True, you can’t put it under the Christmas tree, stuff it in a stocking, or place it next to your Hanukkah menorah, but the gift of a private island solves the eternal question: What do you give that special person who has everything? Luxury Defined presents a collection of secluded, private islands which offer the ultimate in luxurious residences at exotic destinations like the Bahamas or more northerly climes such as Montana and Maine! Not included: your mistletoe and holiday sweater. Some things are priceless.
Sheephead Island in Deer Isle, Maine
Sheephead Island is a private 65-acre island in East Penobscot Bay, just off Sylvester Cove and the village of Sunset, Maine. The property has all the benefits of a private island, yet it is connected to the mainland at low tide. The property comes with two residences, including a five-bedroom shingle-style main house, a pool, hidden pond, wooded nature trails, and a deepwater dock, float, and mooring. The island’s shorefront has miles of ledge, tidal pools, and broad beaches. The village of Sunset is a delightful summer colony on the western shore of Deer Isle, a quintessential Maine island that is accessible by automobile over a suspension bridge. Fishing and lobstering are still the mainstay of the local economy in many of the island’s idyllic villages. For over a century, the island has attracted artists, craftspeople, writers, sailors, and summer vacationers, drawn to the area’s natural beauty, privacy, and traditional way of life.
Cave Cay in Exumas, Bahamas
Cave Cay is a private island in one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. This 220-acre property is totally self-sufficient (diesel generators power the water and electrical systems). The luxurious main house sits atop one of the highest points on the island to capture 360-degree views of the turquoise seas. There are plans for 38 buildings totaling 70,000 square feet, which will include three guest houses, a three-story houseboat with a marina shop on the first level and a two-story residence overhead, staff and maintenance buildings, and a clubhouse and restaurant. The amenities are unparalleled: There’s a 2,800-foot airstrip, a protected deepwater harbor and marina (featuring a floating cement dock system with 35 boat slips), as well as full and back-up generating systems, machine shops, and equipment and vehicles, including tractors, trucks, golf carts, a landing craft, and dredger. Unspoiled white sand beaches, caves, and calm waters make this private idyll the ultimate tropical escape.
Private Island in Flathead Lake, Somers, Montana
Big Sky Country is the setting for this secluded emerald island with 1,366 feet of frontage on Montana’s Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. The island was surveyed and underwent extensive analysis and review for home construction, a site map, boat dock, walkways, paths, a well, septic system, power, and communication. Recreational opportunities include swimming, kayaking, paddle-boarding, water-skiing, and fishing. The wooded, 2.3-acre grounds lead down to the gentle waters of Flathead Lake. The town of Somers is a short boat ride away. From there, it’s an easy drive to the world-class recreation of Whitefish and Blacktail ski resorts, Glacier National Park, Jewel Basin Hiking area, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Spitbank Fort in the Solent, Portsmouth, England
Spitbank Fort is a truly unique boutique retreat with a 150-year heritage. Located in the Solent, just off the coast of Portsmouth, this one-of-a-kind property could easily be converted into an ultra-private residence, a casino, spa, corporate offices, a training center, and much more. Spitbank Fort was one of three sea-based fortresses commissioned by Lord Palmerston to protect the United Kingdom during the Napoleonic Wars. In 2012, the property was extensively refurbished with approximately £8 million spent. The 33,000-square-foot, three-story structure is surrounded by 15-foot-thick granite walls. Inside are nine luxurious guest suites, staff accommodations, and various events spaces, including Crow’s Nest Bar, Officers Mess Restaurant, Victory Bar, and Wine Cave. The property is a licensed wedding facility and also includes a roof terrace, hot pool, sauna, firepit, and sundeck. Spitbank Fort is accessed via boat or helicopter to Portsmouth and within commuter distance from Central London (20 minutes by helicopter, 90 minutes by train, and 120 minutes by car).
Bonefish Cay in Abaco, Bahamas
This jewel in the northern Bahamas was built to capture the essence of the private island lifestyle. The 13-acre luxury compound on Bonefish Cay features five luxurious dwellings set amid a paradisiacal tropical landscape with two white-sand beaches, a shallow bay, mangroves, and nature trails. The accommodations total 15,000 square feet with nine bedroom suites, staff quarters, a chef’s kitchen, and gym. The 5,000-square-foot main house offers 360-degree views of the island, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Sea of Abaco. The spectacular property is hurricane proof and completely self-sufficient, with its own electricity generator and desalination plant. The keys to the property come with all furnishings, fixtures, and recreational equipment, including a trimaran, speedboats, Jet Skis, and scuba-diving gear.