Richard Branson’s Private Necker Island Paradise – Now Available to Book

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A Balinese style structure on Necker Island. Photo: Handout
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  • The Virgin Group founder bought the Caribbean island in 1979 when he was 29 years old, for US$180,000 (down from US$6 million), and converted it into a private island resort
  • Necker Island has been available only to Branson’s close friends or those who could reserve the whole place, but for the first time this Christmas, individual rooms are available to book too

Necker Island, better known as Richard Branson’s private paradise in the British Virgin Islands, is an unspoilt and carefully protected area in the Caribbean. It sits on 30 hectares (74 acres) of turquoise waters, and Branson has said the island is not only his favourite hideaway, but also his home, per Virgin’s website.

Branson recently announced that, for the first time, Necker Island would be open to the public for the next two months, per People. The island has previously only been available to Branson’s close friends or for those who could reserve the entire island.

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Guests on Necker Island can take a mangrove conservation tour. Photo: Handout

Necker Island is famous for its celebrity and high-profile guests including former US president Barack Obama, Kate Winslet, Harry Styles and Nelson Mandela, per Virgin’s website. Most recently, Kevin Costner visited the Caribbean island to attend the Necker Cup, an exclusive annual tennis tournament, per British media. Costner, whose divorce from his wife of 19 years Christine Baumgartner was finalised in October, was reportedly on the island with Jewel, Emma Watson and Michael Bolton.

So just why is Necker Island such a draw? Let’s take a look inside the paradise that the wealthy love to escape to.

Necker Island is an incredible luxury island

Coral reefs, white sandy beaches and clear waters surround Necker Island. It lies to the east of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Considered one of the most luxurious private islands on the planet, it sleeps 48 adults and six children.

The public will be able to book individual rooms on the island from November 18-25, and December 11-26, per People, with rates starting from US$5,400 and US$5,850 each respective month.

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Richard Branson bought it in 1979

Coral reefs, white sandy beaches and clear waters surround Necker Island. It lies to the east of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Considered one of the most luxurious private islands on the planet, it sleeps 48 adults and six children.

The public will be able to book individual rooms on the island from November 18-25, and December 11-26, per People, with rates starting from US$5,400 and US$5,850 each respective month.

Richard Branson bought it in 1979

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British billionaire Richard Branson carries model Ashleigh Warwick from the surf while promoting the maiden flight of his flagship airline, Virgin Atlantic, from London to Australia in 2004. Photo: AFP

Branson, now 73, who is the founder of the Virgin Group, bought the island in 1979 when he was just 29 years old. Per CNN, Branson paid US$180,000 for the island, converting it to a private island resort in 1983. According to CNBC, Branson said he heard that Necker was for sale and reached out to the property agent even though he could not afford it – the island was listed for US$6 million.

Branson added that, hoping to impress a woman he was interested in at the time, he took the property agent up on her offer of an all-expenses-paid trip to the island, bringing his romantic interest along with him. Then he made an offer of US$100,000 – and ended up having to make his own way back home from the site visit.

Although Branson could not afford it at the time, nobody had bought the island a year later, so he made another offer, which was successful.

The businessman also revealed that he married the woman he hoped to impress on the island 11 years later. Branson and Joan Templeman got married in 1989, with Branson saying, according to Virgin’s website, “Joan has always been a steady source of wisdom and has played no small part in some of my better life decisions.”

A stay there is only for the wealthy

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Individual rooms on Necker Islands are now available for guests to book, but only for the next two months. Photo: Handout

Guests wanting ultimate luxury and privacy can hire the whole island. The 2023 rate for 48 guests in 24 rooms is US$134,500 per night. The rate for 40 guests in 20 rooms is US$113,000 per night. All meals and drinks are included, as well as return launch transfers from Virgin Gorda or Beef Island airports. Kite-surfing, wakeboarding, sailing and snorkelling equipment is available free of charge.

Necker is now also advertising individual rooms available for reservation. This option, however, will only be available for the next two months until (hopefully) further notice. The great house master suite is available from December 20-26 at US$9,050 per room per night. The minimum stay is four days. The cheapest room over the festive dates available are for the great house room at US$5,850 per room per night. All meals and drinks are included in the package, as well as access to various water sports equipment.

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Necker Island at night. Photo: Handout

Necker has a no-travel days policy on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There is a special itinerary planned though, which features a Christmas-themed night including a visit from Santa Claus and an after-party with a DJ.

There’s a spa, of course, and a mangrove tour

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A variety of activities are available for guests on Necker Island, such as yoga. Photo: Handout

If sandy beaches and lazy days by the pool aren’t enough, Necker Island offers guests a range of activities to keep them busy. From yoga to tennis and an array of water sports like kitesurfing and sailing, guests are spoiled for choice.

There is also a mangrove conservation tour available for guests, which focuses on efforts in the British Virgin Islands. Visitors will be taken through the indigenous mangroves on a stand-up paddle or kayak, learning from an expert on how the propagules are cultivated.

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The Samudra Spa on Necker Island. Photo: Handout

And what’s a private island without a spa? The Samudra Spa treatment rooms are surrounded by tropical landscapes, and guests can enjoy treatments from therapists using Sodashi’s organic handcrafted skin range. Sodashi is an Australian natural vegan skincare range popular for its concentration of botanical ingredients.

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