White-sand beaches and crystal-clear oceans with gently lapping waves, bright green jungles, the scent of jasmine and sandalwood filling the air—these are the beach getaways that transport us to other worlds and leave us wishing that we, too, could live on “island time.” From an exquisite atoll in French Polynesia to a private island hideaway in the Seychelles, the following destinations are some of the world’s most remote and exclusive, where you can have miles of coral reef coastline to yourself, without a single cruise ship in sight. The private access to untouched landscapes and the unparalleled level of luxury make these one-of-a-kind beach destinations more than worth the trek. Each is home to a knockout resort property—some are better for honeymooners, while others favor families—and all offer unique activities that center around local flora and fauna. Here, we break down the key differences between our favorite exotic beach vacations around the world, so you can choose the experience that’s right for you.
Contact Indagare for assistance planning exotic beach vacations. Our specialists can book you at the property that is right for you, plan seamless travel transfers and arrange great activities, meals and special experiences.
If you’re looking to “get away from it all,” few destinations are more remote than Madagascar, a place where endangered species coexist in a unique ecosystem that is one of the most diverse on the planet. On the private island of Nosy Ankao, the new eco-luxury resort Miavana provides one of the most exclusive exotic beach vacations in the world, along with truly pampering service and a long list of adventure activities.
- Best For: Trailblazers who are willing to go the distance for a once-in-a-lifetime wilderness and beach experience.
- Accommodations: 14 one-, two- or three-bedroom villas that come equipped with their own dune buggies for transportation around the island, as well as private beach access and such thoughtful touches as outdoor showers that allow guests to soak in their surroundings at all times.
- Top Activities: Helicopter tours; snorkeling; diving; whale-, lemur- and bird-watching; walks to see turtle hatchings; lounging by the main infinity pool.
- Keep in Mind: Don’t miss the Cabinet de Curiosities, a collection of natural and manmade artifacts—including a pygmy hippo skeleton, an elephant bird skeleton and cannons from nearby shipwrecks—that have been sourced by Miavana’s owner, Jean-Christophe Peyre.
- In our team’s words: “I honestly can’t say enough good things about Miavana. The service, the food, the location, the architecture, the overall experience…I was floored.” – Colin Heinrich, Trip Designer
Related: Discovering Madagascar
Location: French Polynesia
The Brando has the whole package: privacy in an exquisite, exotic location, breathtaking natural vistas, pampering amenities such as a natural spa treatment in the therapeutic sands of the island, a deep sense of community and respect for the environment. Once the private island hideaway of Marlon Brando, this eco-luxury resort sits on a stunning, secluded atoll just 33 miles from Tahiti. From the indulgent villas to the beautiful beaches and warm local staff, every element of The Brando is top-notch.
- Best For: Couples or small groups who want remote exclusivity, with every indulgence at their fingertips.
- Accommodations: 30 one-bedroom villas and five two-and three-bedroom villas, all of which sit right on the beach and come with their own plunge pool and garden.
- Top Activities: Three-hour atoll cruise to see bird islands, coconut crabs and shark nurseries; pre-dinner drinks at Te Manu Bar; learning about the hotel’s sustainability initiatives on the “Green Tour.”
- Keep in Mind: The Brando has an all-inclusive pricing model, which may seem steep at first glance, but it’s truly a great value: rates include vintage wines and gourmet cuisine by two-Michelin starred chef Guy Martin, a daily adventure excursion and daily spa treatment, as well as access to the fitness center, bicycles, and beach equipment, including kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and snorkeling gear.
- In our members’ words: “Everything about the Brando is incredible. From the moment we arrived, we had no doubt that we had picked the right place for our honeymoon. I was blown away by the natural beauty at every turn. It also felt very secluded and private, which was so relaxing. Thank you for steering us to the Brando; we are moving there in our next life!” — Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder of Bumble and member since 2017
Related: 6 Eco-Friendly Resorts We Love
In a place as unspoiled as the Seychelles (the country’s slogan is “as pure as it gets”), North Island is a laid-back resort, where guests can kick back and experience the ultimate tropical escape in an otherworldly landscape of strong sun, turquoise-green clear water and soft white sand.
- Best For: Honeymooners seeking barefoot luxury, privacy and a butler—and who don’t mind a little nature (bathrooms are all open-air and there are a healthy amount of bugs, including mosquitoes).
- Accommodations: 11 guest villas, all roughly 5,000 square-feet and custom-made by Seychellois craftsmen with local wood, stone and thatching. The villas each have a small private pool and are raised on stilts to catch the breeze; from the two separate bedrooms, large bathroom (with marble baths and an outdoor shower) and changing area, guests can look out over the enormous white sand beach.
- Top Activities: Sunset beach picnic with a custom menu arranged by the chef and your butler; biking; hiking; kayaking; diving on part of the world’s longest coral reef.
- Keep in Mind: For something completely unique, Villa 11, known as Villa North Island, is perched on a rock on the north side of Anse d’Est Beach, with a rope bridge entrance and an open-plan bathroom with panoramic views. Settle into the huge tub (with room for two), or walk down the handcrafted staircase to an outdoor shower hanging from the cliff edge. (Fun fact: This is where Prince William and Duchess Kate honeymooned!).
- In our members’ words: “This resort didn’t just meet our expectations; it surpassed them by far—it’s so tranquil and romantic. This island, a former coconut plantation, has been restored beautifully and has reintroduced rare, indigenous birds, plants and animals (at least 50 enormous tortoises roam the property). There is also a beach on the other side of the island where you can have drinks at sunset and a private brai (barbecue).” — Susan Kittenplan, member since 2013
Related: 9 Untouched Places to See Right Now
Formerly the private estate of publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes, Laucala has been turned into an über fantasy island by the founder of Red Bull, who has kitted it out to perfection. With sexy, South Pacific décor, miles of space for ultimate privacy, lush hills and spectacular coral reefs, Laucala should be on everyone’s bucket list—but it’s ideal for couples and families with older children.
- Best For: Travelers who want to escape to a veritable Garden of Eden—that they can explore all by themselves.
- Accommodations: 25 villas, spread out for maximum privacy in a variety of locations—on hilltops, along the beach and overwater—and equipped with their own freshwater swimming pools, sculptural tubs carved out of Indonesian rock and al fresco showers.
- Top Activities: Snorkeling and diving at 25 gorgeous sites with live soft coral; water skiing and jet skiing; sailing on one of the resort’s 14 boats; cruising in the $2 million, two-person submarine.
- Keep in Mind: Though you may not be taking over the resort in full, the experience is designed to make you feel as if you have free rein over your own private island. The resort is intentionally rarely at capacity, yet always ready to accommodate a full guest-load with myriad needs.
- In our members’ words: “Laucala is the place for travelers who like posh settings that are perfectly planned, without having a glitzy or overdone feeling. It is a quiet place, so it’s not for people who are looking for nightlife. The horse activities are amazing, and my husband said the white wall scuba dive is a must.” — An Indagare Member member since 2017
Related: Indagare’s Top 5 Honeymoons for 2018
Cheval Blanc Randheli
Located on an island in the Noonu Atoll, Cheval Blanc is the second property from luxury goods purveyor Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, created as a tropical beach alternative to their sister property in the Alps. With a contemporary design and family-friendly vibe, Cheval Blanc makes the far-flung location and exoticism of the Maldives accessible.
- Best For: Families seeking a chic, European-minded scene and tailor-made options.
- Accommodations: 45 contemporary “maisons” designed by Jean Michel Gathy to feel like lofts on the beach, which are decked out with chic furniture and accessories that showcase the craftsmanship of the iconic Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy brands.
- Top Activities: The sun skin treatment at the Guerlain spa; dolphin cruises; yacht trips; the cuisine of three-Michelin-star chef Yannick Alleno.
- Keep in Mind: The boutique on the island is among the best in the country, with a selection of locally made artisan products, as well as limited-edition items from LVMH.
- In our members’ words: “The resort was amazing! We have never had better service anywhere. The house was incredible—the quality and details were excellent. The food was fantastic as well, with plenty of choices for six days.” —An Indagare member since 2016
As the only resort on the entirely undeveloped island of Sumba in Indonesia, Nihi Sumba sits on 560 acres of unspoiled land, including 1.5 miles of gorgeous and wild private beach. Nihi Sumba was originally built as a collection of rustic bungalows for surfers lured by its globally coveted, exclusive wave break. Under the helm of Chris Burch, the property has since been transformed into a luxurious, villa-style resort that doesn’t sacrifice its deep connection to—and protection of—the local community.
- Best For: Adventurous couples looking for an atmospheric, “lost paradise” experience and travelers who appreciate off-the-beaten path cultural experiences.
- Accommodations: 29 thatched-roof villas, ranging from one to five bedrooms that stretch from the beach to the top of the resort and are not only spacious but also have private pools, outdoor baths and showers—and plenty of privacy for lounging in seclusion. Each villa has its own butler, who attends to all your needs.
- Top Activities: Surfing with expert guides; diving and spearfishing; jungle hikes to waterfalls; the Oka Spa Safari; participating in projects that serve the local communities, such as visiting a clinic or working with schoolchildren.
- Keep in Mind: Directly in front of the beach sits the Boathouse, home to the resort’s impressive watermen, who are experts in everything from surfing and snorkeling to diving and spearfishing. After the day’s activities, the Boathouse bar becomes the nexus for storytelling over cocktails, and a nightly beach fire is lit as the sun sets. While it is the daily activities and excursions that allow guests to truly bond with one another, Nihi Sumba’s house party atmosphere and ideally situated public spaces are conducive to intermingling.
- In our members’ words: “Nihi Sumba was a remarkable place. The beach is almost empty and has enormous waves. We were stunned by the fun and coolness of our utterly original tree house pavilion and couldn’t get over all the living rooms and outdoor spaces which were part of our vast enclave. I celebrated a birthday there and it was moving that the staff made me a cake and then must have spent a long time decorating my bed with a beautiful display of flowers.” — Susan Breyer, member since 2016
Opened in 2018 and comprised of six private islands in Indonesia (four hours from Singapore), Bawah Reserve is barefoot luxury at its finest. The 35-room property is stunning, eco-friendly escape for couples or families with older children. Rates at the all-inclusive Bawah include one spa treatment per day per person, so relaxation here is guaranteed, but the property also offers lots for active types, including several hiking trails, scuba diving and snorkeling (Bawah is an official marine conservation area and home to pristine coral reef), daily Pilates classes and more.
- Best For: Honeymooners or families with older children looking for a private island paradise in a totally undiscovered part of Indonesia.
- Accommodations: 35 rooms, including overwater bungalows and beachfront rooms. The best are the deluxe beach suites, which have private dining areas. All the rooms have beach-chic décor and are stocked daily with fresh smoothies and juices, as well as homemade chips and chocolates.
- Top Activities: Scuba diving and snorkeling; private picnics on one of Bawah’s 13 beaches; paddleboarding, kayaking and sailing; sunrise and sunset hikes; indulging in spa treatments; playing tennis on the grass court; taking cooking and mixology classes.
- Keep in Mind: The food at Bawah is a major highlight. The three restaurants serve a mix of fresh seafood and Indonesian and Singaporean classics, with lots of family friendly options like pad thai and pizza. While there is a menu at each restaurant, the chefs will happily whip up anything you desire. The resort can also arrange special experiences like private beach picnics, a romantic dinner in the trees and more.