting at $433 per night, or you and up to 30 friends can reserve the whole island for $3,000 a night. Spend your time atop a kayak or paddleboard, or book a trip with the on-island dive shop to dive among whale sharks in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the second largest coral reef in the world. The resort’s restaurant serves good ceviche and fried lionfish tacos.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.