JET SET EXPERIENCES: Finding paradise in the Gili Islands

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Nestled off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia, sit three idyllic islands where the water is a mesmerizing turquoise blue, the beaches are powder soft white sand, and the radiant sun descends behind neighboring Bali’s famous volcano. Best of all: there are no motorized vehicles, which makes horse drawn carriages, bikes, and walking the preferred modes of transportation!

Each island has its own unique charm. Gili Meno, the middle and the smallest of the islands, is known as the “Honeymoon Island” due to its secluded beaches. Gili Air is closest to Lombok and has retained its local character and quiet vibe. By contrast, Gili Trawangan (known as Gili T), is the largest and most cosmopolitan of all the islands with trendy restaurants and alluring nightlife. Due to the islands popularity, boutique hotels are popping up all over, but maintain the unified focus on sustainability to protect the local environment.

I was fortunate enough to have just visited the Gili Islands on my “engagement-moon.” Each perfect day in paradise started with fresh squeezed juices and eggs benedict followed by a brisk digestive ride around Gili Air for about 30 minutes. We would then rent snorkeling gear and jot around the island to explore different bays, which were breathtaking amid the reflections cast from approaching the storm. For lunch, we savored fresh seafood on the beach followed by a relaxing massage where we were lulled by the sound of the waves. As the day wound down, we found ourselves lounging on plush cushions enjoying local music and with tropical cocktails in hand admiring the most beautiful sunset that seemed to last for hours.

To taste your own slice of paradise, contact Courtney Sheeley at


Mustique_Ocean Breeze

Mustique, a 1,400 acre island with about 100 residents, is known as the Caribbean’s most exclusive hideaway. There are no traffic lights, power lines or beach vendors. Facilities on the island include only the essentials: a dive shop, equestrian center, spa and world renowned ‘Basil’s Bar’.

Settle into the coastal lifestyle of the island where you can spend your days relaxing poolside taking in the spectacular 360 degree views, or perhaps scuba dive on the coral gardens, enjoy a lesson with a tennis pro, round of golf or horseback ride on one of the nine gorgeous beaches. Where else can you find yourself at a beach barbeque dinner where the guest list includes international fashion designers, a rock-n-roll legend, the island doctor or maybe the local tennis ­pro, too?

Each of the 75 island villas is uniquely designed with varying locations and views. While some are steps from the beach, others are perched high on the hilltops. The rentals include dedicated staff (including chefs, maids and even gardeners), your own transportation and at least one pool. Certain villas even boast private spas, screening rooms, and tennis courts.

With nonstop flights from Barbados and St Lucia, Mustique is the perfect grand finale to any Caribbean holiday!

To personalize your private island experience, please contact Michelle:

JetSet Destinations: Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island)

Easter Island is not only one of the most remote islands one may visit – it is historically fascinating and topographically beautiful. Its 63 square miles, roughly the size of Staten Island, is predominantly volcanic resulting in dramatic land and seascapes.  With only 5,000 locals – and 6,700 wild horses  – the islanders welcome visitors with open arms and broken English.

Easily combinable with Chile (a 5 hour flight from Santiago) or even French Polynesia (a 6 hour flight from Papeete), this extremely isolated Polynesian Island is brimming with rich local culture, captivating history, and more recently, luxury lodges. Days are spent learning the fascinating and still disputed history of the tribes that inhabited the island some thousands of years ago and their quest to build the famed Moai statues that scatter the island.

Beyond the archeological wonders, there is plenty to do: hiking caves and volcanoes, snorkeling, scuba diving, mountain biking, surfing, lazing on the pink and black sand beaches, sampling the infamous tuna empanadas, exploring the colorful Hanga Roa cemetery, or observing a traditional dance performance.

The place to stay: Explora Rapa Nui.  Rates at this luxurious LEED certified lodge include all guided activities, gourmet cuisine, top shelf refreshments – and unlimited oxygen.

Customize your own adventure with Lauren Maggard: