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PRIVATE LUXURY: Necker Island, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean
We all know the story of how Sir Richard Branson's Great House on Necker Island, was burnt to the ground in 2011, and how actor Kate Winslet braved the flames to carry   Branson's 90-year-old mum Eve from the burning building. Kate became a heroine and as a reward soon after married Branson's nephew, the colourfully-named named Ned Rocknroll (wisely she decided not to take his surname).

necker island beach
necker island beach
necker island
necker main house
necker master bedroom
necker lounge

Two years on and it is time to pack your bags (or get someone to pack them for you) because the main house has been spectacularly renovated is now, once again open for business. All you need is the US$60,000 to rent it and some party-loving friends to share the fun.  No problem. And if they happen to be celebrities so much the better, Necker Island is used to that.

The Great House, is the private home of Sir Richard Branson and part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio.  ' Necker Island has been my home for more than 30 years and for me it is the most beautiful place in the world,' Branson says. '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.'

No wonder Branson is so besotted, because Necker Island is in  an idyllic location, the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, surrounded by aqua waters and coral reefs and fringed with silvery-sand beaches.

The Great House has been re-modelled on the original  Balinese-inspired design, with the addition of what the website calls some 'innovative design twists'.

Each of the eight guest rooms has a balcony, and all come with king-size beds and spacious en-suite bathrooms. The Luxury Travel Bible readers will naturally head for  he upper level and the Master Suite, which features a four poster bed draped in white muslin, panoramic views from virtually every angle, a two-person Jacuzzi, a stand-alone outdoor bath and a fully-stocked fridge.

The Great House has seen some sights in its time - Kate first met Ned here, Mariah Carey Diva'd here, Oprah relaxed, Victoria and David Beckham came sans kids - many of them taking place in the vast lounge area with its expansive terrace and huge communal dining table. There's a fully-stocked bar for favourite cocktails and up on the roof the crow's nest with more stunning views and a  Jacuzzi - perfect for sipping champers as you watch the sun set.
Luckily back down on the terrace there are artfully placed hammocks for sleeping off the effects of the champagne.  As I said, this is a fun house; which is why there is also  a handy zip-line that quickly whizzes you from the Great House terrace all the way down to the beach. I am told it goes down so  fast it is almost as exciting as  blasting off in Virgin Galactic ... but not quite. Best of all the house offers breath-taking panoramic views of the Caribbean, the Atlantic and neighbouring islands.

For exclusive-use bookings, accommodation on Necker Island includes nine bedrooms in the Great House including the Master Suite and six individual Bali Houses dotted around the island. There is also a bunkroom in the Great House that sleeps up to six children. The total number of guests that can be accommodated on Necker Island is 30 (plus six children)  at a nightly rate of the afore-mentioned $60,000 .

For those who want to enjoy the full Necker experience without having the readies to hire the whole island, 'Celebration Weeks' provide the opportunity to book an individual room in more traditional hotel-style.

Laurence d'Anonn 10/10/13
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