Travel: Five of the best island getaways
From pristine sands to the rugged coastline of Ireland, Nicola Brady checks out outstanding luxury resorts situated in some of the most beautiful parts of the world
The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi
Where: Noonu Atoll, Maldives
Why: It can be easy to feel a little lost in a large resort. But despite having 221 ocean front villas (including 70 over-water bungalows) the folks at the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi aim to provide boutique service on a grand scale.
This starts in your villa, where you can personally tailor your accommodation with a pillow and fragrance menu. Stay as a 'Retreat' guest, and you'll also benefit from having a 24-hour butler on call.
A larger island resort comes up trumps for dining choices, too – there are 11 bar and restaurant options, with the alternative of in-room and destination dining. There's even an ice cream parlour and the Bubble Lounge, dedicated to champagne.
How: Nightly rates in a beach villa start at $366 (€263) for two people including breakfast. You can currently find return flights to Male via Abu Dhabi with Etihad (etihad.com) from around €540 in October.
Sainte Anne Resort & Spa
Why: The private island of Sainte Anne is in the middle of a sublime marine park, rising from turquoise waters and thick with tropical forests. Individual villas are spread throughout the gardens, with outdoor showers, airy living spaces and some with private pools.
There are several beaches where you can snorkel, dive and kayak, or just laze around on the pristine sands. Time your visit right, and you may come face to face with a sea turtle, heading to the shores of the island to lay its eggs. Get really lucky, and you might just witness the eggs hatch, and get to watch baby turtles leave the secluded beach at Anse Manon as they journey to the sea.
How: Rates start at €594 per night, room only. Etihad (etihad.com) fly to the Seychelles via Abu Dhabi, with return flights currently starting from around €700 in October.
Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites
Where: Inis Meáin
Where: On the least visited of the Aran Islands, you'll find the Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites, clad in hand-carved local limestone, with panoramic views of the ruggedly beautiful island. There are only five suites, each with a huge 10-metre window providing incredible views, so you can enjoy the island even if the elements are battling outside.
The suites are stylish, with cashmere cushions in the sitting area, a huge bed and a Philip Starck bathroom. A stay includes a Breakfast Box and HotPot lunch, delivered to the suites, but you'll definitely need to pay a visit to the impressive restaurant, which serves up local shellfish and vegetables grown on site.
How: Rates start from €440 for a two night midweek stay in April or May, and the four course dinner menu costs €60pp. The suites are open between April and September.
All prices are subject to change/availability.
Where: St Lucia
Why: The incredible views out to the volcanic Piton World Heritage site and the Caribbean Sea would be reason enough to visit. But at Jade Mountain, you can drink in these views from your open-front suite, complete with private infinity pool or hot tub.
All of the 29 suites are missing their front wall, leaving you free to breathe in the stunning vista before you. If your suite doesn't have a private pool, you can lounge at the one on site, or get a shuttle down to the beach. There's a spa too, offering Ayurvedic treatments, and a chic roof terrace where you can relax with a cocktail.
How: Scott Dunn has seven nights B&B in a Sky Jacuzzi suite from €4,480pp, including flights from London and transfers, and can organise connecting flights from Dublin.
Petit St Vincent
Where: Grenadines island chain, Caribbean
Why: Though the private island of Petit St Vincent spans more than 115 acres, there are only 22 ocean front cottages, built in stone and dotted around the island, so you feel like you're the only guests on this tropical hideaway.
There are open-air treatment rooms in the hillside spa, a yoga pavilion facing the bay and kayaks available in the boathouse. You can eat at the restaurant on the main pavilion, on the beach or in your cottage.
How: Prices start at $1,100 (€793) per night for a one bedroom cottage, including three meals per day, non-alcoholic beverages and use of all facilities. To get there, you need to fly to Barbados, then over to Union Island via a private plane, which costs $300pp (€216), each way. The rest of the journey is taken by boat. Fly to Barbados with British Airways (ba.com) via London, from around €806 return.