Three of a kind
YUO ISLAND, PNG
This delightful small island, a one-hour boat ride from Wewak, isn’t technically private since there are about five families living on it. But Naigboi Guesthouse is the only place to stay and gives guests that castaway experience, for a fantastically low price too. Owner Robert Marek, and his wife and children, will make you feel part of the family, with his wife cooking up delicious seafood meals, Marek telling you where the best snorkelling is, and his sons heading up spearfishing expeditions.
This isn’t a luxury property by any means; the traditional palm-thatched bungalows and beach huts are basic, but very comfortable and set right on the beach. Plus, feeling as though you’re part of the Marek family, who have lived on the island for over 80 years, is an experience money can’t buy.
Spending the extra PGK100 to take the trip to lush Kairiru Island to visit the hot springs.
PRICE + WEBSITE
PGK75 a night, per bungalow or beach hut; see naigboi.com.
BROTHER ISLAND, PHILIPPINES
A pristine sweep of white sand beach, fantastic snorkelling just 10 metres from the shore, traditional Filipino cuisine using freshly caught seafood – it’s all there waiting for you at Brother Island, the only exclusive private island for rent in El Nido. It’s all about slowing down and sinking in here: lazing in a hammock, swimming and snorkelling in the crystal waters, fishing and kayaking, exploring the forest and, by night, lighting a bonfire and gazing up at a tapestry of stars.
Host and owner, Alfred Lee, or ‘Alee’, who has lived on the island since 1991, is renowned for his friendliness, reliability and attention to detail. Also, because there’s zero Wi-Fi on Brother you will be completely in the moment for the duration of your stay.
Booking a beach massage or an island-hopping tour, weaving through the karst formations out on those emerald-green waters.
PRICE + WEBSITE
From about PGK1025 a night for the entire island and all meals; see airbnb.com.
DOLPHIN ISLAND, FIJI
There are 333 islands in the Fijian archipelago but only one of them is genuinely private, meaning that when you book Dolphin you have the entire island at your disposal. Just a 15-minute boat ride north of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, this little slice of paradise has four elegant timber-floored, palm-thatched bures with freestanding bathtubs and outdoor showers, and an impeccably styled entertaining bure that’s home to the lounge and dining room. Spend your days lazing by the infinity pool, kayaking, paddle boarding or snorkelling around the island with up to seven friends, getting a massage or napping in the hilltop open-air bure.
Each night, as the Dolphin team prepares your pre-dinner cocktails, no less than 100 lanterns are lit and placed around the sprawling palmsprinkled lawns.
The food at Dolphin, whipped up by your personal chefs, is something to remember: fresh prawns, fish and crayfish pulled from the ocean each day and accompanied by seasonal salads, fruit and antipasti.
PRICE + WEBSITE
From PGK2660 a person, per night; see dolphinislandfiji.com.