10 New Luxury Islands

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Up-and-coming and
under-the-radar island alternatives for popular resort and beach destinations.

Tried-and-true island
favorites such as St. Barths and Capri have long been wooing fashionable
travelers. But these days, the new prestige in globetrotting lies in exploring
far-flung destinations the masses have yet to invade. Even better: a vacation
spot so exotic that no one has even heard of it. “We’ve been seeing strong
interest in remote, off-the-beaten-path destinations, especially from travelers
who have been to a region before and now want to discover its hidden side,”
says Scott Wiseman, president of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent
USA.

Enter a new set of
islands in the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Caribbean and beyond. Take, for
example, 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 luxury
resort. 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. And
before 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 and
reassuringly hard-to-get, these islands entice diehard fans to get off the
grid,” 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 and
feel like they have discovered someplace unique.”

That’s certainly the
case at Makepeace Island, off of Australia’s Sunshine coast. Richard Branson
just 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 the
only way to stay overnight is in a rustic bungalow or camping out under the
stars in Mu Koh Surin National Park.

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