Travel

Isle Take Two

 

AMANPULO

The stunning Amanpulo prides itself in being self-sustaining, from generating its own electricity to having its own desalination plant for a constant supply of fresh water. This is as close to a castaway experience as you can get – with luxury amenities within easy reach of course.

What: Amanpulo is part of Philippine’s Quiniluban group of Cuyo Islands, north of Palawan province. Despite its modest size (five km long and 500m wide), the island holds 40 bungalows and 11 villas moulded in the style of traditional village homes, and decorated with coconut-shell tables, rattan furniture and pebble-washed walls, giving it a rustic charm expected of an island resort. As laidback as it is, the resort still has access to the outside world with Wifi and cable TV, discreetly provided so as to not break from your idyllic tropical fantasy.

Why: We’ll assume you’re madly in love and are blind to each other’s faults before deciding to head here, because on this cosy island there’s nowhere to blow off steam if things come to a head. If you’re into role-playing, put on your Lt. Joseph Cable garb and have your lover serenade Bali Hai’ because the stage is perfectly set for a South Pacific re-enactment.

Amanpulo by Amanresorts, [email protected], www.amanresorts.com

Isle Take Two 8Photo by AMANRESORTS

PETER ISLAND RESORT & SPA

A tantalising tagline that reads ‘Peter Island – where you can do nothing at all like never before’ is surely music to a honeymooner’s ears. After the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding, nothing ought to be more comforting to a couple than the premise of a weeklong love-fest.

What: Peter Island, part of the British Virgin Islands, is big on serenity – there are no cars, screaming children or crowds. With only 13 bungalows erected on the 1,800-acre island, the resort is well equipped to serve your desert-isle fantasies. Guests have the entire island to explore, and can choose to walk along its fives secluded beaches (Deadman’s Bay Beach and White Bay’s Beach being two of the most romantic beaches in the world according to TripAdvisor) or take the hiking trail across the island, and if the sea beckons, opt for maritime activities like yachting, scuba diving and snorkelling.

Why: If you plan on going all out to wow your love interest (which we highly recommend), opt for the Island Buyout programme and have the island all to yourself for your entire length of stay. We can think of several things to keep the both of you occupied, but we’ll leave that to your imagination.

Peter Island Resort & Spa, www.peterisland.com

Isle Take Two 2Photo by PETER ISLAND RESORT & SPA

NIKOI PRIVATE ISLAND

Opened in 2007, Nikoi made its mark by being the first ‘Crusoe Luxe’ island concept in the region, gaining a reputation as the go-to destination for those looking for an idyllic interlude to the urban rat race. The eco-resort prides itself in striking the right balance between luxury and sustainability, harnessing the use of clever designs in its buildings to promote comfort for its guests without relying excessively on first-world technology.

What: Eight km off the coast of Bintan, Indonesia – and approximately two and half hours from Tanah Merah ferry terminal – it’s the closest private island to Singapore. Staying true to its eco-friendly principles, 15 beach houses are spread across five hectares of the 15-hectare island, while the rest of the isle remains untouched. The property can only accommodate up to 50 guests at its peak, making it an exclusive escape.

Why: If you’re one of those permaculturists or new wave hippies, holidaying on Nikoi Island is like having your cake and eating it too. This is heaven for low-maintenance couples seeking barefoot luxury. As a disclaimer, the island’s air conditioning system relies on a series of double-layered roofs designed to promote ventilation from ocean breezes. Plus, its proximity to Singapore means that travelling there won’t leave much of a carbon footprint, so enjoy the tropical island romance and hug some trees while you’re at it, because your conscience will be at ease.

Nikoi Private Island, [email protected], www.nikoi.com

Isle Take Two 3Photo by NIKOI PRIVATE ISLAND

SONG SAA PRIVATE ISLAND

There’s an island off Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago divinely created for lovers. Made of two isles side by side, Koh Ouen and Koh Bong, they are appropriately named Song Saa, or The Sweethearts, in the local lingo. Aside from having a name that is made for honeymooners, Song Saa’s take on new-age luxury will appeal to couples seeking some serious R&R.

What: Opened in February 2011, Song Saa is designed for couples to get away from it all. Adopting a castaway approach to luxury, the 27 thatched villas dotted across the island and over water are made from sustainable and recycled materials such as driftwood and rough-hewn natural timber, designed to blend in harmoniously with the natural surroundings.

Why: The Spa & Wellness Centre is situated on its own islet, and is aimed at promoting a new approach to wellbeing for its guests. Inspired by the Buddhist principle of ‘metta bhavana’ (loving kindness), the resort blends the relaxing effect of spa treatments with blessings from Buddhist monks on nearby islands. It’s perfect for couples seeking to start their blessed union fuelled by the loving and positive karmic energy from the cosmos.

Song Saa Private Island, [email protected], www.songsaa.com

 Isle Take Two 5Photo by SONG SAA PRIVATE ISLAND

NORTH ISLAND SEYCHELLES

This tiny island made the headlines in 2011 when royal couple Kate and Wills anointed it their honeymoon destination. Sure, both of your lineages are far removed from Burke’s Peerage and Gentry book, but there’s no reason you and your sweetie can’t walk in the island’s barefoot luxury footsteps as the Duke and Duchess did.

What: While the island is larger than Monaco, it has only 12 villas spread across its pristine coastline. An interesting fact to note is this island’s Noah’s Ark programme, where the management is re-establishing the natural flora and fauna that was previously wiped out. Surely a boon for nature lovers.

Why: There are virtually no rules or signs on the island, aside from ‘no sitting on the tortoises’ and ‘no lights on the beach that might confuse hatchlings’. Coming from a rule-obsessed nation like Singapore, this must be paradise. The island is also known for its ‘no menu’ dining concept, where the resident chef will develop bespoke meals based on whatever your taste buds desire.

North Island Seychelles, [email protected], www.north-island.com

Isle Take Two 6Photo by NORTH ISLAND SEYCHELLES

PARROT CAY 

As if we could come up with a list of island getaways and not include the Caribbean. Unlike other islands in the West Indies that have become very touristy, Parrot Cay retains the Old World charm of the region. Part of the Turks and Caicos archipelago, Parrot Cay offers breathtaking views, a pristine landscape and rich ecosystem. 

What: Opened in 1998 by COMO Hotels and Resorts, the 1,000-acre resort brings a private and stylish element to the otherwise touristy Caribbean hospitality scene, with only 74 rooms and villas up for grabs. Aside from the stunning scenery as expected of a Caribbean setting, Parrot Cay is rich with untouched flora and fauna that makes it a perfect destination for eco-tourism. 

Why: From complex cave systems to the various nature reserves, there are plenty of eco-touristy activities to discover for the modern day Lucy Irvine and Gerald Kingsland. Take inspiration from nature and wax poetic to your love. The relatively undeveloped island is a perfect sanctuary for a budding love to bloom: geologists claim the island to be one of earth’s newest, and one that is fertile to boot. It’s not as if you need any other metaphors to convince your sweetheart. 

Parrot Cay by COMO Hotels and Resorts, [email protected], www.comohotels.com 

Isle Take Two 7Photo by COMO HOTELS AND RESORTS