From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

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Tried-and-true islandfavorites such as St. Barths and Capri have long been wooing fashionabletravelers. But these days, the new prestige in globetrotting lies in exploringfar-flung destinations the masses have yet to invade. Even better: a vacationspot so exotic that no one has even heard of it. “We’ve been seeing stronginterest in remote, off-the-beaten-path destinations, especially from travelerswho have been to a region before and now want to discover its hidden side,”says Scott Wiseman, president of luxury travel company Abercrombie & KentUSA.

Enter a new set ofislands in the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Caribbean and beyond. Take, forexample, the Indonesian island Sumba. If Bali is too obvious a vacation choice, hop a short flight to this lush oasis, which now has its own luxuryresort. You’ll forget Bali even existed.Meanwhile, St. Barths is not the only isle de French paradise: Deep in the Indian Ocean lies the France-owned island Réunion,where you can start your day with a croissant before hitting the surf. Andbefore it fully developed into a vacation destination for the rich and famous,Capri would have looked quite a bit like nearby Ischia, its rugged cousin.

“Private andreassuringly hard-to-get, these islands entice diehard fans to get off thegrid,” says James Lohan, CEO and co-founder of the boutique hotel website Mr.& Mrs. Smith. They let vacationers “be the ruler of their own domain andfeel like they have discovered someplace unique.”

That’s certainly thecase at Makepeace Island, off of Australia’s Sunshine coast. Richard Bransonjust started renting out the heart-shaped piece of land off this summer.Accommodations only house 22. Thailand’s Koh Surin Nu is so secluded that theonly way to stay overnight is in a rustic bungalow or camping out under thestars in Mu Koh Surin National Park.

So transition into beinga trendsetter by picking a destination that bears some similarities to afamiliar favorite. Then prepare to tack on extra travel time, since being anearly adopter usually means adding an extra leg of travel. It’s the moderatedifficulty in getting there that keeps these places exclusive. Are you readyfor an island less ordinary?


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