A leap year is something out of the ordinary, happening only once every four years. It’s said that, according to Irish tradition, the 29th February is a day reserved for women to propose to their partners – something that, historically, goes against the grain. Why not take inspiration from Irish folklore and splash out on a once-in-a-lifetime island escape of your own? From Mozambique to the Maldives, Tahiti to Thailand, we’ve scanned the globe to bring you our 10 most romantic secret islands in the world. A proposal doesn’t even need to be on the cards!
The pearl of the South Pacific
The Brando is a luxury hotel on French Polynesia’s private island of Tetiaroa. The Brando is home to remote reefs, beautiful beaches and sensational service. Here, you don’t just observe nature, you’re in it! Snorkel, paddleboard or swim at Mermaid Bay where you’ll find an abundance of wildlife including sea turtles, rays, reef sharks and more! If you’re more about staying on island, each villa comes with a bicycle so you can pootle around paradise with your loved one in peace. There’s no hotter hotel than The Brando, featuring some of the world’s most romantic rooms.
Surf and sunset paradise
This slice of paradise is deliciously off-the-beaten-track and equals utter escapism. Nihi Sumba’s mantra is described as being ‘on the edge of wilderness’ and we couldn’t agree more. Hike through lush vegetation, visit remote villages, surf the breaks or just sit back and enjoy your private pool!
The Maldives – home to romance! It’s the world’s most popular honeymoon destination and everything about these islands is pretty perfect. Specks of paradise dotted in the Indian Ocean, home to cashmere soft sand, swaying palm trees and pantone-coloured marine life. Milaidhoo Island defines romance. With no children under nine allowed on island, it’s authentic and cool in style and proudly boasts five-star service and gourmet cuisine. They really do have it all covered.
Mozambique’s finest eco retreat, let us introduce you to Azura Benguerra. This slice of paradise has perfected the art of laid-back castaway living, but in luxury! The second-largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago in southern Mozambique, it’s home to just 20 villas. Picture a secluded beach, no one bar your host in sight and a picnic set up for two. Welcome to paradise.
Antigua is home to 365 beaches, meaning a beach for every day of the year! But our favourite beach is found at Blue Waters Resort & Spa. Oozing rich history, it opened in 1960 and to this day remains family-owned and run. Our favourite time of day is watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand, happiness isn’t defined much better than that!
Piece of paradise
The Seychelles is the ultimate island-hopping destination but out of all of its isles, Denis Private Island is one of our favourites. Get ready to discover a forgotten mode of luxury, immersed in nature on one of the most secluded islands in the world. Enjoy cycling around the island on your very own bike and discover the island’s farm, the resident tortoises and hidden beaches.
Authentic island experience
Prepare yourself for some ‘pinch me’ views at the island getaway of Six Senses Yao Noi. This is one of the most idyllic retreats we have ever found. Where Jungle Book meets Cast Away, with villas made of bamboo, natural wood and finished off with fresh white linens. Barefoot luxury is the rule here – check in and chill out with your loved one.
The Spice Island has it all
The new castaway-cool kid on the main island’s north western shores, say hello to Zuri Zanzibar. This hip and chic hotel has brought a fresh and exciting atmosphere to Zanzibar. Combining environmentally good architecture with sustainable awareness among the local community, it really ticks the eco-friendly box which more and more honeymoons are looking for. Wander along the white sandy beach and treat yourself to a sugar cane cocktail for the sunset at the end!
Crowd-free escapism, The Cotton House is the only hotel on Mustique island. With just 17 rooms, it oozes privacy with a capital ‘P’. Once a cotton warehouse, it was converted in 1968 and it retains a delightful air of seclusion, yet friendly faces and warm welcomes are still aplenty. Enjoy long lazy days where you can be as active as you like – go horse riding or just chill out by your private pool – the choice is yours!
Likuliku Lagoon Resort is in the heart of Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands. This slice of paradise is home to Fiji’s first authentic overwater bures (local-style bungalows). Likuliku, meaning calm waters in the local dialect, is the perfect spot for water babies – swim, snorkel or just chill out and enjoy this haven of subtle luxury!