When Sir Richard Branson first visited the 74-acre piece of land now known as Necker Island, it was completely uninhabited. He negotiated a purchase price of $180,000, transformed it into an über-luxe resort, and now, 36 years later, charges $62,000 per night to rent the 15-room property.
The island, which is located in the British Virgin Islands, is strictly available for rent as a whole—Google co-founder Larry Page booked it for his wedding, Kate Moss celebrated her 40th birthday there, and Oprah, Mariah Carey and Jay-Z have all visited. But occasionally, Necker Island hosts “Celebration Weeks,” where small groups or solo travelers can reserve individual rooms on the property. With the first Celebration Week of the year approaching on February 24, we decided to check in with Necker Island’s General Manager, Kenton Jones. Below, he offers a sneak peek into the most in-demand (and pricey) room.
Most requested room in the hotel:
“The Master Suite.”
What makes it special:
“It’s 2,500 square feet of luxury with a strong Balinese theme running throughout. The room, located on the top floor, offers 300 degree views of the island and the surrounding ocean from each of its three terraces. There’s a hot tub, an outdoor bathtub and a flat screen TV built in to the bed.”
“While we maintain client confidentiality for all Necker Island guests, some stays have been well documented and details are already in the public domain. These would include Kate Winslet, Mariah Carey, Oprah and Kate Moss who just celebrated her 40th birthday there. A preferred location for many A-listers, Necker Island equally appeals to many families or private individuals seeking privacy, luxury and exceptional service in a truly stunning and unique setting.”
“During Celebration Weeks, when the island can be booked ‘hotel-style’ and couples can book individual rooms, the Master Suite rate for a seven-night stay is U.S. $45,000 during 2014.”
Your personal favorite room:
“Bali Cliff is our most romantic room, situated on the western end of the island with a deck suspended over beautiful coral reef. It’s totally secluded and perched above the ocean with the most amazing views.”
“When he first expressed an interest in purchasing the island, as Sir Richard Branson tells it, ‘The realtor was really quite wonderful. He provided us flights, private helicopters, red carpet greetings, expensive champagne and the most extraordinary house to stay in. [He] said Necker Island could be all mine for the small price of around $6 million. I considered for a moment and then made the highest offer I could based on my available funds; $100,000. The music stopped instantly. We were taken back and unceremoniously dumped on the main land. The helicopter disappeared, the champagne evaporated and we were left to find our own way back to New York. A year later, I received a call from that same wonderful realtor. Apparently, there hadn’t been a single bid on Necker Island since my paltry offer. After a brief negotiation we agreed on a purchase price of $180,000 with the local government proviso that I had to have built a resort there within four years. And so I became the owner of Necker Island in the British Virgin Isles.’”