The Real Deal Miami

More wealthy vacationers resort to private islands

Richard Branson's Necker Islands in the British Virgin Islands rents for $78,000 a night

November 28, 2015 03:00PM

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Kamalame Cay in the Bahamas.

Kamalame Cay in the Bahamas.

Private-island vacations are becoming more popular, and while many are prohibitively expensive, even vacationers on a modest budget can afford one.

Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations in New York, told the Wall Street Journal that the market for private-island vacations has increased by more than 25 percent in the last two years.

Two types of private islands draw vacationers: those for the exclusive use of  a group and those with one resort that serves a limited number of guests.

Top-of-the-line locations include an 80-acre island near Grenada called Calivigny, which is rented to one group (as many as 50 guests) at a time for $140,000 a night. Calivigny provides 24-hour service from a staff of chefs, butlers and maids and access to a variety of recreational marine gear, ranging from a 27-foot Boston Whaler to paddleboards.

Private-island vacations have price points high and low. British entrepreneur Richard Branson rents his 74-acre Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands for $78,000 a night. Vacationers on a smaller budget can rent a lake house on Laurel Island in East Hampton, Connecticut for about $125 a night.

At Kamalame Cay in the Bahamas, guests can get to know each other or enjoy the solitude of their own beach. Even during peak season, the maximum number of guests on the cay is 60.

The family that owns Kamalame Cay often invites guests to events there. “Sometimes it’s cocktails, or a luncheon party outside. You meet amazing, really interesting people from all over the world,” Connecticut resident Margaret Gugelmann, a frequent guest of Kamalame Cay, told the Journal. [Wall Street Journal] — Mike Seemuth