5 of the Most Exclusive Vacation Destinations on Earth

David Geithner
4 min readAug 30, 2023

According to research from the global payment software company Flywire, 83 percent of luxury travelers polled agreed that they would be spending more on travel in 2023 than they did in 2022. In addition, 84 percent of luxury travelers reported that their next few vacations would be longer than those they took over the preceding 18 months.

From tiny islands in the Caribbean Sea to glamourous European haunts that lure the rich and famous, we run through a selection of the world’s most coveted and exclusive vacation destinations.

1. Hayman Island — Australia

Located in the heart of the Whitsundays, Hayman Island is a private resort situated near the Great Barrier Reef, making it an excellent base from which to enjoy a variety of exceptional nature-based guest experiences and activities.

Hayman Island is a secluded island paradise that dazzles with its breathtaking beauty. From its grassy cliffs to its powder-white beaches and celestial blue sea, guests can while away their days exploring the island or snorkeling and diving around the Great Barrier Reef. Alternatively, visitors can take to the sky for a bird’s-eye view of the islands and the surrounding stunning coral formations.

2. Amalfi Coast — Italy

For those seeking culture, history, first-class cuisine, and stunning scenery in equal measure, Italy’s Amalfi Coast is second to none. From the exquisite gardens of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone in Ravello to the charming 1950s vibe of Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast presents visitors with stunning views at every turn.

Most of the coastal villages and towns that make up the Amalfi are built on steep cliffs, with domed churches, ornate villas, terraced vineyards, and rambling lemon groves perched high above the winding coastal road and its heart-stopping hairpin bends.

Drawing visitors since Roman times, the Amalfi Coast is an enchanting destination with captivating highlights such as the “Path of the Lemons.” This easy 3-kilometer walk between Minori and Maiori offers a delightful journey through serene lemon groves and provides breathtaking views of the sea.

3. Mustique Island — West Indies

This private island has held its status as a celebrity vacation hotspot for decades and continues to be regarded as one of the world’s most luxurious islands today. From its decadent private villas and resorts, visitors can enjoy limitless ocean views. They can spend their days horseback riding, playing tennis, scuba diving, or enjoying a full spectrum of restorative spa treatments.

Mustique, among the 32 tropical islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is privately owned and operated. Given the absence of direct flights from Europe or the United States, the majority of Mustique’s visitors are from the United Kingdom, though there has been a noticeable rise in Canadian and United States arrivals in recent years.

Those who enjoy the island most tend to be vacationers with an appreciation for life’s simple pleasures. With high nightly rates starting at $600, Mustique is primarily frequented by the wealthy. However, it is not a place of ostentation; rather, it serves as an escape where technology is put aside, and visitors can embrace a tranquil and unhurried pace of life.

4. Koh Yao Noi Island — Thailand

For decades, Thailand has been a favored destination, captivating international travelers of all budgets, and it’s not hard to see why. Thailand’s cuisine, celebrated worldwide for its delightful flavors, fresh herbs, and aromatic spices, is just the beginning of its allure. This captivating country offers a plethora of attractions, from ancient sites and breathtaking landscapes to palm-fringed beaches caressed by crystal-clear waters. Rich in history, culture, and mesmerizing architecture, Thailand truly has it all.

Located 45 minutes by speedboat from Phuket, Koh Yao Noi is a quieter version of its sister island Koh Yao Yai and a world away from the commercialism of Koh Phi Phi. It is the perfect getaway for those seeking quiet solitude, with stunning ocean backdrops and just a handful of bars and restaurants. Apart from scuba diving and snorkeling, visitors to the island can explore the fishing villages and encounter the Moken people. Inhabiting floating houses on the waters of Phang Nga Bay, the Moken have sustained their traditional way of life for generations, relying on what the ocean provides for their survival.

5. Fregate Island — Seychelles

Located 1,000 miles off the coast of Kenya, Fregate Island is one of the world’s most exclusive vacation destinations, boasting private beaches and just seven villas.

Fregate Island is popular with A-list celebrities and high-net-worth individuals since solitude and privacy are guaranteed. Compared with other islands, Fregate Island offers a pleasant climate year-round. While December and January are considered the rainy season on the island, it receives only approximately 1.5 millimeters of rainfall annually.

Nature walks are a beloved activity among the locals, while anglers have the chance to hire a private yacht or boat and test their skills in catching yellowfin tuna, mahimahi, or marlin.

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David Geithner

David Geithner is a senior finance executive who draws upon nearly three decades of experience to serve as EVP and COO, IMG Events and On Location.