The World’s Most Outrageously Expensive Vacations
These private island resorts offer all the relaxation you could ever want—with the outrageous price tags to match.
By Kevin Revolinski from Reader's Digest Canada
1. Musha Cay, The Bahamas
Part of the “Out Islands” of the Exumas, Musha Cay and
The Islands of Copperfield Bay (as in David Copperfield) are a
collection of eleven beautiful isles of pure private heaven. As the
resort claims, you get to choose who the guests are. It’s an
all-or-nothing affair: you must rent the entire island with as many as
24 guests in five guesthouses. The daily rate starts at $37,500 for up
to 12 guests, and includes all meals and beverages. Diving, deep-sea
fishing, a personal fireworks show, and even a customized treasure hunt
can be added on.
2. Cayo Espanto, Belize
Just a short boat ride from the mainland, this tiny four-acre island offers some serious pampering. A personal chef, personal dive master, butler, and the entire staff out on the dock to greet you as you arrive. Then you have your own villa – there are only seven – right on the emerald water’s edge with infinity plunge pools. Rates are all-inclusive and start at $1,295 per night per villa. Or you can rent the whole island with a group of friends for $11,000.
3. Guana Island, British Virgin Islands
Though the island has 850 acres, it has no public access and yet has seven white-sand beaches for an average of about 30 guests. The island is rich with plants and animals, especially bird species, and snorkeling is possible on three reefs. Sign up for yoga or tennis lessons, and have a drink at The Club, a colonial Great House. Fly into Beef Island and the resort’s boat can pick you up. A sea view cottage starts at $695 all-inclusive per night for couples in low season, and go up from there for the villas.
4. Cocoa Island, Maldives
You might say that at this resort you won’t exactly be staying on an
island. That’s because your accommodations are out over the turquoise
waters and connected to Cocoa Island
by boardwalk. But these aren’t little straw huts. Accommodations range
from split-level suites to two-bedroom villas and offer private sun
decks. Perfect for both romantic getaways and family vacations,
activities include catamaran snorkeling trips, amazing scuba diving,
fishing, and island hopping trips to experience the local culture. Dine
at the resort’s restaurant Ufaa on South Indian-style organic fare, or
some Asian and Mediterranean options. Or just stay out over the water
for room service. Rates start at $750 per night.
5. Villa Corallina, Tahiti
Tahiti certainly captures the imagination, but this little resort goes further toward a Robinson Crusoe experience than most others. Located on Motu Fareone, a tiny island off the coast of Moorea, this resort is composed of one villa. That’s it. No roads, just beach, coconuts, and the sea. Food can be catered from Moorea or you can take the free shuttle boat across the lagoon for your meals. If you are looking for supreme solitude in paradise, this is it. Rates start at $350 per night for two in the villa.
6. Bunga Raya Island Resort, Malaysia
Off the coast of the natural wonder of Borneo is this small resort island.
47 villas built by local craftsmen look out from hillside perches
over the beach and the South China Sea. Dive with sea turtles and whale
sharks, explore virgin forests and mangroves, and remove all stress with
some spa treatments. All units are air-conditioned and offer WiFi and
other modern amenities. Despite the tropical environment you still have
access to a high-quality wine cellar, as well as several restaurant
choices, some reachable only by boat. Rates start at $540 and
include breakfast for two.
7. Mantangi Private Island Resort, Fiji
Fiji is made up of 332 islands, so island-lovers generally have this destination at the top of their lists. Matangi Private Island Resort
is set on a 240-acre volcanic isle laid out like a horseshoe. Bamboo
construction with thatch roofs epitomizes the island life. Stay along
the beach or take to the trees in the island’s famous tree house which
features an outdoor Jacuzzi and lava rock shower. Hike the rain forest
or get in the crystalline waters for some snorkeling or diving. Rates
start at $610 per night and include three gourmet meals per day.
8. Fregate Island Resort, Seychelles
Just south of the equator in the Indian Ocean and a short flight from the main island of Mahé, is Frégate,
a jungle-covered granite island speckled with boulders and surrounded
by seven beaches like powdered sugar. Central to the island is a
125-meter granite peak and amid the abundant green you’ll find giant
tortoises and the magnificent towering banyan trees. Seventeen villas
(one of them presidential) built with mahogany and African teak wood and
cool marble floors feature ocean views. They have both a Jacuzzi and private
infinity pool. Eat in one of the restaurants or create a
gourmet picnic on a secluded beach. Many of the fruits and vegetables
are grown right on the island. The resort has a strong ecological
commitment; you can even adopt a giant tortoise. Rates for a villa for
two start at 2,700 Euros for a three-day minimum stay and include food
and activities such as guided hikes and windsurfing.
9. Sonora Resort, British Columbia
A private island doesn’t always mean the tropics. Sonora Resort
marries the insular solitude with the beauty of the North. See grizzly
bears, kayak in the sea, go fly-fishing, or take a wilderness tour. At
the end of the day, relax in a five-star spa before returning to your
spacious suite with a spectacular ocean view. Arrival is by water taxi
or you can take a 50-minute helicopter ride from Vancouver. Rates per
room start at $500 and are inclusive of all fine dining meals, most
drinks, and all resort facilities – tennis, saunas, and stocked
fly-fishing ponds. Extra activities include a glacier tour by
helicopter, salmon fishing, or even whitewater rafting.
10. Indigo Bay Resort, Mozambique
Situated off the coast of Mozambique, this resort
caters to nature lovers. The islands are
home to 180 species of birds, a variety of butterflies, suni antelope,
and even crocodiles. A top dive destination in the Indian Ocean, the
waters show vivid coral and attract five species of dolphin and sea
turtle as well as the rare dugong. The resort offers 30 beach chalets
and 14 villas all built with thatch, reed, and wood to blend with the
ecosystem, but with a luxurious touch and creature comforts such as air
conditioning and satellite TV. All-inclusive rates start at $545 per