There’s an undeniable appeal in escaping to a far off island beach bar and sipping tropical drinks in the sand under an umbrella. That’s why those remote beach bars are so often crowded with tons of people. Cruise shippers, day trippers and anyone with enough money for a quick trip fill the most accessible islands, and while it doesn’t make the trip bad, it certainly doesn’t match the dreamy getaway you had in your head. That’s where private island beach bars come in. At island resorts around the world, people are sitting on stools sipping tropical libations with hardly anyone in sight. If not the most affordable (nightly rates are almost always in the thousands of dollars), they’ll make you want to start saving. These are the private island beach bars to keep on your bucket list.
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If the Beach Boys wrote “Kokomo” today, they most definitely would have been talking about taking someone to the Renaissance’s Papagoyo Bar and Grill. Aruba’s only private beaches are at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, where there are both family-friendly and adult only options. The bar is right on the beach (as any respectable private island bar is), and has wood-fired pizza to go along with your beer, wine and cocktails. Bonus: There are flamingos on the beach, and if you’re not aware, flamingos dance. Not a bad group of animals to share the sand with after grabbing a few drinks at the bar.
The Bahamas is a great vacation, but a private island just off the Andros Great Barrier Reef in the Bahamas is a whole other level. Only 70 people can claim a space in one of the bungalows, and even though you’re just a short flight away from the states, you’ll feel a world away. Escape from your tropical escape at the Tiki Bar & Beach Grill, where you can sit across from the pool under a thatch-roofed bar and sip on tiki drinks. If you’re feeling a little upscale after all your private island lounging, the Great House Restaurant & Bar has a seafood-friendly international wine list.
Laucala is a bit bigger than what might come to mind when you think of a private island, but the resort on the north shore makes it one of the most exclusive in Fiji. It features 25 villas that are designed like traditional Fijian homes, five bars and restaurants, golf, and a wellness spa. If you’re a true private island bar fan, though, you’ll spend most of your time at the Beach Bar and the slightly more inland Pool Bar (or at your own private pool, which comes standard with each villa). The Beach Bar has a huge arching thatched shelter and is nestled among palm trees with nothing but a short stretch of sand and the water in front of it.
Seychelles is an island country off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. The country has a number of private islands, and a couple are home to resorts with envy-inducing bars. North Island has one of those resorts, as well as a strong island conservation effort. That’s something you can drink to, and you can do it at the West Beach Bar. Kick off your shoes and let the bartenders come up with a drink that matches your tastes with ingredients unique to the island.
Lizard Island is right on the Great Barrier Reef. That’s enough of a selling point on its own, but there’s more—40 rooms and 24 private beaches more. The private resort is the only one on the 1,1013-hectare Barrier Reef National Park, and it brings a little luxury to one of the world’s natural wonders with day spas, guided tours and plenty of privacy. If you want human interaction, you can hit the Driftwood Bar and Wine. There’s a long wine list to choose from as well as a full bar, and you can either sit and chat up the bartender or take your drink to the nearby sand.
The Maldives is a small country of islands that likes to bill itself as a place “where sands are white as the smiles of the locals.” You’ll definitely be smiling, even if your whites aren’t as pearly as you’d like. The private island of Niyama is actually two islands: Play Island and Chill Island. You can probably guess the bar scene at each. Subsix is a classy underwater bar and restaurant where you can have Champagne breakfasts and wine tastings, while Dune is an above ground beach club with lounge chairs and a bar tucked in the trees. If you really feel like heating up, Fahrenheit rooftop bar (yes, a rooftop bar on a private island on the beach) has live music and views of the Indian Ocean.
The Bar on Calala island, NiCaribbean, Nicaragua
Leave South America and travel a short distance into the Caribbean for a bit of luxury. To say that Calala Island is small would be like saying a mouse is slightly smaller than an elephant. Four beachfront suites can hold eight guests, and there’s a team of 25 staff to attend to basically every need. If that need is having a couple Mimosas to wake you up, so be it. If it’s for an evening digestif, that’s fine too. The resort claims that the “bar only closes when the last guest is asleep.”
The White Bar and the 1947 Bar at Cheval Blanc Randheli
There are 26 atolls in the Maldives that are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. If you stay at one of the villas on the water at Chevalier Blanc Randheli, you’ll probably be content with seeing just one private island, though. The resort has all of the modern amenities like infinity pools, tennis courts, game rooms etc., but it also has all of the underwater nature and white sand beaches that makes island life so appealing. If you didn’t already feel like you were living your best life, the two bars will. White Bar is on the white sand beach and has a relaxed vibe, while 1947 Bar classes things up a notch.
Swim up Coconut Bar on Young Island in St. Vincent and The Grenadines
Just because you’re going to a private island doesn’t mean you have to constantly be dressed up in your finest attire. In the south Caribbean country of St. Vincent and The Grenadines, you can live your upscale life on a private island, then strip down and live your beach bum life on a floating coconut bar. Once you take a seat at the Coconut Bar, you can enjoy drinks served in actual coconuts (as the name of the bar suggests), or you can try specialty Caribbean rums and liquors while you watch the sailboats pass by.
Hurawalhi’s private piece of the Maldives is called Dream Island. That should give you a sense of the type of spot we’re talking about here, especially if your dream is to pop bottles of Champagne while watching the sunset on the ocean. Grab a bottle of bubbly and lay back, because it’s nearly impossible to top drinking Champagne at a Champagne bar on a private island.