Saturday 23 March 2019

Dishy celebs who escape to their own islands

As Mark Zuckerberg buys up a massive chunk of Hawaii, Gillian Fitzpatrick takes a tour of other celebrity islands

Richard Branson's luxury home, on Necker Island, in the Caribbean
Richard Branson's luxury home, on Necker Island, in the Caribbean
Richard Branson
Faith Hill's island.
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Celine Dion
Mark Zuckerberg
Johnny Depp.
Faith Hill
Island of Kauai
Leonardo's island in Belize.
Celine Dion's house on her private Canadian island.
Leonardo DiCaprio
Mel Gibson's Mago island.

Gillian Fitzpatrick

Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg recently turned 30 - and while most of us mark the milestone with a good knees-up with friends, billionaires do things rather differently. The entrepreneur has heralded his fourth decade by spending €80m on a private island segment in exotic Hawaii.

Located on Kauai's North Shore, the land totals 700 acres and includes a former sugar plantation, with pristine white sandy beaches, a working organic farm and more than 750 metres of spectacular shoreline.

Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who are worth an astonishing €26bn, are known for their love of the area. Surfing is a passion and they holidayed in Hawaii just a year ago. But Mr Zuckerberg will have to share: oil and gas executive, Gary Stewart, owns 10pc of the island and has refused a generous offer to buy him out.

The social media mogu and other big stars love their private getaways in exotic locations. Here, we look at the very best that luxury island living has to offer...

Who: The eco-friendly actor Leonardo DiCaprio (39).

Where: The colourfully named Blackadore Caye off the coast of unspoilt Belize in South America.

NOT FOR WEB
NOT FOR WEB
Richard Branson's luxury home, on Necker Island, in the Caribbean
Richard Branson
Faith Hill's island.
Celine Dion
Mark Zuckerberg
Johnny Depp.
Faith Hill
Island of Kauai
Leonardo's island in Belize.
Celine Dion's house on her private Canadian island.
Leonardo DiCaprio
Mel Gibson's Mago island.

How much: Purchased in 2005, reportedly for €1.4m.

Luxury: A combination of white sandy beaches, coconut trees and tropical vegetation, the island totals 104 acres. At 3.5km long and up to 200m wide, it is one of Belize's larger islands. Manatees are abundant in its surrounding waters.

Privacy: Accessible only by boat, it takes 20 minute to reach. It's also just 25 minutes from the Belize Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Site.

Guests: Leonardo's many supermodel girlfriends. He's now single again having split from 22-year-old Toni Garrn, so another lucky lady may soon enjoy a vacation there.

Who: Country singers, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, both 47 and married for 18 years.

Where: Goat Cay in the Bahamas, arguably the most celebrity-friendly island of the Caribbean.

How much: They bought the island in 2008 for about €24m.

Luxury: A modest 17 acres, albeit one described as a "tropical utopia" by guests lucky enough to be invited there. The 1,400sq metre main property has four bedrooms and a look-out tower. Three smaller houses are available for staff.

Privacy: The exclusive Exuma archipelago is made up of 365 islands and neighbours include David Copperfield. Faith and Tim travel there by private jet, landing on the nearby Cave Cay before being whisked off by speed boat.

Guests: After splitting earlier this year, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin flew to the island with their two kids.

Who: Oscar-winning actor and director Mel Gibson (58).

Where: The volcanic Mago island in tropical Fiji, a former sugar and cotton plantation.

How much: Mel spent €11.85m on the land in 2005. The purchase was apparently inspired by a visit to Richard Branson's Necker island.

Luxury: At an expansive 22sq km, Mago could be a small country. However, the actor has always strived to maintain the beauty of the island and, other than a modest personal residence, the land has been left in its natural state.

Privacy: This is the ultimate hideaway and is practically uninhabited apart from a skeleton staff of caretakers. A 1km-long dirt airstrip is where Mel touches down.

Guests: His wife of 28 years, Robyn, pre-divorce in 2009.

Who: Singer Celine Dion (46) and her 72-year-old husband, Rene Angelil.

Where: A private island estate near Quebec.

How much: Celine had the property custom-built in 2001. It is on the market for €23.5m as the family relocated to the US to better accommodate the singer's Las Vegas residency.

Luxury: The 2,200sq metre chateau was built in a French Norman-style and sits on the tranquil Iles River. It has an elevator, gym, games room, wine cellar, and pool house.

Privacy: Totally secluded and surrounded by its own 77,000sq-metre fence. Accessible only via a private gated bridge with security post.

Guests: The family has three children and rarely entertained fellow stars, preferring to keep this home private.

Who: Actor Johnny Depp (51).

Where: Little Hall's Pond in the Bahamas, though Johnny renamed the island in honour of his daughter, Lily Rose.

How much: He paid €2.85m for 45 acres in 2004.

Luxury: There are six stunning unspoilt beaches. The actor described the area as "pure and beautiful" in one interview, adding: "You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It's instant freedom."

Privacy: Notoriously shy of the spotlight, the inaccessibility of the island is ideal for the actor and his friends.

Guests: Linday Lohan stayed there. Depp wants to marry his 27-year-old fiancé, Amber Heard, on the island. He has reportedly booked the Rolling Stones as the wedding band.

Who: Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson (64).

Where: The British Virgin Islands, located north of Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean. Necker's 74 acres are surrounded by turquoise waters, coral reefs and gorgeous beaches.

How much: He bought it for €225,000 in 1978. It now costs €42,000 a night to hire.

Luxury: There is a staff of 60. Visitors can also tuck into fresh sushi served in the swimming pool via canoe. All the beach-side fridges are permanently stocked with Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Privacy: It caters for just 28 people. Guests usually fly to Antigua before transferring to one of the local airports. It is also possible to anchor a private yacht for total privacy.

Guests: Everyone from Prince Harry to Mick Jagger and Robert De Niro. Kate Winslet married third husband, Ned RocknRoll, Richard's nephew, on the island in 2012.

Irish Independent

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