For the ultra high net worth individual, a private island can be the ultimate getaway as well as the ultimate status symbol.
No man is an island, the saying goes, but for the ultra high net worth individual, a private island can be the ultimate getaway as well as the ultimate status symbol.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg last month bought a 700-acre piece of Kauai, the fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands, for a reported $100 million. According to Forbes, Zuckerberg’s 700 acres was built on two purchases. The first was for roughly 350 of the 393-acre Pila’a Beach property formerly owned by James Pflueger, the retired car dealer who was sentenced in October to seven months for his culpability in the 2006 Ka Loko dam break, which killed seven people. Zuckerberg also purchased the neighboring 357-acre Kahu’aina Plantation, an organic farm with about 2,500 feet of beach along a mile of oceanfront land.
Rosa Prince, writing in the UK newspaper, The Telegraph, scouted for island paradises of the ultra high net worth. Here are the top ten:
Skorpios, Greece: Situated off the west coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea, the 74-acre Skorpios was bought in 1962 by billionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. It is known as the magnificent setting of his wedding to Jacqueline Kennedy. Russian billionaire heiress Ekaterina Rybolovleva purchased it last year for a reported a $150 million. Forbes reports Rybolovleva plans to create an island retreat for the world’s wealthy and powerful.
Lana’I, Hawaii: Oracle head Larry Ellison owns 87,000 of 90,000 acres situated on the six largest of the Hawaiian Islands. He paid an estimated $300 million-$500 million for the property in 2012. For that, according to the New York Times, he now owns “the island’s two Four Seasons-run hotels; the central commons at the heart of Lanai City, called Dole Park, and all the buildings around it; the town swimming pool; the community center; the theater; a grocery store; two golf courses; a wastewater treatment plant; the water company; and a cemetery.” Not to mention a third of the homes and apartments of the 3,200 residents who live in the island’s lone town, Lanai City.
Rooster Cay, Bahamas: It’s Eddie Murphy’s neighborhood. The comedian paid a reported $15 million for the 15-acre island located five minutes off Nassau’s coast in 2007.
Mago Island, Fiji: Mel Gibson bought this tropical island in 2005 for a reported $9 million. Almost completely uninhabited, it may be one of the few places the shunned actor is welcome. At 5,400 acres, Mago Island is one of the largest and most pristine privately-owned islands in the South Pacific
St. Phillips Island, South Carolina: Got $24 million? Last month, Ted Turner listed the private island he purchased in 1979. The 4,680-acre property contains a five-bedroom/five-bath main house, separate caretaker’s quarters and private creeks, moss and white-sand beaches. “We have chosen to sell the property in an attempt to pass on St. Phillips Island to another family who will enjoy this natural oasis as much as we did,” Turner said in a statement.
Ile Gagnon, Quebec: Also for sale is Celine Dion’s magnificent custom-built 24,000 sq. ft. stone mansion located on this 19-acre island, which she purchased in 2001. The titanic Asking price: about $28 million.
Musha Cay and the Island of Copperfield Bay, Bahamas: It’s magic. David Copperfield owns a string of 11 islands, the largest of which is the 100-acre Musha Cay, all of which the magician purchased for $50 million. Billed as “the most magical vacation destination in the world,” Musha Cay was the setting for the 2010 wedding of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
Little Hall’s Pond, Bahamas: “It’s instant freedom,” Johnny Depp told Vanity Fair about the 45-acre island he purchased in 2004 for a reported $3.6 million. Fun fact: it is run exclusively on solar power.
Blackadore Caye, Belize: Leonardo DiCaprio purchased this 104-acre island near the Barrier Reed in 2005 for a reported $1.75 million. The name alone is worth it.
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands: For $60,000 a night (I’ll repeat that: a night), you can rent Sir Richard Branson’s private home located on the 74-acre island. For that $60,000, all meals and drinks are included, as is a Jacuzzi, a freshwater pool and tennis.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.