Private Kingdoms

An Island Paradise May Sound Romantic, But Be Real About Your Dreams Before You Buy

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"Rion Island off Brittany, 50 acres with two working farms, at $750,000, is charming, a fantastic buy," he says, falling into one of his habitual island reveries. "The Brittany coast has very few islands for sale, yet this is a superb property, accessible to Paris, with a distinctive lighthouse.
"The Isle de Gaby, near Marseille, also has a 200-year-old castle that towers over this five-acre rock in the sea. This is a unique place, a different cup of tea with no beaches, but still ideal for lovers [priced at $600,000].
"Also $2 million Buel del Lovo in the Venetian lagoon, about 30 minutes from San Marco Square, has an inviting palace on it. This villa needs work, but what privacy and potential! Just a fantastic location."
The bewitching list goes on and on. As long as buyers have the money to settle a transaction within weeks (mortgages are not typical, because sellers are generally in desperate need of cash), Vladi will balance fantasy with the realities of an island's housing costs and energy sources and provide properties that make sense.
This is often a long process , as Vladi is the insatiable wanderer, secretly swimming onto islands to survey shorelines, shrubbery and other topographical features that determine a property's true value.
In effect, Vladi is brokering much more than real estate. He's selling freedom, escape from the madding crowd. He's looking for those hideaways that can turn us into pampered Robinson Crusoes.
But buyers beware. Despite its costs and maintenance demands, an island comes with no guarantee.
As Vladi is quick to remind clients, "an island takes away stress; it's tranquility and even a place to restore energy. Yet ownership doesn't mean instant fulfillment and happiness. Paradise exists in one's mind."
Edward Kiersh is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida.
Vladi's Top Ten
Eilean Shona, Scotland--A protected yet wild coastal haven, 2,000 acres with a 250-year-old English-style mansion, guest house and secluded lake. Priced at $2.3 million, it is one of the most beautiful islands in all of Europe, with dense forests. Only one-and-a-half hours from Glasgow.
Kaimbu, Fiji Islands--Live the fantasy on this exotic atoll. Two major islands plus a few smaller properties give buyers a sense of owning a veritable kingdom-just an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles. Includes an airstrip, sandy-bottom lagoon and exquisite white beaches. Priced at $9.5 million. Also for rent if you want a brief taste of Polynesian paradise.
Santa Cristina, Venice, Italy--Own a vineyard producing a superb red wine, plus be in the heart of one of Europe's most intriguing locales. Located 15 minutes from San Marco Square by water taxi (included in the negotiable $3 million price), this charming isle affords views of Venice, changing seascapes and a contemporary furnished Italian villa. A rare find.
Galloo Island, Upper New York State--A pure delight with 2,100 acres of sandy beaches, marsh vegetation and mixed hardwoods. At $10.8 million, it has an airstrip and accommodations for 12 people. Perfect for business meetings. On Lake Ontario near the St. Lawrence Seaway, it is easily accessible to several North American cities. Offers a box-seat view of ocean-going traffic. Touted as the "Island of Many Dreams."
Les Soeur, Seychelles--One of the few granitic islands in the world, this gem has a gleaming appearance and a unique feeling, due to its several glittering beaches. Draped by towering palms, 80-acre Les Soeur has a coconut plantation and great anchorage. A garden of Eden.
Swan Island, Tasmania, Australia--Five-hundred acres with two houses, plus numerous white sandy beaches, an airstrip and miles of shimmering sand dunes. A veritable steal at $1.2 million.
Coconut Island, Oahu, Hawaii--Irresistible. One of two Hawaiian islands in private hands. Valued at $4 million. Twenty-five acres, gardens with flamingos, centrally located near glamorous resorts-yet still a quiet retreat. Selling for $3.5 million.
Covey Island, Mahona Bay, Nova Scotia--One-hundred acres about an hour's flight from Halifax with an inviting pure-white beach, a yacht club, elevations with commanding views of the Canadian coast, two lakes, great fishing and sailing. Seductively priced at $680,000.
Park Island, St. Lawrence Seaway, Upper New York State--Twenty acres of sheer bliss. A castle in pristine condition plus breathtaking views of the seaway. Readily accessible to New York, Boston and Canada. Radiant at $3.5 million.
Roch Ar Hon, Rion Island, Ft. Bloque (or any island), Brittany, France--Beaches, pine trees, reasonably priced, especially Rion with its two working farms. Turns paradise seekers into instant lords of the manor. Mon Dieu.
Vladi Private Islands: Telephone: 49-40-33-89-89
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