Necker Island, Caribbean. Click for more photos

Billionaire breaks

Necker Island, Caribbean.

Marlon Brando had one, Ted Turner has one, and so does Microsoft's Paul Allen. Richard Branson has two.

Private islands are de rigueur for the property portfolios of billionaires and celebrities worldwide.

Oracle's chief executive, Larry Ellison, recently paid between $500 million and $600 million for 98 per cent of Lanai, Hawaii's sixth-largest island.

But if you can't afford to buy your own island, you can holiday like a billionaire and stay at any of these private island retreats.

Necker Island, Caribbean

Branson's famed Necker Island has hosted the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Prince Charles and Steven Spielberg. The island reopened for business a year ago after a fire burned down the Great House. Six "Bali houses" now feature on the island alongside Branson's own Temple House. Guests hire the island exclusively and enjoy the benefits of a luxury catamaran, 60 private staff and all the luxury trimmings, including a submarine. Expect to pay anything from $35,000 upwards for the week.

Makepeace Island, Noosa

The heart-shaped Makepeace Island in Noosa's waterways on the Sunshine Coast is owned by Branson and Brett Godfrey (former Virgin Australia chief executive). Available for exclusive use only, the Balinese-inspired island sleeps up to 22, comes with a private chef and staff, spa, tennis court, lagoon-shaped pool and expansive entertaining areas. Did we mention the private launch for transfers? Price on enquiry.

Dolphin Island, Fiji

A five-hectare private island in the Pacific Ocean boasting exclusive use only for one to eight guests from the man behind Huka Retreats in New Zealand, Dutch financier Alex Van Heeren. Expect interiors from New Zealand's famed interior designer Virginia Fisher, private boat and helicopter transfers, a personal chef and more staff than you know what to do with, including spa therapists. Add three lush bures and a resort pool. From $5900 to $9500 a night for exclusive use.

Amanpulo, Philippines

Aman Resorts' Amanpulo retreat is the only accommodation on the breathtaking island of Palamican in the Philippine Cuyo archipelago. Guests stay in a luxury beachfront or treetop casita with staff at their beck and call. Sand is arctic white and waters crystal clear and the resort features a spa, pilates studio, yoga pavilion, 30-metre pool, open sky bars and a bamboo raft bar. From $830 a night.

Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos islands

Owned by the hotelier de jour, Christina Ong, Parrot Cay is part of the COMO resort group and set on an island so private it is accessible only by one approved resort boat, so celebrities can stay away from paparazzi eyes. Choose from suites or private pool villas and guest houses with 24-hour butlers. The 400-hectare island is fringed with squeaky white sand and azure waters and features the famed Como Shambhala Resort spa. From $435 for a terrace room to $30,000 a night for an 11-bedroom villa.

Fregate Island, Seychelles

Fregate Island features 16 infinity villas on one sublime drop of water-fringed land in the aqua seas of the Seychelles. Expect butlers for every guest, a yacht club, marina and a private dive centre. Add a turquoise lagoon, sailing boats and motor yachts with fully qualified crew, views to lose yourself in and unparalleled service. It's yours from $2100 a person a night.

Song Saa, Cambodia

Song Saa Private Island is the brainchild of Australian couple Rory and Melita Hunter. Find 27 over-water, jungle and ocean-view luxury eco villas on two islands joined by a footbridge over a marine reserve. Expect the usual trimmings – infinity pool, restaurant, spa, yoga room and access to more than 20 deserted islands. From $1300 a villa a night.

Musha Cay, The Bahamas

Musha Cay is owned by David Copperfield and it simply doesn't get more magical than this. Eleven stunning islands make up Copperfield Bay, all owned by the master. Available for exclusive hire only, Musha Cay features five guest houses that sleep up to 24 guests. The resort features a plethora of beaches – one with an open-air cinema – deep-sea fishing and diving. Expect to fork out $36,500 for up to 12 guests, including all meals and beverages.

Mnemba Island, Zanzibar

This peaceful island paradise is off the coast of Zanzibar. A mere 20 guests can stay on this tiny island bathed in the Indian Ocean. Do everything or do nothing, sail on the island's dhow, lounge in the sun, dive with the dolphins. You'll be following in good footsteps – Bill Gates leased out the entire island for him and his friends. From $770 a person a night.

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