Vomo Island Resort, Fiji
Set on a dinky, crocodile-shaped island in the easy-to-reach Mamanucas, jaw-dropping Vomo Island Resort in Fiji offers pure shores, a crystal-clear sea and a second mini-isle for romantic picnics. It is sleekly designed with stylish local touches, and the perfect base for exploring some ace diving spots.
Wilkes Passage boasts large pelagic fish and massive corals; catch reef fish, moray eels and bat fish at Gotham City’s colourful coral heads; explore deep-water rock towers at clown fish-flocked Plantation Pinnacles or spy gorgeous gorgonian sea fans at Sherwood Forest.
Dive, snorkel, hike up the hill or ogle Hawksbill turtles in the hotel’s marine nursery before retiring to the hotel’s relaxed lounge bar and restaurant for a sunset cocktail (or three). Vomo Island Resort, Fiji.
Beguerra, off the coast of Mozambique is another undiscovered island fantasy. Not content with a bit of white sand and sunshine, Azura treats guests to a back-to-nature escape with not a car in sight. Meals are all timed to when you want them, courtesy of your personal host, who will also arrange where you have them (breakfast watching the tide go out, anyone?).
The most effort you’ll have to muster will be picking out activities: take a horse for a canter along the miles of deserted beaches, or go underwater to see the fluorescent fish.
Benguerra is one of the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago, with around 2,000 inhabitants and just three lodges. The hotel contributes to island life where it can: it built the school, buys food from the local fishermen and employs people born and raised on the island. The villas were all made from natural materials using traditional building techniques, and they blend harmoniously with their sublime surroundings: forest and freshwater lakes, sand dunes and savanna.
Azura has found paradise. Someone had better let Milton know. Azura, Mozambique.
Cayo Espanto, Belize
If Hello! and Forbes had a lovechild, it would look like the Cayo Espanto guestbook. This island resort, three miles out to sea from the Belizean coastal city of San Pedro, offers the kind of peace and quiet you only find in the most exclusive island hideaway, which is precisely what this hyper-luxurious boutique resort is. Which makes it surprising, then, that it can also nurture such a laid-back and unpretentious air.
The six wooden villas, hidden among the palm trees, are generously proportioned, well kitted-out, and all but the sea-encircled Casa Ventanas come with an always-warm private pool. If the luxurious accommodation, stunning Caribbean setting and private, pampered air of the island weren’t enough, then there’s the personalised level of service. Throughout your stay, you’re looked after by a ‘houseman’, who will do everything from fix you drinks to accompany you on excursions. It’s like having your own genie.
Meals are even more impressive: you supply a list of culinary preferences before the trip, and the island’s head chef tailor-makes a daily menu to suit your taste.
If you look up ‘luxury’ in a dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Cayo Espanto. Well, you might not yet, but, surely, it’s only a matter of time. Cayo Espanto, Belize.
Paradise Island Villas, Crete
For a taste of island life a little bit closer to home, the Paradise Island Villas are hidden away just outside Anissaras on the Greek island of Crete. Calling yourself paradise may seem like an ambitious claim, but the secluded, sanctuary-like villas of Paradise Island live up to the name.
Even the restaurant deserves to be called Ambrosia, serving perfectly grilled catch of the day and locally reared lamb, as well as delicious Greek desserts. Lastly, let’s not forget the villas’ stunning location between the Mediterranean and the mountains.
Terracotta tiles and bougainvillea-clad walls lead the way to the earthy interiors of ivory-hued, minimalist design and each villa has its own gorgeous garden, with a Jacuzzi-jet pool and dining area. Our advice? Don’t bite any apples and you can stay forever. Paradise Island Villas, Crete.
Parrot Cay by Como, Turks & Caicos
This once wild, uninhabited island is now a shimmering whitewashed wellness retreat. Parrot Cay by Como is a colourful Caribbean feather in the Como hotel group’s cap. When Hollywood’s high life are on the lookout for a pap-free, sun-drenched sanctuary to put their pedicured feet up, they often have this place in their sights. ‘Discovered’ by Melissa Ong – daughter of hotel magnate, style icon and all-round wonderwoman Christina Ong – a decade ago, the derelict private island of Parrot Cay is now home to one of the Caribbean’s most serene spa retreats.
This tropical paradise treads the fine line between luxury and minimalism, and gets it smartly, chicly right every time. Whitewashed walls, terracotta tiles, soft white cottons and a selection of Indonesian furniture create a warm, contemporary-colonial style. Four-poster beds draped in white provide serene, soothing slumber.
Throw in an award-winning spa, two gourmet restaurants and 1,000 acres of tropical island in which to relax, and it’s easy to see why this is such a top-drawer A-list escape. Parrot Cay by Como, Turks & Caicos.
Viceroy Bali, Bali
Ubud gets its name from ubad, the Balinese word for medicine, and since the 1960s, the town’s soul-soothing qualities have become legendary. Ubud makes a religion of relaxation. Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, HG Wells and Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton all tasted of its virtues early and helped boost its global fame as an arty sanctuary.
The classically elegant Viceroy Bali, perched atop a river ridge near Ubud, provides verdant vistas from its sublime infinity pool, spa or your own personal relaxation pavilion. No natural stone was left unturned in the hotel’s 2005 construction; this is where ultra-luxe Balinese styling meets eco-chic. Framed by a tapestry of rice paddies and set in verdant cliffs along the Petanu River gorge, the Viceroy appeals to VIPs and hedonists alike. Viceroy Bali, Bali.