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Necker Island Richard Branson

Models frolic naked in the crystal blue waters surrounding Necker Island. Last call does not exist. And for $56,000 a night, anything goes for you and 28 of your closest friends.

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When Richard Branson was in his 20s, he took a trip to the Virgin Islands, having heard that potential island buyers would be treated like royalty. Branson envisioned putting up rock stars on an island for his Virgin record label. He toured around in a helicopter looking at islands for sale. After climbing to the top of Necker Island in 1978, he was sold, even though he couldn’t afford the island. Local island brokers learned Branson was not (yet) royalty when he made a lowball offer of £100,000 for the island. The actual price tag was £5 million. He was not taken seriously.

But in 1979, the owner of Necker Island, Lord Cobham was in need of quick capital and accepted £180,000 from Branson for the island. The British Virgin Islands’ government stipulated that the island had to be developed within 5 years of purchase or it reverted to the state. After about three years and $10 million dollars, Branson turned the scrubby little rock into a spectacular private island retreat. To set the tone that exists to this day, Branson arrived on Necker Island in 1989 hanging from the bottom of a helicopter to marry his wife Joan Templeton.

In August, 2012, the Great House burned down in a fire caused by lightening from Tropical Storm Irene. All 20 guests escaped unharmed. Richard Branson was staying in a nearby residence and ran naked to the fire, running into a cactus bush on the way. He said the most important bits were unhurt. Kate Winslet was able to rescue Branson’s mother and carry her to safety. Branson promises the rebuilt house will be better than ever.

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Famous Guests of Necker Island

Necker Island plays host to royalty of all sorts like Oprah, Larry Page and Bill Gates. The late Princess Diana vacationed there with young William and Harry. Branson’s daughter Holly whisked Kate Middleton away for a visit to Necker Island when she split with William in the early days of their romance. There’s usually enough star power around to light up the whole island with Hollywood luminaries like Kate Moss, Robert De Niro, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Orlando Bloom. And in 2010, Victoria’s Secret landed on the shores of Necker Island to shoot their swimsuit catalogue.

Necker Island Rates

The island is usually rented out in its entirety for $56,000 per night with up to 28 guests. All inclusive has a whole new meaning with two private beaches, private pools, tennis courts, a dozen chefs and about 60 staff to meet all your needs. The water sports division includes a submarine. Stunning views include turquoise water, coral reefs and white sand beaches. Guests are encouraged to share the island like a house party. It’s easy to party with activities like casino night, fancy dress parties, gala dinners and beachside BBQs. If you’re a famous guest, odds are you won’t have to pay anyway. Sir Richard Branson is known for his generosity toward friends.

Where is Necker Island?

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Necker Island is part of the British Virgin islands, located in the Caribbean. The BVIs are east of Puerto Rico and north of Venezuela. By plane, the closest international airport to Necker Island is Tortola on Beef Island. By boat, Necker Island is about 30 minutes from Tortola and 10 minutes from Virgin Gorda, another British Virgin Island.