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Barefoot bliss on a pristine private island

It’s like ‘Robinson Crusoe’ – but with five-star facilities

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Barefoot bliss on a pristine private island

July 04 2011
Maria Shollenbarger

Travelistas around the world know there’s been a groundswell buzz about the private island phenomenon for some time. Between the spectacular launch last year of Laucala in Fiji (, from $3,800 per night), the acquisition and renovation of Petit St Vincent in the Grenadines (, from $1,050 per night), and news of Dolphin Island’s long awaited re-opening in Fiji (, from A$7,500), escapes with Robinson Crusoe creds and five-star perqs are, it seems, the thing.

Now, a new entry into the very luxe fray in Indonesia: in the still-pristine Riau Archepelago, a short boat ride from Singapore, Pulau Joyo (first picture;, from $999) – in its previous iteration, a fully private rental island called Pulau Suka – has four gorgeous driftwood-and-thatch “palaces”, with indoor-outdoor living spaces dotted with sofas and sun-loungers open to the sea air.

There’s a lovely 25m pool (second picture) and, adjacent, a soaring open-air pool house with games, and an open bar for hours of loafing and laying about. Comprehensive spa treatments are for the having as well; the therapists come to you, for total privacy. Lovely hand-woven sandals are provided for each guest – but bare feet are the order of the day around here, so you’ll likely not need or want them, even when you take the island’s 140ft charter yacht, the Hang Tuah, for a half- or full-day excursion to a neighbouring island for a picnic.