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1 — Azura Quilalea, Mozambique
“Azura Quilalea is a destination where you arrive, unpack and instantly unwind,” says George Morgan-Grenville of Red Savannah. “Your private butler will organise a hammock for you under the most suitably shady tree, the spa team will pamper you with their unique African treatments, while the chefs serve the freshest seafood to you in stunning island locations.”
There are just nine villas on this beautiful private island in Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelago, including the secluded Villa Quilalea, perched on a clifftop, which has its own infinity pool and a step ladder down to the beach. The use of natural materials such as wood, rattan and stone creates a relaxed “castaway” vibe, but the service levels rival those of the most sophisticated five-star hotel.
Quilalea Island lies within a protected marine reserve, and the coral reef, just 20 metres offshore, offers “the most incredible snorkelling and scuba diving to be found anywhere in the Indian Ocean”, says Morgan-Grenville. There are no motorised water sports here but guests can enjoy kayaking in the mangroves or fishing and sailing in a traditional dhow.
Quilalea is a 25-minute helicopter transfer from Pemba; doubles from $825 per person all inclusive; azura-retreats.com
2 — Amanoi, Vietnam
Aman Resorts is renowned for its sleek design and polished service, and this remote outpost in the south of Vietnam is no exception. Elegant guest villas and pavilions with pagoda-style roofs are hidden among the trees above Vinh Hy Bay, against the mountainous backdrop of the Nui Chua national park. “It’s probably the best beach location in Vietnam,” says Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell of Cazenove + Loyd. “Lots to do or nothing at all.”
At the heart of the resort is the show-stealing infinity pool, seemingly jutting into the Eastern Sea, and the tranquil spa that sits on the edge of a lotus-filled lake and makes use of Vietnamese ingredients such as herbs, rice and coffee in its treatments. Guests can book one of the two Spa Houses, which come with private treatment facilities including a banya and hammam.
Ninh Thuan Province; doubles from $816, including airport transfers; amanoi.com
3 — Onar, Andros, Greece
“Andros is perhaps my favourite Greek island,” says Michael Cullen of i-escape.com. “It’s off the standard island-hopping route, but just a two-hour ferry ride from Athens, and with a fabulous landscape of soaring mountains, deep valleys and untouched beaches.”
It’s on one of those beaches that Onar sits, hidden away from the rest of the world at the end of a long, bumpy track and surrounded by the lush Ahla wetlands.
Fifteen stone cottages and villas have been built in traditional Cycladic style, with simple rustic interiors, open fireplaces and private patios. The style is low-key and informal: there’s no pool or reception area, and meals are taken communally in the shade of a plane tree, with fruit and veg from Onar’s organic garden. Yoga sessions, boat trips and hikes into the surrounding hills can be organised.
From €170 for a one-bedroom cottage; onar-andros.gr
4 — Song Saa, Cambodia
This pair of private islands in Cambodia’s unspoilt Koh Rong archipelago was “Cambodia’s first genuine luxury beach resort”, according to Steve Kimber of Carrier. There are 24 villas dotted around the rainforest, on the beach and — the pick of the crop — on stilts over the ocean.
Song Saa is a 45-minute speedboat transfer from Sihanoukville; doubles from $1,777, all-inclusive; songsaa.com
5 — Pelican Point Lodge, Namibia
Spot seals, dolphins and flocks of flamingos from the private deck of your room in the former harbour control building at the tip of the remote Pelican Point peninsula. It’s an unforgettable location, at the foot of a lighthouse, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the dunes of the Namibian desert on the other.
32km from Walvis Bay; doubles from NAD$8,863 (£567), including dinner and breakfast; pelicanpoint-lodge.com
6 — Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland
Perched on stilts overlooking the Labrador Sound (aka “Iceberg Alley”), the Fogo Island Inn makes a bold design statement while offering a cosy retreat from the North Atlantic elements. With a cinema, art gallery, library and restaurant, it’s also a real hub for the community on this rugged little isle off the coast of Newfoundland.
Closest international airport is Gander; doubles from C$1,575 (£944) full-board; fogoislandinn.ca
7 — Lupita Island, Tanzania
“Raw Africa in luxury on remotest Lake Tanganyika,” is how Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell of Cazenove + Loyd describes this collection of 13 beautifully crafted cottages overlooking Africa’s deepest lake. Snorkelling, fishing, beach picnics and boat trips are among the activities on offer. “One for the intrepid,” says Wilmot-Sitwell, “and ideal for some R&R after a wild safari.”
Kipili, Lake Tanganyika; doubles from $495 per person, full-board; lupitaisland.com
8 — Hôtel & Spa des Pêcheurs, Corsica
The tiny private island of Cavallo lies off the coast of Corsica and is home to this chic retreat, with 50 bright and airy guest rooms, a spa with thalassotherapy pool, and a powdery white-sand beach. “This is an idyllic get-away-from-it-all beach resort,” says George Morgan-Grenville of Red Savannah.
Cavallo is a 15-minute boat transfer from Piantarella, Corsica; the hotel is open between May and September; doubles from €263; hoteldespecheurs.com
9 — Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar
The tiny volcanic island of Tsarabanjina is seriously off the beaten track, but those who make the effort to get there will be rewarded with total seclusion at a Robinson Crusoe-style hideaway with just 25 thatched bungalows and world-class diving. “It has rainbow reefs, and some of the most beautiful coral in the world,” says Frances Geoghegan of Cleveland Collection.
Tsarabanjina is a 90-minute speedboat transfer from the island of Nosy Be, which has a domestic airport; from €400 for a one-bedroom villa; constancehotels.com
10 — Capella Lodge, Australia
Lord Howe Island is a tiny, crescent-shaped isle in the Tasman Sea, famed for its twin peaks, crystal-clear waters and great fishing and snorkelling. The best place to stay on the island is Capella Lodge, a contemporary beach-house haven of clean lines, bleached wood and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Lord Howe is 600km off the coast of New South Wales and reached by direct flights from Sydney; doubles from AUS$750 (£457) per person, half-board; lordhowe.com