There are very few places in the world where you will ever see high-profile personalities like Mariah Carey, Kate Winslet, Oprah, Jimmy Fallon, David Beckham, and many bonafide athletes and celebrities casually vibing in palm-covered dirt paths and sandy beaches.
In one of the most exclusive destinations in the world, Richard Branson’s Necker Island, you can walk with the stars as they go about their day of relaxation, mimosas in hand and sand on their feet.
Necker Island is heaven on earth that serves as Branson’s private paradise. Through this piece of paradise, he accommodates fellow A-listers as guests.
The British billionaire purchased the once deserted island for a relative bargain of $180 000, considering that a tropical island in the British Virgin Islands would approximately cost around the millions. The mogul spent little time transforming his new acquisition into a pearl in the middle of the sea.
A vision of a magnate, 10 million dollars, and a three-year metamorphosis later, the island once empty had become a glimpse of heaven.
Building a Paradise
In 1965 a duo from the Daily Telegraph was cast away on an undeveloped island. Journalist Andrew Walker and Photographer Don McCullin wanted to test if they could survive stranded and alone for three weeks — they quit after 15 days.
The very same land they stayed in was Richard Branson’s very own Necker Island. Fast forward a few decades later, that same island is now one of the world’s most exclusive resorts, with around over a hundred staff that caters to over 30 guests.
Before the transformation, McCullin noted that there was nothing “idyllic about the desert island,” adding: “The mosquitoes and other insects were more venomous and persistent than any I had encountered in Vietnam or the Congo.”
It was 1978 when the then-record label boss set foot upon the British Virgin Islands for the first time. The 28-year old Branson, taking a reconnaissance trip to see if there are any decent places to house retreats for rockstars and recording artists. Within a year, he secured Necker from a British aristocrat for $180 000.
Once an island with nothing but sand and trees, Branson had transformed the barren land into a luxury resort with a ten-bed villa with views of the beach. In the present day, there are many other commodities added like opulent residences, exclusive pools, tennis courts, and a helipad.
One of the 74-acre deluxe resort’s primary selling points is its pristine white sandy beaches and verdant hills that allow guests to access breathtaking views of islands nearby.
A-listers like Harry Styles, Mariah Carey, Ronnie Wood, and Barack Obama were some guests who frequented this tropical paradise.
A Glimpse of Paradise
Business Insider featured the island in 2012, where Writers Kamelia Angelova and Robert Libetti walked readers through the entire Necker Island experience.
The trip featured a tour of the villa the two stayed in, a hike, the beach, and documentation on how the duo, Angelova and Libetti, moved from the busy grit and grind of New York to the lax and calm beaches of Necker Island.
The article started in the luxurious villa. The two described the villa as an ‘exotic, open-air Balinese design, multi-level accommodations, pools and sweeping vistas.’ The designated villa for the Business Insider was at the heart of the island. The duo noted that the villa had no keys and sometimes even walls or doors.
Their villa itself had three levels. There was an entertainment area at the bottom, equipped with a colossal TV, the most up-to-date gaming systems, coffee and tea stations, and mini-bars filled to the brim. A pool was also available for use and was shared with two other villas.
The second level was the master bedroom, equipped with a king-sized bed. A seemingly invisible staff was always ready to give the room a fixer-upper whenever the guests left for breakfast or dinner.
The level at the very top was a lounge decorated with a couple of day beds. It may serve as an extra bedroom to accommodate family members. Both the second and third floors had 360 views on the vegetation outside that made a beautiful view when guests wake up and before they go to sleep.
On the duo’s second day, the staff prepared a hike around the island, giving them sneakers and gear for the day’s adventure. The staff was well trained as the guests were also given protective products for threats like mosquitoes and sunburn.
The hike took the group through Turtle beach and a flamingo pond and moved north, east, and down to the main beach. During the walk, the guests were also taken to Richard Branson’s pet project, where there were various animals. The highlight, however, was the lemurs, a primate species endemic to Madagascar.
The group soon reached the Beach Pavilion, where they enjoyed a feast for the ages. Afterward, there were a plethora of things to do, from enjoying the pool, water sports, tennis, to taking a deep in the crystal clear waters of Necker Island.
The last part of the trilogy detailed the duo’s adventure from New York to the pristine shores of Necker Island. Their journey started at 4:30 AM, and the eventful trip lasted the whole day.
The Price for Paradise
Necker Island, on most occasions, is hired exclusively. There are, however, selected weeks in a year called “Celebration Weeks” — the only times the public is allowed to book rooms for a stay of seven nights.
Booking stays in Necker Island means sharing the island. Guests meet at mealtimes and enjoy water sports facilities and activities that are on offer. With all 74 acres of the island available to guests, though, there is no need to fear for those who enjoy a bit more privacy during a relaxing time.
According to recent estimations, Branson’s resort, considered to be part of the Virgin Limited Edition group, could reach values up to over £90 000 000
It is of little mystery that renting the entirety of Branson’s private island costs up to $42,000 a night. Renting a villa for a week would cost $27,000.
Up to 16-28 people can enjoy the stay in the Necker villas. The guests will enjoy Bali-style accommodations, filled with verdant and nature-inspired designs, open living quarters, and the Virgin Island website calls “wildlife mise-en-scène.”
The Necker Island is undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind destination. Its story and its development from a deserted island to one of the finest luxury resorts in the whole world is a story very which very few are familiar.
This tale of metamorphosis is a testament to Richard Branson’s intellect and determination. This, and the sheer heavenly wonder that lies beyond the seas of the British Virgin Islands, justifies the price on the tag. Necker Island is, quite simply, an adventure of a lifetime.
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