Sir Richard Branson’s luxurious Caribbean private island home, Necker Island, is finally back in business after a fire tragically destroyed the famous Great House just over two years ago.
After suffering a devastating fire in the early hours of August 22nd 2011, the famous Great House on Sir Richard Branson’s luxurious British Virgin Island retreat, Necker Island, has finally re-opened after a painstaking renovation process to return the building to its former glory.
As Hurricane Irene tore a path of destruction across the British Virgin Islands two years ago, Necker Island found itself in the heart of a fierce electrical storm, reaching a crescendo at four in the morning, when a freak bolt of lightning struck the Great House. Within minutes, the iconic property was engulfed in 200 ft. high flames, with Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet forced to act fast and carry Branson’s 90-year-old mother to safety amid chaotic scenes.
Attempts to rescue the property were hindered by 90-mile-an-hour winds, and whilst no guests or members of the Necker Island staff were injured during the blaze, hundreds of valuable antiques and twenty years’ worth of Sir Richard’s photographs and personal notebooks were destroyed, much to the chagrin of the wily entrepreneur. Rather than get downbeat however, Branson summoned the Dunkirk spirit and set about making the island bigger than better than ever before.
With the culmination of two long years of painstaking restoration work, the Virgin Chief Executive’s pride is plain to see. “Necker Island has been my home for more than 30 years and for me it is the most beautiful place in the world,” he was quoted as saying. “The brand-new Great House is the heart of the island and I’m thrilled with the results. This signals a new dawn for Necker, which I’m very excited about.”
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the old house, the new property incorporates the very best of its predecessor with some fabulous new features that make the mind boggle. “We didn’t want to lose the magic of the old house, but we wanted to do some magical new things,” Branson said, uncharacteristically coy, in a recent interview with the New York Times. It seems like the Great House just got Greater.
Now home to eight en-suite guest rooms, each boasting balconies and king-sized beds and a majestic master-suite with spa and stand-alone outdoor bath, other stand-out features include a wonderfully relaxed outdoor terrace filled with hammocks and sofas, a cool crow’s nest hot-tub, and the Private Island News team’s personal highlight – a zip-line down to the beach. It turns out Sir Richard wasn’t joking when he said; “It’s like the old house, but on steroids”!
A wild, celeb-tastic party has already been planned to celebrate Necker’s re-opening – any chance of an invite for the Private Island News team too, Sir Richard?!