Ever dreamt of staying on your very own private island? All white sand, palm trees and personal butlers? It’s not as distant as you might think. You don’t have to be Richard Branson to get in on the act; around the world there are plenty of island escapes to fit a variety of budgets and tastes. From rugged Norwegian cabins to five-star all-inclusive retreats in the Maldives, here’s our pick of the best private islands to rent.

Brother Island, El Nido, Philippines

After a private island to book for yourself and 12 others on Airbnb? Look no further than Brother Island, a delightfully secluded paradise off the west coast of Palawan in the Philippines. Two hours by boat from El Nido, visitors can expect to be pampered and waited on with a fully staffed island including an on-site caretaker, housekeeper, chef, boatman and host.

A myriad of relaxing and more adventurous activities await and all catering is included with an array of delicious Filipino dishes on offer.

Book at AirBNB

Gaathafushi at W Maldives

When you imagine a private island in your head, Gaathafushi is probably the sort of vision that comes to mind. A speck of white sand surrounded by impossibly tranquil blue ocean with forest cover and luxury accommodation, two sun loungers on the beach patiently waiting for you.

Part of the exclusive W Maldives resort, visitors can have their trip tailored to their specific needs thanks to a myriad of experiences available to book including private chef beachside dining or a sunrise champagne breakfast.

Book at Marriott

Velaa Private Island, Maldives

Needless to say there’s a whole host of private island experiences in the Maldives but Velaa Private Island has always been one on our bucket list. It’s all about luxury and privacy on this private utopia, which unlike a lot of other resorts means absolutely no drones, eight staff to every one guest and a dedicated butler for each room.

First-class amenities include infinity pools, your pick of five restaurants, spa service, a nine-hole golf course and, of course, that beautiful expansive stretch of silky white sand.

Book at Booking.com

Båtholmen, Norway

For something a little more rustic, consider Batholmen for a Scandinavian take on a private island getaway. Thanks to a wonderfully remote location in the Hvaler archipelago this self-catered private island is the ideal spot for those seeking rugged shoreline forest surroundings with plenty of outdoor activities including fishing, hiking and boat trips.

Running water comes via a local shop on the mainland and there’s minimal electricity, but if you’re seeking a truly exclusive and remote stay that takes you back to relaxing basics, look no further.

Book at Airbnb

Bird Island, Belize

This could very well be the ideal romantic getaway, but gentleman beware, you’ll need to back yourself in the kitchen as this one is self-catered. Situated off the southern coast of tropical Belize, Bird Island is an Insta-perfect dot in the ocean that caters to groups or couples.

Reachable from Placencia Village, with boat transfer included with accommodation, the island is ideal for a whole host of water-based activities, but nobody would blame you for just sitting there and soaking in the view.

Book at Airbnb

Islas Secas, Panama

Located off the quieter pacific coast of Panama in the Gulf of Chiriqui, the 14 islands that make up the Islas Seclas archipelago are the perfect getaway for those seeking a breathtaking private island stay. The resort itself provides luxury accommodation for no more than 18 guests with each room complex sat upon tropical gardens providing the best vantage point for the surrounding scenery.

Private pools, cabanas and a host of other luxury amenities come as standard making the collection of islands a truly once-in-a-lifetime stay.

Book at Islassecas.com