What would you do if you were rich or famous? Some would say buy a mansion or luxury car. But for these wealthy people where to better put their money than on a private island. Here are 6 rich and famous people who bought their own private islands.
Aristotle Onassis, the late Greek shipping tycoon and husband of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, was one of the first to buy a private island. Skorpios, situated in the Iconian Sea, was the venue for the wedding of Aristotle and Jackie. Today, the island is now owned by Athina Onassis, Aristotle’s granddaughter. For decades, it has been rumored that the island is being sold but there are still no confirmed reports of such sale. Real estate appraisers have valued the island of Skorpios at over $100 million.
Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, purchased the island of Lanai, Hawaii’s sixth largest island. Although there is still no information about the amount of purchase, it was estimated that the purchase deal ranged between $500 to $600 million in cash. He purchased the island from David Murdoch of Dole Foods. Stretching along an 88,000 acre parcel of island, Lanai comes with two Four Seasons resorts, two golf courses, and a stable. Ellison’s net worth is reportedly at $36 million.
Virgin Empire founder Richard Branson bought Necker Island in the United Kingdom in 1978 for only a few hundred thousand dollars. But the island is not as private as publicized. It is a small private resort pegged at $50,000 a night. Necker Island hit the limelight when lightning ignited a fire that caused severe damage to Branson’s house. When the fire struck, actress Kate Winslet was billeted there and rescued Branson’s mother.
Magician David Copperfield bought Muscha Cay, a private island with an untouched tropical environment stretching for more than 150 acres. The island houses a 30-person staff responsible for providing all the amenities the island has to offer. Only one booking is allowed at the 12-bedroom resort and the price tag per room is $52,000 a night.
In 1979, Ted Turner bought St. Phillips Island for an undisclosed amount. The CNN founder was even caught in a territorial dispute with “The Gullah,” a tribe that purchased the nearby St. Helena Island which used it for hunting and fishing. Located off the coast of South Carolina, St. Phillips Island is not open to the public. Turner used to be the biggest private landowner in America until he was supplanted by fellow media mogul John Malone who owns a stake of land worth 2.2 million acres.
In 2005, actor Mel Gibson bought Mago Island reportedly worth $15 million. Stretching 5,400 acres, Mago Island measures the size of some small countries and is considered as one of the largest in the South Pacific. There were concerns from environmentalists that Gibson would convert the island into a luxury resort. However, the actor revealed that he wanted to leave the island as it is and build a vacation house only.
Not all private islands have a high price tag. It is possible to buy a small island in Canada for less than $35,000 Canadian dollars. But experts believe that it is more costly to build a property on the island. So think and research first if you plan to purchase an island when you retire.