Lesser-known luxury island escapes

 

Ask people to draw up a bucket list of islands they would most like to visit and Zanzibar, Barbados,, Tahiti and Sri Lanka are the likeliest candidates to top the polls. Here, we look at a quartet of smaller, lesser know islands that offer an intriguing alternative to the A list and might well be the answer to those in search of something a little different.

For beauty: Vamizi, Mozambique

Often referred to as the ‘new Maldives’, the Quirimbas is an archipelago of sparkling islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of northern Mozambique. Aside from some of the most jaw-dropping beaches on the planet, the islands are home to a huge amount of protected wildlife, including turtles, whale sharks, dolphins and Manta rays.

Dhow boats, Vamizi

Vamizi Island, slender and crescent-shaped, was home to the first lodge in the Quirimbas. The island now boasts a collection of luxurious private villas, each with a chef, housekeeping and hospitality manager; there are also ten smaller, beachfront villas.  Daily life revolved around beach barbeques, remote picnics, diving, big game fishing, pampering and sunset dhow cruises.

For topography: Lord Howe, Australia

Few Australians have ever been, but Lord Howe is a true gem. A two-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane, this World Heritage Listed island is Australia’s very own South Sea island. Dominated by volcanic highlands and fringed by a lagoon that is protected by the most southerly reef on the planet. . There are many endemic species of wildlife, including a flightless woodhen, so it is no wonder Sir David Attenborough described the island as “so extraordinary it is almost unbelievable”.

Lord Howe Island, Australia

For the real Caribbean: Bequia

Other than to yachties island-hopping the string of Grenadines, Bequia (only seven square miles) is one of the least known of the Caribbean islands, but has all the usual assets of warm seas and sunshine.

Industry Bay, Bequia

Those wanting to get involved in local life and hang out with local fishermen and boat builders – the Frangipani on the harbour is its heartbeat – will fall in love with Bequia. The island has excellent beaches, Princess Margaret and Lower Bay, are both walkable or a short water taxi from Port Elizabeth, the village-size capital.

For history: Nantucket, USA

Nantucket, the so-called ‘Faraway Island’, lies as far from US mainland as France does from Folkestone. Fourteen miles long and four miles wide, the island has become one of the most affluent vacation spots in the USA. As well as fantastic beaches, Nantucket also boats an incredible history. In the 1800s it was the whaling capital of the world until, with the demise of whaling, the population shrank. Today, however, the whole island is classified as a National Historic Monument, an America without shopping malls, traffic lights and McDonald’s.

Lighthouse, Nantucket

The lack of development lies at the root of its charm. Nantucket is about old money, its ‘cottages’ owned by people whose names mean less than the corporations they skipper.

Nick Van Gruisen is Managing Director of The Ultimate Travel Company.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Erin says:

    Great list. And you are right I’ve never been to Lord Howe, but I did know about it so I guess that is a plus.

  2. What a superb list and such tempting photos. These islands do indeed offer an intriguing alternative to the A list. I like the sound of the wildlife in Vamizi.

  3. Anna Parker says:

    Mozambique and Bequia – they are both places I have done so much research on and yet not managed to get to yet! They have all the perks of the places they are so near to, but retain all the charm of the pre-all inclusive resort location! Long may that continue!

  4. Great list, I love looking into undiscovered places, especially islands. As someone who spends a lot on time on Nantucket, I’d have to disagree with calling it undiscovered. In the summer this beautiful spot is more than crowded and unfortunately much of it is “new” money. Since it is still one of my favorite islands, I would just recommend visiting it off season when it returns to the lovely place 50 miles out to sea that I originally fell in love with.

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