Some dream of owning a private island while others, well, live that dream. Australian Andrew Dixon has not one, but two such slices of Elysium – Nikoi and Cempedak – to his name, both of which have become luxury retreats for travellers seeking quiet, beach holidays a few hours away from Malaysia. But Dixon never set out to found luxury resorts. For the ex-banker, those islands were initially intended to be “little slivers of paradise” that afforded a slower tempo from the hectic pace of life in Singapore. What started out as weekend family camping trips to Indonesia’s Pulau Nikoi in 2003 eventually saw Dixon and three other friends-turned-fellow investors chipping in to secure the leasehold title for the island the following year.
“We started out by putting a couple of shacks on the beach, before deciding to open it up on weekends just to cover the cost. We weren’t focused on making it a business but it became very popular,” says the 53-year-old. Today, the 15ha island sited 8km off the east coast of Bintan, Indonesia, is a fully operational resort with 15 beachfront villas priced between $390 and $1,100 per night. Exclusive booking of the entire island can be made for $16,500 per day.
NATURE’S BEST Located 9km off East Bintan, Indonesia, Cempedak boasts sandy beaches and white granite boulders.