Millionaire Hideaways

Three private-island owners talk about their unique seaside sanctuaries

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Gram’s enthusiasm for private island ownership is contagious. “I’ve had people come visit me that leave the island wanting a place of their own, and they didn’t come here with that in mind,” says Gram.
“There’s several little islands there [in the Exumas] that I’ve just fallen in love with and if I had $3.5 million in each pocket, I could have fun down there. What I’m hoping is that I’m going to get established with this new island [in the Bahamas], get the infrastructure in place, and then I’ll be able to have some of these other people that I know quite well have some of these islands right near mine. We could really have some fun with that,” says Gram.
Cayo Espanto has been a learning experience for Gram. He never thought it would take off as it has with more than 800 visitors a year. In November, the island was featured on “Oprah” and on ABC’s reality television hit “The Bachelor,” which has caused the phones to ring nonstop.
But for now Gram still has one dream unfulfilled: having Gilligan himself visit Cayo Espanto. “I used to travel with pro tennis players as a pseudo-manager, and I used to travel with a lot of celebrities and enjoyed my time with them, but the only autograph I’ve ever asked for is Bob Denver’s. So when I bought my island and opened the resort, I
e-mailed his wife and I offered him a trip to the island. Of course it would be a dream come true for me, but he hasn’t come down yet,” says Gram.
Carrie Loranger Gaska writes about business and travel from her home in Madison, Wisconsin.
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