These island destinations take exclusivity to the extreme, bringing luxury to romantic, dramatic, adventurous, and mythical new levels.
Take exclusivity to the extreme, bringing luxury to romantic, dramatic, adventurous, and mythical new levels!
NORTH ISLAND Seychelles
Extreme Relaxation A Robinson-Crusoe-meets-Paradise-Island vibe greets you on a stroll around the tranquil shores of this long uninhabited jewel. Architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens along with artisans from Africa, Zanzibar, Bali and the Seychelles married cultures and architectures to provide an over-the-top, intimate fantastical paradise. From the eleven guest villas complete with decadent private pools and libraries, to the West Beach Bar perched on an outcrop of the granitic island’s westside––the view becomes less of an experience and more a call to the soul.
Lavish accommodations include 450 square-metre villas with luxurious bedrooms, a writing and changing room area, generous marble baths and outdoor showers. You decide wether to let the gentle breeze of punkah-punkah fans cool you down while opening fully retracting windows to admire the 270-degree view, or simply indulge in air-conditioning. When its time to pamper no one does relaxation better than North Island. Swimming and sunbathing on four private beaches, just steps away snorkelling and scuba diving with 4-metre visibility over otherworldly reefs, yoga on the beach for your most memorable sun salutation, and private massages.
Visits to the world-class Spa on North Island find a blend of the rare and exotic right down to organic natural herbs, marine cosmetics and complimentary barefoot rituals, a foot massage that chases away the stress of travel and welcomes relaxation. Their holistic and Thalgo treatments feel more like journeys. Get your adventure on with Hobie sailing, yacht charters and deep sea fishing. Enjoy island hopping on a private helicopter to play golf at 18-hole Lamuria Resort on Praslin Island. Trekkers will enjoy nature walks hosted by the island’s ecologist or bird watching with a naturalist. north-island.com
THE NAKA ISLAND, Phuket
Extreme Cuisine They’ll have you at chicken coconut soup and green papaya salad. Complimentary cooking classes are the cherry on top of a stay at this exclusive island retreat in the heart of Phuket’s emerald Andaman Sea. Culinary experts guide guests through the interactive experience using fresh ingredients procured at local markets to create several authentic recipes from Thai Curry to nutritious, delicious smoothies. Sail by longtail boat to Phuket, crowned City of Gastronomy by UNESCO, to enjoy Peranakan cuisine in the restaurants of the Old Town District, which also features food carts serving everything from jelly desserts, crispy crepes and traditional fare like Mee Hokkien, a fried egg on yellow noodles.
Stunning vistas are just the beginning of the extravagance at the Seaview Villas. All is airy and tropical as you breathe in the sea. Muted earth tones enhance the natural decor from wood furniture to stone accents. Picture windows let the outside in infusing the interior with tranquillity and harmony. The large outdoor area with private pool, lanai and daybed finds you planning your next adventure or simply curling up with a good book. An open-air bathroom and courtyard nurtures your wild side while calming the spirit. Among the lush exotic landscape, linger in the outdoor soaking tub after a visit to the steam room. Be as plugged-in or off-the-grid as you desire. After your extreme cuisine adventures, you’ll have mouth-watering recipes as mementoes to make whenever you want to recall the joy of the island. Recreating traditional Thai recipes is the gift that keeps on giving. nakaislandphuket.com
KANUHURA LUXURY ISLAND RESORT, Maldives
Extreme Gypsetting Need to satisfy your inner gypsy and jet-setter? This resort celebrates your freedom in the lap of luxury. Your bliss begins when the seaplane touches down on crystal waters. This is where barefoot luxury is defined by walking barefoot all day, completely free. Break out the linen and gorgeous sun dresses. Recently renovated, a mix of the eclectic modern and international, with a creative luxurious laid-back style has no need to impress or try too hard. Let everything go in the here and now. It’s easy in spacious villas with private terraces and pools overlooking pristine white sand beaches.
Private island, Jehunuhura is only a five minute sail from the resort island where you can enjoy the Drift restaurant and an island all to yourself. If you’re in season, you may even spot a baby sandpiper hatching. Overwater villas up the dramatic with see-through floors in the bathroom making your bath feel like you’re floating over the impossibly blue ocean water. Their overwater hammocks in the bathroom and on the terrace up the gypsy vibe, with gorgeous white-washed interiors featuring outstanding original art pieces that add a dash of beach elegance.
Six restaurants on the island give the gypsetter tons of choices from Fogo––quite possibly the only Brazilian restaurant in the Maldives––to a romantic, most unusual dinning experience in a boat at Dhoni. Because you haven’t lived until you’ve dined on a boat with champagne and throw pillows. Other venues offer fusion cuisine, poolside dinning and an herb garden, featuring organic food, perfect for your inner hippie. Stunning sunset cruises will help you discover a few more colours then you found in the crayon box. Adventurers will love night fishing, armed with only a line and a hook, bait in hand. After a few clumsy tries, you’ll catch tropical fish in no time. The best part is eating your catch, prepared by the chef––dinner doesn’t come fresher, or more organic. kanuhura.com
ROYAL DAVUI, Fiji
Extreme Seclusion So you want to be alone––need to recharge, rejuvenate and maybe reinvent yourself? Welcome home to the beauty in the middle of nowhere. While no man is an island, a man can certainly have a great time on his own, in the middle of spectacular Beqa Lagoon at this exclusive, adults-only resort & sanctuary. Book the entire island of 16 villas for yourself and a loved one, or reserve it for your next celebration and enjoy inviting family and your closest friends to join in creating memories of a lifetime. At your request, the resort will establish a no-fly zone for your ultimate privacy. The staff specialises in making unique events a reality.
Maybe the best memory will be merely showing up to your barefoot life ready to surrender to this experience. This place lets you party as hard as you want or live like a hermit with unique experiences like kava ceremonies and cocktail beach parties to deserted sand cay champagne breakfasts, only a short 7-minute boat ride away from the island. Once the effects from the mild narcotic kava drink, made from the powdered root of the pepper plant, wears off you’ll be ready for some world-class pampering. Anticipatory service beyond compare goes way beyond turndown service to incorporate whatever your heart desires in terms of transfers and custom themes you require.
Thrill seekers can indulge by sailing Hobie catamarans and sea kayaks, go deep-sea fishing, or enjoy some of the best scuba in the world including shipwrecks, soft corals, and swimming through caves. While others may enjoy island walks, bocce ball, croquet, and stand up paddleboarding. Indulge at Davui Fiji Spa where the masseuses tap into the legendary beauty secrets of Pacific Islanders, devising exotic, ancient treatments to heal your modern day aches and pains. royaldavuifiji.com
LE TAHA’A ISLAND RESORT & SPA, French Polynesia
Extreme Romance From your villa watch the sun set behind distant Bora Bora’s silhouette as the intoxicating scent of vanilla soothes your spirit. Shaped like a flower, the island of Le Taha’a is only accessible by boat from the remote island of Raiatea––less than an hour’s flight from Tahiti. Perfectly secluded, you are free to leave island crowds behind and privately experience the home of the Tahitian vanilla orchid, among the jungles where most of the vanilla is produced in French Polynesia.
Enjoy an elegant and adventurous playground at The Royal Beach Villas private plunge pools and tropical gardens. The interior features two luxuriously large bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms, two outside bathtubs and showers. Perhaps the overwater suite better fits your mood with the thrill of floating above the clear blue lagoon and views of exotic sea life. The Vanilla Island finds coconut groves, with watermelon and banana fields. You’ll taste plenty of the sweet spice in local cuisine and healing treatments. Her sweet tranquillity and pristine beaches allure.
Ideal for hiking, those that want to get their adventure on can take the Jeep Safari which not only gives you a thrill checking out exotic flora and fauna, but also lands you at the two island must-sees––the pearl farm and vanilla plantation. The island delivers whatever your flavour of romance. Tiny islets, or motu, pepper the crystal lagoon each with white sand beaches and swaying palm trees, the ultimate private setting for a romantic picnic lunch. Effortlessly drift over a shallow coral garden between Motu Maharare and Motu Tautau among scores of exotic, colourful tropical fish or dive the shipwrecks, jet ski or sail; there’s enough to do or not do to keep your romance alive. letahaa.com
ARAKUR USHUAIA RESORT & SPA, Argentina
Extreme Drama If visiting the end of the world is high on your bucket list, you’ve discovered the most dramatic way to cross it off, at the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, or Fireland––an archipelago made up of hundreds of islands around Cape Horn, the last stop on your way to Antarctica. Inside a natural reserve and close to Mount Alarkén’s summit, this mountain hideaway’s sweeping natural vistas allure guests upon arrival. The majestic lobby includes a huge fireplace, clean lines and natural materials that set off the real showstopper––views of the natural world all around you. And they are everywhere, even from the state-of-the-art exercise room.
Outdoor hot tubs and recreation pools perched high on a wooden deck leaves you with silent, stunning views of the ocean and mountains so peaceful you may never want to leave. The suites’ minimalist, contemporary artistic furnishings provide extreme comfort after your incredible end-of-the-world adventures at nearby Cerro Castor Ski Resort, Ushuaia Golf Club and Tierra del Fuego National Park. Take your pick from photo safaris along Arroyo Grande’s one-kilometre coastline and forested hiking trails. Or enjoy wildlife watching and the native forests of lenga, ñire and coihue trees. City and bay views from the mountains to the Vinciguerra Glacier make for dramatic dining at the La Cravia Restaurant which serves up excellent Argentinian cuisine including spider crab, lamb and black hake as well as international fare. arakur.com
FOGO ISLAND INN, Canada
Extreme Style Your stay on the largest offshore island of Newfoundland and Labrador finds a sweet oasis hovering over the striking, rugged coastline. This luxurious 29-room hotel specialises in easing your state of mind with art studios, a rooftop spa, and uniquely designed urban-chic rooms. Icebergs dot the view adding to the excitement and surprise of this diamond in the rough Newfoundland wilderness. With much of the furniture and textiles made by local designers, the inn showcases modern and traditional design.
Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling ocean views, most with wood burning stoves, and wooden floors that create a cosy contemporary vibe. Bathtubs with forever views of the sea make you feel like you could set sail any minute. A wild haute cuisine menu serves up delicacies from the forest and sea to your table and highlights fresher-than-fresh seafood, featuring North Atlantic cod fished and cooked in the island’s proud English and Irish tradition as well as crab, shrimp, and turbot. Locally foraged berries, mushrooms and greens also delight. Seven seasons give plenty adventures to choose from.
Winter romantic nights include bonfires, stargazing and traditional boil-ups with locals––outdoor winter picnics in the woods, an everyday activity while gathering firewood or berry picking. Summer might find you sailing the MV Ketanja for an ocean adventure to iceberg and whale watch, and visit an abandoned fishing community. Their historic link to the sea can be felt in every adventure here, from boat building to architecture, the legendary arts scene to local shopping you will enjoy the nautical influences on the island and its people. With an ecological heart, the inn focuses on many conservations issues. fogoislandinn.ca
CAESAR AVGVSTVS, Capri
Extreme Myth The thrill of seeing the drool-worthy Amalfi coast from your luxury suite is one of life’s wonders. From Pompeii to the birthplace of pizza and Sophia Loren in Naples, you become a part of history on the island of Capri. The first to discover her charms, the hotel’s namesake became enchanted and swapped another island he conquered for his beloved Capri. Over the centuries the mythical island became a haven for writers and poets as a seasonal escape from the cold and a place to find the magic of solitude and rustic simplicity.
This one-time private villa, a haven for creatives, resides on the edge of a cliff, calling you to the far reaches of your imagination––illuminating your dreams and creating an appetite for new adventures. Entering a private code in the elevator takes you directly to the Capri Master Suite, fit for Caesar himself. Arches and columns, gorgeous marble bathrooms and opulent open spaces bring ancient Rome’s architecture home to this sanctuary of the soul which occupies the entire top floor of the hotel. 80 square meters of penthouse glamour features the best views in all of Capri.
Enormous sun-drenched terraces and a rooftop garden along with a wooden deck furnished with sophisticated sofas, tables and chairs provide the perfect setting for your intimate gatherings. The distinctive suites have jaw-dropping views of Capri, Mount Vesuvius, the Bay of Naples and offer accommodations fit for a king. In fact, King Farouk of Egypt has a namesake suite here because he booked it for a year at a time. The restaurant puts Capri on your plate. With two acres of organic gardens, the hotel has a philosophy that food is sacred, a gift of nature, and that less is more in terms of preparation leaving guests to enjoy pure delicacies. caesar-augustus.com
BELMOND VILLA ST. ANDREA, Sicily
Extreme Wonder A summer wonderland, she opens in early April, welcoming guests on arrival with freshly-made lemonade. A private beach finds guests relaxing and rejuvenating. Geraniums and garden terraces frame the picturesque beach, where the ocean calls you to a calmer way of life. Give in to old-world glamour with a complimentary cruise along the rocky coast featuring romantic stops like the blue cave. After your day of adventure, enjoy a unique afternoon tea––on the rocks with tables set in the water. Once you’ve dined aquatic, dining on dry land will never be the same.
Indulge in suites with spacious bedrooms and understated elegant decor, featuring gorgeous marble baths, terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows framing incredible panoramic views of the bay. The hotel’s stunning heated infinity pool will thrill. Adventures include paddle-surfing and Vintage Fiat 500 and Ape Calessino tours, photo safaris, off-the-beaten-path shopping gems, molten lava hikes on Mt. Etna, private yacht sails to the Aeolian Islands featuring sunset swims and volcano hikes.
Film buffs will enjoy The Godfather tour of famous locations and a winery visit. Sicilian cliffs frame Restaurant Oliviero which serves fresh, seasonal Italian favourites. Stunning al fresco dining will create memories of a lifetime. Featuring breathtaking scenery and modern amenities, the Belmond Villa St. Andrea delivers a glamorous, exciting experience especially at their oceanfront wellness centre where the healing powers of the island unleash in unparalleled treatments. belmond.com ◼
© This article was first published in Feb-Mar 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.
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