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Great Mercury Island 
$$$$

See the New Zealand's North Island Guide ›
Great Mercury Island
New Zealand
Tel: 800 225 4255
sam@seaonz.co.nz
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
This 5,000-acre isle, 25 minutes by helicopter from Auckland, is the private retreat of two millionaires—a haven so hidden that even the paparazzi can't find the celebs who stay here. Mere mortals can visit, too, assuming they can afford the $20,000-a-day price tag. Included is free range of an island so large and varied that it feels like a small country, with miles of pristine white beaches, sensational scuba diving and fishing, and all manner of toys—from boats and Jet Skis to off-road trucks and motorcycles. There's also a superb chef whose food has kept the likes of Queen Elizabeth II happy. The two villas can sleep up to 20 people between them and are airy mazes where irregular, white-plastered passageways lead to individually themed bedrooms full of whimsy, wit, and every conceivable creature comfort.—2005 Hot List

When to go: Summer (Dec.–March).

Which room to book: The main lodge's master bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe and easily the best bathroom; failing that, the driftwood-strewn Shipwreck Room

Amenities: Beach, Gym, Pool

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