For privacy with all the perks, savvy travellers know that private rentals are the way to go. Whether you’re getting the gang together for a castaway island adventure, hanging out with the extended family in a stylish villa, or unwinding with loved ones in a mountain bungalow, you’ll be smug in the knowledge that there’s no one to bother you at these heavenly private island hotel hideaways.
Kudadoo has taken the all-inclusive concept to stratospheric new levels of luxury. There are simply no ‘nos’ here: whether you choose to rent one of the 15 overwater villas or the entire island, everything is included – and we mean everything. Fancy Ruinart champagne with your floating breakfast or Patron tequila in your minibar? Done. Want to dive in the morning, jet ski in the afternoon and watch the sun go down on a dolphin-spotting cruise? No problem. How about spending the entire day – or week – at the spa, flitting between private yoga classes, hours-long massages and meditation in the Himalayan salt chamber? You can – namaste. But the ultimate luxury is the location. The resort lies in the wondrous Lhaviyani Atoll, one of the few atolls in the Maldives to have come through the 2016 worldwide bleaching event relatively unscathed.
Koh Samui, Thailand
This Bond-worthy complex is cleaved into the hillside above Choeng Mon beach, affording it sublime Gulf of Thailand views. There are 27 villas to choose from, ranging from ample one-bedrooms to an enormous eight-bedroom retreat complete with private movie-screening room, seaview gym, whirlpool, games room and barbecue deck. All feature the same luxury beach club aesthetic; swathes of pale stone, creamy-white oversized sofas, contemporary Thai artwork, airy salas and infinity pools large enough to kayak in. A full complement of chefs, masseurs, yoga, pilates and muay Thai instructors are on hand. There are also tennis courts and aqua toys available for rent, from little yellow kayaks to a fleet of gleaming sailing yachts waiting to be chartered for a day in Ang Thong Marine Park.
Mandala The House
One for the fashionable crowd: Mandala The House is located in Bali’s hipster enclave Canggu, with rice paddy eye-candy and interiors so gorgeous they’ve been featured in some of the world’s glossiest magazines. A double-height split-level living area is at the heart of the house, filled with impeccable art and objets – macrame cushions, patchwork Persian rugs, ornamental pineapples and geometric lampshades, all offset against polished concrete and wraparound windows. Five spacious ensuite bedrooms, two swimming pools (one with a swim-up bar and the other raised with a glass bottom), a neon-lit gym, a cinema and a tucked-away library will keep small groups in the lap of luxury. Berawa beach is just five minutes away, as are the organic cafes, funky restaurants, cool bars, clothing boutiques, jewellers and homeware stores of Jalan Pantai Berawa.
Nine Skies Ella
Planted deep in Sri Lanka’s hill country, this lovingly restored tea bungalow has just five suites, making it perfect for an intimate get-together. Interiors merge contemporary with colonial – airy lounges, romantic fireplaces, a medley of antique and modern furnishings and plush cashmere throws. While there may be some squabbling over who gets the spacious Ella Rock Suite, no one will be disappointed; each room features a four-poster bed, cosy armchair, clawfoot bathtub and private garden terrace. Mesmerising views of mist-licked mountains appear everywhere but are particularly enticing from the edge of the onsite infinity pool. Guests can hop on bicycles to explore the impressive nearby Nine Arch Bridge viaduct or the waterfall-dotted villages of Demodara and Ella. All-inclusive rates include three meals a day of both Sri Lankan and fusion food, plus alcohol.
This entirely private island, set against the remote Cape York Peninsula at the tip of the northern Great Barrier Reef, is the place to channel all your Swiss Family Robinson fantasies. The speck of land has just five thatched roof villas, accommodating up to 12 guests, with rustic interiors (think open-air living, driftwood furnishings, netted beds and cooling sea breezes instead of air-conditioning). A sun-bleached wooden pier is the jumping-off point to a wealth of adventures, from snorkelling over rainbow-bright coral gardens to spear-fishing for Spanish mackerel to helicoptering over thundering waterfalls. Or you could just potter around the island, following butterfly-lined nature trails, drinking cocktails from coconuts or swinging in a hammock with a good book. Food is as fresh as you can get, plucked from the sea or pulled from the resort’s organic gardens that day.