This is a story so odd that it is hard to believe that it is true, but it is.
You may have heard of North Island Resort in the Seychelles. If the name rings a bell, it is because it is where Prince William went on honeymoon, as did George and Amal Clooney. It is situated 30km from Mahe Island, the capital of the Seychelles.
The resort website is here.
North Island Resort has a grand total of 11 rooms across its 500 acres.
‘Rooms’ is perhaps understating it, however. The 11 villas are each 450 sq m, so about 6x the size of the average new-build UK house.
It is reassuringly expensive as you would expect, with rates at €6,433 per night before a 15% tax and 6% service charge. That is £6,800 per night all-in. If your children are 12+ there is an extra charge.
If you want to read a review, my friend and occasional HFP commentator Tom has been a couple of times. He reviewed it on his blog – which is probably the worlds biggest source of private island resort reviews written by the same person – here and here.
Why is North Island joining Marriott Bonvoy?
You may have heard of ASMALLWORLD. This is an organisation with, to put it mildly, a chequered history. Set up as, basically, a ‘Facebook for rich kids’, its Wikipedia entry features a long list of allegations against it.
For extra kudos, disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein owned the company at one point.
Today, ASMALLWORLD styles itself as “the leading private international lifestyle club”.
A few weeks ago it acquired LuxuryBARED, an online luxury travel agency, as the foundation of a new division called ASW Hospitality. It has now announced that ASMALLWORLD is taking over management of North Island.
This seems, on the face of it, crazy. We are talking a business with a chequered past and no experience in hotel management moving into the sector by taking over what is arguably the most famous private island resort in the world.
And it gets odder ….
ASMALLWORLD has decided to add North Island to “The Luxury Collection”, one of Marriott’s brands. The switch is scheduled for December.
Unless there is some change in the rules, this means that you will be able to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points – and remember the nightly cap from the end of 2019 will be 100,000 points which I value at £500 – for a villa selling for £6,800 per night.
Somehow I doubt that will be happening, but let’s see. After all, Jan Luescher, ASMALLWORLD’s CEO said:
“North Island is one of the very few resorts the whole world knows and talks about. ASMALLWORLD is proud to manage this iconic property and to work alongside Marriott International to get more ASMALLWORLD and Marriott International’s loyal guests to experience this one-of-a-kind resort.”
It is not substantially crazier than expecting Prince William or George Clooney to hop onto marriott.com to book their honeymoons …..
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2022)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)