5 best getaways on private island for holidays

Luxury is no more a headache

Cempedak, Indonesia

Hornbills crash into fruit trees, rare Irrawaddy dolphins swim through the water and sea otters squeak in the surf. Cempedak is where the wild things truly are. Its 20 villas, peppered across the rugged beach and through a jungly interior packed with soaring fig and pandan trees, are the brainchild of hotelier Andrew Dixon, who opened eco-trailblazer Nikoi Island in the same archipelago a decade ago. Dixon’s commitment to environmentalism means solar panels and waste-water gardens, zero plastic waste, and no air-con. Indonesian bamboo (fast-growing and with a tensile strength stronger than steel) has been used to build the villas, breathtaking raised walkways, and a restaurant that stretches oceanwards in frond-like tendrils. Curved thatched roofs shaped like melted boomerangs add a surreal touch. Reclaimed teak furniture sits alongside earthy-toned Pierre Frey fabrics, balconies have bamboo-offcut railings with skeletal patterns, and lava stone steps lead to teardrop plunge pools.  Bamboo Benders (cachaça with green tea and soda) are best sipped at sunset at Dodo Bar, its spiral shape inspired by a shell that washed up onshore. A replica dodo holds court and on obsidian-skied nights, a telescope affords glimpses of Saturn’s rings.

Website: cempedak.com

Turtle Island, Fiji

 The first guests visited in the early 1980s, but this year has seen a sharp fix-up of the interiors. Bedrooms have been redecorated with traditional carvings and tribal-print fabrics by French-Fijian designers. A commitment to sustainability runs throughout. Hardwood bed frames, coffee tables, and nightstands are hand-hewn from tree limbs gathered in the island’s forests; woven cushions and floor mats use palm and coconut husk, lights are fashioned from driftwood and curtains have been recycled to cover the day beds. The Blue Lagoon was shot on one of the seven seashell-strewn beaches. The island is big enough for on-land adventure – mountain biking, horse riding – and out on the water there’s stand-up paddleboarding, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing. Supper is served at a communal table and the chef cooks seasonally from his organic gardens and whatever guests catch that day. Afterward, you can take part in a kava ceremony: the mildly narcotic drink makes a cracking nightcap. It’s a clever refresher for a classic hotel.