Behind the Scenes of Royal Island

An Inside Peek at the Most Magical Private Island in the World

You’re at a dinner party, and someone asks the age old question: if you were stranded on a desert island, what book, movie, and album would you bring with you?

There are a million ways to answer, but how many people can wave the question off with an easy “been there, done that—and I brought way more than one of each with me”? For guests of Royal Island, Cuvée’s most exclusive getaway, the seclusion of their own private island is only the beginning. To put it lightly, our Royal Island escape is nothing short of magical—and far from deserted, thanks to its dedicated staff who make that magic happen for private groups of up to 16 guests at a time. 

Chief among those staff members is Destination Manager Shannon Scott, whose careful planning and empathetic approach to hospitality make a visit to Royal Island a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We spoke to Shannon about what it’s like to enjoy one of the world’s most amazing vacation rentals—and asked her to share all of her favorite aspects of doing her job.

Spilling All the Secrets—Starting with How to Get There

Even here at Cuvée, the intimate details of a Royal Island vacation have typically only been known to a lucky select few. When we sat down with Shannon, we were just as curious as you might be as to how one gets to Royal Island—and what an arrival on its shores looks like. 

Royal Island is a 430-acre jewel surrounded by pristine Bahamian waters and located off the tip of the North Eleutheran peninsula. From here, Nassau, the closest city, is 40 miles away. Shannon stresses that to reach the island via commercial flight, guests must fly into North Eleuthera through one of only four airports: Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Nassau. 

The exclusive adventure begins here, when guests are met by Shannon and whisked away from the airport to one of two docks. It’s here that they meet Howard Albury, Royal Island’s indispensable Island Manager and Captain of the “Royal Treatment,” its private vessel. Howard is the go-to expert for everything concerning Royal Island, and he welcomes you to it on this relaxed 15-minute boat ride and tour. Shannon and Howard constantly consult each other about the island experience; he knows everything from local weather to vendors. In fact, laughs Shannon, Howard may be the only person on Earth who knows the location of Royal Island’s buried treasure which, according to local legend, was left there by Christopher Columbus.

Next comes Shannon’s favorite part. “We like to go all-out for the arrivals,” she says. Five to ten staff members await guests on the dock, ready to present them with their favorite mixed drinks. From here, it’s a short walk to the island’s private Melanie Beach Club, where they enjoy chef-prepared appetizers before a tour of the island they’ll call home for the next several days. 

An Island of One’s Own

Royal Island is more than just a property out in the ocean; it’s a private resort. With five guest bungalows, the Melanie Beach Club and restaurant, and a full gym and two bedrooms in the Harbour House on top of miles of pristine beach, wildlife, and vegetation, Shannon tells us there’s lots to do here, both indoors and out. And, in the spirit of a great resort stay, a visit to Royal Island includes free dining and many free unforgettable experiences for the whole family. Learn to prepare a gourmet meal in a private cooking class with Cuvée’s Chef Sergio. Venture out into the wilds on a guided ATV experience where you’ll take in fascinating local history as you explore ancient ruins. Glimpse gorgeous marine life in either of two excellent snorkeling spots, or go fishing with Royal Island staff and bring home the catch of the day.

“One of the biggest hits is the sandbar experience,” says Shannon. During low tide, Shannon and Royal Island staff take guests to a sandbar about ten minutes away. “It’s so beautiful there,” she says, “and it’s absolutely quiet.” Shannon and her team pitch a tent and lay out comfortable seating; Chef Sergio prepares delicious afternoon snacks like hummus, veggies, and cookies. They’re also happy to take the island’s paddle boards and two jet skis along for guests who seek a more action-oriented adventure. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with North Aleuthera’s marine life and turquoise waters in a way that few ever experience.

Guests bring their special interests along, too, and Shannon is here to make those once-in-a-lifetime wishes come true. She’s seen it all, from shark cage diving to a private fireworks show (orchestrated by the multi-talented Howard) accompanied by a top-notch private performance from local favorite the High Rock Band to family photoshoots taken in front of breathtaking Bahamian sunsets. Royal Island has played host to movie nights under the stars, at least one spectacular birthday party, a magic show, a concert featuring a guest’s favorite band, as well as an epic scavenger hunt.

Happy Tears, Sweet Partings

When asked about her favorite Cuvée experience, Shannon—like many members of the Cuvée team—looks back fondly on moments shared with guests. She immediately tells us about a group that came to Royal Island seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When it came time to leave, however, tears were shed. The experience had been so life-changing, it was decided, that there was no way they could just do it once. “We’re going to Vail [with them] in three weeks,” beams Shannon. “There have been a lot of emotional departures at Royal Island. It’s a very special place.” Shannon admits that the first time she witnessed a fireworks show in the cove she teared up a bit, herself. 

The Adventure of a Lifetime Awaits

You can tell that Shannon gets excited about the future possibilities of Royal Island. “We haven’t had a wedding yet,” she hints. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Whatever comes next, Shannon is sure to be ready for the challenge, and the rewards.

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