Private islands of the rich and famous
Ever dream of living like the top 0.5% of the world? The billionaires, the elite, the upper echelon individuals who make us feel slightly unfulfilled with what we have (even if we won’t ever admit it) — they all have their own private islands. Should we be saving up for our own, or are they all taken? Find out below!
Off the coast of New York lies a heart-shaped island owned by former Hollywood couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. It was bought for $12.2 million, even though it was originally listed for $19.9 million. It’s a mere 15-minute helicopter ride away from New York City and has a 5,000 square foot mansion.
Next to the mansion lies a smaller 1,200 square foot guest cottage for renting or for their own personal use. The island is around 11 acres wide and is covered with 200-year-old beech trees. The architecture of the mansion was built to make it stand out up close, and blend in from afar.
Tetiaroa, located in French Polynesia, has been dubbed the Grandfather of Private Islands, a fit for royalty, and an island named Desire. This is where legendary silver screen actor Marlon Brando filmed many of his movies and where he fell in love with his third wife — as well as with the land, which he bought shortly after.
Now, the island hosts a luxury resort that is completely eco-friendly and has won awards for being the most luxurious eco-friendly resort in the world. Starting at $12,400 per person and per night, this paradise is reserved only for the rich and famous.
Nicholas Cage, our beloved Declaration of Independence thief, owns Leaf Cay — an Exumas Island in the Bahamas. Currently, this 45-acre island has an estimated value of $7,000,000 which gets the celebrity beautiful, crystal-clear waters, excellent fishing, sheltered anchorage, well-protected coves, sandy beaches on all sides, beautiful shrubbery, and zero man-made structures.
When Nicholas Cage purchased this beauty, we can only assume he wanted to keep it undeveloped to give him both a sense of adventure and, well, a nice breeze when he goes for a dip. He originally bought it in 2006 for $3,000,000, and soon found out that Johnny Depp owned the island next door.
Captain Jack Sparrow — err, I mean, Johnny Depp, owns the Little Halls Pond Cay in the Bahamas. He bought it in 2004 and paid close to $3.6 million for this slice of paradise. He decided to name each of the 6 beaches after people he loves — Gonzo, Paradis, Lily-Rose, Jack, and Brando are a few of them.
In 2009, he told Vanity Fair, “I don’t think I’d ever seen any place so pure and beautiful. You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It’s instant freedom.” While on the island, Depp often snorkels and fishes since his island has some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world.
This Titanic star apparently forewent his fear of the deep sea and bought a $1.75 million island in Belize in 2005. It’s around 105 acres (or 2.2 miles long) and is located near the famous Barrier Reef. Since he has a passion for the environment, he decided to make this island into an eco-village.
His eco-village, although still under construction, is meant to teach people about the environment and show them how beautiful nature can be in its own element. Half of the island will be a protected wildlife preserve, while the other half will have over-water bungalows with Mayan architectural inspiration.
Mel Gibson owns one of the largest private islands in the Pacific Ocean. Amassing 5,400 acres, Gibson bought the island near Fiji from a Japanese businessman. The island has a controversial history, considering it was both a cotton and sugar plantation during the 1800’s, but he has since tastefully redesigned Mago island to present a more modern and sophisticated environment.
He bought the island in 2005 for $15 million, shortly after the production of “The Passion of the Christ.” He has left a large majority of the island untouched, except for this small protrusion where he has built a modest home.
Shakira and Roger Waters, front man for Pink Floyd, bought the Bonds Cay island in the Bahamas for $15 million in 2011. It is a little more than 500-acres wide, and they plan on developing it into a destination for other rich and famous individuals. When construction is complete, it will have boutique hotels, luxury condos, private beaches, and artist retreats.
Since a luxury hotel already existed on the island when they bought it, they kept it and rented it out to artists who needed an escape and new inspiration. Recently, there has been talk of new development on the island to expand and improve the hotels.
Rooster Cay, Eddie’s private island, is in an absolutely prime location with a just-far-enough-away Nassau approximately 5 minutes from his own island. He purchased the land in 2007 for about $15 million but has no plans to develop it any further in order to maintain its natural essence.
Even with its perfect location near the capital city of the Bahamas, Murphy’s plans to keep it undeveloped have not wavered. His passion for this island’s beauty goes beyond wanting to show it off or make money off of it, which is why we give him a round of applause on behalf of the environment.
David Copperfield, the infamous magician, is richer than, well, any of us really thought he ever could be. He bought a quartet of islands in the Bahamas, but Musha Cay is the only one with a developed resort. He bought the other 3 to ensure guests get only the most private and serene experience when they pay the $37,500/night cost.
Musha Cay provides two separate villas on a 150-acre developed island featuring air-conditioned rooms, flat screen TV’s, and, of course, butler service 24/7. A chef provides genuine Caribbean cuisine for lunches and dinners, and an array of breakfast foods and snacks.
While most men choose to buy flowers or a puppy for a woman they are trying to win back, Tommy Lee chose to buy his ex-woman a private island off the coast of Dubai. When she originally received the gifted island, she spoke of plans to build a resort with an eco-friendly hotel, but no further developments have been made.
Even though their marriage didn’t fully work out after his big take-me-back gesture, Anderson still owns the undeveloped island. Rumor has it that she is keeping the island as an investment since she doesn’t visit often and doesn’t have the money to develop it.
The Dorinish Island in Clew Bay in Country Mayo, Ireland, is as much of a mouthful to say as it is an idyllic Irish landscape. The island boasts 19 acres of rolling green hills, luscious grass, some sheep, a variety of seabirds, and a still-working water well. It also has a long history of occupants from the early 12th century.
When Lennon died, Yoko Ono chose to sell the property on his behalf and donate all the money to an Irish orphanage. After his death, she said, “We often discussed the idea of building a cottage there. It was so beautiful, so tranquil, yet so isolated; it seemed a perfect place to get away from it all.”
Off the coast of Portugal near the Madeira Archipelago lies two islands in undisclosed locations, both of which are owned by Hollywood director, Steven Spielberg. As the director of Jurassic Park, it only makes sense that he would choose to buy islands that are in a group of volcanic outcrops.
These two islands are actually melded into one through an underwater connection. Although Spielberg didn’t buy islands near any of his other Hollywood friends in the Bahamas, he is rumored to have started developing a getaway of sorts — not as much as a resort, but not as little as a tee-pee, we think.
Unlike Spielberg, Tyler Perry’s island in the Bahamas is near all the other private celebrity islands. He did, however, manage to buy the most expensive of all the islands: White Bay Cay. His plans to develop the land include a 14,000 square foot Bali-style home, 6 bungalows, a spa, a tennis court, a marina, and a fully-equipped kitchen.
Many people see these islands and wonder how expensive it was to buy them, but what they should be wondering is how expensive it was to import everything and maintain the island while they are gone. Things like water, plumbing, satellites, furniture, and building supplies must be imported into the island, and someone has to pay for people to travel there to maintain the land and structures.
Although there was no official report of late Robin Williams owning this island, there have been numerous reports of locals seeing Robin Williams on Pender Harbour off the coast of Canada. Many say that right before his death, he took quite a few private vacations here.
His family now owns the small island, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t shed a tear when we found out his family is keeping the island in its natural state to preserve his memory. No resorts, no bungalows, no high-cost vacations — just a family island to go and remember their beloved Robin Williams.
Lenny Kravitz’s island in the Bahamas is both historically beautiful and beautifully historic. It was first discovered in 1648 by the English and was named Eleuthera, meaning ‘freedom’ in Greek. His mother actually grew up on the inhabited island, and when Kravitz bought a piece of it for himself, he created a beachside with special pink sand, a surf-side recording studio, and an Airstream trailer.
He often goes there for inspiration (thus the recording studio) and for ultimate relaxation in a completely private part of the world. “I have a few shirts and a couple pairs of pants, and all I do is hose them down, hang them up and rotate them,” Kravitz told Rolling Stone. “I have no keys, no shoes, and no money. I just live, and it’s good.”
After purchasing their own little island, L’ile de Agnes, in 2003, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill kicked off development so that they could live on the island permanently. They began with a house, then with a garage, and a studio before they realized that this little settlement needed to turn into a small town.
They began to build staff houses, put in electricity, water, and the final designs to perfect their 8-pavilion home. McAlpine, who constructed their paradise, said they had to keep one question in mind: “What does paradise look like for a couple of creative people like them?”
In its raw state, the island “was already otherworldly, with this clear water and white, white sand. I thought, In paradise, you live in ways you can’t live in civilization. So every room is a separate building,” he says, linked by open-air passageways. “You can bathe outdoors or climb a tower and feel that you’re being lifted into the air. All these sorts of romantic ideas, we got a shot at doing here, and we took them.”
When Ricky Martin set his heart on creating his own private paradise, he was inspired by the same vision that led to the song, Livin’ La Vida Loca. This song, in turn, funded the purchase of his new private paradise off the coast of Brazil near Angra dos Reis.
He bought this gem in 2008, the same year his twins were born. With beautiful beaches, white waters, and a full mansion on the island, he has been able to let his little ones explore the land freely without fear of paparazzi or unknown dangers. In our opinion, this is the best way to get your kids’ energy out (if you can afford it).
Diana Ross, the Motown legend, owned a small island in French Polynesia called Tiano. She put it up for auction in 2017 for a starting price of $11.88 million. The island includes a 1,800 square foot main house with classical Polynesian furnishings and amenities, 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, and a beautiful loft with a view.
The island is 17 acres and has a dock for large boats or yachts, a shallow reef for snorkeling, great surfing conditions almost all the time, and the perfect landscape for constant exploration and outdoor activities. It’s so perfect that Diana Ross spent her honeymoon here with her new husband in the 80’s.
In 1978, Richard Branson found out that there was a group of islands called the British Virgin Islands, which bore a similar name to his Virgin empire. He offered $100,000 for the $6 million islands, and was swiftly turned down — but less than a year later, the real estate agent had no luck selling it, so she left her dignity by the door and called up Mr. Branson.
They agreed on a price of $180,000 for the island, which is roughly a 97% discount from the original price. The one condition was that he needed to build a resort on the island within 4 years. Now, his island attracts celebrities, entrepreneurs, and even presidents.
The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, owns an island off the coast of Belize called the Grand Bugue. It is supposedly the largest island near Belize and has endless opportunities for land and sea exploration, fishing, and recreational sports. It’s also a perfect place to find a sense of relaxation by looking out at the multi-colored ocean waters around the island.
This 325-acre island was sold for $15 million but it has been left largely undeveloped as of late. Although this price seems extraordinary, Bill Gates earns $250 every second of the day. This means that even if he spent $1 million per day, it would take him 2018 years to spend all of his money.
When Beyonce turned 29, Jay Z went all out by buying her a $20 million private island that is 2.5 miles off the coast of Florida, and about 12.5 acres large. Most have described it as a tropical paradise, but it isn’t as wonderful as their second private island in the Bahamas which is located in the North Abaco district.
Jay Z bought her this second island for their anniversary in order to give Beyonce and Blue Ivy some much needed private time away from paparazzi. By only having minimum security and staff, they can enjoy the beach like a normal family.
Google co-founder Larry Page has a famous neighbor in paradise. He owns the island next to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. The island, called Eustatia, is completely solar powered and offers luxury, rentable villas for those looking to live like a billionaire for a day (or a few!).
Page and Branson often meet up for kiteboarding in between their islands, and they often hold dinners for their guests who want a once-in-a-lifetime chance to eat a casual meal with a billionaire. Both islands show off their beautiful villas, large boat docks, and even larger private and public yachts.
For Naomi Campbell’s 41st birthday, her mega-rich Russian boyfriend, Vladislav Doronin, bought her an island. He commissioned a famous Spanish architect to build an Egyptian Eye of Horus shaped house that is 100% eco-friendly and self-sufficient. It has 25 bedrooms and 5 lounges and is sustainable enough to allow for 3 years of survival on the island with no outside contact.
But, this isn’t the only romantic gesture made on this island. Legend has it that Mark Antony imported Egyptian sand onto the island for Cleopatra since she vowed to never set foot on any land that wasn’t Egyptian. If this is true, then the island truly is one of a kind — just like it’s billionaire owners.
If being one of the most famous and rich celebrities in the world isn’t enough of a legacy for this star to hand down to her daughter North, then Kim sure made it up to her by buying her a private Island off the Australian coast. Turtle Island, which sold for $5 million and has 23.5 acres, was bought for North West when she was just 17 months old.
“This truly is a private island fit for a movie star or recluse celebrity,” reads the island’s description on the site. “This home is perched high up on one of the handful of fully freehold private Islands on our magnificent Queensland Coast.”
Although Paul Allen no longer owns this island (it was sold to Eric Anderson in 2013 for $8 million), he was the one to initially purchase and develop it into all its current glory. Sitting just north of Seattle’s coast, this 292-acre island has a private airstrip for small planes and private jets.
It has only one house on the island, a small log cabin with water, a septic tank, and a generator for electricity. It has natural beaches and beautiful views of the coast, but with no electricity, it is essentially undeveloped (it would cost around $3 million to put electricity on the island).
In 1986, Dean Kamen (inventor of Segway) plopped down $2.5 million for the small, 2-acre island of North Dumpling near the east coast of the United States. When he approached New York with plans to build a wind turbine to fuel the needs of his home, he was rejected since it was so small and just a residential area. So, he contacted his old friend, President George Bush.
The president was able to sign a non-aggression agreement with New York to allow Kamen to create his small kingdom. The island now has its own navy (consisting of one boat), a mini Stonehenge, a flag, a national anthem, and a newspaper (The North Dumpling Times). When visiting the island, people are allowed a visa to mark their presence with identifying marks of their face and buttocks.
Dietrich, the founder of Red Bull, owns one of the poshest private islands in the world. This Island, called Laucala, has an 18-hole golf course, a jet boat, secluded beaches, private masseuse, translucent blue waters, greenhouses, hydroponic bays, coconut plantations, beehives, quail pens, and 240 acres of farmland. It has been described as “Disneyland for adults.”
Each villa is priced at around $5,000 per night, which includes its own private beach and jumping cliff, and every up-to-date technological amenity you can imagine. They also have down to earth structures made from wood, coral, pebbles, and boulders that are the size of normal houses.
Although Taylor Swift doesn’t necessarily own all of Rhode Island, she does own a pretty good-sized stretch of it on Watch Hill. This private residence once had a simple semi-private beach but, technically, it was legally open to the public. In 2017, Swift engaged in a legal battle to make it a private beach, just for her and her family.
She paid around $17.75 million for the 11,000 square foot house on 5.23 acres. When it was listed, the asking price was $24 million, but she was able to finagle it down to a measly $18 million. She often hosts large A-list parties here since it is so far away from other residences.
Similar to Taylor Swift, Mick Jagger does not necessarily own the large Mustique island near the coast of Venezuela. He does, however, own a large, 6-bedroom, 5-bathroom beachfront home that can be rented out to groups of up to 10 people for a starting price of $30,000 per week. He also owns a private beach called Pelican Beach, which is a smaller property next door where he can stay to enjoy the private island life.
On the booking website, the cost includes 1 chef, 1 butler, 2 gardeners, beach and ocean views, 6 furnished bedrooms, game rooms, pools, children’s cottages, and luxury technology. Inside the home, a man-made pond is available to sit near, play in, or dip your feet into.
Alongside Mick Jagger, the late David Bowie also has an expansive 5-bedroom villa for rent on the island of Mustique. This rental is available for $58,000 per month and is called “Mandalay” since it has incorporated many aspects of the Japanese and Balinese styles into its design.
With lush tropical plants and a koi pond, this villa is the ideal paradise for anyone who can’t make a decision on one place to go. It’s so perfect, in fact, that there are rumors of David Bowie’s ashes being scattered among the beaches here, as well as in other parts of the world he deemed as favorites.
After the perfect Italian wedding, George Clooney had no choice but to step up his gift-giving game to private island-level; so, he bought a historic English manor nestled upon a 5.5-acre private island for $12 million. Built in the 17th century, this estate has been upgraded with high tech luxuries and beautifully fitted furniture.
With around 9,000 square feet of space and 10 bedrooms, this palace is perfect for any much-needed getaway from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. He also has 17 other mansions around the world, including in places like New York, Mexico, Italy, the UK, and Los Angeles.
On the post-card-pretty Orca’s Islands in Washington state lies Oprah Winfrey’s $8.275 million cottage. This beachside cottage is located on a stretch of land 43 acres wide to ensure a feeling of privacy on a public island. It’s shoreline has around 3,000 feet of untouched beach to inspire and astound anyone who looks upon the virgin sand.
The estate was built in 2007 and there are 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms on the 7,303 square foot home. It was built completely out of hand-forged iron, rare, reclaimed wood, and old Sears’ Chicago building hardwood floors. It comes with a built-in pizza oven and a cozy reading nook with a full library. Miss O really knows how to live her best life!