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Beached Whales: Mapping the World's Costliest Private Islands

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To mark the end of Whale Week, Curbed is taking a look inside the world of private islands, the ultimate in high-cost, ultra-luxury personal escapes. Though the rich and powerful have been enjoying private islands since Roman times, it was Greek shipping magnate and style icon Aristotle Onassis who reignited the popular interest in such properties in the 1960s with his Skorpios, a 200-acre paradise in the Ionian Sea (above). Today the phenomenon rages on. Check the map for more.


· All Whale Week 2013 posts [Curbed National]

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The biggest personal real estate deal of the year netted Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai in exchange for $500M. Previously owned by the billionaire owner of Dole Fruit, the island is home to two luxury resorts, two 18-hole golf course, and a 4,500-foot paved runway.

Li Galli

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The Li Galli islands have a small fraction of Lanai's 88,000 acres, but thanks to a one-of-a-kind location on Italy's Amalfi Coast near the luxe isle of Capri, they're were last asking a little more than half of Lanai's sale price, or $268M.

Necker Island

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Possibly the most famous private island in the world, Virgin billionaire Richard Branson's Necker Island was purchased for just $622K in the 1970s. Branson created a grand Balinese-style compound on the island and it's now valued at around $100M.

Skorpios

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The private island that started the craze, Skorpios was purchased by shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis for $15M in the 1960s. Onassis transformed the island into a private paradise and eventually Jackie O built her own cottage by the beach on the island. Athina Onassis, Aristotle's granddaughter, now owns the island, but rarely returns to visit and has been rumored to be hunting for a buyer in the $150M-$200M range.

James Island

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Located on the Canadian side of the San Juan Islands, James Island is owned by wireless tech pioneer Craig McCaw, at least for now. McCaw and his wife listed the 780-acre island this summer for $75M, not long after the couple paid $35M for a classic Ferrari.

I'lle Gagnon

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McCaw isn't the only rich Canadian with an island on the market. Vegas-based Canadian crooner Celine Dion has her little-used mega-mansion on the private I'lle Gagnon near Montreal listed for $29.7M.

Little Bokeelia Island

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If Americans were feeling a little left out of the pricey private island game, they can now rest assured, as Florida's Little Bokeelia Island came to market in May of last year with an asking price of $29.5M. That includes the 100-acre island and a restored historic mansion dating to 1928.

Musha Cay

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David Copperfield, the rare illusionist who made millions of dollars appear in his bank account, secured a 100-acre island in the Bahamas for $50M in 2006. Musha Cay can now be rented nightly for prices that start at $38,000 a night.

North Island

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The Russian oligarchs couldn't say out of the private island game forever. In 2011, Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov spent $35M to acquire North Island in the Seychelles. Developed as an eco-tourism resort, it was the site of the royal honeymoon of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Little Hall's Pond Cay

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Next to all these billionaires, A-list actor Johnny Depp might seem like small potatoes, even while he rakes in $20M per film. To while away the time between shoots, Depp bought Little Halls Pond Cay, in the Exumas not far from Copperfield's isle, for which he paid $3.6M in 2004.

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Lana'i

The biggest personal real estate deal of the year netted Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai in exchange for $500M. Previously owned by the billionaire owner of Dole Fruit, the island is home to two luxury resorts, two 18-hole golf course, and a 4,500-foot paved runway.

Li Galli

The Li Galli islands have a small fraction of Lanai's 88,000 acres, but thanks to a one-of-a-kind location on Italy's Amalfi Coast near the luxe isle of Capri, they're were last asking a little more than half of Lanai's sale price, or $268M.

Necker Island

Possibly the most famous private island in the world, Virgin billionaire Richard Branson's Necker Island was purchased for just $622K in the 1970s. Branson created a grand Balinese-style compound on the island and it's now valued at around $100M.

Skorpios

The private island that started the craze, Skorpios was purchased by shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis for $15M in the 1960s. Onassis transformed the island into a private paradise and eventually Jackie O built her own cottage by the beach on the island. Athina Onassis, Aristotle's granddaughter, now owns the island, but rarely returns to visit and has been rumored to be hunting for a buyer in the $150M-$200M range.

James Island

Located on the Canadian side of the San Juan Islands, James Island is owned by wireless tech pioneer Craig McCaw, at least for now. McCaw and his wife listed the 780-acre island this summer for $75M, not long after the couple paid $35M for a classic Ferrari.

I'lle Gagnon

McCaw isn't the only rich Canadian with an island on the market. Vegas-based Canadian crooner Celine Dion has her little-used mega-mansion on the private I'lle Gagnon near Montreal listed for $29.7M.

Little Bokeelia Island

If Americans were feeling a little left out of the pricey private island game, they can now rest assured, as Florida's Little Bokeelia Island came to market in May of last year with an asking price of $29.5M. That includes the 100-acre island and a restored historic mansion dating to 1928.

Musha Cay

David Copperfield, the rare illusionist who made millions of dollars appear in his bank account, secured a 100-acre island in the Bahamas for $50M in 2006. Musha Cay can now be rented nightly for prices that start at $38,000 a night.

North Island

The Russian oligarchs couldn't say out of the private island game forever. In 2011, Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov spent $35M to acquire North Island in the Seychelles. Developed as an eco-tourism resort, it was the site of the royal honeymoon of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Little Hall's Pond Cay

Next to all these billionaires, A-list actor Johnny Depp might seem like small potatoes, even while he rakes in $20M per film. To while away the time between shoots, Depp bought Little Halls Pond Cay, in the Exumas not far from Copperfield's isle, for which he paid $3.6M in 2004.