Fit for royalty: One of the world’s most exclusive private island resorts just joined Marriott

Nov 7, 2019

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Marriott is already home to some pretty distinctive properties as part of its Luxury Collection, such as Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa in Dubai and The Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu. But there are some independent properties so exclusive, remote and, well, expensive they can make even a St. Regis seem ordinary by comparison.

Think: Richard Branson’s Necker Island Resort, which can be booked with Virgin Atlantic miles provided you have Flying Club status. Of course, a massive 1.2 million miles are required for a seven-night stay.

Just 924,000 Amex MR points can get you a week on Sir Richard Branson
Necker Island Resort. Photo courtesy of the resort.

Another exclusive, super high-end property is North Island Resort in the Seychelles, a tiny archipelago of 115 tropical islands off the east coast of Africa. Earlier this year, ASMALLWORLD AG announced it would be taking over the management of North Island Resort Seychelles, and the property would join Marriott’s Luxury Collection brand in December 2019.

Well, it looks like Christmas has come early, because on Thursday, Nov. 7, One Mile at a Time reported that the property now appears on Marriott’s website.

The property is hidden away on an exclusive private island accessible by helicopter from Mahe, where the main airport of the Seychelles (SEZ) is located, and rates start at a hefty $6,800 per night — not including 21% in VAT and service charges. You can even opt for more expensive package rates that include half or full board, drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) and water activities.

On top of the nightly rate, you’ll still have to fork out even more money for the helicopter transfers, most spa treatments and full-day fishing trips.

At that price point, as you might expect, this property isn’t just any old beach resort. And you certainly won’t need to be at the pool by 8 a.m. to score a chaise, as there are only 11 villas.

North Island Resort, Seychelles (Image courtesy of the resort)
North Island Resort, Seychelles. Photo courtesy of the resort.

The North Island Resort is most famous for having hosted some very famous guests, including George and Amal Clooney, and Prince William and Kate Middleton. Both couples chose North Island Resort for their honeymoons, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have also stayed at this stunning retreat.

North Island Resort, Seychelles (Image courtesy of the resort)
North Island Resort, Seychelles. Photo courtesy of the resort.

All of the 5,000-square-foot villas have direct beach access and views, plus plenty of privacy thanks to careful landscaping. This is part of what makes it such a desirable getaway for celebrities and other ultra-wealthy travelers. You’re unlikely to see many other guests unless you really want to.

North Island Resort, Seychelles (Image courtesy of the resort)
North Island Resort, Seychelles. Photo courtesy of the resort.

Though you can now book through Marriott with cash (and lots of it), the hotel is not yet available to be booked with points. Marriott Bonvoy’s redemption table maxes out at 85,000 points per night for Category 8 properties, which is where most Luxury Collection properties sit. TPG contacted Marriott to find out more details about how the property will fit into the Bonvoy program, and received the following comment from a spokesperson:

“We are excited to welcome North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort, Seychelles into the Marriott International portfolio. In the near future, Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to earn and redeem points for award stays. We will have more information to share with members soon.”

It’s unlikely this property will slide right into Category 8 on the award chart, given how expensive rack rates are at North Island Resort. If it were to become a Category 8 property, it would not only be possibly the best value hotel redemption in the world, but might also be the most desirable and aspirational, leaving properties in Tahiti and the Maldives in its wake.

Guests will be able to earn Marriott points on paid bookings in the future, but we’ll just have to wait to see how such a unique property will handle benefits for Marriott elite members. One single night at North Island could potentially earn you enough points for a Category 8 redemption — something to consider if you want to justify the cost.

North Island Resort (Image courtesy of the resort)
North Island Resort. Photo courtesy of the resort.

If you’re lucky enough to be staying here on a cash rate, it promises to be an amazing travel experience at one of the most luxurious and private resorts on earth. We’ll be sure to update this story when more announcements are made.

Additional reporting by Jennifer Yellin and Edward Pizzarello. Featured photo courtesy of the resort.

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