The National - News - Luxury - - FRONT PAGE - Selina Den­man, ed­i­tor

I s there a greater lux­ury than own­ing an is­land? Surely not. To have an en­tire, self-con­tained par­cel of land to call your own (and to be re­spon­si­ble for safe­guard­ing that lit­tle piece of the planet) could well be the ul­ti­mate achieve­ment.

Pri­vate is­lands sit at the very pin­na­cle of the lux­ury prop­erty mar­ket. In our fea­ture on page 30, Panna Mun­yal looks at some cov­etable op­tions that are cur­rently on the mar­ket, from the 11-acre Pe­tra Is­land in New York State, to the 800-acre Lataro Is­land in the Pa­cific Ocean na­tion of Van­u­atu, which is a steal for just un­der US$10 mil­lion (Dh36.7m).

We learn that the adage “less is more” is often ap­pli­ca­ble when it comes to is­land liv­ing, ac­cord­ing to Chris Krolow, host of the HGTV show Is­land Hunters and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Pri­vate Is­lands Inc. As he points out: “If the acreage is mas­sive, you’re not ac­tu­ally go­ing to feel like you’re on an is­land – you may not even be able to see the water from your res­i­dence.”

What makes a pri­vate is­land so de­sir­able goes far be­yond its land mass or even its in­her­ent prom­ise of stun­ning to­pog­ra­phy and un­in­ter­rupted vis­tas. Is­lands are spe­cial be­cause they of­fer an op­por­tu­nity to re­treat com­pletely – a rar­ity in this hy­per­con­nected, high-pres­sure, stress-in­fused age. You might still have Wi-Fi, but be­ing on a body of land that is cut off from ev­ery­thing else has an im­me­di­ate psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect, as any­one who has hol­i­dayed in the Mal­dives will prob­a­bly at­test.

An is­land of your own also al­lows you to re­con­nect with na­ture. And, per­haps best of all, it af­fords you com­plete and ut­ter pri­vacy, which could be the ul­ti­mate lux­ury for many. That is why a num­ber of own­ers choose to keep their is­land abodes as un­com­pli­cated as pos­si­ble.

“Even when peo­ple have tons of money, they often keep their is­land homes sim­ple be­cause they are there to en­joy bird­song and sun sets,” Farhad Vladi, founder of Vladi Pri­vate Is­lands, tells us.

One man who does not keep his homes sim­ple is in­te­rior de­signer Mar­tyn Lawrence Bullard, who will be vis­it­ing the UAE to de­liver a key­note speech at Down­town De­sign. The Bri­tish-born, LA-based de­signer is a favourite with A-lis­ters, and counts some of the world’s most fab­u­lous (and, one would imag­ine, de­mand­ing) women among his clients, from Cher to Christina Aguil­era, and Joan Collins to Sharon Os­bourne. On page 26, Bullard tells us why Cher was “the ul­ti­mate de­sign dream”, how Khloe and Kourt­ney Kar­dashian have al­most di­a­met­ri­cally op­pos­ing tastes when it comes to in­te­rior de­sign, and why he loves to in­tro­duce “Mo­roc­can mo­ments” into his homes.

Is­land or not, where we live, how we live and the things we choose to sur­round our­selves with are a re­flec­tion of who we are. Ul­ti­mately, a great in­te­rior is “a true ex­ten­sion of the owner’s style and tastes; a per­fect win­dow into their soul”, says Bullard.

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