Sir Richard Branson’s 74 acre Necker island has everything you could possibly dream of: pristine beaches with turquoise waters, luxurious rooms with magnificent ocean views, pools with floating tables decked with sushi, full days of water sports and parties that never end.
If you’re a guest staying there, there’s always the chance you may see the billionaire himself sitting on the deck sipping his morning tea.
Some wantonly dismiss the island as the result of an extremely rich man not knowing what to do with his money. But to Branson, Necker is his beloved home that only came into existence because of a vision. Just like all his Virgin enterprises, and his most recent space travel initiatives, he has a knack for making the impossible possible.
Here are six interesting facts about his home in paradise:
1. He almost could not buy it
In 1978 the island was worth $6 million, but Richard, aged 28, and in his early stages of his career, could only afford an offer of $150,000. This was rejected outright and Branson was thrown off the island. Fortunately for him, the owner was in need of funds, and later accepted a price of $180 000. Over the next few years Branson would spend $10 million to build his island resort
2. Kate Winslet carried his 90 year old mother out of a burning house
Lightening struck the Great House in August 2011, with Branson family members and guests, including Kate Winslet, sleeping inside. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident, and Winslet carried Branson’s 90 year old mother, Eve, out of the building. Branson also ran straight into a cactus, completely naked, while on his way to help.
3. Want to know how much it costs to stay there?
The resort caters up to 30 guests. For a couple’s 7 night stay in the Great House, be ready to fork out $47 000. The cheapest rooms go for around $30 000 per couple. That includes everything, all food and accommodation, and of course, expensive toys.
4. Only “privileged staff” actually live on the island
It takes a staff of 100 to run and maintain the resort. Of these, only 20 have homes on the island, and there are only 2 children. The rest have a daily 10 minute commute to and from a nearby island.
5. Branson does all his business by his pool
Every morning he sits on a couch by his pool and holds meetings with his two personal assistants. He is known for avoiding an office, and combining business with pleasure. In fact, he was in his bath when Nelson Mandela called him to discuss buying up a failing health and fitness chain in South Africa.
6. World records are set there
A Guinness World Record was set when Branson carried three women on his board while kitesurfing. It was also the photo-shoot where he piggybacked a completely naked woman, causing an internet frenzy. Last May this year extreme kitesurfer Nick Jacobsen jumped off the roof of the Great House, flying 131 feet above sea level until landing safely on the water below.
Necker Island is indeed a dream-like paradise, and only the very privileged, or the very wealthy, get to visit. But it is also the place where awe-inspiring dreams are concocted. Who knows what the British knight’s next venture will be.