As one of the most luxurious holiday destinations in the world, Necker Island has played host to a who's who of billionaires and celebrities including the late Princess Diana, Kate Winslet and Robert De Niro. Now you can take a peek inside this exclusive paradise.
With a hefty price tag of 40,000 pounds a night ($77,569 AUD), you'd have to dig deep in all pockets to afford a stay at this island paradise! Bought in 1978 when Virgin Mogul Richard Branson was only 27-years-old, this Caribbean retreat has been one of the go-to places for the rich and famous to indulge in some R&R.
"When I saw this magical island from the air, I just had never seen anything more perfect, except my beautiful lady I was wooing, who was also in the helicopter with me," Richard says. "And so I saw the two most perfect things in the world all at the same time and I was determined to try to capture them both and it took me a while to persuade her, but I finally got there and it took me a while to persuade the owners to sell it to me. And I had to then go and work really hard to try to make some money to actually do something here."
You can opt to stay in an individual room and share the 74 acre island with up to 14 other couples, or Necker Island can also be booked exclusively year-round. That’s just you plus 29 friends and family on your own private Caribbean island. For House Manager Cat, she loves seeing familiar faces at the resort. "I love seeing guests coming back for the 10th time, for the 21st time and just still having that absolute sense of elation, joy and just getting away from the rest of the world."
Here, we take you behind the doors of this superstar resort as seen in our new series Branson’s Paradise: Inside Necker Island on The LifeStyle Channel.
Necker Island is the epitome of barefoot luxury where you're waited on by 100 staff. Each of the eight guest rooms, decked out with Balinese antiques, features a balcony, a king-sized bed, and ensuite bathroom. If you've got the cash to splash, the master suite (1,500 square metres) upstairs is designed particularly to give panoramic views of the Caribbean, Atlantic Ocean, and also contains a two-person jacuzzi, just in case you haven't been pampered enough!
Despite the size of the master suite, couple Patch and Kerry love its sense of homeliness. "The vibe of it is homely and when you come in, you’re immediately relaxed and it is homely, because there’s no pretence when you get here. You’re straight into your flip flops. You’re straight into relaxed mode," says Kerry.
They've got the cash, so it's no surprise Necker Island attracts an A-list clientele. The guest list reads like a who's who of Hollywood, with names such as Oprah Winfrey, Rod Stewart, Harry Styles and Kate Moss.
For housekeepers Patsy and Agatha who have worked for nearly a decade at the exclusive resort, they claim that what happens on Necker Island, stays on Necker Island. "We see it all," says Patsy. "But we're accustomed to it, you know. That's our job to clean up after the guests, so we don't have a problem with that. I love Sex and The City but I can’t remember which one of them was here. I can’t remember her name at all, because that’s my favourite show, but we try not to discuss what happens at Necker."
If you're after a bit of socialising, head to either the rooftop hot tub or infinity pool, where you're once again guaranteed breathtaking ocean views. There's no dress code for dinner - guests are welcome in T-shirts and shorts, and you can even help yourself behind the bar.
For those that don't want to lift a finger, you're also covered with lunch served by a smiling chef, in a canoe at the beach side pool. For Chef Clement and his team of 12 staff, they are on call 24 hours a day, and cater to guests' every whim, including a few nightmare requests! "I remember the worst was one day, it was bank holiday actually and one of the guests really wanted some caviar and we had to get some from St. Thomas I believe to bring to Necker Island on the bank holiday," Clement reflects. "That was a challenge. I, with my sous chef, we literally started calling at eight in the morning and we just received the caviar at half past six, seven o’clock at night, just ready to serve for the aperitif really. That was a nightmare!"
With a fully-qualified team of instructors in water sports, you will never get bored at Necker Island. Take your pick between kite surfing, water-skiing and wakeboarding, sailing and windsurfing. All activities offer beginner to advanced tuition, with the latest state-of-the-art equipment. However if you prefer to relax and enjoy the vista of sandy white beaches and crystal clear water, hop on board one of the many cruises that depart on a daily basis.
You don't have to trek far to enjoy the many activities available on the island. Your biggest decision to make each day is whether to lie on one of the hammocks at Turtle Beach, enjoy a beginner or advanced game of tennis at one of the two floodlit Astroturf courts located next to the Beach House, take a guided walk along one of the many trails along the 74-acre island, or participate in a pilates class with the sunset as your background.
You will always be looking your best with a broad range of skincare solutions available at the Bali Leha and Bali Samudra spa treatment rooms. Using the Aromatherapy Associates skincare range, exclusive to Necker Island, you'll experience a one-of-a-kind pampering session from soothing facials to full-body massages.
Want to discover more about this luxurious holiday destination? LifeStyle YOU will be airing the one-off special, Branson's Paradise: Inside Necker Island, April 22, 9.30pm.