On your next winter getaway, pass on the better known tropical islands like St. Bart's in favor of more private, exotic destinations. Vacationers flock to beachy spots to bask in the sun and enjoy the cerulean blue waters. Skip the overly crowded, touristy islands and head to a more under-the-radar paradises like Mustique or Nosy Ankao. These idyllic islands are the getaway destinations of choice to the likes of Mick Jagger, Tommy Hilfiger and Barack Obama. They can you be yours, too.
Necker IslandAfter leaving office and a few days in Palm Springs, former president Barack Obama and his family headed to Richard Branson’s private island in the British Virgin Islands, Necker Island. The 74-acre island just north of Virgin Gorda, the private island paradise is part of Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition collection of exclusive hotels and retreats. On selected weeks you can book a room, but normally you need to book out the whole island, which can accommodate groups up to 34 people. Endless white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters and nonstop sunshine…January is a perfect time to go.
MustiqueMick Jagger, Tommy Hilfiger, the late Princess Margaret, the Middleton family—there’s a reason all of them chose this tiny island 100 miles west of Barbados to get away from it all. Mustique is truly an escape, with hardly any cars, establishments, or crowds to be found on the island (except for maybe late nights at Basil’s Bar, where you find locals and jetsetters sipping rum punch and listening to live music). You could easily hole up at one of the breathtaking villas available for rent, most of which come with a staff available at your beckon call at all times, and not leave for a week or more. Now that’s luxury.
Nosy AnkaoNosy Ankao is part of a five-island archipelago off the northern tip of Madagascar. The same team behind the Seychelles’ North Island resort and Norman Carr Safaris’ Chinzombo in Zambia is behind the new 14-villa lodge, Miavana, on Nosa Ankao island. This is not the kind of place you will just want to sit around and sunbathe, however. There’s scuba diving and snorkeling in the Indian Ocean right outside your villa, as well as fly fishing, whale watching, lemur trekking, and helicopter excursions all available here. Pack your bags and get out there!
Kokomo IslandAustralian billionaire developer Lang Walker has been hard at work developing this private island paradise in Fiji, opening early this year. The luxury resort has just about everything and anything you could want, including stunning ocean views, 21 large beachside villas with private decks and an infinity pool, private in-room catering, and some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling territory—the Great Astrolabe Reef, the fourth largest reef in the world—at its doorstep.
Galapagos IslandsThese majestic volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador have long been a destination for their impressive wildlife, stunning beaches and exclusivity. The Galapagos National Park has tightly regulated the number of visitors allowed at any given time, making it hard to gain access to the Galapagos. Go through a travel company like Lindblad Expeditions (Lars Eric Lindblad led the first ever citizen explore expedition to the Galapagos in 1967) on the brand new National Geographic Endeavour II. You’ll see an insane amount of wildlife, from penguins to Darwin’s finches, take scenic cruises and go o on hikes, and more for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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