World’s most expensive for-hire resorts

Lifestyle

Picture a private jet delivering you to an airstrip. There’s a helicopter waiting to whisk you off to an oceanfront property where a late-model Ferrari is parked in the driveway. Inside, a team of uniformed staff–maids, masseuses, butlers, bartenders, chefs and even a personal concierge—are on hand to tend to your every need.

Want the beach all to yourself and your friends for the day? Done. A picnic lunch of lobster and champagne delivered to a table set on the sand perhaps? Sorted. It sounds like utopia, but such a decadent experience can actually be yours for the taking – with a mind-boggling price tag attached to it, of course.

It used to be the case that the most expensive resorts in the world were famous hotels in celebrated destinations. These days, however, private villas, exclusive-use islands and luxury African safari lodges make up some of the most expensive resorts in the world—and there’s barely a recognised hotel among them.

VillaHotel Contenta, Miami
Price tag: US$13,300 per night, peak season

VillaHotel Contenta

Valued at US$24 million, the sprawling Spanish Colonial style home of Villazzo founder Christian Jagodzinski in Miami, Palm Island, is part of his chic Villazzo collection of VillaHotels – located in some of the most exclusive addresses around the globe.

Its decadent 11,000-square-foot interior features a lounge with a grand piano, a home theatre, a full-size billiard room, a state-of-the-art gym, and four bedrooms, while the vast palm-tree lined grounds surrounding the villa feature a two-bedroom guesthouse, a 130-foot-long heated walk-in pool with its own waterfall and Jacuzzi, and a private stretch of waterfront to moor your yacht or speed boat.

South Beach, Miami’s prime tourist destination and entertainment hub, is only five minutes drive away.

Musha Cay, Bahamas
Price tag: US$37,500 per day for 12 or fewer persons

Musha Cay

Internationally-renowned magician David Copperfield bought this exotic 150-acre island in the Exumas - a district in the Bahamas - in 2006, and at this price you might think Copperfield’s got you under one of his mind-boggling illusions.

This exclusive-hire resort accommodates 24 people in 12 state-of-the-art beach houses decorated in bright tropical tones and all hooked up with iPods.

All food, alcohol and boat trips on the private fleet of yachts, catamarans and jet skis that service Musha and its adjacent islands (also owned by Copperfield and collectively known as “The Islands of Copperfield Bay”) are included in the price.

Its highlights include open-air movies on the beach.

VillaHotel Katarina, St Tropez
Price tag: US$26,700 per day, peak rate

VillaHotel Katarina

This sprawling contemporary six-room villa with a vast terrace and garden swimming pool overlooking the famous beaches of Pampelonne and Cap Camarat is one of the most prized properties in Europe.

But it’s the never-ending pampering provided by Villazzo staff that makes VillaHotel Katarina’s astronomical price worth it. Avoid traffic by exploring the Cote d’Azur in the villa’s private helicopter before returning for an in-room massage from a fully-trained Villazzo beautician, a candle-lit dinner in the grounds prepared by your resident gourmet chef, and exclusive entrance to St Tropez’s famous Club 55 night spot which is just across the road.

The Rania Experience, Maldives
Price tag: US$13,000 to US$15,000 per day for two people

The Rania Experience

The Maldives is already renowned for being the world’s island paradise, and this private-use resort is nothing short of being just that.

A maximum of 12 guests in six beach cottages are flown in by a sea plane which lands in front of a seven-acre island ringed by ivory white sandy beaches and dotted with lush palms.

The island is small enough to swim around, although guests have up to three hours per day free use of Rania’s 86-foot state-of-the-art yacht.

With a two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, you can be sure of individual attention to meet your every need, and all meals, drinks, spa treatments and water sports are included in the price.

Altamer, Anguilla
Price tag: US$80,000 to US$90,000 per week high season

Altamer

This state-of-the-art three-villa resort, accommodating a maximum of 40 guests, is famous for its privacy, and hence a popular haunt for celebrities.

The villas—Russian Amethyst, Brazilian Emerald and African Sapphire—each have their own pool, hot tub, fitness centre, home theatre, elevator, personal butler and eight-member private staff.

The eight-bedroom African Sapphire is the priciest at US$90,000 per week high season (US$12,857 per night), plus 20 percent tax and service.

But for that little bit extra, your ocean-view villa comes with a private snorkeling pond and architectural waterfall, plus a floating hot tub off the second floor.

The five-bedroom Russian Amethyst with roof top terrace is a relative bargain at US$80,000 per week.

The Villa at Sandy Lane, Barbados
Price tag: US$25,000 per night high season

The Villa at Sandy Lane

The luxurious Sandy Lane resort, built in the 1960s, features standard and penthouse suites that range from US$1,000 to US$10,000 per night depending on the season. Add an an extra zero and then some to that figure, and you can go for the six-room Villa at Sandy Lane.

Next to the main hotel, the Villa at Sandy Lane is a marble-floored mini palace with five en-suite rooms, a Romanesque private pool and Jacuzzi, and a private staff of butler, housekeeper and chef.

Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
Price tag: US$51,000 per night for up to 28 guests

Necker Island

Virgin boss, billionaire Richard Branson, bought this 74-acre tropical paradise in 1982 as his own exclusive hideaway before opening it up as a private-hire resort.

Its 14 rooms accommodate 28 guests in either waterfront Bali Houses or the main hill-top Great House with its sublime views of gorgeous turquoise ocean. Everything from scuba diving to champagne is included in the price.

While it’s known as an exclusive-hire resort, individual couples can get a room on Necker Island for US$25,400 for the week during “Celebration Week”, which falls on September 26, October 3 and October 10 in 2009.

Nygard Cay, Bahamas
Price tag: US$42,000 per day

Nygard Cay

This bizarre 10-bedroom resort on a six-acre cay in the Bahamas is designed according to an ancient Mayan theme, with ornately carved pillars and giant wood sculptures overlooking the various swimming pools, Jacuzzis, beaches and pillowed sun beds that are dotted across the grounds.

Owned by Canadian fashion tycoon Peter Nygard, sports lovers will be drawn to its tennis court, basketball court, volleyball courts and all manner of watersports, while the 82-foot resident yacht and the 24-seat on-site movie theatre will suit those seeking more leisurely pursuits.

Great Mercury Island, New Zealand
Price tag: US$20,000 per day for six people or fewer

Great Mercury Island

This 5,000-acre pine-covered private island, a 25-minute helicopter ride from Auckland, is not so much an exotic tropical paradise. Rather, it is more an exclusive and secluded rural hideaway.

Only available for private hire, it accommodates a maximum of 16 people in two villas—one the three-bedroom Up House on a hill overlooking the ocean; the other the five-bedroom Down House overlooking a bay.

The surrounding waters are a fisherman’s paradise, and guests can either dine on the beach, in a state-of-the-art Boat House kitchen, or in the dining room of the main house—on the very fish they caught that day immaculately prepared by some of the finest chefs in New Zealand.

Isla de sa Ferradura, Ibiza, Spain
Price tag: US$202,800 per week (minimum stay) for up to 14 guests

Isla de sa Ferradura

This lush, private Mediterranean island, located just off the scenic rocky cliffs of Ibiza, hosts a maximum of 14 people for minimum one-week stays that average US$28,000 a day.

Tended by a team of staff that includes professional French chefs, the main seven-room hacienda has its own dance floor, theatre, cinema and aquarium, and there’s even a lagoon-shaped swimming pool on the west of the island for those that don’t fancy a dip in the ocean.

Its “cave spa” has a sauna, whirlpool and massage facilities. Much like a hotel resort, staff are on-hand to serve drinks and meals virtually anywhere on the island, and will even book flamenco dancers and cabaret acts for evening floor-shows on request. Everything except specialty wine and food (such as caviar) is included in the price.

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