Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s most famed home and private hideaway in the British Virgin Islands, has completed an extensive re-build after more than two and a half years of works, following the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma. With the installation of three giant wind turbines – alongside a revived conservation programme, new accommodation complexes, and an interior redesign – Necker Island is back and more sustainable than ever.
Guests visiting in 2021 are among the first to experience the new Necker, which accommodates a total of 40 guests sprawled across 74-acres of paradise. The now 11-bedroom The Great House - known as the heart of the island - has been meticulously restored to its former glory, complete with an additional two guest rooms. The ground floor is home to a playful bunk room, sleeping up to six children, and on the upper level is the stunning Master Suite which boasts a private outdoor hot tub and panoramic sundeck offering some of the best sunrise views on the island. Seamlessly blending indoor-outdoor living, the open-air Great House is brought together by several communal living, dining and play areas, providing guests with endless opportunities to bask in the barefoot luxuries of the main house. From ostrich egg light fixtures and a giant outdoor chess board to a rooftop Crows Nest fitted with a hot tub, The Great House is exceptionally unique and as much a hub of entertainment as it is a place of relaxation.
Most notably new to the island is the newly rebuilt Bali Hi complex with three individual suites, which, perched cliffside, have the luxury of overlooking the turquoise waters of both Turtle Beach and Flamingo Beach. All of the suites at the multi-level Balinese-inspired complex are individually designed, offering a unique sense of charm. While each comes with its own private deck area, two rooms are additionally fitted with their own outdoor plunge pools with soaring views. Communally, an expansive undercover terrace area brings the space together, used for dining and lounging by the infinity pool that overlooks the neighbouring islands.
Temple House has also been completely renovated, offering a brand-new guest experience across its two standalone primary rooms and communal areas. Situated in the middle of the island, the striking design of Temple's living area is every bit expressive as it is serene. Curved high beam ceilings ascend into a sky-lit temple while soft blue interiors complement the tall greenery placed in the centre of the room. A pool table, seven-seater bar, outdoor infinity edge pool and wrap-around terrace completes Temple House, which offers some of the most breathtaking sunset views on the island.
Sustainability has been front and centre of the Necker Island rebuild from the very beginning, with the island heavily involved in the overarching BVI recovery programme throughout the territory. Three giant wind turbines have been installed, which, combined with a solar farm of over 1,230 solar panels, enables the island to run at up to 100% renewable energy each day. This furthers the island’s commitment towards sustainability, propelling its goal of eliminating fossil fuel consumption and achieving net zero by 2030. But that’s not all; alongside the extensive recycling programme implemented across the island, installation of a water tank allows up to 300,000 gallons of water to be collected, repurposed and used for irrigation. Bamboo straws replaced the use of plastic straws on the island several years ago, which supports the elimination of single-use plastic bottles; sustainable food sourcing and food miles is at the heart of its menus and brand-new island uniforms made from recycled plastic from the ocean have also just launched.
Necker champions more than just the oceans though, and back on land, it has transformed into an island of conservation run by a dedicated wildlife specialist team. From giant tortoises, lizards, flamingos, and other endangered species including rare Madagascan Lemurs, Necker Island has become a habitat and natural breeding ground for some of the world’s rarest animals. Specifically, Sir Richard Branson has been working on a project at his private island oasis to encourage the flamingo population on the island to breed – something done in only a handful of places worldwide. In May 2021, the island welcomed several baby giant tortoises believed to be the first Aldabra giant tortoises bred naturally anywhere in the world outside of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles. The lemur programme currently consists of seven different species of lemur, most of which are endangered species close to extinction in their native Madagascar.
Aside from these new programmes and sustainable initiatives, the new Necker remains one of the world’s most exclusive private playgrounds. The surrounding pristine waters provide an idyllic backdrop for a variety of on-water and on-land activities; from private tennis lessons with a resident professional coach at the famous floodlit Necker courts, to top-class water sports, or simply relaxing on the beach and enjoying the tranquility of the island.