THANDA ISLAND, TANZANIA
The World’s Only Exclusive-Use Marine Reserve
Nestled within Tanzania’s Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve, the rustic Thanda Island is the world’s only privately-owned marine reserve that operates as an exclusive-use luxury hotel. The marine counterpart of the famed Thanda Safari in South Africa, Thanda Island hosts a five-suite villa built in a breezy throwback colonial style with a gym, patio, infinity pool, and library. Just a few steps away from the main villa are two authentic and recently revamped beach chalets (Tanzanian bandas) where eight more guests can reside. The island is completed with a tennis court, ocean-front yoga pavilion, helipad, helicopter, Sea Lion superyacht and a fully equipped boathouse.
At Thanda Island guests are assigned their own personal marine biologist who will guide ethical whale shark excursions and conservation underwater activities – where even the diving gear is eco-friendly, as rash vests are made from recycled plastic. Epicures will savour the island’s unforgettable dining experiences, such as a Swahili feast, a decadent affair that includes curries with hand-squeezed coconut milk, fresh lobster, and oysters. All is prepared in traditional fashion with locally sourced ingredients by the island’s own chef. The warm community of staff will cater to any guests’ desires and arrange bespoke itineraries accordingly.
Committed to improving the environment and protecting endangered species, Thanda Island works closely with the Tanzania Marine Parks and Sea Sense NGO to educate the local communities on sustainable fishing and marine conservation. These partnerships led to the return of fish in the coral reef and the reappearance of the reef herons, as well as sea turtle nesting on the beach. Today at Thanda there are around 300 fish species, two species of dolphin (bottlenose and humpback) and two species of sea turtle (green and hawksbill). On a community level, Thanda Island employs local Swahili staff and fosters an enterprise and entrepreneur development project and an education project that inspires kids to reach for their dreams and live a healthy life, through the recently founded NGO, Star for Life Tanzania.
VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND, MALDIVES
The Most Exclusive and Luxurious Resort In The World
Nestled within the constellation of islands that form the Noonu Atoll in the Maldives, Velaa Private Island takes exclusivity to the next level with facilities and service that go beyond traditional resorts. Designed by award-winning Czech architect Petr Kolar as “an elegant fusion of Maldivian culture with contemporary luxury, intimate with Maldivian nuances”. Velaa Private Island is the realisation of a dream to create a ‘beyond luxury’ exclusive boutique hideaway in the Maldives.
Velaa means “Turtle” in the local language – named after generations of sea turtles that flock there to nest and hatch. From a broader “bird’s eye view” which greets arrivals by seaplane, the island’s exclusive over-water villas are also constructed to resemble the head of a turtle, with the island forming the body. The resort comprises 47 private villas, houses and exclusive residences. While 18 of the 47 are built over water, the Romantic Pool Residence can only be reached by boat, allowing even more privacy and exclusivity.
This year Velaa Private Island is continuing to take its commitment to wellness to the next level by inviting guests to re-energise and fulfil their fitness ambitions whilst taking care of the mind, body and soul with their Visiting Practitioners programme. Mirroring Velaa’s passion for ultra-luxe personalised experiences, the programme works with world-class athletes and practitioners to tailor exclusive workshops designed to promote inner balance, health and harmony, working in perfect synergy alongside the range of high-tech spa and fitness facilities Velaa has to offer. Joining the programme in the upcoming months is Holistic Practitioner Dr Buathon Thienarrom who will offer private alternative medicine and holistic healing sessions for guests.
COMO LAUCALA ISLAND, FIJI
Wellness-Orientated Private Island Retreat
The latest addition to COMO Hotels & Resorts’ exclusive private island collection, COMO Laucala Island in the remote South Pacific region is framed by turquoise-blue sea and white sandy beaches. At the heart of the island are tropical rainforests, volcanic mountains, blue lagoons, mangroves and coconut groves, fostering a unique habitat that allows for a wide range of land and water activities, such as jet-skiing, sailing, diving, game fishing, horse-riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Guests can play tennis as well as golf in the 18-hole David McLay Kidd-designed golf course – a first for the Singapore-based luxury hotel group.
Peppered across the northern side of the island, the 25 elegant residences are built with natural Fijian wood, to seamlessly blend with the surroundings while staying true to COMO’s unmistakable contemporary flair. Each residence comes with its own COMO butler and private pool, providing guests with unparalleled levels of luxury and seclusion. COMO Shambhala Retreat, the island’s wellness centre, is the embodiment of COMO’s philosophy for holistic, healthy living. At this nurturing retreat, guests can expect physical fitness classes, yoga, and a fitness centre. Treatments make use of COMO Shambhala’s signature products, as well as the island’s herbs, spices, flowers, and fruits. COMO Shambhala’s signature Asian-inspired massages and body treatments using the island’s river stones, mineral crystals and rich volcanic soils are also provided.
To minimise its impact on the environment and in line with COMO’s farm-to-table philosophy, the island’s five dining options receive fresh produce from the resort’s 240-acre farm, cultivating a wide range of organic crops and livestock including chickens, quail and wagyu cattle. Fresh seafood supplies are sourced exclusively from local fishermen, contributing to the island’s commitment to sustainability. Menus include COMO Shambhala options, which are high in flavour, nutrition, and low in fats and refined sugars.