A woven white hammock is slung between two palm trees on the beach at Valley Trunk. The rustle of the swaying fronds and the sound of the surf breaking against giant granite boulders provide a soothing soundtrack. Nearby, an al fresco lunch is laid out in the Indonesian-style Bali House that was discovered in Bali and transported to the idyllic shores of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
This family-owned slice of paradise, which recently opened for exclusive-use rental, offers the alluring combination of unsullied views, impeccable service and luxurious accommodations, only to be found in a private island estate. Forget slumming in five-star hotels and step up to the luxury of layouts like Valley Trunk. The 19 lush and manicured acres rise from the sea to a rocky peak, upon which the sprawling residence is built around a free-form swimming pool. Parties of up to 16 are accommodated in eight ocean-view suites, including the master suite atop the main building with wraparound vistas of the Sir Francis Drake Channel and Tortola in the distance. Rates (starting at $42,000 per week) include meals and beverages, plus use of a 68-foot power yacht for island hopping, sunset cruises and diving excursions.
Travelers desiring the intimacy of a private estate without straying too far off the beaten path may be more inclined towards Nandana, located within a sequestered enclave on the West End of the Grand Bahama Island. With easy access to outside entertainment and nightlife—such as private air charters to neighboring islands, casino nights and golf—this exclusive compound is ideal for island goers who want to stay close to the action. The ocean bay-front property, which accommodates 12 guests (starting at $13,000 a night), is centered around the Eastern-themed Great Hall, decorated with a grandiose art collection of imported antiques from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Surrounding the 120-foot-long infinity pool are five freestanding bedroom suites, including a tented safari-style canopy that combines the breezy outdoors with modern amenities like air conditioning, Internet and a full bathroom.
Yet ultimate seclusion falls along the shores of the Bahamas' Exuma islands, where the only footprints left on the ultra-luxe white-sand beaches will be your own. At Musha Cay (pictured) at Copperfield Bay, a 700-acre island owned by world-renowned illusionist David Copperfield, guests have the opportunity to rent an entire private island all for themselves. Starting at $39,000 per night, you and up to 23 of your guests can occupy five tropical cottages—each with its own wraparound deck and private beach—including the 10,000-square-foot master suite with a 360-degree view of Musha Cay's 40 uninhabited neighboring islands. And if you're worried about living like a castaway on such a secluded island, not to worry, a full-service staff of over 30 people, including a world-class chef, is on hand to serve your around-the-clock needs. However, the five-piece tropical steel-drum band comes at an additional fee.