Guess the Locations of These Private Islands!
The locations of these six idyllic isles may come as a surprise
The locations of these six idyllic isles may come as a surprise
Island hideaways are like chameleons, appearing tropical from one vantage point while looking Mediterranean or even temperate from another. Architecture and unusual geographical features can evoke another part of the world; even the time of day and the angle of the sun can cast an environment in a different light. In this Luxury Defined collection, we feature six private islands offered for sale. Some are close to cities, and others are farther afield, but all are in locations that may come as a surprise. With visual clues that hint at a different, faraway region, each of these spectacular properties offers a unique experience: the best of two worlds in a single place.
Before you read about each private island below, view the image to guess where it is.
The forested landscape of this four-acre private island could be mistaken for Massachusetts. But Marco Island is one of the islets of Lake Muskoka, just two hours north of Toronto, and so close to the mainland that it’s practically swimmable. The property has several dwellings—ideal for extended family. The shingle-style main residence rests at the southern end of the island. The elegant interiors are crafted from basswood with maple floors and include 10 bedrooms, six bathrooms, grand principal rooms, and a wicker-clad sunroom. The guest cottage has three bedrooms and three bathrooms and arcs alongside a sandy play area with a southwest-facing dock. A beautiful antique boathouse has multiple boat slips and four upstairs bedrooms. There are three separate docks, a recreation area for children, and stately gardens.
La Sistina Island is a private oasis inhabited by flamingos and many other species of birds. It could easily in South Africa’s lake district, but this fair isle is actually in Argentina, some 300 miles southwest of Buenos Aires. The 1,848-acre hideaway, comprising a colonial-style main house, guest and staff quarters, and a working cattle ranch and game preserve, is in the middle of Laguna del Monte, a saltwater lake near the city of Guaminí. The rambling main residence was built in 1981 for Hungarian Countess Ena Wenckheim. The 1,647-square-foot interior has an airy, open layout with handcrafted details, such as beamed ceilings, tile and pine floors, and several wood-burning fireplaces. Walls of windows, balconies, and a wraparound porch offer views of the swimming pool, lovely wooded gardens, and the shoreline. Beyond the main house are the guest cottage, staff residence, garage, utility room, corrals, a tack room, warehouse, and ranchland. The infrastructure includes a main dock and a three-quarter-mile-long landing strip (Ezeiza International Airport is an hour by private plane), as well as an independent water source and electricity supply.
This five-acre island is an emerald set within a sapphire sea. The rocky shoreline and evergreen forests suggest it’s in a remote, coastal wilderness such as the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea. But Ram Island (so-named because it formerly was a safe place to pasture sheep) is much closer to civilization: Maine’s St. George Peninsula, and only an easy row from picturesque Wheeler Bay on the mainland. The island has been beautifully developed and includes an Arts and Crafts-style main residence, scenic woods, walking trails, 1,700 feet of shorefront, composed of sand and pebble beaches and granite ledge, and a sheltered tidal dock. The property can only be accessed by boat, but it comes with a Boston Whaler, as well as summer boat storage, dock access, and deeded right-of-way for parking, only 800 feet away on the mainland.
At first sight, this remote island’s rugged topography is reminiscent of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, but Motu Moie (which means “faraway isle”) is, in fact, thousands of miles distant. It’s in the South Pacific’s Society Islands of French Polynesia—90 miles from Papeete and 15 miles from the world-famous volcanic peaks of Bora Bora. Motu Moie is the ultimate tropical escape: 20 acres of lush palms, white sand beaches, and warm azure waters teeming with exotic sea life. The accommodations include an owner’s residence, three beach bungalows, and a caretaker’s house. Additional structures include a sports bungalow, which is stocked with gear for snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, spearfishing, water skiing, and sailing; a dining bungalow; and a utility building. Fresh water is supplied by the island’s natural coral-filtered well, and electricity for lighting and refrigeration is solar powered. Local amenities, on nearby Tahaa Island, are a 5-minute boat ride away. Raiatea Airport, which offers flights to Tahiti and Bora Bora, is 25 minutes by boat.
Crystalline seas with coral reefs and mangrove-lined shores call to mind Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula; however, Bonefish Cay, a 13-acre haven transformed into an exclusive private island retreat, is in the Abaco chain of the Bahamas. The entire complex is hurricane-proof and fully air-conditioned, with self-generating electricity and its own desalination plant. Five structures offer 15,000 square feet of lavish living space, including a main lodge framing the breathtaking 360-degree views of the island, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Sea of Abaco. Bonefish Cay has two long, sandy beaches on opposite sides of the island, a mile-long nature trail along the perimeter, and a shallow bay with a nursery for turtles, fish, and conch. The mangroves, silver buttonwoods, and sea grape trees are home to many bird species. The Sea of Abaco is a habitat for bottlenose dolphins and is a world-class destination for deep-sea fishing. The purchaser of Bonefish Cay gets a truly turnkey experience: all furnishings are included, along with the keys to several boats, watercraft, and scuba diving equipment.
Hoopstick Island’s marshland backdrop recalls the breathtaking aspects of the great Massachusetts tidal estuaries. Yet this pristine 145-acre barrier island is in South Carolina Lowcountry, just 20 minutes from downtown Charleston, Kiawah Island, and Charleston’s Executive Airport. Connected by causeway to the mainland, Hoopstick is the last accessible island of its kind in the Charleston area. It’s the perfect place to build a dream home. The island has 1.3 miles of water frontage, offering direct access by waterway to the Atlantic Ocean. Its 169 centuries-old trees include live oak and pecan. There are four large hayfields, ideal for horses or sporting facilities. Across the creek is a privately owned 987-acre estate, which is protected under a conservation easement, ensuring unobstructed views last for generations to come. Significant improvements include the addition of a gated entrance, road repavement, deepwater dock redecking, extensive landscaping, and a complete reengineering of the causeway to meet modern safety requirements. Included in the sale is an adjacent 11-acre marsh-front parcel and a caretaker’s house.