- As the birds fly
June 1, 2013
TOI-Crest lists five 'hotspots' where scores of exotic birds and curious birders flock each year.
- Peak hour
June 1, 2013
To mark the 60th anniversary of the conquest of Mt Everest, India's armed forces, old visitors to the mountain, mounted several expeditions.
- The other Dali, also surreal
May 18, 2013
This quaint Yunnan town has managed to retain its olde worlde charm. You are unlikely to find any flaw in its design aesthetics.
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Islands of the rich and famous
Like most things cool, Marlon Brando was the one behind this trend too. Brando stands out as a trailblazer for buying his own private undeveloped island near Tahiti back in 1965. The concept of a celebrity actually owning an island was virtually unheard of until he completed his purchase of the 1, 400-plus acre Tetiaroa Atoll. Today, celebrities from all over the world are following in his footsteps
Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison bought a 98 per cent stake in the Hawaiian island of Lanai. The unofficial asking price was in the range of $500-600 million. Another billionaire, David Murdock of Dole Food, was the island's previous owner. Lanai is where Bill Gates married his wife Melinda in the 1990s.
Richard Branson purchased Necker Island at a bargain price of £1, 80, 000 in 1978. He bought the 74 acres property in the British Virgin Islands with the promise to develop a resort. In 1984, he opened an exclusive retreat with eight rooms that currently can be booked for $3, 22, 000 and up per week. In 2011, it burned partially down in a fire. Google's Larry Page got married on the island in 2007, Mariah Carey has been a frequent visitor, and Prince Harry has been rumoured to have vacationed there before partying in Las Vegas.
Branson also owns the 120-acre Caribbean island Moskito. Johnny Depp scooped up Little Halls Pond Cay, a 45-acres island in the Bahamas after filming Pirates of the Caribbean. Depp paid paid $3. 6 million in 2004 and word has it after separating from wife Vanessa Paradis, the island has been put up for sale.
It boasts of the world's most beautiful reefs, a private harbour, a palm-fringed lagoon, and six pristine white sand beaches. It is accessible only by a boat, helicopter or seaplane. Pretty boy Leonardo DiCaprio dished out $1. 75 million for a slice of Belizean paradise in 2005. The sprawling 104-acre island is located between mainland Belize and Ambergris Caye, right near the famous Barrier Reef. DiCaprio planned on turning the Blackadore Cay into an eco-resort, although little construction progress has been reported. Laucala Island, a 3, 000-acre island that was once the property of Malcolm Forbes is now holiday hom e of Dietrich Mateschitz, the creator of Red Bull. Perhaps, not surprisingly for the owner of two Formula 1 teams, his priorities have more to do with sport than with environmental concerns.
There's a championship-level golf course, designed by David McLay Kidd (who designed the Castle course at St Andrews) and maintained by 10 greenkeepers;a 5, 000 square-metre swimming pool (the largest in the South Pacific), and a flotilla of nine craft ranging from three jet-skis to a game-fishing pleasure cruiser. All this is shared by the residents of just 25 villas, each with its own pool, dotted around its two and half miles of coast;yet the staff of the resort runs to 329.
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