World's Most Romantic Private-Island Escapes
Splurge on an intimate romantic getaway at one of the world's finest private island resorts.
We've scoured the globe's nooks and crannies to find the most secluded getaways. Book a trip to one of these paradises and you may just propel yourself to the Hall of Romantic Gestures Fame.
The Beach House
We're warning you: Upon arriving at this seemingly perfect island nation, subsequent vacations will likely pale in comparison. The island of Manafaru exudes pure paradise, with luxury water villas floating atop emerald water and beach suites surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife. Fringed with banana and mango trees, the Beach House's completely remote location ' hidden on nearly the opposite side of the world from the US West Coast ' translates to less crowds and more peace and quiet. Customize your experience by choosing from 4 different levels of water villas and private-unit beach suites. Three restaurants with 5-star cuisine ensure you'll be well fed, and the stunning Amazon Pool, the country's finest, promises you'll stay cool. The place is brand-spanking new (with an opening in February 2008) and reasonably priced, so book your room before the rest of the world discovers the best kept secret in the Indian Ocean.
Peter Island Resort
British Virgin Islands
Although escaping to the waters of Southeast Asia is heavenly, paradise doesn't have to be multiple plane rides away. Carefree and captivating Caribbean destinations do exist, namely the British Virgin Islands' most beloved private islands: Peter Island Resort. It just saw the addition of a 10,000-square-foot spa and pool and has the capability of housing more than 100 guests at a time in its 55 accommodations, while still allowing guests to maintain that island-to-themselves feel (the resort spans 1,800 acres, after all). Plan to book the 'Ultimate Luxurious Valentine's Day,' a 5-night package offered Feb. 10-16. You'll be greeted with a bottle of Cristal upon arrival, unlimited use of all island facilities and water sports equipment (WaveRunners and sailboats included), specialized spa treatments, private powerboat tours of the island chain, and gourmet beach picnics for 2.
If you're seeking exclusivity, Fiji's Wakaya Island will keep the noise and clutter of everyday life at bay, while letting you be pampered like royalty. Guests won't be distracted modern technology and newfangled accents here: The owners' concept involves preserving the island's natural beauty and spirit, and they are aided in their mission by a friendly staff of predominantly Fijians. Take advantage of the island's remote splendor and arrange for use of your own private beach (the proportion of beaches to guests is certainly in your favor), where you will be dropped off with a champagne brunch and chauffeured back once you've summoned with your two-way radio. The resort's 10 1,500-square-foot cottages feature lavish yet natural extremities such as lava rock shower stalls, cathedral ceilings, Tibetan rugs, woven bamboo wall coverings, and indigenous yaka timber flooring.
Tucked away in the placid waters of the western Caribbean, Cayo Espanto, a nearly untouched Central American gem, prides itself on excellent service and a two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio. Guests are even provided with walkie-talkies so the staff won't unnecessarily disturb unless they're called. With just 6 villas, it's easy to feel like you own the place (you kind of do, for a few nights, at least). Each house accommodation occupies a minimum of 1,500 square feet and has its own Spanish name, like Casa Brisa, or Casa Estrella, giving the island resort an even more charming and homey feel. The villa decor is understated, yet each includes a private pool, walled garden and alfresco shower. The king-sized beds are fitted with Yves Delorme linens that might easily cost twice the price of a single night's stay. Nearby snorkeling and diving excursions to one of the world's hottest sites, Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley, are must-dos.
Le Taha'a Island Resort and Spa
Why join the hordes of vacationers at Tahiti and Bora Bora when you can enjoy the tranquility of a private Polynesian retreat away from all the chaos? The serenity of Le Taha'a remains unmatched for miles upon miles, and its aquamarine waters are some of the most mesmerizing in the world. With more than 25 pristine diving sites surrounding the island and abundant marine life that sees reef sharks year-round, there's nary a better place to get scuba certified. Don't be surprised if you catch frequent whiffs of vanilla as you laze in your beach bungalow's private garden. Situated just five minutes by boat from the resort is the isle of Taha'a, which produces roughly 75 percent of the country's vanilla. It's also famous for its high-quality pearls, a popular souvenir.