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Side Trips

My Own Private Island

A tiny, self-contained land mass could be yours

October 16, 2005|ROSEMARY McCLURE

Got stress? Maybe you need to spend a little time on your own treasured island.

Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways, happily shares Necker Island, his northern Caribbean sanctuary, with renters who can pay at least $100,000 for a five-night stay. Or you can spend a few nights at Cayo Espanto in the turquoise waters off the coast of Belize, said to be a favorite of Tiger Woods, for a mere $1,095 per night.

If you want to play Robinson Crusoe long-term, you can buy a piece of paradise from German entrepreneur Farhad Vladi, who has about 160 properties to sell, including Isla de sa Ferradura, an island and luxurious hacienda off Ibiza, Spain, for about $39 million, and Hawbolt Island West in Nova Scotia, for $68,000. Islands aren't just for the rich, says Vladi, who has sold more than 1,500 islands in the last 30 years. His advice: Rent first to make sure you like it. (See www.vladi.de or call [902] 423-3202.)

Branson's Necker Island, at the northeastern tip of the British Virgin Islands, was developed as a vacation home for the Branson family, but when they're not around, the 74-acre island is available for private rental. It has a 10-bedroom main house, three Balinese guest houses, three pools and a staff of 42. The island can accommodate 28 people, with all-inclusive rates based on time of year and number of guests, from $20,000 to $42,000 per night, with a five-night minimum. (See www.neckerisland.com or call Sanctuare at [800] 557-4255.)

A less expensive--but still pricey--choice is Cayo Espanto, where you can snorkel in front of your own villa. The western Caribbean island, which has been featured on "Dr. Phil" and "Oprah," has five houses; guests can choose from villas or a bungalow ranging from $1,095 to $2,650 per night, including meals and drinks; the entire island rents for $9,000 to $13,000 nightly. (See www.aprivateisland.comor call [888] 666-4282.)--

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