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Why The World's Millionaires Are Shopping for Islands

Conservation along with privacy is the new definition of luxury. Here are some islands-including one in the Philippines-to explore before purchasing your own.
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The understanding of luxury has changed. Now, with limited raw land and true wilderness remaining, the ultimate definition of luxury is actually space and freedom.

Globalization, the move to urban areas, and enormous population growth have left the world with not much in terms of untainted spaces, and, as Boyd Ferguson, designer at Cecile and Boyd’s in South Africa, says, “The world is finally waking up to the new luxury, where bling is forgotten and conservation is king.”

According to Megan de Beyer, an ecopsychologist based in the United Kingdom, “Untouched wildness is down to one percent, and even though there are reserves and conservation areas in the world, only perhaps nine percent of land impacted by humans are being protected.”

But there are people who have been looking at wild lands and islands in particular as a way to promote conservation. Adriana Cisneros, CEO and vice chairman of Cisneros Real Estate, has worked with the Four Seasons on a sustainable luxury resort development called Tropicalia on the southern coastline of the Samaná Bay in the Dominican Republic, which emphasizes harmony with nature. And as much as this is not island real estate, it is, according to her, “a case study for the rest of the world on how to see conservation as an integral part of real estate and hospitality.”


The view from a villa at Song Saa

Although island prices took a while to stabilize post-recession, sales are now definitely going up. The industry is gaining some interesting traction with billionaires and celebrities like Beyoncé looking around Greece for her own island (helping the financially crippled country in the process), Eddie Murphy shopping to add to his collection of islands, and Larry Ellison’s 97-percent stake in Lanai Island, which reportedly cost him a cool $300 million. Blackadore Caye, a 104-acre island in Belize acquired by Leonardo DiCaprio in 2005, is currently being developed by Restorative Islands into an eco-conscious luxury retreat set to open its doors in 2018.

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Christie’s International Real Estate also announced its own version of luxury island real estate with the fully customizable Amirallah Private Islands that will be eco-friendly and, as floating manmade structures, also totally portable and self-sufficient.

Then there is Singita, the conservation brand from Africa, known for its design by Cecile and Boyd’s that has a new project in Mozambique on a private island. Funded by billionaire and Robinhood.org member Paul Tudor Jones, Singita’s whole ethos is about conservation and inspiring people to invest in philanthropy that saves the earth. Luke Bailes, CEO of Singita, says, “I want to link governments and like-minded billionaires with a commercial business like Singita so that we can be serious about at-risk areas in the world.”

 

Some islands to explore and peruse before purchasing your own.

AMANPULO, PHILIPPINES

Hidden in the middle of the country’s many islands, the locals also make the experience rich and fulfilling.

How to get there: A private charter from Manila takes you straight to the island. (aman.com)


A post shared by Amanpulo (@amanpulo) on



A post shared by Amanpulo (@amanpulo) on


A post shared by Amanpulo (@amanpulo) on


SONG SAA, CAMBODIA

The one and only private island for exclusive use in Cambodia has the philosophy that “luxury treads lightly.”

How to get there: A boat from Phnom Penh will take you straight to the island. (songsaa.com)


Inside a villa at Song Saa



LAUCALA, FIJI

Every single detail was strategically planned to blend as much as possible with Fijian roots, culture, and nature.

How to get there: A charter hop from Hong Kong brings you straight to the island. (laucala.com)

An aerial view of Laucala

The pool bar

The lounge

ZAYA, NURAI ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Ultimate privacy makes this a slice of heaven.

How to get there: A quick drive from Dubai gets you directly to the Arabian Peninsula. (zayanuraiisland.com)

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