If you’re like most of us, you’re probably daydreaming at work and secretly Googling vacation ideas (while trying to look productive) for the upcoming summer.
Sure, there are always the old standbys – a crowded beach full of obnoxious millennials, a national park full of majestic wildlife, or Hawaii, full of all the usual gaudy tourist traps.
And these places are great—us poor, working-class stiffs are happy to get even a week at one of these spots.
But there is a place, so splendid and so grand, that we can only dream about until we hit the lottery or win a major lawsuit.
Like me, this place is likely so out of reach, you’ll just have to enjoy reading about it.
And you’ll either be offended that such an ostentatious place exists, or you’ll be green with envy because you know you’ll never get to go there.
But, hey, it’s fun to dream.
How Much?!! Ack, Ack, Cough
You’ve heard about celebrities having their own private islands, but you’re probably not a celebrity. (If you are and you’re reading this, I’d love to be your personal gopher for the right price – and I do windows.)
For the rest of us, staying on a private island is a luxury we’ll probably never experience – especially when you see how much it costs to stay at the most expensive island resort in the world.
Banwa is a private island off the coast of the Philippines, a two-hour trip by plane or helicopter from Manila.
A one-way flight alone to the island costs nearly a thousand dollars – per person – because they are private and exclusive and you’re already going to be spending a fortune anyways.
And while the island’s beauty and seclusion will take your breath away, so will the price tag for a one-night stay. One hundred thousand dollars.
That’s not a typo – $100,000 dollars. For one night.
And just like many high-priced resorts, there is a minimum required stay of 3 to 5 days, depending on the season when you visit.
Now, I’m not a math whiz, but that means a half-million dollars for less than a week – and that’s just for the room.
Sorry, it is a villa – actually, there are six of them, each with one or two bedrooms, a private infinity pool and jacuzzi deck overlooking the ocean.
Be honest — if you could, you would.
If you’re already thinking, “Even if I were a millionaire, I would never spend that,” take a look at their effective marketing strategy:
Banwa’s website says: Pleasure is infinite. Desires are anticipated. Senses are heightened. Every single moment is tailored to you.
I don’t know about you, but as a frazzled full-time working mom, that sounds pretty darn good. No one in my home ever anticipates my desires, not even when I constantly scream that I would give anything not to do laundry for just one day.
Maybe the key is to grab a large group of friends who want to liquidate their 401-Ks and stay as a group. Or maybe you have a rich friend or two who will take pity on you.
Afterall, the island has six villas and accommodates up to 48 people.
There are also several “garden” rooms and something with an awesome-sounding name, a “Magical 360° Suite” that overlooks the peasants in the lowly villas below (i.e. your friends who drew the short straws).
The $100K per night price tag is for the entire island, so when you think about it, it might be doable divided between four dozen of your closest friends.
That’s only $2,083 a night each!
Of course, here’s where I’ve got to go back to the flight that gets you to the island – upwards of a thousand dollars each. Nearly $12K for a five-person helicopter. So for 48 people to get there, that’s another $120,000.
But when you read their list of amenities – and the promise (in writing) that your life will never be the same – you’ll jump on the idea.
“Banwa is one of the few places in the world where nothing breaks you out of your own tranquil cocoon… just the pure pleasure of peace and the ultimate opportunity to switch off, rest your ears, and focus on you. Bespoke, unique and life-enriching experiences are at the very heart of our philosophy. Every moment is geared towards delivering exceptional moments in time, moments that you and your guests will treasure forever.”
The word of the day here is “bespoke.” Yeah, I had to Google it too, but it pretty much means that your every need and desire is individually catered to at any moment – every single thing you could possibly ask for.
Ahh, I’m sold.
Everything you want and more.
Banwa doesn’t just offer quiet beaches to lounge and spectacular bespoken services.
There’s also a gym, Pilates studio, tennis courts, golf course, snorkeling, scuba diving, and a wildlife sanctuary with trails. There are private excursions by “heli” or by boat to local caves, reefs, and even a shipwreck. (At additional cost – ka-ching.)
The island boasts several incredible places to dine, including serene and secluded locations where you can view the local wildlife, waterfalls, and beaches. (Except that some of the wildlife is flying foxes and fruit bats. That doesn’t sound like something I want to encounter while eating the best meal I’ll ever get.)
“Our kitchen is always open, in more ways than one.” Hmm, that sounds intriguing. (Hey, get your mind out of the gutter!)
The chefs, of course, are there to provide you with your every gastronomical delight. And if you want to eat that special meal again at home, they’ll even teach you how to make it.
Vegetables are gathered from the island’s organic farm, and fish are caught offshore and brought to your table immediately (well, not like flopping on the table, but you know what I mean).
And the resort has its own colony of bees, and the chefs make their own honey.
There’s Tide Pool Dining, a Sunset Terrace Bar, Latitude Restaurant, poolside drinks, and just about anything you would want to eat anywhere on the island.
And guess what? They’ll even provide you with your own personal nutritionist so you can “detox and kick off a healthier lifestyle” in accordance with their philosophy of body-and-soul health and wellness.
They may get a lot of requests for that from celebrities, but if I wipe out my life savings with a couple dozen friends to charter this private island, I’m pretty sure we’re gonna eat—and drink—like there’s no tomorrow.
Afterall all, no good and proper vacation is complete without alcohol. And on Banwa, any kind of cocktail you desire is brought to you at any time and only the finest wines in the world are there for the tasting.
Try $36,000 a bottle fine– that’s about $900 bucks a glass, but they probably won’t sell you just a glass and “premium” wines are not included.
Ok, now the price tag is really adding up— especially since my idea of a premium wine is one that costs more than $10 a bottle.
But when I read these words on Banwa’s site—”private al fresco massage,” followed by, “our world-class team will do everything in their power to ensure you enjoy your time here, where secrecy and surprise unite,” I begin to reconsider my plans to rob a bank for this whole island paradise thing. I’m pretty sure any woman in the world will find a way to experience whatever all that entails.
Ok, so my plans to go to Banwa may only be a pipe-dream for now – but it’s a pretty good one.
And what’s life without dreams? That’s what lottery tickets and frivolous lawsuits are for.