Every once in a while, the gods smile upon Earth, and its good people discover a new island. Utter seclusion and spiritual renewal are the new touchstones of luxury, and – for a few dozen lakhs – you can kick back on your own piece of paradise.
Bawah (bawahisland.com), the newest find in the relatively unexplored Indonesian archipelago – its address, a few coordinates in the South China Sea – is set to become the next Bintan. Arriving via a tony seaplane from Singapore, as all guests must, is spinetingling: The atoll glimmers as you approach. Coral gardens stretch for miles into abyssal depths, rare birds and flowers surround three lagoons and 11 empty beaches. And amidst it all is a mysterious jungle that rises from the center, 150m tall, like a lost world from a James Cameron movie.
The 35 villas that have been built entirely by hand, using bamboo, stone and recycled teak, don’t clutter the powdery sands. And with a maximum of 70 guests here at any given time, everything feels entirely folded away, a place to dream and read.
If you can’t wait for the property to open this summer, there’s the newly-launched Zil Pasyon on Félicité, a private island in celeb-magnet Seychelles. For nine years, the Six Senses team has been bushwhacking its way through a tangled mass of coco plum so that more delicate indigenous species can re-establish themselves.
Jagged granite rocks on white sands provide a dramatic setting for a vacation that’s entirely otherworldly. When you aren’t in your generously appointed villas with private pools and organic mattresses, there are paddleboards and kayaks, speedboats and jet skis and long walks that are medicinal for the soul. Nature feels different in places where man treads lightly.