Philippine Tatler|February 2020
Book an exclusive private island
Blame Robinson Crusoe. His 300-year-old story of shipwreck, misery, God, cannibals, slaves, and savages has, over the course of time, morphed into a dream castaway experience. The deserted island mirage, with sunny days and balmy nights, swaying palm trees and white-sand beaches, sends the best of us into a trance. Transformative travel may be all the rage, but the restorative power of getting away from it all and doing nothing should not be underestimated. It’s fuelled a boom in private-island resorts, scattered in cays and atolls across the oceans, offering levels of pampering that would make Mr. Crusoe weep with joy on his boy Friday’s shoulder.
From Fiji to the Philippines, you’ll find overwater villas, underwater spas, floating bars, infinity pools, celebrity chefs, personal butlers, yoga gurus, glorious sunrises, and spectacular sunsets, minus the hoi polloi. The best nurture the mind, body, and soul, while newer breeds such as Wa Ale in Myanmar and Bawah Reserve in Indonesia are grounded in conservation and philanthropy. Upping the ante are exclusive-use private islands—the Maldives is a fail-safe place to start: Four Seasons Voavah; the Owner’s Villa at Cheval Blanc Randeli; and Ithaafushi Private Island at the Waldorf Astoria are all worth a look. But for the ultimate in exclusivity and privacy, these three islands take it to another level.
The restorative power of getting away from it all and doing nothing should not be underestimated
What do you get for US$100,000 at Banwa? For a start, it buys you a night at this six-hectare slice of paradise in Palawan, a two-hour helicopter or seaplane hop from Manila. On it are six contemporary villas accommodating up to 22 people, with floor-to-ceiling windows, private infinity pools, and beach frontage. They’ve also thrown in a golf short course, tennis court, water sports, cocktails, and organic meals on-demand, as well as unlimited messages. And because it’s within a marine conservation area, look out for Hawksbill turtles, whale sharks, Tabon birds, and Mantanani scops owls. Be warned, though, one night is not enough—you’ll want more, many more. banwaprivateisland.com
Nukutepipi, French Polynesia
In space, no one can hear you scream, and at Nukutepipi, neither can your neighbors. This micron of an atoll in the Pacific Ocean is some 6,000 kilometers from the nearest continental landmass, which means it’s good for a thumping celebration, though its splendid isolation and abundance of nature make it even better for chilling. The vision of Guy Laliberté, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, the self-sustaining resort took well over a decade to realize. sixteen villas and bungalows, set among lush vegetation, accommodate up to 52 guests in understated comfort. A host of facilities and activities are available: scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, whale watching, and lagoon tours, to name a few. You’ll never go hungry, with two restaurants serving island-grown produce and ultra-fresh seafood. sunsetluxuryvillas.com/nukutepipi/
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