The Lure of Buying a Private Island

Owning your own private island conjures up images of celebrities, billionaire tycoons, and adventurous spirits who look to escape from the normal resorts or exotic vacation locales to their own private refuges.

Popular locations to own a private island are the Bahamas, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, Canada and French Polynesia, which all boast noteworthy private island ownership.  In fact, there are three distinct types of private island owners: “The Wealthy Celebrity or Businessman,” “The Speculator” and “The Island Lover.”

Established mavericks of business, successful entrepreneurs and world-renowned entertainers, many from the U.S., are the predominant profile of the private island owner.  They view these islands as status symbols, private getaway spots with a high degree of security and seclusion.  One well known private island owner is David Copperfield, the American Illusionist, who owns Musha Cay in the Bahamas.  Here are several current listings that are well suited for the perfect private island retreat.

$85,000,000 USD | Exuma Cays, Bahamas | Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty 

Located on the Exuma chain of islands, this private island in the Bahamasoffers the ultimate in privacy and relaxation.   The island comes equipped with self-generating power, sophisticated telecommunications, docks, staff quarters for 29, a spa, a gym, an infinity pool, a salon and a Cessna 208 floatplane.

$75,000,000 USD | Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada | Sotheby’s International Realty Canada 

James Island is a breathtaking private island in the Gulf Islands, British Columbia that includes its own Jack Nicklaus Signature 18-hole  golf course, white sandy beaches, a generous main residence, six charming guest cottages and a private airstrip.

Another category of private island owners is the speculator or developer looking for underdeveloped islands.  These properties are not for the faint of heart as they require the installation of utilities such as ground water purification or a desalination system which converts sea water to drinking water, and electricity which requires building a power generation system provided no other source is available.  Some undeveloped islands require roads to be built, housing, marina or dockage facilities.  All of this may require government approval and most islands are highly restrictive in terms of preservation of the environment.  Here are current properties prime for development.

$24,000,000 USD | US Virgin Islands | United States Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty

The Hans Lollik Islands are a pair of undeveloped private islands located 1.5 miles from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  With approximately 587 acres, the islands’ topography includes sloping hillsides, palm forests, and beautiful white sand beaches.

$44,198,895 USD | Chora, Greece | Greece Sotheby’s International Realty

This private island in the Aegean Sea, near Athens, Greece is an oasis appropriate for residential or commercial use.

The third type of island buyer is the true island lover, people passionate about buying private islands to create their own personal retreats or eco-resorts. This is a non-conventional person looking for adventure off the beaten path and escaping from the more traditional spots. Here are two truly unique islands ready for the adventurer’s delight.

Alaska | Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty

Located in southeast Alaska, this beautiful private island near Sitka, offers spectacular views of Mt. Edgecumbe and Sitka Sound.  With its own private dock, the island offers easy access to the mainland.

New York | Select Sotheby’s International Realty

Comfort Island Alexandria Bay is located on the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands Region of New York State.  This historic island property has a rich history which dates back to 1883.  The Victorian estate which was constructed on the island pre-electricity is one of the earliest large estates on the string of islands, and the only known to be still owned by the original family.

4 thoughts on “The Lure of Buying a Private Island

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