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Swap your hatchback for a private island by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

According to Vladi Private Islands, if you can afford a car, you can afford an island, and to prove it, the company’s 2016 calendar matches 12 cars with 12 islands up for sale. You could, for example, swap your 2013 Aston Martin Centennial DB9 Spyder Concept by Zagato ($693,000) for Carberry Island in Ireland. A 1984 Audi Sport Quattro ($401,500) would get you Reids Island in Canada.

Chance would be a fine thing. So instead, how about seven nights in a private island resort in the Caribbean for the price of a secondhand hatchback? Here are the three I would (almost) swap my car for at this time of year.

Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos

Reached by a 40-minute boat trip from mainland Turks & Caicos, Parrot Cay (above) covers around 1,000 acres, which makes it about the size of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combined. The island was originally called Pirate Cay but was renamed by its present owners, Como Hotels & Resorts, to make it more visitor friendly. And visitor friendly it certainly is, with 60 beach house-style rooms, suites and villas set on (or just off) the mile-long beach.At the heart of the resort is the COMO Shambhala Retreat, an award-winning spa which aims to promote greater health through Asian-inspired therapies and treatments. There are complimentary yoga and Pilates classes almost every day plus private instruction and regular retreats. Resort cuisine is healthy Mediterranean and Asian fusion. But for all its emphasis on wellbeing, this is also one of the most glamorous resorts in the Caribbean: your baggy old yoga bottoms won’t do here and you’ll definitely need a new bikini… Seven nights’ b&b with Scott Dunn from around £2,947 per person in high seasonPeter Island, BVI

Extensively refurbished over the last couple of years, Peter Island is almost twice the size of Parrot Cay with roughly the same number of rooms. It’s reached by a short ferry ride from Tortola, which does give it a slightly less ‘away from it all’ feel, though because most of the island has been left undeveloped, there is a lot more scope for hiking or biking than on most private island resorts.There are five beaches, so you can always find a quiet spot, and if you book a picnic on tiny Honeymoon Beach, you can have it all to yourself. Of course, no self-respecting private island is without a spa these days, but Peter Island goes one step further with a vast standalone facility, with 10 treatment rooms, two outdoor bohios and couples’ suites. Seven nights’ room only from £3,540 per person with CarrierJumby Bay, Antigua

Just six minutes off the coast of Antigua, 300-acre Jumby Island must be one of the Caribbean’s most accessible islands. At 300 acres it’s also one of its smallest but with just 40 colonial-style rooms, suites and villas scattered across the island, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. The resort is circled by four and a half miles of pristine white sand: the main beach is furnished with thatched bohios and hammocks strung between the palms, but if you want to be alone, simply hop on your bike (the island is very flat) and pedal to the island’s quieter, northern shore. If you’re feeling peckish, you can arrange for a picnic hamper to await your arrival.I love the resort’s octagonal cottages – or rondavels, as they're known – with wraparound terraces and sea views, but if you want to push the boat out, go for one of the courtyard rooms which have an outdoor bathtub – when else do you get to enjoy a soak serenaded by tree frogs? Seven nights’ full board from £5,266 per person with Destinology

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